Pokémon BDSP’s calculator is behaving strangely, according to user reports

Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-11-25 18:41 (JST)
Translated by. Nick Mosier

Word has been circulating online that the calculator in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (Pokémon BDSP) is a little off. Some players have been reporting that the calculator isn’t making computations correctly, so let’s take a look and see how much truth there is to it.

Pokémon BDSP is a remake of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, which originally released for the Nintendo DS in 2006. The games are receiving praise for faithfully recreating the originals, but there have also been reports of numerous bugs. And now, even the in-game calculator is getting some attention due to its strange behavior.

Within the game is a device players can use called the Poketch. The Poketch has a variety of apps for players like a clock, a pedometer, and others that are more helpful during gameplay. One of these apps is the calculator. It goes up to 10 digits and can perform basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. There’s also a period key for inputting decimals. However, a post submitted to Reddit showed this in-game calculator giving answers that were obviously wrong.

In the posted video, Reddit user K0nr4d first tries 10 divided by 5, which returns 2. So far so good. Next, they try 10 divided by 4, which for some reason returns 002. The correct answer is 2.5, so we can see things are starting to get a little weird. They then try the an indivisible 7 divided by 3 and the calculator returns “??????????.” It abandoned its calculator duties and just gave up.

After that, they tested how the calculator handles decimals. When 2.3654 was entered on the keyboard, 4.3654 was displayed. And after multiplying that by 2, 47308 was displayed. In other words, it multiplied 23654 instead of 2.3654.

This is definitely strange for a calculator. Not only is the Poketch throwing out calculations, but it’s also ignoring decimal points. With that being said, while the decimal implementation has a problem, handling the inputs as regular integers at least makes some sense. There are cases where calculation programs handle decimal numbers as integers. Like the 47308 mentioned above, you could think of it as just displaying the answer but without the decimal point. The implementation for decimal calculations is a little complicated, and considering this is just an extra feature, it’s likely the problem was simply missed.

But in the same Reddit thread, players were saying it operates correctly depending on the language settings of the Nintendo Switch itself. We decided to test a few language options ourselves to see what would happen. First, we tried Japanese and English which handled decimals and indivisible calculations just fine. However, when we used German and French, we experienced the same issues K0nr4d had showed in their video.

We also noticed another interesting difference when using the French language settings. Where other languages would interpret 3.14 + 3.14 as 314 + 314, when using French, inputs couldn’t be entered beyond “3.,” and no matter what we tried to calculate, it just displayed a 3.

It’s also interesting that the behavior of the calculator changes depending on the system settings. There are two reasons we can think of that could cause this to occur. One is that the game is using a built-in hardware feature and is somehow causing an issue to occur with it. Another is that Pokémon BDSP is aware of the system’s language settings and changes something that’s connected to the issue.

When starting Pokémon BDSP, the game prompts players to select a language. And even if you change the language settings of the console itself, the display language in the game doesn’t change. In other words, there’s some sort of mechanism at work that players can’t see. It’s hard to concretely examine what’s going on, but it would be interesting to see what the game does to handle calculations within it.

To summarize, While English and Japanese settings work fine using decimals, things get a little strange when using French and German settings. In the previously mentioned Reddit thread, some users are theorizing that it could be related to Europe using a comma instead of a period to represent decimal points. It sounds like a few people out there are interested in just what’s causing this strange behavior.

There’s also a tweet going around that shows 9 plus 10 returning 21. While it looks like another example of a miscalculation, it’s likely just a joke. In the West, there’s a popular meme where a kid is asked, “What 9 plus 10?” and he answers, “21.” For that reason, people are joking saying that 9 + 10 = 21 is correct. We even tried the calculation with each language setting just to be sure, and it correctly returned 19. If you’re looking to make calculations using integers, the Poketch appears to work fine.