Video Game Currency That Defined My Childhood

A nostalgic look at video game currency that defined the gaming moments of our childhood.

8 months ago by Felicia Miranda

Growing up playing RPGs has made many of us all-the-wiser to that legendary grind for experience points and video game currency. In these many travels to make-believe lands, one could always count on games to use the term, “experience points” in a format that was easy to recognize, like EXP or XP.

But in that moment when you first open up your inventory, you’re sure to be surprised by a form of video game currency that you’ve never seen before. Some of these currencies have made a special home in my childhood memories, especially when I was frequenting the local item shop to pawn off some of the loot I’d accumulated in battle. I’m sure you’ll remember them too. Here’s the top 5 video game currencies that defined my childhood.

Potch

Those that are familiar with the Suikoden series will be familiar with Potch which made its first appearance in America with Suikoden II. This is because the word was changed to Bits during translation of the first game. Potch comes in the form of golden coins that are typically acquired during battle, selling items, and in a friendly game of Chinchirorin (the addictive dice mini game).

In Suikoden II, players could exploit the Maximum Potch Cheat which allowed them to get 999,999 Potch, which was the maximum amount of currency allowed in the game, at the time.

Zenny

Zenny is a video game currency that is found in many Capcom titles, with the most notable ones from my childhood being the Breath of Fire, Monster Hunter and Mega Man series. You’re sure to find many variations of the spelling but the concept is relatively the same.

Many say its origin began with the Dragonball series where it was spelt “Zeni”, and had a value equivalent to one Yen. In video games, Zenny typically resembles a small golden coin with a Z engraved on it but there are also paper variations of it called Zenny Notes, as well.

Pokédollars

Pokémon Dollars or Pokédollars, is the currency used in the English versions of Pokémon video games. This term is never seen spelt out because in its place is typically a P symbol with two lines striking through it. This is spin on the ¥ symbol which is used to represent Yen.

In the Japanese version of Pokémon games, they stick with Yen since it’s their official currency. No one really knows what a Pokédollar looks like, but be careful not to be confuse it with the golden Koban coin that the cat Pokémon, Meowth, has on his head.

Gil

Gil is famous in the Final Fantasy series and rumor has it, that the currency’s name comes from a character in Final Fantasy IV. Known among fans as “the spoony bard”, Edward, the prince turned bard from Damcyan castle, was initially called Gilbart before his name was changed due to localization.

Although rarely ever seen in the Final Fantasy games, Gil can be found depicted in the form of coins consisting of various metals with each holding a different value. This is yet another form of video game currency that is inspired by Yen.

Rupees

Possibly the most famous video game currency of them all, is the Rupee from the Legend of Zelda series. Much flashier than most video game currency, the Rupee comes in the shape of a sparkling gemstone in varying colors that hold different values. Throughout the Legend of Zelda timeline, the green, blue, and red Rupees have been the most common. Each typically holding the values 1, 5, and 20.

But it’s not uncommon to find these shimmering gems with conflicting values in different games. A fun fact many don’t know is that the iconic spelling for Rupee started with the 3rd installment in the series, A Link to the Past.

All of these famous currencies have lasted through my childhood and are still a part of gaming today. They've inspired developers to continue this tradition of adding unique monetary systems to video games. While it's an element of gaming that we often don't talk much about, it still finds a way to leave a lasting impression. We'd love to know, what video game currency defined your childhood?