A Look at Pokémon Red/Green/Blue/Yellow Version

A Look at Pokémon Red/Green/Blue/Yellow Version


In 1990, a genius idea was brewing up in Satoshi
Tajiri’s mind. Like many kids, Tajiri loved catching insects during his childhood. He
loved the idea of discovering new breeds of insects. The idea of exploring their habitat
and seeing what they can do. Of course, in his mind it was probably way more exciting,
with all kinds of giant beasts with large claws and supernatural abilities. One day, he saw an accessory for Nintendo’s
incredibly popular handheld game system, the Gameboy. This accessory, called the Link Cable,
made it possible for two or more players to communicate, competing with each other or
trading items and other goods. Tajiri imagined two friends exploring a vast world, taming
the creatures that live in it and battling and trading with each other. Fresh from the release of Quinty, Game Freak
pitched a new project to Nintendo. It was called Capsule Monsters, or Capumon for short.
It was an extremely ambitious project, one that was likely beyond Game Freak’s capabilities.
After all, Game Freak was still a small and unexperienced studio. And because of that,
the executives who analyzed Tajiri’s initial pitch weren’t convinced. Well, except for one absolute lad who saw
tremendous potential in it. Tajiri put the Capsule Monsters project on
the backburner, and the team focused on other projects for the next few years. Some were
projects directly connected to Nintendo, while others, such as Jerry Boy, were published
by various companies such as Sony. Huh, imagine that nowadays. As the years went by, Game Freak earned Nintendo’s
trust, and Tajiri’s dream game was starting to take shape. It was no longer Capsule Monsters,
but rather Pocket Monsters, or Pokémon for short. But despite the new name, Pocket Monsters
inherited much of Capsule Monster’s DNA. It was still a game about the idea of people
exploring a vast world, taming the creatures that live in it and battling and trading with
each other. Unfortunately, many of Game Freak’s initial
designs for the game’s world and the monsters that inhabited it has remained a mystery for
over two decades now, with only a trickle of these lost assets being drip fed to us
fans every once in a while. But maybe that’s a story for another day, when perhaps some
collector decides to release his prized prototype carts to the public. Or maybe Game Freak themselves
will show it to us one day… After many years, on the 27th of February
of 1996, Pokemon Red Version and Green Version were released in Japan. The pair of Gameboy
titles was published by Nintendo, now confident in Game Freak’s success… And Jesus Ducking Christ, was it a success.
Seriously, according to Wikipedia, these little bastards have sold 47 million copies in total.
Of course, this number includes all 4 Generation 1 games, but it’s still pretty friggin’ impressive. The Pokemon franchise is big. Super big. Ridiculously
big. It single-handedly launched Game Freak into levels of success that nobody could have
ever predicted. Though there is one other company involved,
even if people don’t really talk about it much because who cares about that nerd crap.
Creatures Incorporated is a company established in 1995, following the closure of Ape Incorporated
and taking in much of its staff. The company is responsible for a variety of things, such
as creating the 3D models of Pokémon and even with developing some games of their own. Nintendo, Game Freak and Creatures each own
a share of the franchise, and to easily manage the various Pokemon Centers around Japan and
expand the Pokémon brand, they created The Pokémon Center Company, though now it’s
just called The Pokémon Company. But enough of the legal bollocks, nobody gives
a toss about that. For the sake of clarity and accessibility,
most of the footage for now will be from the English releases of Red and Blue. These weren’t
just straight localizations, but all releases of Red, Green and Blue are nearly identical
in terms of mechanics and story. Now would be a good time to explain the differences. As mentioned previously, the initial releases
were Red and Green Versions in February of 1996. In Japan, Blue Version was later released
alongside an issue of the CoroCoro magazine in October. It came with new sprites and fixed
some bugs, and this Blue Version was used as the basis for both Western Blue AND Western
Red. Yeah, exactly. Green Version never left Japan, with only
Western Blue and Red being released in September of 1998 in America and in October of 1999
for us losers here in Europe because of course. The sprites and basically everything else
are the same as Japanese Blue. However, the version exclusives were based on the Japanese
Red and Green versions, because why not make this whole thing more confusing, am I right? However, Japanese Red and Green had a different
layout for the Cerulean Cave, which was updated in Japanese Blue. Blue’s layout is the one
used in Western Red and Blue, which also switched the in-game trades back to Japanese Red and
Green’s… resulting in some interesting translation mistakes. All versions of Yellow,
though, are basically the same aside from the Western releases having Gameboy Color
enhancements, while the Japanese version only supported them on the Super Gameboy. And with that, I can finally start talking
about the game itself, the thing that people care about. The game begins with an introduction to the
world of Pokémon. Professor Oak talks about the many creatures who inhabit the world.
Humans and Pokémon live together in peace, side by side. Some keep them as their pets,
while some train them everyday to become the very best, like no one ever was, and also
to breathe fire and shoot laser beams. Professor Oak, however, instead studies Pokémon as
his profession. You play as a young boy who lives in Pallet
Town, located in the region of Kanto. You and your childhood rival, Professor Oak’s
grandson, are about to start your adventures as Pokemon Trainers. Oh, what’s this? A path covered in tall grass?
Where untamed Pokemon live and attack those who pass through? Well, I guess I’ll just
go and try to commit Pokemon assisted suicide! Professor Oak stops you before you do anything
too rash and tells you that you need your own Pokemon to protect yourself, so he brings
you to his shack. You get to choose between 3 starters: Charmander,
the fire breathing lizard; Squirtle, the water spewing turtle; or Bulbasaur, the… something.
Now that you have your own pet, you can, probably, safely walk alone through the grass. But before
you get to do any of that, your Rival challenges you to a trainer battle. Perfect for his first
humiliation. Once you cross Route 1, you find yourself
in Viridian City. Over at the PokeMart, the clerk asks you to deliver Oak’s Parcel to,
well, Professor Oak. So off you go, backtracking to Pallet Town once more. The Professor thanks
you for being his unpaid delivery boy. Your rival then shows up uninvited, which turns
out to be quite convenient. The Professor explains that he has dedicated
all of his life to researching Pokemon, but he’s getting old and thus doesn’t have the
possibility of spending all his day in the field. But lucky him, you and your rival are
more than willing to join in on his child slavery ring. He entrusts you with the Pokedex,
a digital encyclopedia that records info on the Pokemon you catch, such as the fact that
the Fire type is responsible for global warming. And catching’em all and completing the Pokedex
is your ultimate goal. Sure, you might dismantle a criminal organization or two in the process,
and you might become the world champion, but, I mean, that’s par for the course, right?
It’s all about filling those sweet Pokedex entries involving indian elephants, 7000º
flames and… electric rats. So how does it all work? I’m sure at least
half of you already know but it wouldn’t make sense to not explain anything in this video. Battles involve one-on-one turn based combat
between two Pokemon. The goal is as straightforward as it gets: smack their asses. Every Pokemon has their base HP, Attack, Defense,
Speed and Special stats, which influences the damage they can deal and take, as well
as how fast they attack. By earning EXP from battles or by consuming drugs, the Pokemon
gain levels and their stats increase. Every Pokemon also has 1 or 2 Types assigned to
them, which of course also influences what moves are super effective or not very effective
against them. At certain levels, Pokémon might also learn
new moves, and they might also evolve, increasing their base stats and changing they typing
in some cases. A select few Pokémon evolve through different methods, however, namely
with items or with trading. Moves themselves have their own type, along
with Accuracy and Power. Fire moves, for example, are effective against Grass, Bug and Ice Pokemon,
while Fire Pokemon are weak against Water, Ground and Rock moves. When a Pokemon uses
a move with the same type as its own, it also gains 50% more Power, commonly known as Same
Type Attack Bonus. The damage dealt is influenced by the Attack
and Special stats. Normal, Flying, Ground, Rock, Ghost and Bug moves are considered Physical
Moves, and thus use the Attack and Defense stats to calculate their damage. On the other
hand, Fire, Water, Grass, Electric, Ice and Psychic are considered Special Moves and thus
use the Special stat to calculate their damage. Yes, Special Moves get a single stat for both
offense and defense while Physical Moves have to take 2 into account. As you’ve probably
guessed, I’m going to come back to this later. Moves can also be acquired by using Technical
Machines and Hidden Machines, or TMs and HMs for short. TMs are single use items that teach
a specfic move to a Pokemon. There are 50 of them, and for most there is only a single
one available every playthrough, so you have to think about your choices. For the TMs that
don’t suck, at least. Why is this a thing? HMs, on the other hand, can be used as many
times as you want. There are 5 of them and they have a secondary function essential to
progressing further into the game. Surf lets you cross water, Strength lets you push boulders,
Fly lets you quickly travel to cities, Cut lets you hurt nature and Flash is cancer. Unlike TMs, however, HM moves can not be deleted.
Surf is great and Strength and Fly aren’t bad, but un-fortunately Cut and Flash are
garbage so refrain from teaching them to your strongest Pokemon unless you want to cripple
them. It wasn’t until Generation 2 that the people of the Pokemon world found the cure
for cancer. Every Pokemon can only learn up to 4 moves
at once, and you can only carry up to 6 Pokemon in your party, so there’s an element of decision
making when it comes to party composition. The idea is that you can switch them out during
your turn so you can have the Type advantage and wreck your opponent’s team as efficiently
as possible. But how do you actually get Pokemon? Well,
you give them a faceful of balls. Poké Balls are the worst, Great Balls are better, Ultra
Balls even better and Master Balls never fail but you can only find one each playthrough.
Normally, at least. Just throw your balls at wild Pokémon, which
are randomly encountered on caves, the sea and weeds. You can increase your chances of
success by lowering their health or putting them to sleep or paralyzing them and making
them cripples, but in the end it’s all down to luck. If at first you don’t succeed,
try again. And then 20 more times because screw you random number generator. But these are just the mechanics. What you
actually do with them is up to you. This is isn’t like your average JRPG where the party
composition depends on the story, with characters coming and going and having specific roles.
True, there are JRPGs with customizable parties, with custom characters or similar, but most
of them can’t match the sheer amount of choices that monster taming games give the player,
and Pokemon is a fine example of that. One player might try to find the strongest
Pokemon available. Another might play favorites, building a party solely composed of, say,
birds. A third player might try to spread experience points evenly through a 6 Pokemon
party, while a fourth player focuses on 1 or 2. It’s because of this freeform approach
to party building that games of this kind are so replayable. Everything feels more personal
because YOU decide what you want to do. Of course, this being Generation 1, I’m romanticizing
it quite a bit and implying that you have 151 possible party members would be quite
disingenuous when a good portion of those are part of the same evolutionary line. This
is one thing that was really helped by the mainline Pokemon series being iterative. Instead
of reseting the whole thing, the games just keep adding more Pokemon and moves, and Jesus
Christ the amount of options you have in newer generations really blows Gen 1 out of the
water. Man, imagine if Pokemon pulled a Telefang
2 and removed certain monsters in the latest generation. Haha, god that would be really
stupid. I’m glad Game Freak would never do something ridiculous like that. Another part of your journey is the Gym Challenge.
There are 8 Gyms in total, each specialized in a certain type. Defeating the Gym Leaders
earns you badges that let you enter the Indigo Plateau, the final part of the League. In
every Gym, you have trainers and puzzles to clear before challenging the Leader to a Pokemon
battle, because cockfighting is how you go up in this society that we most definitely
live in. Each badge also gives your Pokemon a stat
boost in battles against AI trainers, or something? Honestly I never understood the mechanics
behind this supposed stat boost. It’s never properly explained anywhere in the games,
and it’s just mentioned once when the Gym Leaders give their badge to you. And I guess Game Freak eventually realized
how unnecessary and misleading an invisible stat boost was be-cause glorious Generation
4 threw it out the window. Or maybe they didn’t, because Gen 3 replaced Stat Experience with
a more obnoxious system. *Sigh* So basically, here’s the thing: Pokemon
start with 0 Stat Exp in each of the 5 stats, and by defeating other Pokemon, the Stat Exp
can increase by up to 65535 points. This is why a Pokemon that you have been train-ing
the whole game seems much stronger than another Pokemon of the same species and same level
that has been freshly caught. You also have Individual Values, which are
randomly generated and range from 0 to 15. The higher each stat’s Individual Value,
the higher that particular stat will be. It’s not a massive difference, but it’s still
there. Now here’s the problem with these mechanics:
There isn’t a single line of dialogue or a stat screen in the en-tire game that explains
this. And you know what? Feel free to completely ignore these mechanics. You don’t need them
to beat the game and Game Freak knew that, which is probably why they are obfuscated.
I played the games for years before learning about them, and nothing really changed. Anyway, you can also trade Pokemon with other
people, both the pixel ones in-game and real life ones. Traded Pokémon get extra experience
points, but refuse to listen to your orders if your badges don’t allow it. The Boulder
Badge, for example, lets traded Pokémon obey you if they are level 20 or lower. In towns and cities, you have access to various
facilities. Pokemon Centers let you heal your Pokémon or dump them in the cloud when you
want to remove them from your party, because for some reason these living beings can be
compressed into a tiny ball and turned into computer data. I don’t get it, I thought
they were supposed to be Pocket Monsters, not Digital Monsters. The Poké Marts are where you buy and sell
items. You will also find normal houses full of normal people, but then you have places
like the Game Corner, where you can trade money for Coins or earn them by playing games
that underage kids shouldn’t. The Coins can then be exchanged for items and Pokémon. The game doesn’t have a difficulty setting,
but Battle Style might as well be one. Switch gives you supernatural powers, telling you
know what Pokemon your opponent will send out next, and giving you the option to switch
your current one. Which is patently unfair to an AI that is already handicapped by its
own stupidity. Set Mode doesn’t tell you anything and instantly
brings out the next Pokémon, putting you on a level playing field with the AI. Not
that this is enough to make the AI challenging in any way. But then again, I’m not a difficulty fetishist,
so none of this stops me from enjoying these games. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy
discovering and training the Pokémon you find. If that’s the case, then I think that
Tajiri and his team fulfilled their objective. Maybe it doesn’t have the story and mechanics
of Megami Tensei, or the complex breeding and minmaxing of Dragon Quest Monsters, but
Pokémon still stands apart in the monster taming subgenre. Nostalgia and familiarity plays a big role
of course, but there’s something about the design of the Pokémon world that has always
fascinated me. It’s just so… “welcoming” and approachable, you know, and I really do
like a lot of its monster designs. It’s not like Megami Tensei where spending enough
time with it might turn you into a Satanist who worships a giant penis monster. Jokes aside, if you stumbled into this video
while never having touched a Pokémon game, then give it a shot. You might just be surprised. But that’s not to say that Red, Green and
Blue are perfect. Being the first entries in a new franchise, it’s only natural for
there to be some problems, so buckle up and let’s beat the crap out of this dead horse. For starters, while the games have a lot of
options, I t’s no secret that raising your starter Pokemon alone will give you a much
easier time than raising a whole team, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Calling the AI stupid would be an understatement,
but calling it intelligence anything is an insult to inanimate objects. The AI’s main
priority is picking a move of a type effective against your Pokemon… Regardless of what
the move actually does. It’s bad enough that the AI trainers are stuck with Pokemon limited
to the last 4 moves they would learn at their current levels. It’s quite sad to see the final boss’ Pokemon
be sitting ducks because they are brainless zombies stuck with the most useless of moves.
Why does Rhydon have both Leer and Tail Whip? Why does Charizard have Rage? Why in the unholy
name of Arceus does Exeggutor only have 3 moves? I’ve seen people say that these games are
harder than the baby tier casual fest that is every post Gen 1 game. If you ever meet
one of those people, be sure to slap them through the face with these movesets. Maybe
also tell them to suck on some Rare Candies until they learn how to use Growth. These issues also manifest on the player’s
side. A good portion of the roster has an embarrassing set of level up moves, and you
can be considered lucky if you have 2 half-decent moves of your own type. Unless you’re a Bug
type, in which case you can go screw yourself because all 3 offensive Bug moves are total
garbage and 1 of them can only be learned by Beedrill anyway. In a similar situation
are the Dragon and Ghost types, the latter of which there are only 3 Pokémon and they
are all weak to Psychic. And speaking of “special” design decisions,
everything involving the Special stat is just… dumb. Not only are many of the best moves
in the game part of a Special Type, but there’s also no way to deliberately lower it. You
can use Light Screen to halve Special Damage for 5 turns, but there’s only, like, 12
Pokémon that learn it. Combine that with Amnesia, a move that raises the user’s Special
stat by two whole stages, and the fact that you only have Special instead of Special Attack
and Special Defense, and yeah, you can see how there’s “a bit” of a bias towards
the Special side of the spectrum. This is one of the reasons why the Psychic
type is such a predominant point when people talk about Generation 1’s mechanics, and
Game Freak realized that because they worked their asses off trying to nerf it in Generation
2. Psychic was immune to Ghost, and its only weakness was Bug, which, you know, is friggin’
useless. And due to the Psychic Type’s dominance, being weak to it is kind of a crippling flaw. Now let’s talk about HMs. Awful, annoying,
disgusting, dumb, irritating HMs. People hate these things, and with good reason. You are
forced to used them to progress in the game, but they can’t be removed and two of them
are absolute garbage in combat. Cut will force you to turn back, Flash isn’t
strictly required but helps if you’re not an autist who knows Rock Tunnel like the back
of his palm, Fly is convenient, Strength is Cut 2: HM Boogaloo, and Surf is actually pretty
good all around. Not only does this force the player to use
specific Pokemon, removing some freedom from the gameplay, but the Move Deleter wasn’t
added until Generation 2. So, because they are permanent, you wouldn’t want to cripple
your main fighting force with something like Cut or Flash. Sure, Surf is great and Strength
and Fly are okay, but if you don’t want them on your strongest Pokemon, what are you supposed
to do? Sacrifice 1 or 2 party slots with an HM slave? That’s… Friggin’ stupid. I also can’t help but be frustrated by the
fact that TMs can only be used once when practically all of them can only be found once per playthrough.
Yeah, I understand. You are supposed to think carefully about these things, since so many
Pokemon have such pisspoor learn sets that they need to be taught moves from TMs to have
any degree of variety besides maybe all 1 of their half decent moves. But at the same time… This isn’t a game
that ends after the credits. You’re not meant to start a new game once you beat the Champion,
you’re supposed to continue working on the same save file, trying to complete the Pokedex
and building a team of highly competitive Pokemon so that you can beat all your friends
and show them how much of a badass you are. Oh, but what do I even know? It’s not like
there was a series of partner games focused entirely on competitive battling that incentivized
you to make your team as powerful as possible in order to beat the brutally hard Round 2
championships and to not have to use the rental Pokemon because their movesets were deliberately
gimped and made worse than their previous evolutions! Now I want to talk about the big fat elephant
in the room. There are multiple versions but I’m talking about them like there’s only
one. Yeah, we’ve all been Stockholm’d into accepting this as the norm, I know. The only difference between the Western Red
and Blue versions is that you can find a few exclusive wild Pokemon in each version, so
you have to trade them from the other version. You could say that this is following up on
Tajiri’s idea of two friends trading Pokemon and battling each other, but I guess I am
just a bit too cynical to accept that as anything but a business decision. You visit the same places, find the same items
and fight the same trainers. Game Freak could have easily added some post-credits area with
the other version’s exclusives, but no, screw you, trade only. The split also assumes that the player will
have the chance to actually, you know, trade. I’m sure the situation is different in Japan,
but “friend” is a bit of a rare commodity over here, and almost all of the “trading”
I did was with myself. In Stadium. This means that getting Pokemon who only evolve by trading
is kind of a pain in the ass. And you know what the best kick in the balls
is? Japanese Blue had two in-game trades that would get you a Haunter and a Graveler, which
would then evolve. These were changed in Western Red and Blue. And don’t get me started on all the weird
bugs and oddities. Which are actually pretty interesting in their own way, but still. Still, some of these initial problems would
get improved in September of 1998. The next and final game from Generation 1,
Pokemon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition, is once again an updated version of the previous
releases. Unlike Blue and English Red, however, it is actually a decent improvement, and not
just because the new front sprites don’t look quite as off model nowadays. The story and progression are practically
the same, but instead of picking from the 3 starters, you get a special snowflake Pikachu
that hates your Balls and has an actual voice instead of the usual cry. It also follows
you around and reacts differently depending on a variety of factors, a lot like the system
that was implemented in HeartGold and SoulSilver and greatly expanded in Let’s Go Pikachu and
Eevee. Sometimes it will be happy, sometimes it will
be scared, and sometimes it will absolutely hate your guts because you want to evolve
the stupid thing but it refuses to let Thunder Stones do their job goddamn I’m dumping
you alone in a box you annoying little shi- This particular version also takes inspiration
from the Pokemon anime. Your Pikachu’s refusal to evolve is much like Ash’s own, and certain
characters like Officer Jenny and Nurse Joy show up as NPCs. Even Jessie and James show
up to get in your way! But the real highlight is that the entire
game has been rebalanced, generally for the better. Pokemon movesets received some changes,
and important battles tend to be harder and force you to think just that little bit more
about your party composition. Even the AI doesn’t seem quite as “special” as it
used to be. It’s still Gen 1, but it doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall apart and tear
open a hole in reality if you so much as dip your toes in the waters of Cinnabar. What
is this? Chernobyl? As a practical example, take the first Gym.
Brock uses two Pokémon with high defense and a resistance to Normal moves, a very common
type early on. Unfortunately for him, Squirtle wrecks his ass with Bubble, Bulbasaur wrecks
his ass with Vine Whip and Charmander might have a type disadvantage but Brock’s Pokémon
have such a low Special stat that Ember still burns right through them. Meanwhile, in Yellow Version, you’re incentivized
to not rely only on your starter because Pikachu is completely friggin’ useless here. Thankfully,
big brain bois will catch themselves a Mankey, who learns Low Kick very early, or a Nidoran-Male,
whose learnset has been altered to learn Double Kick much earlier. So while it’s still the same game at its core,
it’s also a more well rounded revision as a whole. If for convoluted reason you could
only play one of these, I would recommend Yellow. But leaving aside everything about the game’s
balancing and content, I do have to say that I don’t have as much of an attachment to Yellow
as I have to Red and Blue. Which is quite weird, because, to me personally, Yellow is
one of the most important games ever made. I’m not sure if it was my very first video
game, but it was certainly one of the first few. At the very least, it was the one that
got me started on Pokemon and likely made my tastes in video games into what they are
nowadays. I eventually got both Red and Blue, but Yellow was the first for me. I got the game along with my good old purple
Gameboy Color, which unfortunately has long lost its color and is now a weird black abomination.
I haven’t touched it in a very, very long time, because the buttons have worn out so
much that it can’t register any input unless I… finagle with it really hard. I don’t like getting overly attached to
things that I don’t need anymore, but as I grow older and my interests evolve, I find
myself regretting not giving my old systems the care they deserved. You know how some
people keep diaries and then see themselves reading what their past selves thought many
years ago? I guess old video games are a bit like that.
Those old save files are kind of a window to the past, as silly as I am probably sounding
right now. Together with Pokemon Stadium’s GB Tower and Box functions, a considerable
amount of my lifespan was contained in the many playthroughs I had of these games. All
of my favorite Pokemon from those times are stuck there forever and I will never play
with them again… But enough of the gloomy thoughts. I wanted
to show a bit more of Pokemon Stadium here even if it was just an awkward off-screen
recording, but I have no idea where exactly my Nintendo 64 is. I know it’s here. “Somewhere”.
But after spending half an hour looking through random boxes I couldn’t find it. So, with that, I guess I’ve covered Generation
1. Now, we jump over to Generation 3, in which Red and Green were brought back from the ashes,
facing a new audience that had never travelled through Kanto. Released worldwide in 2004, FireRed and LeafGreen
are complete remakes that take Ruby and Sapphire as a base and bring the mechanics and visuals
up to Generation 3 standards. The journey remains mostly the same. You still
have to challenge the Gym Leaders, and you still have to catch’em all. Everything else
has been updated with all the quality of life features, Pokémon and autistic min-maxing
mechanics that have since been implemented. I’ll talk about them in detail once I cover
Generations 2 and 3, but here’s a brief introduction. There are now 386 Pokémon in total, with
new evolutionary stages for some of the original 151. The Psychic type got kicked in the balls
with the new Dark and Steel types, and the separation of Special into Special Attack
and Special Defense. Many new moves have been added, greatly increasing your options. You will also be dealing with two new battle
mechanics. First is Natures, which are randomly generated and can either do… absolutely
nothing, or can raise one stat by 10% and lower another by 10%. The second is Abilities, granting passive
bonuses such as nullifying certain moves or causing status effects if the opponent makes
contact, because moves are now categorized as either Contact or Indirect moves. All of these changes make the game significantly
more balanced and challenging. I wouldn’t call it hard, but at least the difficulty
doesn’t sabotage itself this time. And if nothing else works, you can always grind harder
with the VS Seeker, which lets you re-battle trainers. To complement the improved battle mechanics,
you have breeding. Slap two Pokémon in the Daycare, and they might just make an egg.
There isn’t any crossbreeding in the vein of Dragon Quest Monsters here, though, the
baby will inherit the species of the Female and the egg moves of the Male. One completely new addition is the Sevii Islands.
After the Cinnabar Gym, Bill shows up and forces you to come with him to One Island
in order to help a friend of his. Once you finish that little quest, you’re free to
go to the first 3 islands at any time. There are more, but those are unlocked further into
the game. In these Islands you can find some of the
now standard facilities that weren’t present in the original games. These include the full
Daycare, where breeding is possible, and the Trainer Tower, for people who hate themselves.
The Sevii Islands have their own questline too, involving the search for a couple of
pebbles, some dungeons and Team Rocket doing its thing again. While it’s fairly short and some of the
Islands are incredibly small, it still adds some extra flavor to the world and helps the
region feel more connected to Johto and Hoenn. For some reason, the Sevii Islands also feature
music from the Johto region. I have no idea why, but I do know that they are really good
remixes. Could it be a hint that there were plans for Johto remakes in Gen 3? Are the
Sevii Islands part of Johto? Was it just a little reference? I guess we’ll never know. And really, the rest of the music is mostly
pretty friggin’ good too. While Ruby and Sapphire went with… an attempt at orchestrated
music, FireRed and LeafGreen take an approach that matches the GBA’s crunchy sound way
better than trumpets and brasses. In fact, their version of the Kanto Champion theme
is still my absolute favorite. Unfortunately, Generation 3 comes with its
own baggage. I mentioned how Game Freak replaced Stat Experience with a more obnoxious system,
and that is Effort Values, or EVs for short. Every individual Pokémon can earn up to 512
EVs by defeating other Pokémon. Each individual stat can only get up to 256, so you have to
divide those 512 EVs through the Pokémon’s various stats. This is actually a really good idea, enhancing
the variety in builds for competitive play. Combined with Natures, this means that dedicated
players can minmax their Pokémon to their heart’s content and enhance the strategies
that fit their play style. But I said that this was obnoxious, and that’s because,
just like Stat Experience, the games don’t tell you anything at all. Probably because
Game Freak once again realized that this mechanic is 100% tedious. At least with Stat Experience, you didn’t
have to worry about crippling your Pokémon. With these new mechanics, your Pokémon is
constantly earning EVs from the moment it starts battling. And because each individual
Pokémon grants a different amount of EVs, the game doesn’t tell you how many you have
and the only way to remove EVs is to use some Berries that are kind of annoying to get,
well, yeah, you can see why I’m not too fond of this crap. EV training is the worst
kind of chore. And it baffles me is that Game Freak has since
made these mechanics easier to manage but still refuses to give you the exact values. Besides that, FireRed and LeafGreen also have
a couple of things that should have been handled better. One of these is the National Dex,
which lets you record information on Pokémon not present in Kanto’s Regional Dex. Without
it, you can’t get certain post-Gen 1 evolutions, such as Crobat… And of course, you only
get it once you clear the Pokémon League and finished almost the entire game. This is mostly an aesthetic thing, but Ruby
and Sapphire might as well not even have a day and night system. FireRed and LeafGreen
go one step further and straight up remove any time functionality, which is a disappointment
now that Game Freak had more advanced hardware. I also hate how slow the battles are. The
text takes too much time to advance and there are several unnecessary animations that you
can’t turn off. God bless emulators. If I sound kind of frustrated with these remakes,
you’re imagining things. It’s just that there isn’t much to say about the best parts
without going into the nitty gritty of the improved mechanics and explaining how Wing
Attack having 60 Base Power instead of 35 has shaken the foundations of the world to
its very core. “It’s Ruby and Sapphire but in Kanto” doesn’t exactly make for
a compelling script, you see. The Johto and Hoenn remakes are a lot more
interesting to talk about, but that will have to wait. Regardless, they are still an upgrade
in most ways, and as far as official stuff goes, they are the definitive way of playing
through Kanto. More recently, in November of 2018, Let’s
Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee were released. These are some sort of pseudo-remake-sequel-whatever
of the Kanto games, now fully in 3D and… with a whole lot of weird changes. Which I’m
not going to cover in detail for a couple of reasons, mainly the fact that I don’t
have a Switch and Yuzu isn’t anywhere near ready for prime time. If you want my preliminary thoughts, I think
that Let’s Go is… fine? I mean, I don’t like some of the changes and it seems like
a step backwards from Sun and Moon, but they aren’t mainline titles so, eh, whatever. I really like the expanded interaction with
your starter and the ability to ride your Pokémon. It really helps connect with your
team as actually being your partners, rather than just annoying little cunts like Pikachu
in Yellow Version. And it’s certainly cool seeing Kanto in 3D. On the other hand, wild battles got replaced
with Pokémon Go’s catching system. Not that “smack animal, throw balls” sounds
particularly exciting, but at least you had to fight for it. Now you will catch basically
everything just because half of the experience points you get still come from wild Pokémon. Wild Pokémon now show up on the overworld
too. Personally, I’m a stubborn asshole who hates change, but this system does have
its advantages, and I can see why some people love it. However, the maps themselves are
still pretty tight, and all the Pokémon just get awkwardly bundled together in one area. This is related to something that really bothers
me about Let’s Go and the Generation 6 games, and that is the map design. The games evolved
to full 3D, yet many of the map layouts still use a grid based system. Supposedly this is
because Let’s Go was being developed at the same time as Sun and Moon, and they couldn’t
just rebuild everything from scratch on the updated engine. Either way, it’s a downgrade.
The Sevii Islands aren’t present too, which seems like a missed opportunity. Together with the removal of a lot of moves
and every Pokémon except Gen 1’s and this nutter over here, I’m not sure what the
idea was here. Supposedly the goal was to appeal to the Go audience and ease them into
the mainline series, but I dunno. Pokémon isn’t hard to get into. It has
a ton of creatures, moves and items, but you don’t need to know everything in detail
to progress. In fact, the most complicated mechanics are obfuscated, because ignorance
is bliss. Recent games are a bit more open about them, but you can still ignore breeding
and whatnot if you want to. I feel like the new audience will just end up getting the
wrong idea. From an aesthetic standpoint, eh, it looks
okay? It certainly is more technologically advanced, but certain areas like the Viridian
Forest have that post-processing vomit kind of feel. And honestly, I prefer the visual
style used in the 3DS games. Still better than Swooshie, though! Given the half-assed mix between mainline
and mobile mechanics, I’m not entirely sure who these games are targeted at. But then
again, it seems like they ended up selling like hotcakes. Regardless, I won’t tell you that the original
games are better than the GBA remakes, because they aren’t, but I will tell you that they
are still worth playing. Yeah, they are outdated when you have ROM Hacks and remakes, but there
are still plenty of reasons to play them. Like historical reasons. Or because Gameboy
aesthetics are awesome. Or, like, having fun. That’s a decent excuse, I think. And besides,
if you never play them, you can’t see just how far the franchise has really come. You don’t even need a working Gameboy and
cart if you don’t want to emulate. The games got ported to the 3DS Virtual Console, and
you even get updated trading and battling functionality. The games use Wireless connectivity, and the
best part is that you can send your Pokémon to the Pokemon Bank service, and then to Gen
7. Kinda blows my mind after Gen 3 killed backwards compatibility. To clarify, these
versions don’t have online trading, they simply have a substitute for the Link Cable. If only they could port the Stadium games
to the Switch with updated functionality. Now THAT would be a perfect idea. Makes sense
that it will never happen. Though with emulation you DO get easy access
to excellent ROM hacks that make the games extra awesome. To be quite honest, I hadn’t
played the vanilla games in a long time. Instead I played ROM hacks like Red++ to death because
they add so much good stuff while still keeping the classic atmosphere of the Gameboy games,
and I think that’s why it’s my favorite way of journeying through Kanto. As much as I like FireRed and LeafGreen, I
can also appreciate a modernized Generation 1 that keeps part of its simplicity. And if
you’ve watched some of my videos before, you know that I absolutely love this kind
of top-down aesthetic that can only be seen on the Gameboy and Gameboy Color. And if you just want the vanilla experience
with a facelift, know that there is a colorization hack with optional Generation 2 sprites. Or
you can just use the Super Gameboy’s and Gameboy Color’s alternative palettes, I
guess. The inverted one is pretty cool. The point I want to segue into is that the
early days of long running franchises tend to have this unique appeal to them. They have
the kind of weirdness that you would never see in a modern entry, and I don’t mean
the autistic kids with an obsession for shorts, or this asshole who challenges you because
he thinks you’re about to vomit. Oh yeah, and a human turns himself into a Pokémon,
what the fu- But what about the sprites? More specifically,
the front and back sprites? In this day and age, they look pretty weird, don’t they? Mankey is a tentacle monster. Koffing is upside
down. Gastly is a fart cloud with a face. Golbat has mental problems. Oh yeah, remember
when Pikachu was fat?.. Oh, wait, it’s fat again. The weird looking sprites just add to this
arbitrary and highly subjective bollocks called “charm”. Or “soul” if you want to
keep up on the latest memes. Sure, they look off-model today, but keep in mind that they
were adaptations for a tiny screen, done in a different style from later games. Just look
at the scrapped Capumon designs. Gen 1’s sprites don’t look so weird now, do they? Aside from a few stinkers they sure as hell
don’t look bad, especially the updated Blue and Yellow sprites. There were definitely
some talented people working on these. Similarly, the glitches are just part of the
charm. People who played Generation 1 might be familiar with the MissingNo glitch. The
easiest way to trigger it is to watch the old man’s tutorial and then surfing along
the coast of Cinnabar. Doing so would make a wild mess of pixels show up, along with
giving you ridiculous amounts of whatever item was in your inventory’s 6th slot. What could this mysterious creature be? Look,
its type is Bird! Maybe we discovered some super secret Pokémon! I wonder if it’s
connected to the Pokégods! Man oh man, I can’t wait to get a Pikablu! …Yeah. If you were a little kid back then
this sort of stupidity might have seemed vaguely plausible. In reality, MissingNo was just
the result of this strip of water not having any encounters programmed into it. And the
Pokégods? All made up stuff born from baseless rumors and little bits of information of the
sequels, mixed with a bit of malice of course. And I guess that this “charm” is part
of what makes the Generation 1 games still be so meaningful to me. It doesn’t make
them objectively good games; in fact it does the exact opposite. I’m not the kind of
guy who makes silly reaction videos and screams KANTOOO, but when I sit down and take another
journey through the Pokemon world, objectivity goes out the window. I look at people bickering over their favorite
Generation with disgust. Genwunners, Johtoddlers, Hoennbabies, Sinnohfetuses, Unovabortions,
Kalosperms, whatever the term is for Alola… It’s all tiring. And… friggin’ stupid.
Yeah, I like some generations better than others, but I like all of them in their own
unique way. And while I do burn with the rage of a thousand
suns when I see some of the decisions made for Swooshie, I still want to play it one
day. Not because it will be good or bad, or because it will be the holy grail of video
games or the biggest bundle of garbage ever produced by our unholy existence. No, I want
to play it because it’s Pokémon. Generation 1 might be a broken, messy and
unpolished pile of dicks. But I love these dicks nonetheless.

5 thoughts on “A Look at Pokémon Red/Green/Blue/Yellow Version

  • I feel there's a lot of untapped potential in monster raising games, but they would need to forcefully remove themselves from Pokemon's shadow in order to do so. Pokemon being in a weak spot with SwSh may be the break in the ice needed to get creative folk to toy around with Pokemon's (In addition to JRPGs in general, formula). Digimon is too busy trying to find itself, and Medabots is struggling to survive, so I guess one has to hope Indies do something interesting instead laying back on nostalgia.

  • The perfect Gen 1 game was never released. As you rightfully explained, if you mix Japanese Blue had some of the best trades in Gengar and Golem. It was a great loss. They should've included those in Yellow in Cinabar Island instead of Krabby and Eelectrode.

  • My first pokemon game was Pokemon yellow, and I didn't understand how to catch pokemon, so I would train my pikachu up to level 20 until it learned slam, and then I could actually beat brock.

    I was a pretty dumb kid. 🙂 Also, it was one of the first video games I ever played.

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