Nintendo Retro Recap

Retro Recap: Pokémon Red, Blue, Green and Yellow!

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It’s retro recap time! Today as you’ve probably already gathered from the title and the delightful image above, it’s Pokémon – more specifically Generation One! With the upcoming release of Pokémon X and Y for the 3DS, the franchise has come an awfully long way since its initial release in 1996 (’98 in North America / ’99 in Europe).

Red and Green versions being the first in a number of installments, Pokémon became a massive hit across the globe selling almost 24 million copies worldwide, along with the counterpart game, Pokémon Blue. If you weren’t already aware , Pokémon Red and Green were originally released in Japan first. Blue version was a special edition sold later on, which included updated graphics of the previous versions. Pokémon Red and Blue versions were shipped internationally, while Green version remained exclusive to Japan. Only until the generation one remakes in Fire Red and Leaf Green were we treated to elusive Green version of the game. Factoring Pokémon Yellow too into the successes of the generation one games, the entire collection sold 32.5 million units in total, making it the most successful Pokémon generation of the entire series.

Lt Surge
The bane of my childhood trying to find those damn switches…

The classic storyline of the original Pokémon games begins in your home of Pallet Town. Upon reaching the age of 10 years old, you decide not to continue you education and embark on the quest of becoming the very best, like no one ever was. After naming yourself then giving your rival a comical name that gives out funny lines when NPC’s speak about them, your quest begins. You stupidly stumble into the tall grass, at which point, Professor Oak becomes your savoir and offers you a Pokémon for your troubles.

Now begins the real adventure! Once you complete the tedious task Prof. Oak sets out for you, you receive the Pokédex. A mystical device that after years of research, Oak has not even begun to fill in – not even a little bit. Your journey unfolds in front of you as you and your new trusted companion of either Charmander, Squirtle or Bulbasaur traipse through the unknown, battling trainers and evil doers alike. Of course, your main objective is never to beat each trainer senseless, just the gym leaders, who give out badges as proof of defeat . But who can just idly wander by when there are Bug Catchers afoot? After your arduous journey through the Kanto region and collecting your 8 badges, your next destination is the Elite Four. The biggest deception of my young life. After finally defeating Lance with his clearly hacked Dragonite, I sat back and revel at the joy on defeating such a powerful enemy, only to be told there is a 5th, the champion. Who else would be the most powerful trainer in the game? Clearly, the guy you dubbed “Penis” at the start of the game. Made even worse due to the fact you used all your items defeating Lance.

Why did Lance not evolve this one too?

Battling your rival is a staple part of your journey, as he seems to be the only one who actually poses a threat, and will regularly challenge you to a battle at unexpected moments. Other than the hidden motive that you may have killed one of his Pokémon during a battle in the game, he has no real reason to challenge you other than because he can. Of course, as mentioned, he becomes Pokémon League Champion before you do, yet the jubilation that his “Gramps” felt for you when you tore him a new one is something to rejoice over, whispering “Take that, you arrogant flange” as you are congratulated for ruining your rivals life once again.

Pokemon Choice
Still one of the toughest choices to make.

I can honestly say that many of my fondest gaming memories are from playing Pokémon. From the tedious level 100 grinding to the legendary Pokémon catching, I thoroughly enjoyed it all. To this day, I have owned a least one game from each generation, on occasions, more than one and I intend to continue such a trend until the end of time (or until Satoshi Tajiri and co invent more Pokémon than people and they overrun the world).

Just for fun, here are some Pokémon facts for you:

  • The first trademarked Pokémon was Mew yet the first Pokémon ever created was Rhydon
  • Victreebel was the last Pokémon programmed into the game
  • The original mascot for the series was going to be Clefairy, rather than Pikachu
  • The old man who complains over his lack of coffee is actually drunkenly passed out in the Japanese versions of the game
  • Prof. Oak was originally meant to be battled at some point. You can still access the battle through GameShark. His team consists of Tauros, Exeggutor, Arcanine, Gyarados and the extra starter that neither you nor your rival picked
  • Each town in the Kanto region are named after colours, while Pallet Town is a play on the word “Palette” meaning a range of colours
  • Pokémon can catch a disease called Pokérus which increases their growth rate
  •  The move Splash is a mistranslation. Its original name was Hop.

Pokemon Cover

For those of you who want to dig out an old console and start playing the classics once again, Pokémon is definitely the way to go for the handheld systems. Red, Blue and Yellow versions, albeit buggy, are still one of the most enjoyable games to date and with a long standing franchise such as this one, you know that there are many more to come. Why not give it a play though with Pokémon you’ve never used before? Or even go as far as trying to complete a single Pokémon run if you feel you need more challenge from the series.

What was your first experience of a Pokémon game? Do you still play Pokémon? Or do you just have a fun Pokémon fact to share with the world? Let us know in the comments section!

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