Hello, PUCLonians!!! Last week, Whimsicott and I were planning on writing articles that fondly remembered the games that started it all: Red, Blue, and Yellow (and Green is you’re from Japan). But, with the announcement of Pokemon Sun and Moon, we were obliged to give initial reactions on the new games. Now that we have had a week to play with the classic games now released on the 3DS, you will get some commentary on how these games are remembered and how the experience of playing these games now matches up with our memory. If you haven’t done so already, go read Whimsicott’s article “The Fluff,” which came out yesterday and then come back and see how our opinions compare.
Now, I would say that I probably don’t have many delusions about the qualities of these games. I have played them all within the last 5 years in order to completed the Pokedex. When I played Yellow, I did a No-Pokeball run where I didn’t catch any Pokemon and only played with ones that were given to me through the course of the game. These games are a lot of fun, but mostly when wearing those nostalgia glasses. I love that I remember a lot of the hidden secrets in these games like the hidden Moon Stone in Mt. Moon and a Great Ball hidden before Cerulean City. Many of these little things add to the charm that this game but it’s not all charming.
There are some parts of these game that are seriously flawed (which has been discussed at length in other places) but there are other things that also make it difficult in the early running of the games. For example, in Red/Blue, unless you chose Squirtle, you have A LOT of grinding to do to be ready for Brock. Charmander obviously has large disadvantage, but Bulbasaur, which you would expect to do well against Brock, doesn’t learn a Grass move that actually attacks until level 13. Butterfree doesn’t learn confusion until level 12 and Nidoran of either gender won’t learn Double Kick, a Fighting type move, until a ridiculously high level. You have seriously few options to do good damage on Brock. Despite these minor difficulties, these games are still great.
I also want to take a moment to comment on some of the conveniences from the later generations are sorely missed in these games. I have been playing for over 9 hours and I still find myself hitting the B button for the running shoes. These games are also missing things like natures, a split Special Attack and Special Defense, deep move pools, weather, and field hazards: things that all seem to be staples in the games today. While many of these things are missed, I do like harkening back to a simpler time of Pokemon when it wasn’t quite as complicated. It is better now, but the simpler times are nice, too.
Yellow is definitely the best version of this game: you get all of the starters and Pikachu given to you on a platter, you can catch Pokemon that have useful moves for the first gym, and you have better sprites in color. Yellow obviously follows the anime rather closely, but I think is the most representative version of the Champion Red. The polish applied to these games are so nice and gives a great Gen I experience.
These games are, at times, quite glitchy. But the nice thing is, the glitches usually only occur intentionally. I love the Missingno Glitch. It happens late enough in the game so that it doesn’t really break the game and makes leveling up, catching Pokemon, and using TMs so much easier. And you can also use that part of Cinnebar Island to aide in catching Safari Pokemon, which, at times, and be a major nuisance to catch. Mew was always that mythical rumored Pokemon of Gen I and was exceedingly difficult to obtain legitimately. But the Mew glitch is the perfect (albeit unintentional) way to “distribute” the Pokemon. You have to know a specific set of steps in order to get it. You can also glitch in the true boss of the games, Professor Oak. There are several other glitches that can be used, but I find these glitches really charming and one of the best things about Gen I.
The other thing I love about these games is the different ways you had to interact with other players in order to complete a Pokedex. You had to interact with 3 different save files, at minimum in order t complete the Pokedex (hopefully, the people you’re trading with don’t evolve certain Pokemon, because there is no going back in this generation). You would probably need to trade with more than 3 if you didn’t appropriately coordinate with each other player for Fossils, Eeveelutions or starters.
In conclusion, I love these games. Gen I and Kanto will always have a special place in my heart because this is where it all began. While there were a lot of flaws, a lot of these flaws made the games really charming and fun to play. Despite this being a very fun time sink that initiated a revolution in gaming, it pains me to admit that this game was more of a beta for Gen II. Gen II is really where the game did many of the things it was supposed to do: full color, all of the original intended Pokemon, breeding, and many other things that seem to be what was originally intended for the games. That being said, I will probably find a way to play these games over and over again for years to come.
Happy 20th Anniversary, Pokemon! And I’m looking forward to 20 more!
Smell ya later!