Last month gamers the world over, got to bear witness to the global phenomenon that was of course #Pokemon20 and as part of the celebrations, we saw the re-release of Pokémon Red, Green/Blue and Yellow, the iconic Gen 1 games that went on to become the global enterprise it is now and the games are exactly as I remember them. The second the title credits pop up, boom! Instant nostalgia feeling and what a feeling it is to revisit the classics. The games may lack the graphics the newer games do, but the games are virtually one and the same.
When we think of the Legend of Zelda, we think of a gaming series which changes with almost every new instalment, but the Pokémon series remains virtually untouched. The original moves are still used in the newer games. The original HMs are still present and so is the 8 Gyms/Elite Four system and then of course there’s the story as well. How you get your first Pokémon may vary from game to game, but it still starts with a kid in a new location, where a Pokémon Professor happens to live.
Sure the games can come across as being repetitive, purely due to the fact that each game mirrors the last, but with a touch-up and something new added to it, but then again, there is still a huge army of Gen 1 gamers who are still playing the games and as they old saying goes; “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Nintendo already have a winning formula and that formula hooks new, younger gamers every year, whilst holding on to the older ones. Whether you’re five or fifteen, Pokémon is for life! And with that, it’s time for the story.
“Starting in Pallet Town, the adventure begins in the Kanto region, a land home to the Pocket Monsters known as Pokémon. Called to the Pokémon Lab, our protagonist and his rival, come face to face with Professor Oak and unlike in the original Red and Blue/Green versions, where you are the faced with choosing between Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur, Pokémon Yellow doesn’t present you said choices. Instead, following the TV series, Pokémon Yellow sees you walking away with your very own Pikachu, whilst your rival snags himself an Eevee. After a brief battle, a request is made of you and your journey can begin. A journey which will see you face off against your rival more than once, take on 8 Gym Leaders and if fortune is in your favour, see you doing battle against the Elite Four, the best of the best as far as Pokémon trainers go. And just in case the Elite Four and the Gym Leaders aren’t enough, there’s also a criminal organisation called Team Rocket to contend with and just for Yellow, Jesse, James and Meowth have come to play!”
Admittedly Yellow is one of the worst games you can start with, purely because unlike Red or Blue/Green where you can select your starter, despite not having type advantage, Charmander is more than a match for Brock’s Pokémon without needing too much training before hand, but in Yellow it’s time to bag yourself a Mankey or a Caterpie, which you then evolve into Butterfree and train a lot. Some instances, you can actually spend 3-5 hours just trying to catch the right team, or a single Pokémon and train them/it up, just so you can beat the first Gym. But at least Pikachu will come in handy for battling Misty for your second Gym badge and that all three starters are available in the game, meaning you won’t have to settle for any other water/grass/fire-type Pokémon, therefore the slow start and level grinding are worth it in the long run! (Especially when this time around, the re-released version of the games comes compatible with the Pokémon Bank, thus enabling us to trade any Pokémon we get here, to Pokémon Sun & Moon, where we can see them in Gen 7 glory and mega evolve them).
As with every Pokémon game, the biggest selling point is the collectible Pocket monsters themselves and Gen 1 has 151 unique Pokémon to collect, which is the second largest batch of available Pokémon in a single Generation (the biggest being Gen 5, which has 156) and unlike all the other games that have come since, the Gen 1 games are a trio of games in which you can catch them all, purely because the likes of Swampert doesn’t exist in the original trinity. Better yet, all the Pokémon present in the newly re-released games are actually Pokémon. There are no ice-cream inspired Pokés here, just real world inspired animals and plants, given an elemental attribute or no elements whatsoever, resulting in normal, fighting, bug, ghost and psychic. Everything about the Gen 1 Pokémon scream real. There’s a reason why we’re still seeing the likes of Magikarp, Abra and Zubat in the recent games, such as X & Y and it is because they are true Pokémon. Timeless classics.
Oh and as well as being the game in which obsession was born from, it was these games in which saw the likes of Mewtwo make an appearance, the psychic clone Pokémon which to this day, remains a total bad ass and has 2 available mega evolved forms and it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve played it and done everything, it just means you get to do it all again and any game that still has reply value after all these years later, is just further proof that when Nintendo makes a game, they make them last.
With that in mind, here’s my list of Pros & Cons:
- Pokémon Yellow has aged perfectly.
- Pokémon Bank compatibility.
- Huge line-up of collectible Pokémon.
- All three Kanto starters are available.
- Beating Team Rocket’s iconic trio never gets old.
- All the original glitches, including the Lv.100 Nidoking and Mew remain part of the game.
- Pure nostalgia fest.
- You may not be able to “Catch ‘em all” by yourself in a single game, due to having to trade for the rest with a friend who’s got Red & Blue/Green, but all the game exclusive Pokémon are the ones we love to get. The likes of Raichu aren’t necessary.
- Huge replay value.
- Very slow to start due to having to level grind a lot until beating the second Gym. Only then does the adventure speed up and becomes the fast-paced game we love.
Pacing the field with a very electrifying Volt Tackle, Pokémon Yellow takes home a deserved 9.0/10.0 crybaby Garys. It’s the game I remember and so much more. I may never grow out of Pokémon and that doesn’t bother me anymore. Whether it’s Gen 1 or the forthcoming Gen 7, the games remain an iconic masterpiece that will remain in the memories of the gamer for the rest of their life. Nintendo really do know how to make a game last.
But as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of my own and it is encouraged for you to make your own.