With the latest Nintendo Direct coming out, it's only fitting to cover the genesis of the Pokemon series. The generation that started it all, Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow, coincided with the Pokemon craze that swept through the world in the late 1990s. If you were a Pokemon addict like myself, you could memorize all 151 pokemon by heart. How critical was this generation to the success of the Pokemon franchise?
It didn't just start with the cuddly mascot known as Pikachu. It was also a diverse type system that spanned many strengths and weaknesses and many moves that came with it. It was also a memorable story line involving a criminal syndicate trying to take over the world by obtaining a Master Ball prototype and causing mischief. It was battling your cocky rival, who just happened to be the grandson of Professor Oak. It was building the ultimate team that could take down all comers and reign supreme. For its time, Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow introduced a new type of RPG that made you think about the various match-ups as well as the fighter's various attributes and moves.
That isn't to say that Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow is without its 'quirks'. The game was easily capable of being glitched to hell. From 'MissingNo' to obtaining Mew without the use of an event or Game Shark, this generation had MANY glitches that were in the game. In fact, I accidentally evolved my Pikachu into a Raichu at the Pokemon Tower one time... by leveling it up to level 26 (Pikachu evolves by use of the Thunder Stone). This generation also had a bit of a linear move system, with certain types like the Dragon-type (one move in Dragon Rage) and the Rock-type (two moves in Rock Slide and Rock Throw) having vastly limited moves for their types. Some types also had weak moves that couldn't take advantage of other weaknesses (see the Bug-type and the Ghost-type). This was why the Psychic-type was OP in this generation: the types it was weak against didn't do enough damage to it and everything else couldn't take a Psychic blast coming their way.
There are other notable differences from the modern Pokemon metagame found in the inaugural generation. The special stat wasn't split into two stats, but rather was one stat. This made certain pokemon like Tentacruel and Gyarados overused pokemon since they could tank a special attack and dish out their own special attack for significant damage. Other types (Fairy, Dark, and Steel) weren't introduced until later in the series and certain move combinations like Leech Seed/Toxic were overwhelming. Critical hits were also based on the pokemon's speed stat, which means that pokemon like Dugtrio and Jolteon could almost always land a critical hit at will. Other unique attributes found in the first generation include one-hit KO moves hitting based on the user's speed and certain moves automatically hitting with a critical hit regardless of the critical hit ratio.
When it was released in the late 1990s, the Pokemon series was a groundbreaking game that gave gamers something new and refreshing. The first generation may be a different world from the modern Pokemon metagame. However, it is still an exciting adventure that is worth a trip down memory lane.
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