Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue
- Platforms: Nintendo Game Boy, Nintendo 3DS (Virtual Console)
- Suggested Platform: Nintendo 3DS
- Developer: Game Freak
- Genre: RPG
- Release Date: 02/27/96 (JP)
- Why Play It?: The game that started it all. It’s fun, it’s unique, and it’s a classic.
- Why Skip It?: If you’ve already played it to death. Although, the 3DS version’s virtual link cable feature sounds pretty cool…
Everyone knows Pokemon (but did you know it’s short for Pocket Monsters?). It doesn’t matter your age, gender, ethnicity, or even where you live. Pokemon transcends all of that. Pokemon, for me, and for many others, was a huge part of childhood. From my very first file on Pokemon Blue, to the card game, toys, action figures, TV show, clothing, bed sheets, plushies, and many many others, I ate slept and breathed Pokemon. Many kids did. I played every title inside and out until Pokemon Platinum, then, for some reason or another, I just kind of gave up on Pokemon. I began to dislike all the new things they were added, because, to me, it felt like they were losing the main point of Pokemon. Maybe it was because I was getting older, maybe it was because I had other games to play, maybe I just thought 493 was enough Pokemon. For whatever reason, I stopped. But you know what? I still play the titles up to Platinum, and honestly, I’ll probably catch up one of these days. But to me, the two originals are still the best. (Blue Version 4 life) I decided to save this review for today, because Pokemon turns 20 tomorrow, 2/27/16.
Pokemon is a great RPG. You’re given some loose objectives and you can choose to follow them in any way. Your two main objectives are: Become a Pokemon Master by defeating the Elite Four and the Champion, the 5 best Pokemon Trainers in the land of Kanto, and, catch all 151 Pokemon. You’re then kind of free to explore the Kanto region and do whatever you want, although new areas will open up as you complete many other small objectives, from helping out a seasick captain, to destroying the evil and cruel Team Rocket. All 151 Pokemon vary pretty drastically between stats,types, and abilities, so building a diverse team is important.
Battles are turn-based and very simple to understand. You can directly attack,, lower the opponent’s Pokemon’s stats, or utilize moves that result in negative status effects. Each Pokemon has one or two types, and some types are strong (or weak) to other types. For example, if you use a Water-type move on a Fire-type Pokemon, you’ll do double damage. Likewise, if you use a Fire-type move on a Water-type Pokemon, you’ll only do half damage. Therefore, a diverse team is ideal in dealing with opponents.
Game Freak did something incredibly clever with Pokemon. In order to obtain all 151 Pokemon, you had to have both versions and trade between them, or have a friend with the opposite version as yours. You see, certain Pokemon are only available in one game and not the other. This forced you to either shell out the dough for a second game, or spread the idea of Pokemon via word of mouth. As a matter of fact, this is why I always go Blue Version. My favorite Pokemon is Ninetales, and the Pokemon that evolves into Ninetales, Vulpix, can only be caught in Pokemon Blue. This is an intensely clever marketing strategy, especially for 1996. You can choose to trade with or battle friends using a link cable. This was before the joy of online gaming.
The first two Pokemon games look and sound great, by the way. The Gym Leader and final battle music is amazing, and each Pokemon’s artwork looks fantastic. This was the artwork used before the show came out, so each Pokemon looks more monster-like and unique.
I saved this review for as close to the 27th as possible because of it being Pokemon’s 20th birthday. In honor of that, Nintendo is releasing a virtual console version of Red, Blue, and Yellow tomorrow on the Nintendo 3DS e-shop and it will have a virtual link cable for local ad-hoc. It sounds like a great way for me to get back into Pokemon with my friends. Pokemon Red and Blue are amazing games that created a world-wide revolution, and if you haven’t played them, you really should see what all the hubbub is all about.
Gotta catch ’em all!