Pokémon is a franchise that took the world by storm in the 1990s, and has remained relevant ever since. In correlation with anime, toys, and trading cards, the most popular merchandise from the Pokémon franchise is the games. Every few years, two Pokémon Games are released, each with very minor changes from the other. There isn’t much incentive to get both games, since everything from the other game can be traded to yours. Sometimes, a third game will be released with aspects of both games. Each game in the series has been very well received, and today we’ll be talking about Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow. These games have been around for a very long time, how do they hold up today?
The Pokémon gameplay formula has remained very similar throughout the series, and the first games are no exception. The goal of the game is to capture Pokémon, level them up, fight other Pokémon trainers, and conquer gyms, or island trials if you’re playing the newly released Pokémon Sun and Moon, and the evil team of villains in each game. This formula is solid and works well in the first games. The majority problems with the gameplay aren’t with the formula itself, but with all of the glitches and oversights in these games. Pokémon nowadays have many statistics, mainly attack, defense, special attack, and defense. In the first Generation, special attack and defense were combined together into one statistic, meaning if there was a Pokémon with high special attack, they were also very defensive. This makes certain types of Pokémon very overpowered, mainly Psychic types. Along with overpowered Pokémon, there are glitches with certain moves that make the game super easy. Leech Life is a move that draws some of the enemy Pokémon’s health and gives it to you. Toxic is a move that poisons the enemy Pokémon a little more each turn. If both of these moves are used, Leech Life draws more HP each turn. This glitch is fixed in later games, but is very overpowered here. One minor thing is with Legendary Pokémon, Pokémon that only appear once in each game. In order to catch these Pokemon in the first Generation, they need to have a status ailment. This is changed in the future games, but if the player has no way of giving them an ailment in the battle, then that Pokémon isn’t being caught. The gameplay has many flaws in the first Generation.
The graphics of the games really show their age. The first Generation of Pokémon was released on the Game Boy, a console that only displayed in black and white. The third game in the series, Yellow, has an option to be played in color, but when playing Red and Blue, it looks horrible, since the graphics are 8-bit in tandem to the lack of color. The sprites of the Pokémon are also very ugly in Red and Blue. The sprites are touched up a bit in Yellow, but the ugliness of them in Red and Blue is very glaring. The graphics are one of the worst parts of Generation One.
The controls of the game are fine for the most part. Since the game is an RPG, they really can’t be bad. The only gripe that many have with the first Generation and the first five Generations in general is that the game is essentially on a grid, where the player can only move in four directions. That one issue isn’t very glaring and the controls remained similar until Generation Six. The controls are fine for the most part.
The music of the first Generation is very good. With notable tracks like the battle theme, the gym theme, and any theme to the several dungeons, the music of Generation One is arguably the most iconic in the series. The 8-bit limitations are visible, but for the time and nowadays, these tracks are still a joy to hear.
The games in Pokémon Generation One are some of the most iconic games of all time. That being said, there is little to no reason to go back to playing them nowadays, unless curious. The best way to play Generation One is to play its remake on the Game Boy Advance. Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen are very solid remakes and fix all of the issues and glitches in Generation One. Along with these issues fixed, the games are in full color and are 16-bit. If for some reason you cannot track down a copy of FireRed or LeafGreen, then the original 8-bit games are on the 3DS Virtual Console, but beware, they have all of the glitches and gameplay issues still intact. Pokémon Generation One has not aged well, but the remake is still worth checking out.