*Header image comes from Serain over at Deviant Art. Give this artist all of your props.
If there’s one thing we can be sure of, it’s that the Pokemon games sure as heck aren’t going away any time soon. Black 2 and White 2 came out fairly recently, so naturally, all the pocket monsters big and small are in the gaming limelight, at least until early next year before resting and then releasing a new trailer for the actual sixth generation of games.
But in the meantime, people are still battling relentlessly about which generation truly is the best with Gen-Oners deciding that Blue/Red/Green/Yellow are unbeatable, and more all-inclusive fans defending the current fifth generation of Black and White, saying that all Pokemon are created equal.
That really is squint. The Old Guard versus the New Kids. Everyone seems to fall into one of two camps, but, like real-world politics, they’re both wrong, because the best generation is the second generation.
Hey now, don’t think I’m gonna make a claim like that without some substantial facts, and no fact is more powerful than the one surrounding the intent Game Freaks had for the first generation: Most of the Pokemon introduced in second generation were planned for the first generation.
For those who haven’t scoured Bulbapedia incessantly enough, each Pokemon in the first generation games has an official Pokedex number, as well as an index number for that particular generation. Curious what Generation I’s index number goes up to? Nope, not 151. It goes to 190. These index numbers are used for keeping track of which Pokemon the designers made and inserted into the game, with Rhydon being #001. All that really means is that these are in no particular order, but while only the classic 151 have fully formed data, the remaining 39 numbers still appear as Missing No. (source)
Ooh, things just got interesting! There are a lot of glitches that surround these numbers, but you can’t actually catch Generation II Pokemon in Genration I, only the glitched numbers that represents them. And who might be included in the “planned” section? Few lesser-known Pokemon such as Scizor, Heracross, Sneasel, Ho-Oh, Lugia, Entei, Suicune, and Raikou, among others.
Do you see where I’m going with this? It’s pretty clear by the data left in Red and Blue’s code that Game Freak didn’t make the game they really wanted to right off the bat. Notice that I mentioned Scizor, though Skarmory is also among the cut Pokemon. Sounds like Steel-type were intended from the start. Sneasel, Houndoom, and Tyranitar are also among the cut, meaning Dark-type are there, too. Again, from the perspective of the developer, it’s beyond clear that they didn’t get to make their true vision until after Generation I, despite what your nostalgia may say.
But from a pure gameplay standpoint, I have facts from Gen II to back me up yet again. In Gen I, 15 types allowed for pretty diverse teams, and one important detail was that no one type had a universal advantage. Hahaha, isn’t that cute? Psychic-types had total domination in Gen I since their only three weaknesses, those being Bug, Ghost, and Dark-type moves, were absent in Gen I. Pin Missile was the strongest Bug-type move available, but most Bug-types were also Poison-type, meaning they were easily swept aside by a strong Psychic attack, not to mention that Pin Missile was pitifully weak. The same applied to Lick, the only Ghost-type attack that did damage other than Night Shade’s set amount, and that, too, was powerfully weak and in the hands of Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar, all Ghost/Poison-types. Dark-type moves, obviously, didn’t exist in Gen I since Dark-types themselves were shelved until, you guessed it, Gen II.
Suddenly a great balancing occurred and a second, very wonderful triangle of advantage and weakness was formed with Psychic, Dark, and Fighting acting very similar to the Grass, Fire, and Water starters from every generation. A strong Psychic-type could no longer sweep an entire team as simple measures could be taken to either have a Dark-type in your party or spread a good handful of Dark-type moves around, such as Bite or Crunch. Mmm Crunch, the great Psychic-killer. We give thanks to you.
Shall I go on? Let’s see, genders were added in Gen II, something Gen I only dabbled in with Nidoran ♂ and Nidoran ♀. Plus, the ability to hold items was included, making even more strategy to battles and requiring deep thought about which Pokemon would hold what. Do you give a stat-boosting item to your best Pokemon, or do you give it a healing item instead in case of emergencies? Who holds your team’s Quick Claw? Decisions, decisions!
And while we’re at it, everyone lurvs shiny Pokemon, don’t they? Yerp, those started in Gen II with the red Gyarados. Oh, and breeding! Who can forget breeding? Couldn’t breed in Gen I since, you know, there were no genders. I’ve got shiny babies in my Generation. What have you got Gen I?
Ready for the final K.O.? Generation II has a story that leads you through the Johto region, tasks you with gathering 8 badges, and then facing the Elite Four. And then it opens up Kanto, A.K.A. Generation I’s world. Yes, Generation II not only has all the Pokemon from Generation I, it has the entire world map as well. You can’t compete with that!
Of course, we’ve got to take a step back and remember, it’s all about the Pokemon here. You can have your favorite generation and there’s nothing wrong with that. They all have their strong points. I’m not saying that liking Generation II is better than anything else. I’m just saying that Generation II is clearly better than all the previous games. Red, what do you have to say?
I rest my case.