I never thought I’d ever playthrough a Pokémon game…and I mean the first one. Now I was at an age when Pokémon was still big, and I grew up watching the anime and even watched the First Movie at the cinemas which was one of the first cinema experiences for me, I had the trading cards at one point that I never used, but I never fully played the games, I mean I did play about 5-10 minutes of the first game at a friends house many, many years ago but I never owned a Pokémon game until my friend gave me one…at the age of 18. I…was very late to the party game-wise, but at the time I felt like the series was stagnating considering that there is a Pokémon game every year including more anime for it and from what I see, it’s near enough the same, but I want to play the games to hopefully see if I’m wrong. And don’t talk to me about the anime that has more episodes than Dragon Ball Z and One Piece combined (I think). I mean, I don’t really know children who still like this series, but adults LOVE IT, probably because they grew up with this phenomenon. It’s out territory now ya little ‘tikes’.
So what’s Pokémon? Well it’s a series of RPG games where you play as a young character who lives in a world of Pokémon, which is short for Pocket Monsters. Pokémon are basically animals in this world, different species in different places. People can own Pokémon but the most important thing you can do with them is fighting. Your task is to become the champion of the Pokémon League by using one of your Pokémon given to you by Professor Oak, you go around towns and forests and whatnot to find more Pokémon for you to train and use for battle. Another objective is to find all the Pokémon and catch them with Pokeballs, the game’s slogan is “Gotta catch ’em all”. But you have a rival who is trying to beat you to the finish line of awesomeness and you may battle your rival on occasions.
And that’s the basics of the series from what I know. So I’m going to start with the game my friend gave me. Pokémon (Poketto Monsutā) Red, Blue and Green, developed by Game Freak and was published by Nintendo, these three versions were released in 1996 in Japan, though in order for a Japanese child to get Blue, they had to get it via mail-order subscription from CoroCoro Comic, though Blue eventually got a retail release in Japan in 1999. Red and Blue was released in the US and Australia in 1998 and in 1999 in Europe…though nobody got Green outside of Japan. Now the differences between Blue and Red is that they have different Pokémon and to collect them all, you need a friend who has a different version than you, a link cable and trade. The series was created by Satoshi Tajiri, who, believe it or not, is Autistic, and that’s not an insult, he really has Autism, I say this because I’m Autistic and to see someone who has made Nintendo cash money upon cash money with this series, he really is an inspiration to aspiring game developers, no matter who you are.
I did play a majority of Pokémon Blue but this was a while ago so I’m going to play Pokémon FireRed, which was released in 2004 for the Game Boy Advance, this is a remake of the original game so it counts.
So I just told you what the game is about so how about I just tell you about my experience with this game.
So I chose a female and called her Redekka, her rival is called Green because canon. I get a Bulbasaur since it’s easy to raise and I name it Decca for some reason. I go to the forest because apparently I can’t go anywhere without at least one Pokémon. I went to the forest to battle Pokémon, then go to the nearby city, I talk to the residents and go to the Pokémon Center to heal Decca. I then spend the rest of the game battling more Pokémon, collect some to join my roster, beef them up, go to more cities, maybe defeat a criminal organisation called Team Rocket because your too dank for Kanto, battle Gym Leaders for badges, go into caves and do random things for random people. After collecting all eight Gym Badges, you then battle the Elite Four. All without barely touching a walkthrough.
I mean seriously, this is one of the most simple RPGs out there, it’s up there with The Mother Series and Super Mario RPG for being good RPGs to start off with if you haven’t played games in the genre, but this is for children and if you have a child, this series is a perfect introduction before you show them the experience of Final Fantasy 7. And for someone who never grew up with the Pokémon games, I had so much fun playing this, I’m in my freaking 20s and I love playing a children’s RPG, I mean it’s not like children buy these games anyway (They do, it’s a “Kids these days” mentality).
I have direct positives and negatives with this game. You know where to go most of the time, cities are small, you might need to do something in a city, there may be an objective but you know where to go and what to do, as long as your fighting Pokémon, you’ll have no problem. You always have that good feeling when you get the Pokémon you want…even though I wanted a Pikachu and when I finally found him I accidentally killed him and by the time I caught him I already had powerful Pokémon son of a b…
There are some issues, though some are nitpicks. You want to progress though the game and you get stopped by someone who wants to battle you EVERY. SINGLE. TIME! The caves can be a pain, the first cave isn’t too bad but the later caves are a total pain since random encounters are aplenty whether you want to or not and you get lost along with random encounters which is time consuming as heck. I mean, I could use Repel but I have to cash in on tons of that…uuh. I also went to a day care centre where I got an old man to take care of Beast, my Bulbasaur because I changed her name because she literally was a BEAST, but this switched out BEAST to be one of the group instead of being the main fighter. But here’s the weirdest part, I got a weak and small Rattata and overtime, SOMEHOW leveled up much higher than BEAST.
From now on, I’m mostly going to talk about the remake and little about the original.
The graphics in the original game haven’t aged very well, but that’s fine because this is a Game Boy game and this is to be expected, the series would get much better graphic-wise from here on then. With the remake, ooh I can feel the anime in this level design, from chibi characters to colourful and vibrant worlds and it’s a memorable world and that’s a big plus. Funny enough, as dated as it is, the original Game Boy’s level design is also memorable too, in it’s basic way but I like the remake more graphic-wise. I know some of you may frown upon this because you think the original is superior to everything, but that’s my opinion, remember, I didn’t grow up with the original. The music is just awesome…in the remake, it can be bombastic when it needs to, it can be soothing, it can be creepy, either way, it’s a jolly old time with the music, the feeling when you catch a Pokémon. The controls…it’s an RPG, I mean, it’s responsive.
Overall, Pokémon Blue/FireRed is a fantastic RPG to playthrough, I haven’t had this much enjoyment since Earthbound. The adventure really felt like an adventure and it’s immersive in nearly every way possible. It’s an addictive, pick up and play romp from start to finish and anyone can have a great time with this game. After Pokémon Red and Blue, this would be the start of a legacy, a legacy that has made Nintendo a hell of a lot of money and I guess it will stick around, as long as we have a Pikachu, we have this series. Happy Birthday Pokémon, GOD I FEEL OLD!
And hey, recently, Pokémon Moon and Sun has just been announced, so you have more Pokémon on the way. So…how about that Detective Pikachu, you all want Danny DeVito to voice him?
If you want to play the original games, you can get it on the Game Boy and on the 3DS Virtual Console. But if you want to play the remake Pokémon FireRed Version and LeafGreen Version, then you can get it on the Game Boy Advance.