Pokémon’s influence is undeniable. You can look at the franchise from just about any angle and see success. It has a hit anime, several film adaptations, a long running manga, merchandise that flies off the shelves, and, of course, the medium that started it all: the video games. Red, Blue, and Yellow were trendsetters unlike any other, popularizing the monster hunting genre and taking the world by storm. The franchise was so popular that there are still people who don’t realize that the anime isn’t a western made cartoon.
With so much content to wade through from the past two decades, it’s easy to forget about the GameBoy games that started it all. The further we get away from them in time, the more mysterious they become. Red, Blue, and Yellow are more than just a entry in the series’ history; they’re a reminder of a time when game genuinely had crazy secrets in and around their existence.
The video games are equal parts masterpieces and also nostalgia trips that remind us of our youth. And, surprise surprise, kids today are collectively forging their own precious memories from the venerable series. Pokémon might just be one of those forever series that lasts.
Datamining is a beautiful thing. It is an artform unlike any other, one that allows us to see what could have been and what truly is. Without it, we would have never found out that Professor Oak was indeed meant to be a boss in the first generation. Not only that, given the high levels of his team, he, without a shadow of a doubt, was either meant to be the original champion or the true final boss of the game much in the same way Red was gen two’s last challenge.
Interestingly, Oak doesn’t have a full team instead capping off at five. This is likely because of the level gap between him and Blue. Blue’s team ranges from level 59 to 61, roughly around the level your team will naturally be by the time you get to the Elite Four. Oak’s, on the other hand, ranges from 66 to 70. Considering how difficult it is to grind in gen one, it makes sense he’d have a smaller team. For a cut boss, there’s decent amount of thought put into his design.
Brock can be such a drag, don’t you just wish there was a way you could blaze past him without needing to put any effort in your team? Well now you can with one incredibly convoluted glitch! Reddit user I_Kissed_Cereal put up a handy guide on imgur detailing how to get your hands on a level 100 Pokémon before you ever meet Ash’s most lecherous friend.
What you need to do is get your start to 12, position yourself in front of one of the last trainers in Viridian Forest, let a Weedle poison you, and then make sure you walk in front of the trainer on the exact same frame you take poison damage. This will trigger a battle where you’ll let your start faint. Once you’re back in action, go fight your rival on Victory Road and faint his first Pokémon so you can growl at his second six times. Let him faint you and, when you get back into Viridian Forest, you’ll bump into a level 1 Pokémon that’ll level up to 100 in just one battle after being caught.
There’s nothing more frustrating than missing in Pokémon. It’s a precious turn wasted and some of the most useful moves in the game have low accuracy meaning you’re going to be missing quite a bit if you want to rely on the heavy hitters. Unless you use an X-Accuracy. By using just one X-Accuracy, every move you use will hit. There’s absolutely zero chance you’ll miss meaning that moves like Blizzard and Thunder Bolt suddenly lose their only weakness. It gets better, though. All one hit kill moves now have perfect accuracy. A move like Fissure is incredibly unreliable normally, but with an X-Accuracy? You’re unstoppable.
Psychic types are terrifyingly overpowered. Their only weakness, Bug, has such a small and weak move pool in gen one that it can be barely be considered a legitimate weakness. While Ghost would go on to be one of Psychic’s weaknesses, here Ghost is actually weak to Psychic. Not only that, Psychic is immune to its future weakness. The real reason Alakazam is so broken isn’t because he’s just a great Pokémon with good stats and moves, it’s because his type is impossibly overpowered. Considering how easy getting an Abra is in gen one, you basically have the tools you need to build a total monster as early as the second gym. Better bust out that link cable.
Everyone knows the original 151 Pokémon. Simply named, memorably designed, and primarily themes around animal motifs, it’s hard not to look back on them fondly. For many people, the first 151 encapsulate the essence of Pokémon, with the rest of the franchise’s roster looked upon with some degree of contempt by fans due to the large size. In reality, though, the original Pokédex was never meant to be so small. Red and Blue was designed with 190 Pokémon in mind.
The missing 39 Pokémon ended up being repurposed for Gold and Silver. If you go through old concept art for the first generation, you might notice some familiar Johto faces. Tyranitar and Marill were both meant to debut much earlier. This also explains why some fans see the Johto designs as “not so bad.” They aren’t new designs at all! The reason detractors don’t dislike them as often is due to the fact they’re just cut content from the first Pokédex.
Vitamins are those super expensive items you always had lying around, but never fully understood. They supposedly increased your Pokémon’s stats, but sometimes your Pokémon would refuse to take their vitamins. So what gives? For starts, vitamins do increase your Pokémon’s stats but only to a certain extent. Once they’ve leveled up enough and their base stats have passed a certain threshold, vitamins become unusable. If, however, you catch a mon at a low level that you know you’re going to use, you can pick a stat and pump that corresponding vitamin into them for a massive early headstart. It’s a great way of nurturing early game Pokémon into legitimate powerhouses.
We know Yellow to be the original third version, the game that set the precedent for almost all generations to come. Except it wasn’t the third version, at all, it was the fourth. The real third version is none other than Blue. It seems strange, but there’s a very good reason for it: Green was a total mess. To be fair, Red was also glitchy when it first released, but it was Green that was used as a base and it was Green that ended up being replaced internationally.
In a modern sense, you can compare Blue to an update to any game. It came out in an attempt to fix what was wrong with the original pairing of games. Several glitches were fixed, assets were edited, and the Pokémon availability was played around with. When it came time for an international release, Nintendo of America simply used Japanese Blue as the basis for our Red and Blue.
We all know Crystal as the first game in the franchise where Gamefreak felt comfortable introducing a female alternative to the main character, but this was actually an idea they’ve had since the beginning. If you go through Ken Sugimori’s concept art for gen one, then you’ll occasionally find a girl wearing a black dress alongside Red and Blue (Green). She’s Green (Blue), the missing third from the original generation.
Due to size limitations on the cartridge, GameFreak unfortunately couldn’t implement Green into the main game. That didn’t stop the manga from using her, though. While she wouldn’t exist in the series until FireRed and LeafGreen, Green has managed to maintain a presence in the series throughout most of its run. She just couldn’t fit in until the move to the GBA.
There are some Pokémon who only evolve through the use of evolutionary stones. The main elemental stones can be bought in Celadon City, but Moon Stones are trickier to come by. Overall, though, you need to put down a fair amount of money to evolve every stonable Pokémon in the game. This neat trick will help you get around that nonsense, though.
There are five Pokémon that correspond to a stone when put into your part. Exeggutor is moon, HEX 20 MissingNo is fire, Psyduck is leaf, Growlithe is thunder, and Onix is water. Simply take the Pokémon you want to evolve, have them level up in a battle, and then swap in the Pokémon representing the stone you need to finish the battle. Once you win, your Pokémon will evolve without you needing to spend any money! Be careful with that MissingNo, though.
It takes quite a lot of trouble to get your hands on a Mew, so it’s only fair that you get to pump him with whatever moves you so desire. One of the benefits of having a Mew on your party is the sheer customization that goes into building his moveset. You can probably go on Smogon and just find a nice set, but why do that when you can experiment? You’ve got your very own Mew that has access to every move in the game. Go crazy! While you can’t change Mew’s type, you can at least take advantage of their movepool to cover any type disadvantages in your party. Good luck finding someone who’ll want to play competitively against someone with a Mew, though.
Pokémon has had a fairly healthy competitive scene for a while now, but the original plan for franchise included no competitive battling whatsoever. Rather, Gamefreak’s plan was initially to let players trade with one another while having battle take place exclusively in singleplayer. It was Nintendo, surprisingly, that pushed for Gamefreak to add in a battle mode for release. With the link cable on the market, Pokémon Red and Green’s battle mode would push buyers into also grabbing a cable with their purchase. Was it added in just to push an accessory? Possibly, but it did lead to one of gaming’s more interesting competitive metagames.
While Japanese Blue did its job in eliminating glitches, it couldn’t eliminate all glitches. Left intact for the international release was what is now known as the infamous Glitch City. By walking around the Safari Zone in a specific path, you can trigger Glitch City by attempting to exit the Zone while the timer runs out. If you manage to escape the Zone, you’ll be able to play normally for a few steps until the time does run out. Once it does, you’ll be warped back to the Zone and the fun will begin.
The moment you step out of the Safari Zone, you’ll notice the world in pure chaos. Glitch City will spill into anywhere and everywhere you move, corrupting towns at your leisure. Cities become shadows of their former self, people lose their identities to the corruption, and Kanto breaks apart all for your own amusement.
Try it out, it’s neat!
Who’s the first Pokémon? Is it Bulbasaur who’s listed first in the Pokédex? Mew who was once considered the origin of life? Or even Arceus who literally created life? There are many in-lore answers to the “first” Pokémon, but the true first Pokémon, the first GameFreak created, is none other than Rhydon. Concept art of Rhydon predates every other Pokémon. His index number within the game itself is even 001. For an added piece of trivia, this is likely why so many placeholder sprites in Red and Blue look almost exactly like a chibified Rhydon. It’s an homage to the fact everything started with him.
If you can get your hands on an Alakazam during gen one, you’ve basically guaranteed yourself no challenges for the rest of the game. The series is no stranger to overpowered monsters, but Alakazam is in a league of his own. He can heal, he can crit reliably, and he’s incredibly fast meaning you can sweep an entire team with him if you take advantage of his varied move pool. If you give him Thunder Wave, there’s a solid chance he’ll never be touched. While his stats are amazing and he has access to some of the best moves in the game, there is one very specific reason as to why Alakazam is so useful...
Pokémon is considered one of Nintendo’s flagship franchises these days, but that wasn’t always the case. While the series ended up spanning a decades long anime, an endless well of merchandise, and countless spin-offs, Nintendo, initially, did not expect GameFreak’s project to succeed. By all accounts, why would it? GameFreak was trying to sell two versions of a JRPG with 151 playable characters where you were forced to play both versions to get every party member. On paper, Pokémon is one of the riskiest concepts ever.
To Nintendo’s credit, Red and Green almost did fail upon release. Neither had a big opening week but, through word of mouth, popularity began to rise and suddenly Nintendo had a product that kept on selling throughout the GameBoy’s lifespan. GameFreak may not have had the opening sales they wanted, but they did have a fanbase dedicated enough to push people into buying their game long after release.
Pikachu is synonymous with Pokémon at this point. There is no other Pokémon in the franchise that gets as much attention, exposure, or love. GameFreak goes the distance to make sure Pikachu is always relevant and always in the spotlight. It makes sense as the little rat is the face of the series. In a different life, however, Pikachu would have just been another face in the crowd.
The original mascot GameFreak envisioned was none other than Clefairy. Instead of having a Pikachu, Ash would have Clefairy. Instead of Stadium giving you a surfing rat, you’d get a surfing...thing. Clefairy would have defined the franchise for years to come, and children would run into the streets chanting its name as a show of tribute.
Thankfully, GameFreak realized an electric mouse was the cooler option.
If, for whatever reason, you really wanted to force yourself into an inescapable situation, you can actually strand yourself on Cinnabar Island. Because you can only get to Cinnabar Island by either flying or surfing, you just have to release all your Pokémon that can learn fly or surf while on the island. Of course, you can fish and catch water types on shore, but there’s a workaround. Sell your Pokéballs and buy a bunch of potions! Once your bag is full of potions and devoid of balls, you won’t be able to catch a single thing, forcing you to live the rest of your days on a dirty, tiny island.
That’ll get washed away in a volcanic eruption by the time gen two hits. But that’s a topic for another day.
Hyper Beam is the kind of move that can make or break a battle. On one hand, it’s an incredibly reliable move that does a massive amount of damage. On the other hand, using it means you have to skip your next turn since it’s so draining. Deciding whether or not to use Hyper Beam becomes a debate of risk versus reward. If needing to charge up isn’t your style, though, there is a way to exploit it.
Whether it be a design oversight or intentional on the part of the developers, Hyper Beam can be used consecutively so long as it faints the Pokémon you’re battling in one hit. Just teach Hyper Beam to a Pokémon with a high special state and you’ve got a monster ready to demolish teams.
If you pay attention to Blue’s (Green’s) team throughout the main game, you’ll notice that he has a Raticate during the early game which makes sense. Rattata is one of the first Pokémon you can catch and one of the earliest to evolve; it’s an easy fit for any party. If you’re especially attentive, you’ll notice that your rematch in Lavender Town’s tower will feature one missing Pokémon: Raticate. Which makes sense considering you killed it.
While it isn’t explicitly stated, it is quite telling that the first time you fight a Raticateless Blue is in a tower dedicated to mourning deceased Pokémon. Considering you’re also the only person in the game who can consistently defeat Blue, you’re the only reason why any of Blue’s Pokémon would die. He’s just as good a trainer as you, if not better. Why does his Pokémon die while yours get to live? Simple. You don’t have to fight yourself.
At this point in time, most fans have probably heard of MissingNo, the Glitch Pokémon. It can’t evolve, it can’t level up, and it’s utterly useless as a Pokémon. It can help you destroy your game, though! If you manage to get your hands on MissingNo, and actually decide to keep it in your party, you can do some actual damage to your save. It won’t delete your date like many claim but, like Glitch City, it can mess up assets and make your experience generally unpleasant.
Battling with it will likely lead to the most destruction as it starts to scramble trainer and Pokémon sprites. Nintendo’s official support statement on the matter basically states that if releasing MissingNo doesn’t fix the scramble, you’ll have to restart your entire game. If you’re playing Yellow, there’s a good chance your trainer sprite will start multiplying on screen. It’s confusing, it’s freaky, but it’s a fun way to kill an hour. And your game.
Catching MissingNo to mess with your game can be fun, but you know what’s more fun? Not catching him and instead reaping the benefits of being graced with its presence. You see, if you weren’t so busy scrambling your sprites, you would have noticed that MissingNo duplicated whatever item was in the sixth slot of your bag up to 128. If you’re smart, you can save your Master Ball for MissingNo and end up with 128 of them, more than you would ever need. If you want to be more practical, you can fill the sixth slot of your bag with rare candies so you can do some hardcore power leveling. This glitch, unfortunately, doesn’t work in Yellow, but that’s the kind of tradeoff you get for a Pikachu that follows you around.
The original box trick is the definitive way of beefing up a Pokémon. Since stats are recalculated every time you deposit and withdraw a Pokémon, you can actually see an increase simply by fighting battles, depositing, and then withdrawing. Of course, you do need to fight battles. Simply grind for a while, dump the Pokémon you’re trying to make stronger, and take them back. If you did it right, you’ll notice that their stats have increased without needing to level up. This is especially handy if you’re unsatisfied with a level 100’s stats and want to force them through some tough love training. It’s not a glamorous life, but it gets the job done like nothing else.
Pokémon Stadium isn’t just a virtual playground for battling, it’s also the single best way to grind gen one Pokémon. So long as you have the GameBoy adapter for your N64 controller, you can shove either Red, Blue, or Yellow into your controller and start playing them right on Pokémon Stadium. Stadium’s built-in emulator isn’t just for playing the games, however, it also allows you to speed things up.
Want to play at twice the speed? Go for it. Three times? Now we're talking! Since grinding in the first gen takes so long, this speedup severely cuts down the time it takes to level up your team. Just run wild in Victory Road and mash A like a maniac. Or, if you’re bold, run through the Elite Four as fast as you can.
If you don’t know him as Gary Oak, chances are you know your rival as Blue. It makes sense if you follow the series’ color based naming convention. If your name is Red, your rival’s must be Blue. The thing is, your rival’s name isn’t Blue. It’s Green. That’s right, Blue is Green and, as a result, Green is Blue. But who exactly is Green? Besides being Blue, Green is also the name of Red’s female counterpart found in the manga.
In a more conceptual sense, Blue is also Green as their roles are swapped in Japan. We know Red and Blue as the original games, but Japan got Red and Green first. That’s not to say they just changed the color for international releases, however. While Blue may be Green and Green may be Blue, there’s far more to gen one’s development than meets the eye.
What is an EV? EV stands for “effort value” and efforts values are buildable, hidden values that determine which stats get increased when your Pokémon level up. IV’s are EV’s less customizable cousin. Standing for Individual Values, IVs are inherent values that every Pokémon is “born” with which determine their base stats. They were introduced in gen three and have been a staple since. Before EVs and IVs, however, there were DVs.
DVs, otherwise known as Diversification Values, are generation one and two’s answer to the EV/IV conundrum. They aren’t as customizable as EVs or IVs, but understanding them nonetheless helps in maxing out a Pokémon’s stats and pushing them to their full potential.