Pokémon has been one of gaming's top icons for 20 years now, starting as a game and spreading to a couple of animated television shows and several volumes of manga. It has been one of the most influential franchises of this generation. Doubt me? Think back to the hype surrounded by Pokémon Go! People from all over came out to play and relive their childhoods, even though the app didn't live up to its original promise. Pokémon will likely be remembered fondly by all those who were in the right demographic at the time and were enchanted by the idea that a ten-year-old could be allowed to leave home and become a world-famous Pokémon trainer.
We loved it. The games allowed us to live through that dream, and we ate it up. So much so that 20 years later they're making the same games with a bit of a facelift.
But what if I told you that the game wasn't as great and glorious as we all remember? What if I prodded your memory and brought up the messy parts, the boring parts, and the minute details? I hope you know that in writing this, I lose no love for the game. It will always have a very special place in my heart right next to all of the other things that filled my childhood days. But the nostalgia goggles do have to come off, and perhaps it's for the better. Here are some things in Pokémon we have chosen to ignore.
25 Over 9000!
Since the first game came out there have been innumerable changes, and many of them have been for the better. For example, new types have been added to give more variety and to better classify Pokémon.
A dragon type had no natural weaknesses.
Another advantage this has is to help balance out a pretty rough system. In the original games, the strongest type of Pokémon was hands down dragons. They didn't really have many natural enemies, and could do some real damage. We utilized that system as best we could.
24 Same Game
One thing we have to remember is that Pokémon was originally made for kids. So when they made puzzles for the game (such as paths to avoid trainers or the Team Rocket base), we shouldn't expect them to be very hard. A lot of them could be solved very quickly by trial and error. once you knew what to do, it'd be done quickly. This did add to the wash rinse repeat feeling the game occasionally gave off. I still thought they were fun.
23 A Helping Hand
Are we going to leave the fact that Bill was doing experiments to see if he could turn himself into a Pokémon in the dark? No, no we're not. I actually had forgotten about this until I was doing some research for this article.
Bill's experiment could have gone painfully wrong.
Bill the researcher tried to turn himself into a Pokémon for science. I just thought it was important everyone remembered that fact and how it could have gone terribly, horribly wrong. Luckily, Bill has you to help him out in the last minute.
22 One Brand To Rule Them
You live in a small town with nary a Poké Mart in sight. Sounds about right, given that there are only a handful of houses in the entire town. But you get to see all different types of cities and towns later on which all share one similarity; their sparse pickings at the Poké Mart. With the exception of Celadon City, most of the Poké Marts only have the bare minimum. It'd be nice not to have to fly for an Ultra Ball. Get it together!
21 That's A Lot Of Dough
When Red and Blue came out, it was the 90s. There was a huge exercise fad going on, and everyone seemed to be more willing to get a move on. So explain to me why a bike in the game would cost a million dollars?
Bikes shouldn't cost more than most people make.
Now, I know that the game gives you a bike, and that you can even hack into it and make the game think you have one. I also understand inflation. This is one of those times when you just have to wonder what the developers were thinking.
20 Birds Of A Feather
You would think that if you saw a gigantic dragon in front of you with wings, the thing would be able to fly. Not so in Charizard's case. At least, in the original games. It's also not technically a dragon, but that's another story. For many people, was and still is one of the greatest Pokémon created. But not being able to fly from home to Cinnabar Island was a total let down. You probably relied on some form of bird Pokémon to do that.
19 An Unexpected Legendary?
Of all of the Pokémon in the original games, you'd think that only the legendary Pokémon would be rare. But there is one exception to this rule and that is the sleeping giant, Snorlax. There are only really two in the game and both need to be moved by Poké Flutes. You'd better hope at least one of them stays in your Poké Ball, or else your chances of completing the game have significantly gone down. Better luck when you go back to your last save.
18 Come At Me, Bro
So you've defeated the Eite Four and become the Pokémon champion. Your next enemy is a level five Pidgey. Wild Pokémon will attack you at each turn, and at first it's great. But when you've gotten enough levels to one hit finish off a wild Pokémon, the whole routine get stale pretty fast.
Wild Pokémon will continue to fight, so beware.
Similar to the fact that there isn't much to do after finishing off the Elite Four, grinding for levels after defeating all of the trainers gets pretty boring.
17 Every Little Bit Helps
So you get a fishing rod for free, no catch. Sounds great, right? Wrong. This is the old rod, and while it is a little mini game and you're able to get some experience while using it, it's really not as great as it is cracked up to be. I never paid attention when using it, so I didn't catch on till later that the old rod will always catch you a level five Magikarp. Even when trying to train, it's not the most ideal catch.
16 Show Me Your Moves
When fighting in first generation games, you didn't have to worry about special stats too much. If your Pokémon was the right type or had a high enough of a level advantage, you were going to win. There were a few exceptions to this ideas though. There were a few moves that were downright broken. Sleep forced your opponent to be rendered useless, wrap could do the same thing and hyper beam was just all around overpowered. If you were on the receiving end, all you could do was say your prayers.
15 One By One
Back in the day, it was a big enough thing to be able to catch and train your very own Pokémon, that we didn't think about Pokémon holding items. One of the items that a Pokémon is able to hold in the later games is the experience share. This is an item that allows two Pokémon to gain experience even though only one of them goes onto the field. It certainly made training a lot harder, as experience share is incredibly useful in the limited amount of battles with strong trainers.
14 The Trainer Doesn't Really Matter Anyway....
Had Red and Blue come out today, it probably would have been like every other game we see these days. However, when they did come out, society was not as progressive as it is now. You could only be a male. (Green had rumors that a girl was available, but that's outside of this list)
While the games didn't let you choose your gender, they did give a lot of freedom.
Speaking as a woman myself, I enjoyed the later games more because I could change my gender, but that's not to say I didn't enjoy the first games.
13 One And Done
Although the many trainers were varied and gave a good challenge in the original games, once you defeated them, you could never battle them again. Most of the time it wasn't a big deal because they were incredibly weak and wouldn't be worth your time. However, (especially towards the end of the game) any experience points were good experience points. In the original games, you just had to grind on Victory Road or battle the Elite Four until you leveled up to where you wanted.
12 Turn Back Time
One of the things that bothered me the very most about the original games was your in-game clock. When you start the game, your mother asks if it's daily savings time. As a young kid, I never knew if it were daylight savings time or not.
The clock was important, but not self-updating.
So I took a guess and hoped for the best. It was an easy fix, but still was a little inconvenient that you couldn't use your phone to automatically let it get updated. Especially since phones were few and far between back then.
11 Saving For College?
One of the things on this list that is less a problem and more of a useless bit of trivia is to be found at the very beginning of the game. Your mother asks if you would like her to save some of your money 'just in case.' If you say yes, then every time you win a battle, you'll end up sending some to mom. You can change this at any time by calling your mom on the phone, but I didn't realize it was useless. Here's a lesson: don't let mom save your money in a game.
10 Finite Level Design
For the most part, Pokémon gives you plenty to do. Between battling, raising your Pokémon, traveling the world, and beating the Elite Four again, it seems that your game is fairly endless. The world is quite expansive for that point in time and filled to the brim with wild Pokémon with which to battle. The hard part came towards the end. Your Pokémon are likely around level 50, and there aren't really any strong trainers left to battle. If grinding isn't your thing, chances are good your Pokémon are going to stay there until you start a new game.
9 Grand Battle Master
We get it. Catching all 150 original Pokémon is a huge task, and one that is a huge feat for anyone to do, even today. But it's unfortunate to remember that that's really the only thing to do once you've played through the story line and beaten both Team Rocket and the elite four. You could dedicate your time to your Pokédex, but chances are good that only the incredibly hardcore players did that. If you're anything like me, you just started over.
8 Gotta Catch... What You Can
Given that you cannot catch starter Pokémon in the wild, it's obvious that Game Freak intended for some accessory sales to come from this franchise.
Not all the Pokémon could be caught on the first try.
While you couldn't catch all of the Pokémon in the wild (Kabutops and Omanyte are also impossible to catch), you can trade to get them all, either between a friend or if you were well off enough to have two Game Boy systems and games. That downside hasn't been fixed yet, mostly because it's a profitable side gig for Nintendo and gang.
7 One In A Million
For years, Mew was a playground myth, supposedly living under a car in the games. Since then, however, it has been found that Mew CAN be captured, although it is a bit of a project. I like how this website works (you can see it here) because it doesn't just show you how it works, it goes into the coding reasons WHY it works. Legendaries have always been rough to capture, but Mew takes the cake for sure. For completionists, it's a prize all on its own.
6 A Rare Beauty
For newbies to the older generation of games, this bit seems completely unfair. In current games, the Master Ball is just like any other Poké Ball, albeit quite a bit more expensive. In the original games, you only got one. That's right, one Master Ball for any Pokémon. There are three legendary birds to catch in this generation. How can you pick? For those who didn't mind cheating a bit, the Game Shark was an absolute life saver here. I personally didn't use it, but you do you.
5 All By Myself
This bit only applies to Red and Blue, as the feature was given to Yellow and then not seen again until HeartGold and SoulSilver. That's right, I'm talking about the ability to have a Pokémon walk with you as a sprite that follows in your trainer tracks.
You wouldn't get a walking buddy until later games came out.
To see a Pikachu following you into the craziest of situations made our favorite games even more epic. But we wouldn't get to see it in the first go around. Too bad.
4 Love Is Spelled T-I-M-E
These days (most likely thanks to the public outcry from groups and a need for new game play elements) you can actually bond with your Pokémon. You can feed them, pet them and ride along with them as you go along on your journey. The most interaction you got with them in the original games was watching them preform a special move like cut or fly. This is one change that is expected and really quite nice, as you're spending quite a bit of time with your Pokémon as is in battle. Getting to know them gives a new dimension.
Video games haven't changed much in the past little while. Sure they look a lot more pretty now, but in the end, a lot of the mechanics are the same. For example, think about all the menus you have to go through to do something.
Using HMs was laborious.
Yeah, Pokémon did that too. To use an HM like Cut or Fly, you had to go through a couple of different menus. Granted, it wasn't too terrible, but you at least got a quick button for your bike. Surely a Pokémon couldn't be very different.
2 They Blacked Out!
Believe it or not, while you're speed running through the first couple of towns, the games were doing a lot of math to predict when you'd have an encounter and with what. Turns out though, if you ended up trying to battle a Pokémon that was too weak for your level 50 and up Pokémon, you could freeze the game by making it try to divide by zero. You can find more information on it here. They do a really good job describing everything.
1 Speed Is Key
Remember how there were some overpowered moves in the list earlier? It's sort of back again but this time with a skill attribute. There was a chance for your to do extra damage with the critical hit section. This relied mostly on your speed trait, so if you had a higher amount of speed, you would be more likely to have a critical hit. Luckily this was changed, but once again, it was a tactic we used more than we probably should have.