People in the West remember the debut of the Pokémon series with Pokemon Red and Blue on the GameBoy. However, those games weren't the first two games ever released in the series. The franchise debuted in Japan with Pokémon Red and Green, with the latter featuring Venusaur as opposed to Blastoise.
Pokemon Green wasn't just different from the other two games in name only. There were certain quirks and challenges present in that game that were either fixed or changed in the Red and Blue release. We're looking at ten differences that the Japan-only Pokémon Green had from Pokemon Red and Blue.
One of the biggest differences in Pokémon Green is how each Pokemon looks. Many of those creatures' designs are iconic, and it was important that Game Freak get them right. However, take a look at how those sprites looked in the Japanese game, and things get a whole lot more interesting. Some of the Pokémon hardly resemble their modern counterparts, with weird proportions and stances to boot. Mew is barely recognizable, and Hitmonchan just looks bizarre. Luckily, the release of Pokémon Red and Blue brought with it a reworking of many of those sprites, leading to the classic designs that we know and love from those games.
9 UNKNOWN DUNGEON LAYOUT
The Unknown Dungeon is one of the most iconic locations in Pokémon Red and Blue. The Unknown Dungeon, sometimes known as the Cerulean Cave, is where trainers go to find the legendary Mewtwo. Some people have probably gone through that place so many times that they have the layout memorized.
However, if they were to play Pokémon Green, those memories would serve them no good. The Unknown Dungeon in that version of the game had a different layout than in Red and Blue. The result was still the same, with players catching Mewtwo (hopefully by throwing a Master Ball), so it's not a huge difference.
8 OLD MAN
Fans of Pokémon Red and Blue are familiar with how Game Freak forced them into a particular path. Certain locations would be blocked off by in-game Pokémon or even humans. One of the most memorable instances of this was in Viridian City. There was an old man there blocking a path because he hadn't had his coffee yet. However, that wasn't the original reason given in Pokémon Green. In that game, it was because the man was drunk and hadn't yet woken up to move out of the way. The reason for the change is quite obvious, making it a funny piece of Pokémon history.
7 MORE ITEMS
Items are a core part of the Pokémon games, allowing players to heal their Pokemon, give them items to hold, or even catch other Pokémon. These can be purchased at Poke Marts, though there are limitations as to what items can be bought. In Pokémon Green, things were made easier for the player by having more items available in Poké Marts. For example, HP Ups were something that players could purchase with their hard-earned money. Smart players could easily save up money so they could max their Pokémons' HP by making a big visit to one of those marts.
6 GRAY CARTRIDGE
Pokémon Red and Blue were different than most GameBoy games for a few reasons. Among those reasons was how the cartridges looked. These games started the trend of Pokémon cartridge games being a different color. Most cartridges were grey, but Red and Blue were red and blue respectively. Pokémon Green didn't get this treatment, though. The game was the classic GameBoy grey, making it stand out less in a collection than its North American counterparts (imagine a world where Red and Blue had grey cartridges). Unfortunately, modern Pokémon games don't have differently colored cartridges anymore, with the games following suit with the rest of a console's titles.
5 GREEN SCREEN
A lot of GameBoy games were designed without color, as the console didn't support it. The next iteration on the system, the GameBoy Color changed that for the better, allowing each game to be displayed in color. Because the system could easily play regular GameBoy games as well, it would often apply a filter to make each adventure stand out a bit more. In the case of Pokémon Green, it would be given a green filter for obvious reasons. This further cemented the game's title as well as its place among the Pokémon franchise. It wasn't until Gen II that Poéemon games were designed with the GameBoy Color in mind.
4 UN-CATCHABLE POKEMON
In every Pokémon game, there are certain Pokemon that can't be caught in the wild. Some have to evolved and others have to be traded to find. The difference with Pokemon Green is that some of those Pokémon could be caught, and we're not just talking about version exclusives.
For example, Kadabra could be found in the wild, making it so trainers didn't have to swap out an Abra for a few levels because it only knows teleport. Other Pokémon that would normally require a trade could also be caught in-game, making it easier to capture all the Pokemon than Red and Blue respectively.
With any initial release of a video game, there are bugs that can be ironed out in later versions. That was precisely the case with Pokémon Green. There were minor issues in the game that were fixed with the release of Pokémon Red and Blue. It was clear, looking back, that the work done in Pokémon Green was a bit on the base-level side as Game Freak was figuring out what worked and what didn't. Despite the more ironed out release of Red and Blue, there were still plenty of iconic glitches in those games that people still love to abuse.
2 RAICHU FOR ELECTRODE
There is a famous trade in Pokémon Red and Blue at Cinnabar Island where players are offered an Electrode for a Raichu. If players make the trade, they'll be greeted with text that says, "The Raichu you traded to me went and evolved!" This is incorrect, as Raichu can't evolve, let alone through trading. This event was different in Pokémon Green, as the trade was the same, but the dialogue wasn't incorrect. This mistake was a result of a mistranslation. In the Japanese Pokémon Blue, players would trade a Kadabra instead, which evolves into Alakazam through trading. The translation wasn't fixed for the western releases.
1 PROTAGONIST LEGACY
Pokémon Red and Blue are famous for depicting the rivalry between trainers Red and Blue (appropriately named). In subsequent Pokémon games, these characters have re-appeared, functioning as greater challenges that players must overcome. Pokémon Green had a different legacy. While players were playing as trainer Red in that game, Pokémon Green is represented by a new trainer called Green. She appeared in Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee as a callback to the Japanese game. Going forward, it's likely that she'll get more representation. In FireRed and LeafGreen, players had could play as a version of the classic Green called Leaf.