In 1996, Pokémon Red and Green were released in Japan. Updated versions of the game, Pokémon Red and Blue, were released in North America in 1998. Following the release of the games in North America, the English dub of the Pokémon anime had its debut. The Pokémon Trading Card Game also shortly followed the release of the games in North America. It did not take long for Pokémon to become a well-known and popular franchise.
I would take a bet that everyone knows at least one person who grew up playing Pokémon games. My first Pokémon game was Pokémon Blue and my second was Pokémon Yellow. There was something magical about traveling throughout the Kanto region and encountering new and exciting Pokémon. Eventually, you become a Pokémon master, which leads you to dive deeper into the more strange elements of the Pokémon world. Throughout the game, you encounter weird quirks about the game that have been left unexplained. You begin to ask questions about the world’s lore and are typically found without answer. You might also start to hear rumors about various glitches and theories, and want to investigate them for yourself. The Pokémon world is truly full of mysteries, especially Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow.
If you grew up playing Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, you may know what I am talking about. If you did not, you might be curious and want to know more about these mysteries. Here are 20 unresolved mysteries and plot holes that Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow left hanging.
20 Mew Glitches
In Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, one cannot catch Mew through normal gameplay, but younger players might not know that there were actually legitimate means to obtain him.
There were official events in which one could obtain Mew, usually held at large chain toy stores.
These events were similar to Pokémon events one could participate in today. However, a lot of people missed out on these events and they were far and few in between. Mew was a desirable Pokémon because of his ability to learn any TM and his well-rounded stats, and many players (myself included) resorted to glitches to obtain him. One glitch involved using fly right as you were about to battle a specific trainer and then finding Mew at Lavender Town. Nobody knows why these glitches worked, and why they seemed to be only for Mew, but I’m glad we have them.
19 Pokémon Can Go Away?
Everyone who has played Pokémon know that Pokémon do not really die. If a Pokémon loses its HP, it will faint, but a nurse at the Pokémon Center will bring it back to full health. However, Pokémon Red and Blue did not shy away from the dark topic of death. While the player’s Pokémon do not lose their life, one can find deceased Pokémon at the Pokémon Tower in Lavender Town. The Pokémon Tower is a seven-floor graveyard that contains graves of Pokémon that have lost their lives. You even interact with a departed Marowak that died when protecting her Cubone child. However, it is never really explained why Marowak and the nameless Pokémon in Pokémon Tower seem to be the only Pokémon that have passed. What is the life span of a Pokémon anyway? These questions have been left unanswered.
18 Vermillion City Truck
Vermillion City is the home of S.S. Anne, a large luxury ship. On this ship, you battle your rival and you achieve HM01 Cut. Interestingly enough, you do not technically need to visit S.S. Anne to get through the game. If you trade with someone who has a Pokémon that knows cut, you will not need to get the HM from the ship. If you come back later after you have obtained the HM containing Surf, you can explore the harbor a bit.
On a platform in the harbor, you can find a lone truck.
The truck does not seem to have any purpose and no such truck appears anywhere else in the game. Growing up, the truck was the source of many rumors. Some said that the truck contained a Mew after you have caught all 150 Pokémon. Sadly, all of the rumors are untrue, and the purpose of the truck is unknown.
17 Blue's Parents
Blue Oak is Red’s rival in Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow. It might be obvious from his last name that he is the grandson of Professor Oak. Like Red, Blue’s father is absent from the games. Unlike Red, Blue does not have a nice mother to bid him farewell. Blue’s sister is present though. Daisy Oak is Blue’s sister, presumably older sister, and she even helps out Red by giving him a Town Map. The character does not seem to have a purpose besides giving the player the Town Map, though. It appears that Game Freak only added family members that have a practical purpose; Red’s mom heals, Professor Oak distributes Pokémon to new trainers, and Daisy Oak gives a Town Map. Perhaps Blue’s parents are gone and he was raised by his sister and his grandfather.
16 Pokémon Professors
Everyone loves Professor Oak. He’s a jolly old man who gives you a free Pokémon, but is he actually a Professor? I have never seen a Pokémon University, and I have never seen Professor Oak’s credentials.
There must be some sort of monetary backing that Professor Oak receives.
Remember: he has various aides working for him. He does not appear to have any other jobs, but he needs some way to pay for his aides, his lab, his equipment, and all of the free things that he gives out. Is Professor Oak simply a millionaire who pretends to be a Professor in his free time? Is becoming a Professor in the Pokémon world simply as easy as calling oneself a Professor? We may never know for sure.
15 10 Year Old Alone With Monsters?
When Red departs on his journey, he bids farewell to his mother. She says, “Right. All boys leave home some day. It said so on TV.” That is true, even for those not living inside of the Pokémon world, but isn’t Red a little young? He is 11 years old (10 years old in the European versions) and running around with giant monsters that battle each other. It seems pretty unsafe! That’s not to mention that Red runs into all sorts of unsavory types. Red runs into gamblers, scary-looking bikers, and even an organized crime syndicate that steals Pokémon and sells them for profit. Not only does Red run into these people, but he actually attempts to topple Team Rocket, the organized crime syndicate. Wouldn’t this make Red a target for these criminals? It is not a good environment for children.
14 Old Man In Viridian City
If you try to leave Viridian City too early in the game, there will be an old man in your way. He appears to be in a horizontal position and blocks two whole spaces. He says, “You can't go through here! This is private property!”
His granddaughter explains that he has not had his coffee yet.
Of course, this is just a clever way for the game to block your progress until you have finished an errand for Professor Oak. Once you’ve done the errand for Oak, the old man will step aside and say, “Ahh, I've had my coffee now and I feel great! Sure you can go through!” I have always wondered about the precarious positioning of the old man. Is he lying stretched out in the middle of the road? There is only so much you can make out from a sprite.
13 Evolutionary Stones
Evolutionary stones have been in the Pokémon franchise since the beginning. While Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow do not have the dusk stone, sun stone, ice stone, etc., they have the basics. Inside the Celadon Department Store, one can find the fire stone, water stone, thunder stone, and leaf stone. One can also find moon stones hidden throughout Kanto. These mysterious stones can be used to evolve Pokémon. For example, the thunder stone evolves Pikachu into Raichu. It is not quite clear what it is about a stone that can cause a Pokémon to evolve, and why only certain Pokémon are receptive to it. There could be some genetic reason, but how could a Pikachu and Poliwhirl be genetically similar? Can the stones be crafted or mined? Are they natural? At least we know where moon stones come from.
12 The Lieutenant
The gym leader of Vermillion City is Lt. Surge. Upon defeating his electric-type Pokémon, you are rewarded the Thunder Badge. In Pokémon Red and Blue, he says “I tell you kid, electric Pokémon saved me during the war! They zapped my enemies into paralysis!” Apparently, he is truly a Lieutenant, which is surprising. It is also important to note that Pokémon were used in this war.
Were Pokémon used as weapons?
Were disputes in the Pokémon world settled via Pokémon battles? If they are settled with Pokémon battles, who do they chose to do the battling? You would think officers in the army would be made up of trainers with high-level Pokémon, such as the Elite Four. This so-called war is shrouded in mystery. We may never know about the great Pokémon War.
11 The Copycat
It seems that Red does not speak at all in Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow. Red doesn’t even speak when you find him at Mt. Silver in Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal. So, what’s the deal? Is Red mute or just a strong, silent type? Your answer may depend on your interpretation of the interaction with the Copycat in Saffron City. There is a small girl who gives out the TM for Mimic, but she also copies everything that people say. There is a bit of confusing dialogue in the Generation I games with the Copycat. When speaking to the Copycat, she says “Hi! Do you like Pokémon? Uh no, I just asked you. Huh? You're strange!” It seems to be implied here that Copycat is mimicking what Red is saying. Perhaps Red does speak but you only see the dialogue of others.
10 Nidoran Genders
Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver introduced the idea of Pokémon breeding. It opened the door for a lot of different possibilities, including egg moves and breeding for IVs. Unfortunately, this game mechanic was not present in Pokémon Red and Blue, which does have one gendered Pokémon: Nidoran.
Both Nidoran have different evolution chains and they are classified as different Pokémon in the Pokédex.
That is strange considering they are technically the same species. Later Pokémon have been introduced that have different evolution chains and different appearances depending on the gender, but they are not considered separate Pokémon. For example, Kirlia can evolve into either Gardevoir or Gallade depending on the gender. The Nidoran problem could not have been corrected with the introduction of genders, because there needed to remain some sort of continuity between games so you could trade Pokémon from the first generation to the second.
9 What Is The Intro Clip?
The intro cutscene for Pokémon Red and Blue shows a battle between a Gengar and a Nidorino. It’s a brief 10-second animation in which Gengar lashes at Nidorino and Nidorino goes to tackle Gengar. Doesn’t Nidorino know that normal moves do not affect Gengar? The Pokémon Yellow intro is a lot more well-done. It depicts a Pikachu running towards you interlaced with clips of Pikachu doing all sorts of activities. The Pokémon Yellow intro makes sense, but what was the purpose of the Pokémon Red and Blue intro? Was it to hype up the player to see an intense Pokémon battle? The so-called battle lasted all of 10 seconds. There is no way that could be it. In the very first seconds of the Pokémon anime, they emulated the intro and made it out to be an intense Pokémon League battle.
8 How Is Giovanni A Gym Leader?
Giovanni is the leader of Team Rocket. It’s not as if it is a big secret Giovanni is the boss either. Several high-profile people have personally interacted with Giovanni as head of Team Rocket. One example is the President of Silph Co. Giovanni held the President of Silph Co. hostage in the Silph Co. headquarters in Saffron City. There is no doubt that such a man is powerful and would be able to spread the word that Giovanni is the leader of Team Rocket. With this in mind, consider the question: how is Giovanni allowed to be a gym leader? Giovanni is the gym leader of Viridian City, a nice little town with only a few inhabitants. Surely there is some sort of board regulating who is allowed to be a gym leader. Regardless, why do the residents of Viridian City let a crime boss stay in their city?
7 Celadon Game Corner Rewards
Most trainers obtain their Pokémon the good old-fashioned way: weakening them to near death and then trapping them inside of a small, compact ball. This is considered the humane way to capture Pokémon in the Pokémon world, especially considering the alternative. You cannot simply buy a Pokémon from the store, because that could possibly lead to a cruel mass production of Pokémon.
There is one place where you can purchase Pokémon: the Celadon Game Corner.
The Team Rocket-owned gambling scheme allows plucky young 10-year-olds to gamble away their money for a chance to purchase a Porygon. Of course, these Pokémon are stolen Pokémon by Team Rocket to persuade people to play their risky games. It is never revealed how Team Rocket organizes this whole system. Are they able to feed the Pokémon and do they have some sort of warehouse to store the Pokémon?
6 Where Are You?
We all know that Pokémon Red and Blue takes place in the Kanto region. We also know that the Kanto region is east of Johto and south of Sinnoh, but where exactly is it? It’s geography and name is based off of the real Kanto region in Japan, but is the Pokémon Kanto actually located in a Japan-like country? It could be. Kanto is next to Johto, which is based off of the Kansai region in Japan. Johto and Kanto seem to have many cultural differences, which is similar to the real life differences between Kanto and Kansai. Fans have tried to create world maps based on the various regions, but they never seem to come out quite right. Unfortunately, there is still a lot unknown about the Pokémon World.
5 Who Is Red's Father?
Upon starting his journey, Red is greeted by his Mom in their small Pallet Town home. She seems like a nice lady, and even heals your Pokémon for you, but what of Red’s father? Red’s father is given no name in the series, and you are given no hints about where he might be or what he may look like. However, that does not mean that Red’s father is not still present in his life. Inside the Celadon Department Store, one can examine a SNES on display.
The text says: “A sports game! Dad'll like that!”
That’s one thing we know about Red’s father: he likes sports. Perhaps Red’s father is a football player, and that is why he is away all the time? That’s unlikely, but it’s not as unlikely as getting an answer from the game developers.
4 How Does A TM Work?
TM stands for technical machine. They are machines that are used to teach Pokémon new moves. They can only be used once and are disposed of upon use. That is as far as my description of TMs can go. In Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, we are never told how TMs actually look or work. Are they actually machines? From Pokémon Fire Red and Leaf Green onwards, they look like compact discs. How could a disc be a machine? Also, how can a disc give Pokémon new moves? They’re not robots! Pokémon Origins have depicted TMs as floppy discs, but never showed how they actually work. The trading card game displays them as small machines. These conflicted depictions lead me to believe that nobody knows what they are actually supposed to look like.
3 The Missing Oak Battle
Professor Oak is no doubt an expert on Pokémon. He is gracious enough to provide new trainers with a Pokémon that can not be caught in the wild.
Professor Oak might have been meant to be a trainer himself.
In Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, there is unused game data for Professor Oak. He has a solid team of Pokémon. The team consists of a level 66 Tauros, level 67 Exeggutor, level 68 Arcanine, level 70 Gyarados and one of the Kanto starters at level 69. His Pokémon are a decently high level, but they don’t all have good movesets. His Exeggutor, for example, does not have a grass or psychic damaging move. The only fire move his Arcanine knows is Ember. I wonder why the developers decided not to include this battle in the final game.
2 The Case Of Blue's Raticate
In Pokémon Red and Blue, the player’s rival is none other than Blue Oak. You fight him at various points throughout the game, and his team slowly gets stronger. On your fourth battle with Blue aboard the S.S. Anne, Blue has a level 19 Pidgeotto, a level 18 Kadabra, a level 20 starter Pokémon, and a level 16 Raticate. Your fifth battle with Blue Oak is at the Pokémon Tower, where his Raticate is nowhere to be found, but his starter, Pidgeotto, and Kadabra are still present. Maybe the level 16 Raticate was not making the cut, or maybe there is something else that happened to it. Why would Blue be at the Pokémon Tower anyway? That’s where people visit their Pokémon that have passed away. Raticate couldn’t have died, right?
1 The Glitch That Wanted To Be A Pokémon
Most Pokémon fans by now know about MissingNo., but the glitch Pokémon is still shrouded in mystery. In Pokémon Red and Blue, MissingNo. is a Bird/Normal type Pokémon. It has the appearance of a glitched up box in an L-shape. It can appear through various glitches, the process of which I will not divulge into here. MissingNo. can also take the form of a fossil Kaputops, a fossil Aerodactyl, or a ghost.
There is an unconfirmed theory that MissingNo. is a deleted Pokémon because of its unique cries.
There are 39 variants of MissingNo., and if they were all intended to be Pokémon, that would lead the total Generation I Pokémon count to 190. Nintendo released a statement on the mysterious glitch: “MissingNO is a programming quirk, and not a real part of the game." We may never know the true origins of MissingNo.