Retro Corner – Pokemon Red & Blue (GB)

Pokémon_box_art_-_Red_VersionSo yesterday, the whole world and I picked up the sparkly new Pokemon X/Y games. I’ve been loving every second of that by the way, but I thought it’d be appropriate to take a look back (way back) to the very origin of the grossly popular video game kingdom. Pokemon Red and Blue (Green in Japan) were both released in Japan on February 27, 1996, which is actually two years earlier than its North American release. That means I was 6 when I first played the game. That’s pretty ridiculous.

I’m kind of at a lost for what to really say about the games because there shouldn’t be a soul on Earth this site who isn’t familiar with it, and it’d be almost be a waste of time to describe it. I feel like the most interesting thing I could possibly talk about are some of the subtle unknown nuances, particularly with the battle system, and my personal memories.

gfs_50648_2_15Some of those aforementioned subtleties can be attributed to glitches in the game. We all know of the notorious Missingno, that gave us infinite Rare Candies and Master Balls. Using Rare Candies was actually an okay thing to do, considering that EV’s weren’t a factor yet. What really threw me for a loop as a kid was when it played the super effective sound when it was supposed to be neutral damage. It’s for that reason that I thought using Ice Beam on Gyarados was actually a good idea and why I still have trouble figuring out what Grass, Poison, and Bug are really weak to.

Speaking of weaknesses, Psychic was completely overpowered in the first games. Its supposed counter, Ghost, was always paired with Poison and only had one real offensive move which was Lick. Apparently, that didn’t even register as a real super effective move anyway. That’s why they had to introduce Psychic counters with Steel and Dark types in the 2nd generation.

247screenshot1Whatever metagame that existed back in the day was more or less dominated by whatever had the highest speed stat. This is because critical hit chance was determined by how much faster your Pokemon was over your opponent. Things like Persian with Slash were quite fearsome, I would imagine. Also, Hyper Beam was actually as good as it was supposed to be because you didn’t have to recharge if you knocked out your opponent’s Pokemon. Pretty sweet, huh?

PokemonRed_02-1I literally think it’s impossible for me to talk about the music in this game, as if it wasn’t hard enough for me to write about the game in the first place. It’s because I’ve become familiar with the music, perhaps more than any other aspect of the game, and it’s like a part of my very being. It’d be like describing the hairs on my head or something. I will say that the composer, Junichi Masuda, did a fantastic job. Every single track is catchy, memorable, and evokes nostalgia at every turn. I doubt a lesser soundtrack would have the same effect. For what it’s worth, my favorite tracks are Vermillion City’s theme and the theme from Routes 24 and 25 (which I believe is the same track that plays when you first start the game).

Like many of you out there, this was my first Pokemon game and I have so many fond and surprisingly vivid memories of it. There was a time when I knew almost exactly which Pokemon that every trainer in the game had and what levels they were. To this day, I remember that there are two particular Bikers on Cycling Road, one at the top and the other on the bottom. One had a Lv. 37 Weezing and the other had a Lv. 37 Muk. I also remember religiously reading the instruction manual over and over again. At the end of it, where was a list of all the Pokemon but only some had pictures, and that was just incredibly exciting for me.


I may have clocked in almost 500 hours on a single Ruby file before, but I still feel that the total amount I poured into the original two games could possibly be over 1000 hours. It was just me, my GameBoy Pocket, and my Blue version for two years until Gold and Silver came out. And even then, I still played the original so that I could transfer Pokemon over to the new games. If there’s one thing that the developers have done right with each generation, it’s how they’ve managed to keep the games timeless.


The Time Capsule in Gold/Silver and the new Pokemon Bank are great examples. People may grow older, but Pokemon is and always will be something that holds a special place in everyone who’s ever played a game. With every reincarnation, the series adds fresh and new elements, but the soul of the first games can still be seen. That’s what I love about the series.

“Your very own Pokémon legend is about to unfold! A world of dreams and adventures with Pokémon awaits! Let’s go!” ~ Professor Oak


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