Pokémon: Red/Blue/Green/Yellow (1996)

The worldwide phenomenon that changed gaming in ’96 with everlasting legacy on RPG, media, & pop-culture, R/B/G/Y are the ultimate vision of natural adventure w. a once-in-a-century blueprint, 151 iconic creatures, beautiful A/V, legacy, and diverse experience. 9.6/10.

Plot Synopsis: Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version are role-playing video games developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy. They are the first installments of the Pokémon video game series.

*Possible Spoilers Ahead*

Official CLC Review

➤: New Game

R/B/Y, G/S/C, R/S/E, D/P/P, B/W, S/M, SW/SH, GO; A $100B+ Conglomerate From A Childhood Dream & Near-Bankruptcy NTDO That Changed The World’s Media Landscape & History Of Video Games Begins Here In ’96

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Fire Red. Leaf Green. LGP/E. Gold. Silver. Crystal. HG/SS. Ruby. Sapphire. Emerald. ORAS. Diamond. Pearl. Platinum. Black. White. Black/White 2. X. Y. Sun. Moon. Ultra Sun/Moon. Sword. Shield. Mystery Dungeon. Snap. New Snap. Stadium 1/2. GO. Pokémon has become the biggest media franchise of all-time – a conglomerate of $100,000,000,000.00+ worth of video games, TV, animé, movies, spinoffs, trading cards, merchandise, etc.; a behemoth of pop culture rooted in the childhood nostalgia of the ’90’s generation. Nearly-impossible to fathom given today’s landscape and the omnipotence of Pocket Monsters in headlines worldwide is the franchise’s rocky beginnings: once just a crazy dream-concept by a Japanese youth who just wanted to share his love for entomology and pitched the idea to a financially-struggling Nintendo who didn’t ‘get’ the IP. We bet they do now; the entire architectural foundation of the series and game-changing legacy on video games by the greatest fictional idea in history can be traced back to the first games that first introduced it to the world: Red, Blue, Green, & Yellow. The worldwide pop culture revolution that started it all back in ’96, Pokémon R/B/G/Y is a panegyric to childhood/adventure and one of the greatest, most comprehensive, innovative, failed-to-copy, sacred video games ever made: RPG, puzzle, fighting, pet, mission, spy, action, mythology, strategy, hunting, collection, science, etc. games in one that took a lifetime to dream and ~10+ years to build, turning $20 cartridges into a $100B+ kingdom with the crown of biggest media empire of all-time. The ultimate fictional concept and fantasy experience of all-time, Generation 1 epitomizes the magic of video games and remixes nature for maximum entertainment value – a groundbreaking once-in-a-century blueprint/overworld mechanization of brilliance decades ahead-of-its-time with 151 iconic creature designs of realism, elementalism, mythology, allegory, humor, and soul bridging the gap between our worlds, breathtaking region/culture modeled after real-life Japan, highly-diverse customizability whose depth and multiversalism breathes universal gaming allure, nostalgic charm in 8-bit A/V bursting with personality, and provocative challenge behind every gym, catch, battle, route, and objective on the mission to catch ’em all.

A Game Born From Biology & Childhood

An Entomological Youth In Tokyo, Japan Sees Local Urbanization, Declining Insect Populations, & Kids Migrating Indoors – A Dream To Share Joy & Experience Of Nature

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

To fully appreciate the genius of Pokémon, we have to go back to the beginning – an impossible journey to creation from its patriarch’s, Satoshi Tajiri’s, childhood. Growing up in a then-rural part of Tokyo, young Satoshi earned the neighborhood-nickname of ‘Dr. Bug’ by the community for his favorite pastime: insect-collecting. Fascinated with the life cycles, evolution, zoology, and mysteries of nature [we can especially relate to having B.Sc degrees in Biology from Ivy League universities, choosing the major for these same interests], he would be out in the forest near his house from noon-night exploring, according to sources. Tajiri amassed quite a collection, but had no one to share it with; the other kids were progressively transitioning to indoors-play and preferring domesticated pets to nature, and the bug population declining by a rapidly urbanizing environment around him. These key experiences and observations laid the foundation for Pocket Monsters: wanting to share the magic and experience he enjoyed so much in his childhood with generations of children across time and the world, reframed in the ultimate way – beyond bugs to creatures of all kinds and elemental powers you could keep as pets and share with others. The concept was thus born, but just a seed in his mind without the mechanization to grow to realization until his teenage years: when he, along with the youth culture, became obsessed with [early-age] video games. The Legend Of Zelda, Mario Bros., Kid Icarus, Final Fantasy, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Pac-Man, and Castlevania were amongst the titles that rocked the early-to-mid ’80s – all highlights and all-time greats in the history of jeux vidéo. Tajiri loved them so much that he started de-and-re constructing Famicoms in his basement to learn every nuance of the innerworkings out of pure fascination, and proceeded to become writer/editor of his own fanzine on video games detailing strategies and easter eggs: Game Freak. Circulation grew across small dojinshi shops in Tokyo, with contributors like his best friend Ken Sugimori coming in and together noticing a declining quality of video games they were reviewing.

A Down VG-Market; Need Of A Soft-Reset

Origins As A Kyoto Card Company, Nintendo Diversified Into Video Games To Mixed Success – A Deficient BOI & Declining Game Boy Sales Looking For The Next Big Thing

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The inexorable boredom of video games in this later down-period motivated Tajiri and Sugimori to create their own. Tajiri further deconstructed Family BASIC programming to learn its ins-and-outs, purchased game-development software, and started self-teaching the medium. One of his early game concepts even won a SEGA fan-contest, and another finished game was published by NAMCO. The duo evolved Game Freak into a video game development company in 1989, and began official work on Pokémon in 1990. Tajiri’s concept was progressively ironed out – down to even the importance of fainting to curtail violence and death to make it a family-friendly game, customizability, foundation of interactivity through [technologically-innovative] trading mechanics as a requirement to collect every creature, main character being himself as a child [the animé’s and manga’s protagonist is named Satoshi for him], and early prototype drawings for some of the original 151 by Sugimori. Their pitch-day to Nintendo brought confusion to the face of executives who failed to ‘get’ the concept, even suggesting weird edits like giving Pikachu boobs – but Tajiri’s reputation, the duo’s self-assuredness and passion to keep it as-is, and Nintendo’s desperation for the next big thing after declining popularity/sales led them to [~reluctantly] greenlight it. Nintendo’s trajectory to 1996 is important to understand Pokémon as well. Originally a card company in 1889 founded by Fusajiro Yamamuchi in Kyoto, Nintendo first only manufactured hanafuda – but financial struggles and cultural shifts over the next 70+ years diverted research/development into other revenue streams. First making classic and electronic toys in the ’60’s and early ’70’s, they eventually struck gold in video games with the arcade and color TV: opening subsidiaries in other countries like the U.S.A. to capitalize on the cultural phenomenon.

A $100B+ Idea & Concept-Pitch

A Game Taking A Childhood To Dream, ~10 [Non-Salaried] Years To Develop, & Near-Bankruptcy Nintendo Later: The Experience Of Pocket Monsters Begins On Feb. 27, 1996

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Their 1980 Mr. Game & Watch was perhaps the first classically-definable video game as we know them today, and Donkey Kong a year later introduced the franchise’s mascot while being one of the greatest and most beloved games of all-time, even generations later. Piracy and the rise of ROM’s caused a market crash of the industry, with Nintendo trying to brace the storm with official seals of quality and differentiation making the first portable system in the Game Boy. Letting them keep the lights on amongst the sea of sharks and competitors like SEGA and NEC, Nintendo failed with their latest invention of stereoscopic graphics in VR technology on The Virtual Boy and were one or two failures away from complete bankruptcy. Though they didn’t grasp the concept fully, they believed this was the next big thing and trusted Tajiri enough to develop/fund it – the greatest investment in video game history, although one that got off to a rocky start at first. The inherent complexity and bold/larger-than-life ambitions of Tajiri made the game take 6+ years to develop – unprecedented in the video game industry, but the realization of a lifetime dream since childhood to make the ultimate adventure he would not compromise on even under the mentorship of the industry-veteran he idolized: Shigeru Miyamoto. Reports showed Tajiri working 24-hour shifts then resting for 12 hours in cycles, and refusing even a salary when Nintendo’s funds started to run low. Five developers quit, and a team of less than 10 people is responsible for creating Pokémon Red/Blue/Green/Yellow – only finally seeing the light of release day on February 27, 1996 by a savior angel-investment from Creatures, Inc. in return for 1/3 ownership of the IP. The game received bare coverage in the news due to preconceptions of Game Boy being a dead system and Nintendo washed-up, prompting marketing overcompensation by Nintendo it didn’t even end up needing when the game went viral by grassroots word-of-mouth in children worldwide [as we’ll further-detail the rise of later].

The Kanto Region

A Wildly-Diverse Region Based On Real-World Japan Full Of Character, Majestic Cultural Touches, & A Breathtaking Canvas Of Natural Awe In A Color-Themed Motif

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Thus, Pocket Monsters was born – and the impossible growth-cycle of a game no one expected to become a success, let alone the world’s biggest media franchise of all-time at $100B+ evaluation in 2021, catalyzed. The aggrandization and pop culture revolution of Pokémon can be traced back to its blueprint and concept – the ultimate fictional adventure; a panegyric to childhood and nature, letting you wield its powers in the palm of your hand with monster friends boasting breathtaking elemental abilities you explore the world with. The brilliance of Pokémon as a concept is that it transcends the laws of physics, nature, and reality; it unlocks the maximum zenith experience of nature and animals we’ve been cruelly-deprived of in real-life by malicious antagonists like disease, hunger, violence, directional loss, and mortality to let us wield fire-breathing dragons, water-cannoning tortoises, flowering plant-dinosaurs, ridable birds of legend, thunderbolt-summonable electric mouses, etc. as pets and best friends. We can actually go on an adventure in nature.. without worrying about freezing or burning up, getting lost or going missing, bitten by mosquitoes or eaten by a plethora of dangerous plants and animals – truly live without fear of dying. This beautiful natural symbiosis breathes the greatest fantasy world in the history of fiction in CLC’s vote – one painted and built with near-perfection and maximum escapist immersion [impossibly] in the first-ever games of the series: Red/Blue/Green/Yellow. The background of which such a magical concept could live has to be just as spectacular and epic as its creatures – and R/B/G/Y delivers that with The Kanto Region. Kanto is perhaps the best region in Pokémon to-date – not only by its culture and bases, but masterfully world-built and concept-designed in every one of its color-themed cities and routes.

The Visuals & World-Building

A Beautiful, Charming, Craftsman Slice Of Old-Fashioned 8-Bit Nostalgia That Feels True To The Game’s Childhood Dream Sleeve With Impressive Scale, Texture Mapping, Sprites, Chibi Avatars, & Move Animations

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

From the charmingly quaint seaside village we start our journey in, we’re taken on a curated exhibition of nature and fictional tropes from grassy fields to volcanic islands to flowery valleys to rocky cliffs to cerulean streams to snowy mountains to dark forests to rip-roaring tide-surfs to power plants to cityscapes to sci-fi labs to fighting dojos to psychic mediums to ninja trickhouses to haunted graveyards to zoos to gardens to secretive criminal organization hideouts to bustling metropolises to pantheonic marble palaces. Kanto is truly one of the most diverse worldbuilds in video game history – and I also appreciate its realism, scale, 8-bit nostalgia, and cultural paean. I love how the region, like its creatures, are based in realism to the natural world and no overly-cheesy or dystopian/fantasy; there are no swirly gumdrop forests or candy cane lands here – it’s an overworld that serves as a breathtaking eulogization of the beauty of real-life nature: one that plays by its rules, we can transition to and get lost in easily being the same biomes we know with just the animals switched out, and we can truly enjoy by its removals of real-world dangers. Kanto also serves as a panegyric to Japan, taking the real-world Japanese region of Kanto as inspiration in design and nature – while fitting in touches evocative of its culture that also further-establish the ultimate idealization-world like its commerce kiosk pokemarts reminiscent of konbini that don’t capitalize and scourge prices beyond which even a child can afford, small-town non-big-business ruralized charm in many of its areas, and small mini-hospitals/vets with free universal healthcare just like SHIS’ for its citizens as easy as 1-2-3 getting your pokemon healed.

The Soundtrack

One Of The Best In Video Game History, A Mix Of Synthesizer & White Noise That Breathes Adventure & Imagination From The Title Screen & Diversely Fuels G-1 Aesthetics

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The cities’ names are color-themed, ones that perfectly epitomize their aesthetic and elemental motif just by name like Pewter City for rock types, Cerulean City for water types, Cinnabar Island for fire types, Celadon City for grass types, Lavender Town for ghost types, etc. The scale is impressive to effectively give us the feel of a massive overworld comparatively to us, and world is so damn-charming: a masterclass of world-building I could happily get lost in forever and which still charms and holds up even 25+ years later. This is due, in large part, to its A/V package – one that may feel primitive to the early ages of video games going back today, but charms on that historical nostalgia for real gamers, feels cool and underground like a crowdsourced indie game made by a passionate supergeek with an idea and blood/sweat/tears refreshingly homegrown and underdogish by manifest destiny from the franchise mega-roots today, and bursts with personality its hard to come by in the modern age. The 8-bit graphics are delightful as we roam through these wild and diverse biomes, chibi style avatars effective in translating scale while culturally-authentic to its patriarchal japanese origins, textures fine for its game engine, move animations epic from warping psychadelia to systemic error voltage overloads, and sprites endearingly-simplistic. R/B/G/Y game feels like a game a child dreamed up and built – and that’s the point: the entire concept’s true origins most of the other games in the series outside of G/S/C are too well-built to conceive of its bedroom-made, caringly-crafted underdog spirit it’s even more refreshing to see given how massively the franchise has grown since.

The Toughest Choice Of A Childhood

Everyone Remembers The Decision: POC Of IP-Quality & Real-World Analyzability On Cultural Preferences & Personality Trends

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The score of Pokémon: Red/Blue/Green/Yellow is one of the greatest in video game history. Even relevant today by its melodies we adults vividly remember and hum, the soundtrack bursts with effervescence, personality, innovation, and good ol’ fashioned escapism. A glorious amalgamation of major key adventure feel utilizing all four sound channels on the Game Boy from its opening ‘Monster’ title theme, the realization that composer Junichi Masuda made it all on a home commodore amiga computer only featuring PCM pulse-code modification and two sound types: synthesizer and white noise flipped and harshened to sound like marching drums is inconceivable. The score is truly an exemplification of talent and visionism over resources/money; it takes its deficient capital and still paints a portraiture that perfectly-parallels and melds us into the overworld in every city and route through timbre and tonal brilliance. Pallet Town’s soft-and-smooth flutes of beginning, fluid harmonics of Cerulean City, asynchronous minor key dissonances of Viridian Forest, buzzy techno-pop electricity of Verminilion, luxurious cascades of opulence on the S.S. Anne, macabre valudeville wurlitzers in Lavender Town, and hardship-rife crescendoes of Victory Road and The Elite 4 are just but some of the magnificently theme-relevance of its soundscape – all befit with the same perfect mainstays of flurrying tornado arpeggio of notes signifying a battle or wild-pokemon encounter of notes and twangy grit of gym battles.

The Starters

Perhaps The Best 3 Starters To-Date (Only Passed By G/S/C In CLC’s Vote), A Trio For The Ages Of Creature Design In Hearts Of Millions: Charmander, Squirtle, & Bulbasaur

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The blissful atmosphere and leitmotif [with plenty of timbre diversification] fuels the dreamscape even further for, quite simply, magic ensorcellment in its worldbuild in audiovisuals – an aspect scientific studies from Columbia and Harvard found children place secondary to gaming experience and thus it didn’t even need, but is all the more a masterpiece for having. Of course, all this cinematographical and acoustic wonderment is good-and-all, but would’ve meant nothing without the creatures to back them up. Now, R/B/G/Y has come under attack of-late by the newest generation – the same Gen. Z/Alpha whom eats tide pods, lives at home with their parents, entitledly sips decaf lattes and frapuccinos all day between classes at community colleges on a liberal arts communications degree yet pretentiously believe they’re IQ messiahs whose every thought demands to be shared online to change the world, think Tik Tok and OnlyFans are ‘real careers/jobs’, is mad at everything and claims to be “oppressed” despite having the most resources and equality of any generation, and thinks good entertainment is ultra-politicizing everything with ‘woke’ checklist boxes by corporations they can’t tell our exploiting them and care nothing about social justice – whom [obviously, above: completely illogical/delusional and not to be taken seriously on critical analysis when they’ve got to fix themselves first] claim the designs are too ‘simplistic, unimaginative, and realistic’. They base the entire success of PKMN [apparently] on “nostalgia” – conveniently overlooking the fact that there are just as many monster franchises that followed in the boom and have been completely forgotten or DOA in the ’90’s, and that people don’t nostalgize things that suck (no one on a global scale is ‘nostalgic’ for the days of segregation, racism, sexism, living without technology / in caves like our ancestors did, etc.; people aren’t still building houses with asbestos in the popcorn-ceilings or admitting it was ever a good idea design-or-safety-wise just because they grew up with them being widespread; entertainment-wise, nobody defends the ’80’s slasher or franchise umpteenth-sequels they grew up with as ‘masterpieces’ like they do actual ones released at the same time like Star Wars, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Terminator, and Aliens: wonder why that is?]. They miss the entire point of PKMN – and why it had magic and succeeded wherein countless other franchises failed [all, Digimon even being the most successful knockoff, by how overdesigned/busy they were – preventing connection directly to the heart or capitalizing on the nature-realism to make us want to take a second-look and care].

A Game Based On Elemental Principles

A Balanced Overworld, PKMN Gets Its Type Canvas From Life & Reframes The Laws Of Physics & Nature To Let You Wield Powers; A Chesslike RPG – Advantages & Weaknesses

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

There shouldn’t even be a competition between Gen. 1 and Gens. V, VI, VII, VIII, IX,… in a franchise that went from indie bankruptcy self-financed dream to $100B+ biggest franchise in the world able to outsource and pay/do whatever necessary with blank checks worldwide to designers free of ALL origin/introduction creativity shackles able to hyperimaginate anything in the f*cking world; the fact there even are Kanto fans [let alone: worldwide ones and just as many even decades and hundreds of ‘mons later as in ’96, as clearly evidenced by the global hype of Pokémon GO’s release in the summer of 2016] says everything you need to know. The later franchise additions of Mega Evolutions and Regional Variants basically show what Gen. I’s ‘mons would’ve been like if they had the same privileges and advantages of release at a later-date with sales and franchise safety, infinite resources and total imagination freedom as proceeding generations did – and that, in conjunction with the original design features and aesthetics they only accentuate/underline and slightly remix with the highest number of remixes for any gen readily available and obviously easy for them design for constant bangers amongst the best pokémon ever made to-date, prove the concept and bones of GI. Tons of franchises have tried to replicate/ripoff Pokémon’s iconic 151 and take the crown of creature-based VG: Digimon, Beyblade, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Monster Rancher, Digipets, Bakugan, Fighting Foodons, Magi-Nation, Duel Monsters, Medabots, Angelic Layer, Cardfight!: Vanguard, Dinosaur King, Yo-Kai Watch, Cardcaptors, etc. – and failed. Perhaps the ultimate seal of quality, care, and magic [+ compliment: imitation] of design, Pokémon’s monsters are still the greatest of all-time – many of the best to-date found here in Generation 1, from the first decision of the game onward: Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle. The toughest choice of a childhood and one we all remember for life afterwards is picking between that iconic trio fixated in the hearts of millions: one it’s a veritable challenge of hours to choose between by the brilliance and diversification of its creature-designs. Bulbasaur is an indescribably-adorable plantosaur that was overlooked by many at first release by the badassery of its two cousins, but has since undergone a renaissance in pop-cultural appreciation: one that appreciates its phenomenal design, bases, and biological complexity rooted in herbology and anthropology – a fascinating mutual symbiosis of dinosaur/amphibian and flowering plant able to bend nature and tap into its mysteries/secrets leading up to Venusaur. Next, Squirtle is a bold amalgamation of nature and mankind – one that starts as a cute tinyturtle and spends 2/3 of its evolutionary progression and life cycle as a classical tortoise, then evolves into one of the most badass creatures of Pokémon to-date: the giant, tank-sized Blastoise with cannons on its back and power seeping through every aspect of its design and aesthetic even down to the name. Combining our ancient relationship and fascination with weapons, Blastoise wields them inside his shell – a mutual-symbiosis of perplexing evolutionary and historical ramifications that nevertheless gives a masterful water-design for the ages, able to cannonize the elements of the sea for dynamism.

The 151

The Perfect Blend Of Real-Life Naturalism With Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Mythology, Allegory, & Folklore, A Collection Bridging Our Worlds W. Pseudo-Realism, Magic, Soul, Life, & Personality Copycats Fail To Recreate; Something For Everyone; The Archetypes For All Future Generations [Many Still Unmatched]

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Finally, Charmander. We’ll admit: we chose Squirtle as our starter here at CLC when we were children: a perfectly fine choice, being to-date one of the best starters and Pokémon around and perhaps one we were subconsciously influenced by – our favorite color being blue and choosing the blue version it felt right going with the water starter in. We’ve since realized the absolute fiery brilliance of Charmander and its evolutionary line; if we could go back, we would’ve chosen the fire lizard from the beginning. Bases in nature and fairy-tale/fantasy, the trope of the fire-breathing dragon is revamped with breathtaking creature design across its stages. One note of special importance for the Generation 1 starters is that they were reverse-engineered/backward-designed. The creator: Atsuko Nishida first designed the badass and powerful final evolutions gracing the box-art of each version before going back to the early stages, and the result is a logical progression of authentic practicality that is part of the secret sauce of why the designs work perfectly. No where is this more visible than in Charmander: an adorable red-orange salamander with elemental flame on its tail that grows along with it into the creature-of-a-lifetime: Charizard. One of the Top 7 Pokémon ever created in CLC’s hierarchical ranking and one of the most badass creatures in the history of fiction, there’s a reason Charizard is as famous a mascot for the series as Pikachu and is commonly a ride for other mainstays on the villainy list like Darth Vader in pop culture. The intimidation factor, moxie, personality, valor, brazenness, and supremacy of the design reigns and ascends other creatures: a fire-breathing dragon like none other it’s a damn experience to command flamethrowers and fire blasts from. The statistics of chosen starters by their aesthetics and inspirations can reveal clues about our culture and personalities by generational preferences: Charmander and Squirtle being top choices originally signal that previous children preferred myth/fantasy and badassery by the broad strokes over nature and history [Bulbasaur], while new ones care about social-justice, science, cuteness, and environmentalism by the resurgence of Bulbasaur. The duality of extroverted and introverted personalities is also symbolized by hot fire and cool tranquility of water and nature, respectively – while proof-of-concepting the quality of creature designs and the IP by the herculean difficulty of the choice between the three.

The Diversification Of Experience

The Masterpiece Characteristic Of Pokémon Is Diversification Of Experience: Limitless Genres & Playability In One; Firstly, A Bond Of Lifelong Natural & Animal Friendships

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The trio (or set of four if you count Pikachu in the Yellow version: the electric mouse x rabbit x squirrel mascot foundation of the entire series and one that needs little exposition on its gloriousness of its design, cuteness, animé legacy, and cultural importance. Also, a ‘mon so legendary, it turns arguably the most hated creature in our real world and turns it into the most beloved, a mascot for a millennium whose perfection is best exemplified by the fact it catalyzes the franchise’s growth from indie project in bankruptcy to world’s biggest media franchise worth over $100B+: a feat that wouldn’t have been possible without a face and mascot since ’96 we can’t justifiably think of a better cross-demographic/gen one to replace our pika pal] is a sight to behold at all stages – but the truth is: they’re only a handful of the masterpiece designs from Generation 1, ones that further eulogize Japan and its culture by taking the phenomenon and beloved Toho film subgenre of kaiju [giant monster fights like Gojira] and extrapolating it to a smaller and more graspable/tangible scale. From ghost-foxes to psychic shrews to sludge-amalgamations to macho-wrestlers to 6′ praying mantises to live magnetized orbs to boxing pig-monkeys to tri-elemental cats to gas-spewing monsters to rock-snakes to leek-twirling ducks to polygonal beings to slothful fatsos to ghosts to legendary birds to transformable goo and everything in-between, there’s a life, joie-de-vivre, soul, and je-ne-sais-quoi magic in the designs of R/B/G/Y’s highly-diversified/balanced (also extremely biologically-detailed, more so than even later gens of the very franchise – showing the years of painstaking construction and real-world attention to nature) creatures. The original 151 of PKMN have been copied, remixed, and tried to recreate in magic on worldwide scales for ~30+ years – even w/o extrapolating to the legions of other franchises, within the same very franchise in later incarnations like Black/White in Gen. V trying but (overall) failing to do so and every single new generation doing things like Pikachu clones. Sure, later gens are able to amplify 10x and dial up the imagination as well as learn from public reaction and design features [as well as evolve and variantize their own history and legacy ‘mons] for unfair advantages – but even impossibly so, the Kanto dex holds its own and demands respect/appreciation for what started everything making those later gens possible. Every type, element, trope, and animal kind is represented in the collection of a lifetime – one with a refreshing simplicity and motif of realistic naturalism that was crucial to laying the foundations of Pokémon’s growth. Bridging the gap between our world and theirs, if Pocket Monsters had gone too fantastical, surrealistic, overdesigned, scary, cute, or hypagognic from the get-go: anything but the goldilocks execution, PKMN would’ve failed and might’ve faded into irrelevance like the slew of bankruptcy challengers/copiers we mentioned before.

The Diversification Of Experience

Pokémon Revolves Around The Science Of Biology – Darwinism, Evolution, Taxonomy, Classification, Etc. Forcing To Be A Zoologist, Breathe Appreciation For S.T.E.M., & Read

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The crux and defining characteristic of Pokémon is that it lets us wield the power of nature and do things we never could in the real-world – of critical importance in that is being believable that these could be real creatures we’ve seen before and thus have a preconceived attachment to, reimagined in new imaginative ways for a first generation paving the way for limitless possibilities in the future. Many of the creatures are based on real-world animals and plants: frogs, lizards, turtles, caterpillars, butterflies, mouses, wasps, pigeons, rats, sparrows, shrews, foxes, gnats, moths, rafflesia, venus fly traps, dogs, cats, fish, snakes, bats, horses, moles, vines, kangaroos, bulls, crabs, seals, ducks, birds, even humans, etc. However, even the realistic ones are made 10kx+ more interesting by their elemental abilities and typification throwing flamethrowers, ice beams, tidal waves, grassy surges, and earthquakes. There are also fantasy and science-fiction ones weaved between like ghosts, vampires, living metal, transformable DNA goo, cognizant rocks, and sea-jewelry; there are ones with social-commentary and anthropomorphized personality like payday-seeking capitalistic cats, lovably-awkward chubby ducks, pollution-themed sludge-monsters, gangster/troublemaker sparrows, and singer puffballs whom people fall asleep to in its act; there are ones with morality allegory like the useless and bullied Magikarp evolving into one of the best and most powerful creatures in the game in Gyarados and Mewtwo being a perverse subversion of nature and religion by it being a lab-recreation of the God/Jesus of the pokéworld: Mew. There are ones based on history like its extinct fossils and dinosaurs; finally, there are ones of mythological and folklore inspirations like legendary birds, cerberus/hydraic ostriches, dream-eating tapirs, dragons, and gods. The collection is very diverse, while keeping its design pedigree and magic across all perhaps best exemplified by a mass-study of hundreds of thousands or millions of registered votes on people’s favorite Pokemon a couple of years ago bringing back results of every Pokémon [across the entire series of generations: wow, but the biggest multitude of votes being sequestered in Gen. 1] being some people’s favorite: a testament to its quality as a set with enough to please every discernible taste and palette, regardless if they’re grown men wanting badass powerful monsters or little girls wanting cute and cuddly friends/pets. Sure, they’re simple, minimalistic, and not as imaginative or great as later-gens, but you can’t just lead in with Gen. IV-V level ‘mons.

The Diversification Of Experience

Capitalizing On Mankind’s Basest Instincts, Hunting For A New Generation – The Same Thrills & Euphoria x1000, With Minimal VG Effort & W/O The Need To Kill Real Animals

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

A perfect e.g. case-study is Digimon – Gabumon, Palmon, Greymon, Sanglopmon, Togemon, etc. all have the ‘imagination’ Genwunner-haters criticize the Kanto dex for ‘not having’.. but look at the two side-by-side and it’s obvious the imagination means nothing without the magic, soul, and love behind-the-eyes. A perfect analogy is the beginning: you can’t lead a music stage performance with your hardest or best song as the crowd needs to get warmed up and eased into why they should even be listening to you (think of the festival or concert as a world you’re fighting for everyone in the crowd’s attention on), or begin a movie trilogy without doing the heavy characterizational lifting paving the muscle foundation for later plot-twists and dark endings [The Empire Strikes Back and iconic Luke-reveal would’ve never been possible without IV: A New Hope, also origin films are often-called ‘boring’ and ‘having to play by the rules’ (of narrative construction, but there’s a reason we have these after trillions of stories going back to cavemen around the fire millennia ago)]. People need a soft introduction to an idea as groundbreaking and revolutionary as this; people who call gen I simplistic are missing that that’s the point, it introduces us to the fantasy world through our own real world’s lens: the animals and lifeforms we see and wish we could interact with every day on real-world planet earth.. only now we can through a franchise serving as a conduit between our depressing reality and zenith fantasy – even then connecting it; who wouldn’t love to wield a real-life tiger at beckon command or have as a pet? Heck, royalty in real-world areas like Saudi Arabia all the way back to Louis XIV had lions and tigers as pets. PKMN rewrites the laws and rules of nature as a pseudo-God to let us be incharge and get full reign over the animal kingdom.The 151 also serve as foundational archetypes and a blueprint of how to balance and what the fanbase wants for every generation after: from its starters to dragon trio to ghosts to pseudo-legends to cute mascots, etc. [many of them, the Gengar trio and Snorlax for e.g. *still* unmatched decades and 8+ generations later]. There’s an entire underworld of mysterious and complex relationships, theories and NSFW hidden meanings in R/B/G/Y’s 151 that pokémaniacs have spent decades deciphering and theorizing on its ramifications for the overworld – from Gengar being the ghost of a dead Clefable, Butterfree and Venomoth being switched final evolutions from their mixed-up previous forms, Ekans and Arbok being Snake and [C]obra backwards and what that means for a perhaps sexually-inspired Muk, Cloyster and Voltorb being possessed by Gastly and Haunter, Haunter’s relationship to the dead Marowak mother of Cubone, what Jynx, Machamp, and Hitmonchan/lee are by how humanistic they are, etc.

The Diversification Of Experience

Our Favorite Part Of Pokémon: Collecting, The Motto Challenge To Catch ‘Em All Drives Playback For Decades – & Fuels Gratitude Of Its Magnificently-Diverse Creature Designs

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

All 151 – impossibly created by a team of fewer than 10 people headed by chief architect Atsuko Nishida – are reframed in the context of nature & a delicate ecosystem of pure brilliance. The mechanization, blueprint, and overworld of its gameplay is the defining characteristic that truly cements Pokémon: Red/Blue/Green/Yellow as one of the greatest video games of all-time; the diversification of experience and eureka perspicacity to come up with, then execute such a bold and groundbreaking idea quite likely the biggest in fictional history with such acumen on your first game in the series is a borderline-miracle. The elements of nature are wieldable where once they were intangible [with a few exceptions like normal, flying, and bug/poison attacks like biting, stinging, flying, and tackling real-world animals can do on the basest levels], cleverly relate/interplay with each other based on realistic principles, & anchor the wild diversity of creatures in a streamlining compendium of 15 types: fire, water, grass, electric, ground, poison, ghost, normal, psychic, fighting, rock, ice, bug, flying, and dragon. The aperçu is graspable even by a child with practice, and works phenomenally to categorize/typecast each creature into a set of basically only 1/10th the amount of strategem memorization as it would’ve with 150+ [with some creatures being dual-typified and tricky]. The relationships work based on naturalistic elemental principles, while giving each type both super-effective advantages and weaknesses.

The Diversification Of Experience

Of Course, The Most Epic: Battling Godlike Creatures Able To Breathe Fire, Launch Ice Beams, Fly, Psychic-Energize, Thunderbolt, Earthquake, Etc. At The Bark Of A Command

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Fire burns grass and melts ice but is put out by water and grounded by the earth/rocks, water puts out fire and soupifies ground/rock but is soaked up by grass and zapped by conductable electricity, grass is firewood and frozen by wintery ice and susceptible to poison and bugs while strong against water and growing in the ground/rocks, electric zaps bugs and birds but is grounded by earth, psychics are weak to supernatural phenomena/ghosts but stronger mentally than physical fighting, etc. Pokémon nods/winks to the laws of nature while aggrandizing it to maximum potential, entertainment, fantasy, and adventure – one loaded with decades of replay value beyond any other game by how diversifiable the portfolio and experience is. To younger players and influence undeniable regardless, PKMN is a game of friendships – the same love we pour into our pets [anyone whom has had a puppy or kitten instantly understands how much we’d do for them and how much they mean to us in life] extrapolated to creatures of endless varieties and our choosing we can enjoy beyond the single-digit choices nature actually gives us in real life and we form lifelong bonds with. At CLC, each of us has a team we’ve used for generations: our favorites, carefully gleamed and curated across the decades into a set we take into every game because they’ve become a part of us. The game also has a strikingly-proficient scientific background/motif in the very foundations of Pokémon. R/B/G/Y [& every generation since] makes us do the job of zoologist/biologist – filling in the pages of a naturalist’s journal and encyclopedia in the pokedex by the scientific principles of evolution, taxonomy, classification, environmentalism, etc. the game eulogizes through its structure and overworld.

Trading

One Of The Few Games That Transcends VR To Real-Life, Groundbreaking Technological Innovation That Grew Friendships [& Sales]

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The game bleeds S.T.E.M. appreciation from our opening field trip to the science museum in Pewter City and the technological brilliance of its capture module pokeballs somehow by eureka physics magic miniaturizing monsters as big as a Gyarados, Snorlax, or Dragonite to fit in your pocket and PC system converting matter into electronic code-and-back. It also geniusly miniaturizes and simplifies – while still mostly-accurate by the broad strokes, as I can personally attest having a B.Sc degree from a Top 20-ranked national university in Biology and Ivy League educational resumé – the principles of darwinian evolution and natural-selection through its evolution mechanic showing not only an aging across a lifespan brilliantly allowing both cuter babies -> more badass and powerful adult versions of ~each ‘mon but also across the millennia of history. The game also refreshingly – of critical importance and benevolence in today’s increasingly-technological/media incorporated youth culture/landscape – makes you read the story instead of getting it spoon-fed by A/V. The game also capitalizes on mankind’s basest instincts and evolutionary programming by giving us the ability to hunt – in a way that respects nature. The same thrills and euphoria x1000 by its elementalization and fightback with effortless and harmless VG idealization, Pokémon lets us track, reconnaissance, snare, and capture game stalking the tall grass without the need the need for killing defenseless animals like real-life hunting does [& thus empathetic and compassionate individuals have to avoid as an experience]. Oh, and the rarity of spawns require sometimes hours-to-days hunting specific ‘mons and legendaries amongst the most difficult to capture but most gratifying when you do. The veritable challenge of the game’s motto to catch ’em all drives playback for generations to come and is our favorite part, being able to craft your team of beloved creatures to use – while forcing intractability and business-growth by clever fracture of the available creatures in each version so that one has to trade with friends or buy two-for-one consoles/games to collect them and many of the game’s best creatures like Machamp, Gengar, Mew, Golem, etc.

The Gameplay & Mechanics

A Blueprint Decades Ahead Of Time Across Gens Is Born: A Complex, Strategy-Rich Turn-Based RPG – TM’s, Evolution, HM’s, IVs, Teams, Items, Bags, Critical Hits, Status Effects, Rarity RNG, Lvl/Exp. Grind, Etc.

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The limitation of 6 on a team is the perfect number so that it gives you enough room for a type and physical balance capability without feeling too few or vast in number for maximum investment in your team, and can switch out at any time by the PC’s boxes of storage for others to let you catch freely as you wish. The game’s trading code that was groundbreaking for its time trade cables were only used in professional battle VG and never imagined for the trade of information with as much as depth as PKMN. The battle mechanics are perhaps the most famous and revolutionary technical aspect of R/B/G/Y – nailed like its other features from the get-go, holding up decades later with scarce-to-no updates needed by the craftsmanship of its original programmers/architects. A turn-based, chess-like, Tekken-inspired but reinvented, dual-staged alternation of moves and countermoves with wild diversification by its status effects, critical hit wildcard, items, moves, supereffective, IV’s, and level/exp. variables, Pokémon’s battle and strategic mechanics are positively brilliant and decades ahead-of-its-time. The most epic part of the game, battling godlike creatures able to bend the forces of nature at-will is as easy as the bark of a command by pressing a button from the perfectly-numbered and curatable choice of four moves with millions of possible combinations by the presence of TM’s and HM’s that progressively amplify and grow more powerful as we do on our journey, the experience points and levels doing so as well and meriting a grind to stay on top of the competition.

The Adventure

A Panegyric To Childhood, Growth, Nature, Life, Friendships, Odyssey, Primal Mankind Origins, Fantasy, Exploration: The Ultimate Adventure And Fictional World Experience

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

We love how status effects like poison, freezing, burns, paralysis, and hypnosis are far more pronounced than proceeding generations here and critical hits more prevalent as a wildcard. Beyond its turn-based fighting, pet, hunting, collection, science, natural, mythology, and strategy genres, Pokémon R/B/G/Y fits in multiple other game styles as well. There are puzzles throughout the game like in caves and secret hideouts that present dizzying challenges without proper map guidance even the most experienced explorers and free-roam veterans would get lost in, easter eggs like hidden items to find in unknown places and minigames such as fishing and casino gambling, and spy/action/heroic arcs – all through the game’s story progression and foremost genre: adventure. A panegyric to childhood, our journey of odysseic exploration and self-growth takes us back to our own – an epic that spans across landscapes, mythology, history, and folklore for the ultimate fictional experience of all-time. As children and even into early adulthood the game is applicable to, our existential purpose and drive is to explore and learn the world around us – one our souls crave in their deepest piths by their lost tangibility, made even more pressing and gratifyingly-enjoyable by the progressive industrialization, 9-5 normalization, and technologization society has aggressively encaged us with; the mysteries, love, laughter, hardship, loss, and kaleiodcopic prism of life and nature are here once again graspable and given the maximum fantasizable experience.