Why Pokemon Red & Blue Will Forever Be The Best Pokemon Games Of All Time
1998 was a magical year for Pokemon. I was a 12 year old carrying around my yellowing brick of a Game Boy around everywhere I went.
In class? It was in my backpack. Recess? Forget about it, my friends and I would sit at the picnic tables discussing what foe we had just conquered. We had the quintessential list of games associated with Nintendo, but one stood out among the rest, Pokemon.
Pokemon Red & Blue were released in North America in the Fall of 1998, it wasn’t like anything any of us had ever experienced before.
A game where we had to catch little monsters and train them to become these powerful juggernauts prepared for any battle that may come our way?
A game where we had to strategically choose what Pokemon to use to defeat gym leaders and those pesky team rocket heathens? So many possibilities, so many ways to play.
Now Nintendo and Game Freak were clever. In order to capture all of the 151 Pokemon in the game, you had to trade. You see, some Pokemon were exclusive to their respective colors.
The only way you could get your pokedex (The Pokemon encyclopedia) was to trade. It forced us to surround ourselves with friends that had the opposite Pokemon game that we had and proceed to connect our game link cables to try and capture them all. The Craze had begun.
Pokemon on TV?
Now during this time, the Pokemon TV series was released in North America and we couldn’t get enough. If we weren’t watching Ash, Brock and Misty conquer team rocket during the day, then our faces were buried in a 2.5 inch green screen trying to complete our quests of trying to catch’em all at night.
The story in red and blue were identical, but for whatever reason, everyone’s tale of defeating some of the most tireless gym leaders seemed to be different. Everyone had a different experience in their play through of the game.
As 1998 faded and 1999 showed up, it was safe to say that the majority of us had already conquered the elite four and were at the end game. Most of us were already in the 100’s when it came to how many Pokemon were in our pokedex, some had even finished theirs already.
What was left?
The Pokemon Trading Card Game was released in 1999. Well played Nintendo, well played.
Pokemon cards not only reignited our love for Red and Blue, but now we had physical versions of the digital sprites we had in or Game Boy’s. This craze was even bigger than red and blue, but that’s for another day.
You see, Pokemon took the souls of every kid in the late 90’s across the globe. We were the first to have the game, the show and the cards. That much Pokemon throw at us in such a short time, will forever stick with us. We didn’t stand a chance.
When Nintendo decided to re-release these classics on their virtual console in the beginning of 2016, I was sold. I bought a New 3DS XL for the sole purpose of playing these classics again.
Pokemon Red & Blue will always hold a special place in our hearts because that’s where it all begin. Every Pokeball we threw, every gym we took down, every trade we made, it all comes back to us being there when Pokemon was in its infancy.
Sure, the games that came after were fantastic. I myself finished up Pokemon X recently, but none of the other games can compare to that magic time when Pokemon reached America.