Childhood Nostalgia: Pokemon Red Version

Step aside Pokemon X/Y! Pokemon Red Version is still the best in my eyes!
This article is over 11 years old and may contain outdated information

Pokemon Red Version was my very first video game that I received as a gift back in 1998, when it was first released in North America on the Gameboy. After popping in the red 4-megabit cartridge (with the sweet Charizard art) into my brand new, purple Gameboy Color and watching the opening battle animation between Gengar and male Nidoran, I was instantly hooked! That was the very beginning of my journey into the world of Pokemon!

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During this year’s recent E3, Pokemon X and Y were announced as the latest upcoming games in the series for the Nintendo 3DS. The games will be the first installment to feature the sixth generation of Pokemon and the first to feature 3D polygonal graphics. While I’m happy to see how far the Pokemon franchise has evolved and remained popular, there’s no way Pokemon X and Y will ever compare with the classic games that us old-school Pokemon masters had the privilege of playing, and “marked the beginning of what would become a multi-billion dollar franchise!”

In my opinion, Pokemon Red Version is the best game in the entire series! Why? Mostly childhood nostalgia, but there’s a reason why Pokemon Red (and Blue) Version was highly praised and given the title of “Best selling RPG of all time!” I’ve compiled a list of some features that I personally enjoyed, and felt made this classic Pokemon game a masterpiece!

 The Graphics

Who didn’t love the cute 8-bit graphics of the classic Pokemon games? Sure, the sprites may have been criticized for looking a little funny and awkward (compared to their anime counterparts), but they are still iconic and highly remembered in the minds of fans who played the games. The fat pikachu is still my all-time favorite sprite from Pokemon Red! The graphics may have been simple, but they still brought the early world of Pokemon to life! 

Pokemon X and Y may have 3D graphics and bold colors thanks to the capabilities of the 3DS, but the Gameboy Color let you play Pokemon in various shades of Red or Blue (or just plain black and white if you didn’t own the Gameboy Color). We still loved the game despite our limitations with fine details! New generations of Pokemon fans would probably call these old-school titles “primitive,” but…

…and we liked it!

The Music and Sound FX

The soundtrack and battle cries were another slightly criticized feature of the classics. But, ironically enough, the battle cries have still remained in the current games, including the latest Pokemon Black 2 and White 2! You just can’t deny that the traditional sounds of our beloved old-school classics were too iconic and catchy to ignore! We all had our favorite sounds, and I’m sure we all tried imitating them at some point (I admit that I did). I loved humming along to the Route 1 theme while heading to Viridian City!

The Lavender Town music still creeps me out to this very day!

The Glitches

“Glitch City,” catching Mew, the truck, MissingNo. If there was anything players of Pokemon Red (and Blue) remembered the most, it was probably the glitches. I’m sure we all remember enjoying the benefits of duplicating items that were placed in the 6th slot of the inventory (especially rare candies and master balls).

Of course, we engaged in these fun tricks at the expense of possibly ruining our save files (like our precious Hall of Fame information), but it was well worth the fun! (Does anyone remember owning a GameShark)?

 The Original Pokemon

Pokemon Red Version was the best game in the series because it had the original monsters that have established the roots of this hit franchise! There were only 150 Pokemon (plus Mew), and far fewer types and abilities. Fairy-type Pokemon? What’s that? Back in my day, Jigglypuff was only considered a “normal”-type Pokemon!

Why does each game’s beginning require you to pick one Pokemon companion of fire, water, or grass, you ask? The answer: it’s tradition, and this iconic tradition was started in Pokemon Red/Blue!

You just can’t help but love the original Pokemon of the Red and Blue Version games! Plus, since each version contained exclusive Pokemon that could only be found in either game, catching and trading these particular monsters with friends became a huge hit, and was a mechanic that was highly praised by game critics at the time!

Pokemon X / Y may be the beginning of the newer generation’s Pokemon adventure, but we can never forget the roots and traditions of the classics that started it all!

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Kaitlin Silver
I'm a Media Arts & Design graduate from the D.C. Metro area! I grew up on Nintendo and Playstation, and love games that allow co-operative play! Besides gaming, I also enjoy traveling, working with new media and technology, and music!