Gen 1 Pokemon are a Little Lame, and That's Okay
If you've made it past the headline, you're either in agreement with me already, or you're raging mad. But either way, you're still here, and that's a good thing! This is the perennial debate among Pokemon fans: which generation is best, which is worst. I'm here to reach out to fans of all generations to definitively say that the original Pokemon generation is not the best generation. Now, before you begin tearing me apart, I want to also state that gen 1 of Pokemon is still my favorite generation, despite its shortcomings. (I even dressed up as Pikachu for Halloween when I was little). So, allow me to throw my hat into the ring as I show you why gen 1 is no better than the other Pokemon generations.
Every Generation Has Its Trubbish
The most common argument you see in forums and discussion boards is that a certain generation is bad because of its less than stellar Pokemon. But the truth is that not every Pokemon design can be a home run. Gen 1 has Charizard, Mewtwo and Pikachu, three of the most iconic Pokemon of all time. And gen 1 also has Grimer and Muk, a lump of toxic waste and...an angry lump of toxic waste. That sounds a lot like Trubbish, the Trash Bag Pokemon to me. What about Klefki, the Pokemon from gen 6 that is just a pair sentient keys? Well gen 1 has a sentient magnet, named Magnemite. Not much different.
The reality is that we need these "filler" Pokemon to make the great ones really stand out. Going on an adventure to catch all the Pokemon is so much more fun when you have to catch 151 Pokemon, instead of just the roughly 40 that really stand out as "cool." Finally catching a Tauros after countless attempts, and a never ending stream of Exeggcutes, in the Safari Zone make catching that Tauros extra satisfying.
The larger number of Pokemon positively contributes to the lore of the world too. Nobody expected a Pokemon god like Arceus, but his addition to the Pokemon universe adds whole new levels of depth. If every Pokemon was super strong, the sense of accomplishment from catching a legendary Pokemon would be greatly diminished.
We Were Children
Pokemon Yellow came out in 1998 and was my first Pokemon game. I was five years old. I was not old enough, or perceptive enough, to realize that Pidgey was just a pigeon (tough to make that connection right?) Yet Pidgey will forever be the first Pokemon I ever caught and remains among my favorites. The new Pokemon of today are just like the Pokemon we loved in generation 1. The only difference is that, as adults, we can more easily see through the marketing that captures the imaginations of children.
Gen 1: Not the Best in the Franchise.
Pokemon Red/Blue and Yellow will always be my comfort food. I know those games the best, but I also know they are not the best in the franchise. For example, the move Focus Energy and item Dire Hit are supposed to increase critical hit chance. Due to a bug, they actually decrease critical hit chance. That's a pretty major bug to miss, and a good argument against gen 1 being the best generation. But, Pokemon was still the best game of its kind for kids at the time. I mean, let's be honest. Digimon wasn't a huge hit, and even as a child, I was annoyed by the fact that every creature's name ended with the suffix -mon.
If the first generation of Pokemon was perfect, the franchise wouldn't warrant any changes going forward, but even Nintendo recognized the faults of gen 1. Just because it was the best game at the time doesn't mean Nintendo and The Pokemon Company didn't want to improve and make a better game than what they made before. Gen 2 increased the polish of gen 1 games, and then when gen 3 came out, and I played Pokemon Ruby for the first time, I was blown away by how good it was. Pokemon had abilities and natures, and they had their own sprites in storage boxes, there were Pokemon contests, and secret bases, and 2v2 battles that took up countless hours of my childhood. Gen 3 isn't without its faults though. The infamous berry glitch prevented players from growing berries in their games without a patch.
Pokemon games have continued to improve on the base formula, and every new game is arguably the best to come out at the time. This doesn't mean the first games aren't good, they just don't hold up as well as we would like them too. It's why they got a remaster with Fire Red and Leaf Green.
So Which Generation is the Best?
I'm sorry that I'm not sorry, but the best generation is the one that means the most to you. Every generation has its faults. Every generation will be the best at something. What matters most is that we can recognize the faults of our favorite generations without attacking other generations. My love for generation 1 shouldn't take away from somebody else's love for generation 5. At the end of the day, we are all Pokemon fans, and that alone should be enough to bring us together and rock out to the Pokemon theme song.
What's your favorite Pokemon generation and why? Let us know in the comments below, and do keep things civil. For more Pokemon content like this be sure to stick around GameSkinny!