There isn’t a soul on earth that won’t recognize Pikachu, and probably Charizard, but even within Poke-Mania most of the world got their Pocket Monster fix from the anime and card game. Pokemon Red and Blue hit America right as the Gameboy was winding down. These games, and the anime that aired with them, singlehandedly created a craze across the world. Gamefreak saw an opportunity within the anime. Protagonist Ash Ketchum had a Pikachu as his starter Pokemon, an impossibility in the games, and all three starters on his team. So Pokemon Yellow was developed to coincide more with the anime. It only went to push Poke-Mania so much more!
You are a 10-year-old child who is about to receive your first Pokemon! Professor Oak tasks you and your rival, his grandson, with logging data on every monster across Kanto in the Pokedex. You must go around the world and catch-em-all! Along the way, you’ll enter into the Pokemon League! Where you must defeat Kantos’ eight gym leaders, and the Elite Four, to become the League Champion! Of course, your rival will be keeping up with you the entire time. A simplistic story for a small title. Not really any issues with it.
Pokemon Gen 1 is a below-average JRPG of the 90s. There has always been something that kept me from going into the Gameboy games. I just never wanted to put the effort into beating them. Spoiler alert, I still haven’t. JRPGs of this era aren’t really known for their quality. Sure, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and Chrono Trigger are much beloved in hindsight. But, really only the 16-bit ones. Nobody looks at Dragon Warrior, or FF1, and says “that’s my favorite game of all time!” Even die-hard fans of the series look at them as poor in a modern context.
Pokemon Yellow has a very in-depth battle system for the time. The ability to catch 150, yes I’m ignoring Mew, monsters and train them with drastically varying moves on basically an NES is super impressive. It’s also fun! The type advantages, items, and status effects all feel like prototypes of the modern Pokemon I love. Yet it’s still incredibly fun to play with! A testament to how well-thought-out this series is. Even at the beginning.
Pokemon has always incorporated version exclusive monsters. They want to promote trading across versions and building real friendships. I’ve always found this a bit of an annoying thing. But I can’t say it isn’t one of the smartest decisions in gaming. Whoever the original man who thought this up deserves a life-time raise. More money than the guy who decided to sell the razor cheap and the blades expensive. More money than the guy who decided to sell chicken nuggets without ketchup. Because we all know it’s impossible to eat them like that.
Pokemon Yellow is VERY archaic. There’s little dialogue, few unique sounds, and many other trappings of 8-bit titles. Many say the biggest flaw with Gen 1 is the grinding. The grinding never bothered me. Even with this most recent play-through I really enjoyed the time spent leveling my team up. What killed this experience, literally, is Gen 1s abhorrent backtracking. I can’t stand backtracking in games. Where Gen 1 is 90% going back and forth. This is why I put down the game.
I dislike Pokemon Yellow rather strongly. The basic trappings of the era, the limited world-building, and most of all the backtracking got to me too tightly. Maybe I’d be quicker to forgive it if multiple better versions of this game didn’t exist. If you want to experience the world of Kanto, I can’t recommend enough, play the Generation 3 remakes or Let’s Go! They are both fine games with unique quirks that are well worth your time. I can’t even pretend to have clicked with Generation 1. I’ve always hated it, and I couldn’t find anything in it to love.
Pokemon has always been well represented in Smash. Smash 64 featured both Pikachu and Jigglypuff! They even got the most creative stage out of the original lot! With Saffron City having many creative cameos, and lots of noticeable love, poured into it. It’s hard to imagine a Smash game without them now! These two are well represented without robust movesets that really haven’t changed a lot in the last 20 years. Yet they haven’t needed to.
Mewtwo is perhaps one of the most popular Pokemon of all time! After the anime made such a big deal of him his status in gaming history was cemented forever! The character was highly requested for Super Smash Bros, joining the series in Melee, many were overjoyed to see the clone of plentiful mystery join the roster. When he skipped out on Brawl and Smash 4’s base roster the team knew they had to correct the mistake. Mewtwo rejoined Smash as the series first ever DLC fighter.
The Pokemon Trainer still might be my favorite character concept Smash has ever tackled. A three-in-one choice with Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard! Sure, this means they are a lot harder to learn than most of the roster. Yet, you don’t have to learn all three. One can just choose to pick up Squirtle. It might not be the most viable choice, but it is an option.
Pokemon has many stages, spirits, and music track. Too many for me to count. This is one of Nintendos’ biggest IP and Smash doesn’t forget that. People often get upset with how many fighters the series has on the roster. I don’t think that Pokemon having more content than Mario or Zelda is necessarily a fault. The franchising certainly isn’t under-represented. The franchise solidified RPGs place in the west. I think a couple of flame dragons are forgivable. At least more so than the blue-haired swordsmen.