RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Feb 10th 2009 at 04:33:38 AM by (Nionel)
Posted under Pokemon, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Nintendo 64

Welcome to gaming in Retrospect, this is an article where I'll look back on a game or a series of games. In this article I'll be looking at the first generation of the Pokemon franchise with games for the Gameboy, Gameboy Color and Nintendo 64. The Pokemon franchise is the brain child of game developer Satoshi Tajiri, and since it's original Japanese release in 1995 has spawned more than 40 games, an anime series spanning nearly 500 episodes, and a manga series that has been serialized for the last twelve years. In this first article covering the series, I'll look at the games based on the first generation games from the main series games Pokemon Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow, the first two Stadium games, and the spinoff games Pokemon Pinball, Pokemon Trading Card Game, Pokemon Snap, and Hey You! Pikachu!.



Generation 1 (aka The Color Generation)

The concept of Pokemon originated from Satoshi Tajiri's love of collecting bugs as a child,
Tajiri noticed that the bug populations were declining due to expanding urban areas and also noticed that children were spending more time in doors than when he was young. He came up with the idea of Pokemon and wanted to create creatures that children could relate to by allowing them to name and control the creatures after they were obatined in the game. When the Gameboy was released, Tajiri knew that this would be the perfect platform for his idea, as the Gameboy Link Cable could allow for two players to trade Pokemon with one another, this idea was a new concept at the time as the Link Cable had only been used for competitive purposes in prior releases. During the game's development, The game's trading feature prompted the developed, Game Freak, to release two different versions of the game, and while the games featured the same gameplay and storyline the two games differed in the game that certain Pokmon were only available in one version and not the other. Pokemon Red and Green were released to Japan in February 1995, despite Tajiri's fear that Nintendo would never publish the game, and much to Tajiri and Nintendo's surprise the game was met with a great reception and was flying off store shelves, the game's trading feature even prompted some consumers to purchase both the Red and Green versions so they could capture all the available Pokemon. After realizing that they had a hit on their hands, a third version of the game, Pokemon Blue, was released in the Fall of '95. It was a minor revision to Red and Green which featured updated Pokmon sprites as well as some fixes to sound and graphics, this game also featured the ability to catch some Pokemon in the wild that were only available through in game trades in Red and Green such as Jynx and Lickitung. The games were later localized to the rest of the world in late 1998 and early 1999, all regions outside of Japan saw the releases of Pokemon Red and Blue at the time, these games used the Japanese Pokemon Blue as a base but took their version exclusive and in
game trade Pokemon from Red and Green. The story in the first games was simple, you play as a young trainer, Red, who is getting ready to recieve his first Pokemon from his neighbor Professor Oak. Oak, as it turns out, is one of the foremost experts on Pokemon and offers to give you one of three Pokemon, either Bulbasaur, Squirtle, or Charmander, so you can go on your own Pokemon journey. At the time you recieve your Pokemon, your childhood rival, Blue (Green in Japan) is also given a Pokemon, but after recieving his Pokemon he challenges you to a fight to see which one is stronger. Professor Oak later gives you the Pokedex, and challenges you with the task of filling it with a variety of Pokemon, and you're on your way to acquire the eight gym badges of Kanto and become the champion of the Pokemon League.

In late 1998, when the rest of the world was begining to get it's first taste of the franchise, Nintendo and Game Freak released the fourth and final game for the main series of generation one in Pokemon Yellow. Yellow used the gameplay engine from the previous games, and as with Blue feature all new sprites for the Pokemon. In addition to new sprites this game also featured a storyline which was closer to the anime version of Pokmon, the first notable change came at the begining of the game when Blue takes Professor Oak's last Pokeball, an Eevee, and Red is given Pikachu as his starter. The second notable change comes after the first battle with Blue, when you realize that Pikachu doesn't like to stay in his Pokeball, and instead walks around on the field behind you, this allows you to turn around and "talk" to Pikachu which causes a window to popup and shows you Pikachu's mood, while the window is up you'll also hear him say "Pikachu" and the way he says it also depends on his mood. Another change in this game comes later on when you meet Team Rocket at Mt. Moon, as you are leaving Mt. Moon with your fossil, you are attacked by Team Rocket members Jessie and James, from the
Pokemon anime. This game also allowed you to acquire the three original starter Pokemon as you progressed this the game, and this was ofter the only way the players were able to acquire all three without the use of multiple cartridges and having to restart their game numerous times. Yellow Version, also known as the Special Pikachu Edition, was released the world in late 1999 and early 2000, the game was a huge success and was praised by many as being a great follow up to the original games. The versions released outside of Japan were also enhanced for the Gameboy Color and also allowed you to use the Gameboy Printer to make print outs of Pokedex entries.

Pokemon Stadium

The original Pokemon Stadium was released in Japan in 1998, the game never saw release outside of Japan. The original game offered you the chance to battle and trade your Pokemon on your TV in full 3D. The original game, initally in development for the 64DD was later moved to the cartridge format after the commercial failure of the add on. The game came packaged with the Transfer Pak (64GB in Japan) a device that would plug into the back of your N64 controller and allow you to view and use Pokemon from your Gameboy Pokemon game on Pokemon Stadium. The game offered several modes including a tournament mode where your team of Pokemon could battle against computer controlled opponents of varying difficulty, a free battle mode where up to four players could battle against each other (this four player option wouldn't be seen outside of the N64 games until the third generation of games on the Gameboy Advance), a Pokedex mode which allowed you to view your Pokedex from your Gameboy save data, GB Trade which required two Transfer Paks but allowed you to trade Pokemon between the games (it's worth noting that Pokemon that evolve through trade will not evolve when traded using GB Trade), and GB Battle which allowed for your to battle using your Pokemon team on your Pokemon Gameboy cartridge. The game also featured 64 rental Pokemon that could be used by players who did not have a Transfer Pak or didn't have Pokemon of a high enough level to be used in the tournament mode. Despite the various game play modes, the game's biggest drawback was the lack of Pokemon selection, the 42 rental Pokemon were the only Pokemon that were usable in the game, meaning that you could only use those 42 even if you have a Transfer Pak and a Gameboy cartridge, meaning that 109 Pokemon were left out of the game. In early 1999, Japan received a follow up game in Pokemon Stadium 2, the rest of the world recieved this game as Pokemon Stadium in 2000, this game retained many of the features of the first Stadium but added compatibility with all 151 first generation Pokemon, a new Stadium mode which offered several tournaments all with varying rules and difficulty, Gym Leader castle which allowed you to battle the Gym Leaders and Elite Four from the first generation games in 3D, Oak's Lab which allowed you to view your PC boxes from the Gameboy game and transfer Pokemon onto the Pokemon Stadium cartridge itself for safe keeping, and the GB Tower which allowed you to play your Pokemon game on your TV, again with the use of a transfer pack, and unlike the Super Gameboy a Doduo and Dodrio tower were unlockable which allowed you to play the games at double or triple speed respectively. After the Stadium modes and Gym Leader Castle were cleared, the player was opens up the Vs. Mewtwo mode which allowed you to have a final battle with the legendary Pokemon himself, and after his defeat you are greeted with a new title screen and R2, which is a harder version of all of the original game modes.

Spin-offs

As with most franchises that become popular, the Pokemon series has seen it's fair share of spin-offs, the first of which was Pokemon Pinball released on the Gameboy Color in 1999 and 2000. Pokmon Pinball was a standard pinball game with a Pokemon twist, allowing the player to catch and evolve Pokemon as they play their Pinball game. The game has the original 151 Pokemon divided into 17 different locations, some of which are exclusive to either the Red or Blue tables. After activating the "Get" mode, you have to hit certain bumpers which cause a Pokemon to appear, after the Pokemon appears you hit it three times and it's caught, an alternate to the "Get" mode is evolution mode, during this mode you have two minutes to collect experience items needed to evolve your Pokemon. This game was also one of the earliest Gameboy Color games to use the rumble feature, this feature causes your gamepak to rumble, but requires you to insert a AAA battery into the battery slot on the front of the cartridge.

The second spin-off game for the handhelds was Pokemon Trading Card Game for the Gameboy Color, which was release in 1998 in Japan and 2000 for the rest of the world. A digital translation of the popular Pokemon Card Game, this game featured the first three sets of the game, a host of promo cards, and some cards that were exclusive to the game. The game featured the exact rules and card text from the real card game but borrowed some plot devices from the main series to make it more interesting. In the game you play as Mark, a boy who loves Pokemon and wants to become the world's greatest Pokemon card player in the world, to do this Mark must go to the eight card clubs and earn their club medals for a chance to play against the Grand Masters and win the legendary cards. Along the way, Mark will run into his rival, Ronald, who also wants to be the greatest card player in the world. This game was packaged with a promo card for the card game and recieved a Japan only sequel in 2001, Pokemon GB2: Great Rocket Vists. The sequel added the Team Rocket expanion, the Japan only VHS and vending machine sets, some more original cards, and cards representing three Pokemon from the second generation games Togepi, Marill. and Lugia.

The first generation spin-offs were not only available to the handhelds as the Nintendo 64
also saw three games released as well, the first being Pokemon Snap. In Pokemon Snap, you play as photographer Todd Snap who is asked by Professor Oak to explore Pokemon Island in a vehicle known as the ZERO-ONE. Todd's mission is to photograph Pokemon in the wild so that Professor Oak may study how the Pokemon act in the wild, as opposed to catching and training Pokemon in the traditional Pokemon games. 63 different species exist in the game, including the elusive Pokemon, Mew, who can be photographed during the game's final level. Gameplay for this game has Todd in an on-rails environment taking pictures of Pokemon that he sees, the pictures are graded based on what the Pokemon is doing in the picture. After the game was originally launched, many Blockbuster stores had sticker stations available where you could print out pictures you had taken in the game for $3, this also worked with pictures taken in Pokemon Stadium's gallery mode.

The second spin-off for the N64 was Pokemon Puzzle League release in 2000 and 2001 in the US and Europe, this game is the only Pokemon released to never see a release in Japan as it was made specifically for western audiences. The game used the same gameplay style as Tetris attack but allowed 3D gameplay. The game's story features Ash and Pikachu, from the anime, on vacation, they are called by Professor Oak who tells them they've been entered into the Pokemon Puzzle League Tournament. Ash, also happy to accept a new challange, heads to the Pokemon Puzzle League Village to being the tournament. This game features characters and music from the Pokemon anime, even a few anime only characters appear in the game, as this is the only Pokemon title to date that is based solely on the Pokemon anime.

The final first generation spin-off is Hey You, Pikachu for the Nintendo 64, released in Japan in 1998 and the US in 2000 this game uses a microphone and voice recognition software to allow the player to issue commands to Pikachu, allowing the player to interact with the Pokemon mascot. The game came bundled with a mic and was released along side a Pikachu edition Nintendo 64, the game is a virtual pet game that allows you to talk to Pikachu as he plays with toys and 16 other Pokemon that can appear in your yard, including the second generation Pokemon, Togepi.

The first generation Pokemon titles are among the best selling titles on the Gameboy, and
while the first generation didn't see many notable spin-off games the year 2000 was a busy one for the franchise. The first of the second generation titles, Pokemon Gold and Silver, were released in Japan on November 21st 1999 in Japan, and were hotly anticapated through out the rest of the world. As we waded through all the spin-off games that were released in 2000, we knew that our patients would eventually be rewarded in the form of brand new main series Pokmon games, but would they be worth the wait? In the near future I'll have another article highlighting the second generation of Pokmon, and while it didn't feature as many games as the first generation, Gold and Silver are arguably the most popular games in the franchise, even to this day with a fanbase clamoring for a DS remake for the two games. Well, I hope you enjoyed my article, and expect my generation two article soon.


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Comments
 
Being outside of the age group this was supposed to appeal to I never really got into it. I did however buy Pokemon Blue and beat it just to see what the fuss was all about. It was a good game if a bit repetitive and I still own it now.
 
I used to love Pokémon 8-10 years ago! I have Pokémon Yellow and Silver and beat them both (twice Tongue)
I still remember playing it with all my friends in school, all the time....good times. Pokémon Pinball was a lot of fun as well, especially with the Rumble feature.

I'm not at all up-to-date with current releases since I don't have a GBA or DS. I should get one of those, though.



 
@Tan

I know the feeling about being out of the age group.  When I first noticed Pokemon, I was already in my 20's.  Far outside the target audiance's age group.  Still, after playing red I didnt mind it at all.  Didnt pick up another one till Diamond/Pearl though.
 
Excellent read!

I had invested many thousands of hours into the pokemon games.(Maybe only 3-5k)
Specifically Red and Blue then continued the thousands with Gold and Silver.

Trading Card game irritated me because i never knew anyone with a second copy and never found a second copy so i could do the card pop, the only way to get a certain few cards.

Pokemon Snap was a lot of fun but i had completely beat it within hours so i returned it to get my money back.

I never played the original Pokemon Pinball.
 
@Izret

That bummed me out about the Pokemon TCG.  I never knew someone else who had that game either.

Great work BTW, keep it up!
 
I think Pokemon has grown beyond Nintendo's comphresion!

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