Pokémon Red (1998) by Game Freak

Pokémon will forever remain my favorite game franchise.  And everyone knows that the best Pokémon of all time is Castform.  Unfortunately that Generation 3 Pokémon was not available in the original release of the game, but nevertheless Generation 1 remains my favorite.  If you remember the craze that enveloped the nation after the release of Pokémon GO then you can relate to the craze that occurred in the later 90’s with the release of Pokémon.  My first experience with the franchise occurred with the video game and I have yet to look back.

At the time I had a red Game Boy Pocket, so the decision between Red Version and Blue Version was easy.  I picked the Red version for the Charizard and the ability to match the game cartridge with my handheld console.  Eventually I would get the Blue Version, Yellow Version, Silver, Gold, Crystal, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, and everything in between and ever since.

I even accomplished the pinnacle achievement in a Pokémon game, I caught them all.  Pokémon Red was brutally challenging back in the day.  A good number of Pokémon could only be found in the Safari Zone, which required you to use Safari Balls, rocks, and candy in order to lure the monsters into your Poké Ball.  Just finding the Chansey was difficult, yet alone getting the monsters to stay in the ball.  I remember trying every trick in the book to get the ball to stay closed.  Legends told of techniques that would keep the ball closed such as holding down and B or rhythmically tapping the A button as the ball shook.  Of course none of these techniques were real and the only thing that you could hope for was good luck.

Pokémon Red also introduced the missing number glitch.  I first heard about this glitch on a field trip during a summer learning camp.  We were all nerds and geeks tricked into leaving the house by our parents with the promise that it would be good to get out of the house for few hours each day.  Of course of all us brought our portable Game Boys and a copy of Pokémon.  We traded monsters and swapped stories about our adventures throughout Kanto.  However, the missing number glitch was the most talked about topic of the summer.  The promise of infinite rare candies and Master Ball’s was too alluring to resist.  Of course I used it! I was worried that it would corrupt my Pokémon Red save file, so I reserved use of the glitch to my Pokémon Blue cartridge.  Having two copies of the game would serve me well during my adventures as a way to trade with myself, collect extra Pokémon, and use some of the glitches for extra items.

Road trips were made easier with my Pokémon party companions.  Bonds were formed over our love for the franchise.  And knowledge was accumulated about optimal move sets, training methods, and breeding strategies.  Later years would introduce hidden values, new types, and natures in order to keep the game fresh and exciting.  But the sense of wonder and excite about a whole new world filled with 151 monsters to catch and train and learn about was something truly special.  Because of Pokémon Red I spent hours watching the anima television show and collecting trading cards.  I still feel the lure of the collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering and Hearthstone.  The new Nintendo Switch version of the classic franchise may be the best entry into the series yet, but nothing can top the original experience.

Tomorrow we enter into the modern era of video games with a Nintendo GameCube classic: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3.

Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks

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