Retro Review: Pokémon Blue/Red

By Lakyn Gardner

Pokémon screenshot
Pokémon is a basic RPG that involves battling creatures to strengthen them and become a Pokémon master. Capture by Alex Johnson via mGBA.

Welcome back to Retro review. This week we are reviewing Pokémon Blue/Red. Pokémon Blue/Red, As it was known in the United States, was developed by Game Freak in 1996 and published by Nintendo for the original Game Boy.

Pokémon is an RPG (role-playing game) that is based around training, leveling up, and evolving your Pokémon, or “pocket monsters”, to beat all eight gym leaders in The Elite 4. The game has a deeper quest to complete the Pokedex, which means find and capture all the Pokémon in

 the game. At the time this game was released, in 1996, there were only 151 Pokémon.

Pokémon game screenshot
If other Pokémon trainers spot you, they’ll be sure to challenge you to see
how tough your Pokémon are. Capture by Alex Johnson via mGBA.

I have to start by saying this game was the starting block of it all for Pokémon. Red/Blue was a commercial success and to this day it has thousands upon millions of committed fans. However, this game had quite a bit of a flaw. Some Pokémon in the Pokedex were not obtainable through typical methods. To obtain Mew and Dragonite, for example, you had to do a combination of inputs to break the code in the game. Occasionally you could encounter a Pokémon known as “MissingNo.” which was just a blob on the screen from messed up code. A simple save and restart would fix the game.

The game’s inputs were fairly simple considering there’s only up, down, left, right, A, B, select, and start on the original Game Boy. This game was before running was a thing in Pokémon so it was a very slow process. Leveling up your Pokémon had to be done by switching them out for certain battles to gain XP (experience points) which was a grueling process; which I enjoyed every minute of. There’s something about taking that time to bond with your digital pocket monster that is just timeless. Overall I give this game a 6 out of 10.

Pokémon game screenshot
When you’re in the tall grass, you’re vulnerable to attacks from wild
Pokémon. Watch your step! Capture by Alex Johnson via mGBA.

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