By: Troy Boesen
It started September 28th, 1998. The Cultural Revolution that has never been more popular after 18 years as it is today. I’m Rockstar Troy, and today we get into the way back machine and talk Pokemon Red and Blue.
Almost one month after the release of Pokemon Red and Blue, a young 14 year old used the money he had gotten from his birthday to purchase a small square cartridge that would forever change his life. It started with a choice. Red or Blue. At the time, I had no idea that this choice made a difference. I simply went with the cooler looking cartridge, Red.
One thing that The Pokemon Company/Nintendo has always done well is trying to get people to work together and play against each other. The Game Boy, a single player hand held, was taken to a whole new level with the release of Pokemon Red and Blue because of one added feature: the link cable. The link cable allowed two people, and later four people, to link Game Boy’s together to battle each other and to trade Pokemon.
As it turned out, you needed to trade in order to fully complete the game. The game had certain Pokemon that you could not catch depending on which version you choose. Red and Blue were identical games other than the Pokemon available in each. What was more, certain Pokemon could only evolve if they were traded. You needed to have a trustworthy friend who would actually transfer your Haunter back to you after it became Gengar.
Thankfully, I was a kid in middle school when this came out, so there were people around, not friends, but fellow players, who would help you out. If you were like me and owned a Link Cable, you were a god. This also opened up the door for some pranks, where kids would run up and rip the Link Cable out of both Game Boys to screw up the transfer. Further games in the series did more to make the dual version releases feel more different, such as having different enemy teams in each game.
The game begins with Professor Oak explaining to you the world you are about to inhabit. He drops out a Nidoran (Where was this little guy during our choice of starter?), and you get something that won’t come into play for years. The statement that some people use Pokemon as pets, while others use them to battle leads to some very interesting possibilities in this world.
The entire world of Pokemon has led to some crazy theories and speculation as well. We are provided with the meme generating “Are you a boy or are you a girl” question. Follow that up with the chance to input your own name, no censorship applied, and you have the ability to enter in some pretty juvenile things here. But wait, there is more. You then get to name your rival, the grandson of Professor Oak (Where is Mrs. Oak?). Why Professor Oak can’t remember the name of his grandson would lead most to question his authority on anything.
The game gives you one more choice to make: your starter Pokemon. Gen oners rejoice! You get to choose between Squirtle, Charmander or Bulbasaur. The game is still a little light on details on what makes the best choice here, and honestly it really comes down to the player to decide what they like best.
After you receive your first Pokemon, Assbutt, or whatever you named your rival chooses the type that is strong against your choice. They had to make the game a little difficult, right? Once you get introduced to the battle system, your journey begins. From here, you will have to visit Gyms to get badges, battle a shit ton of random battles and trainers, and meet some friends along the way.
The game can be completed without “Catching them all,” and honestly, the reward for a full Pokedex is lame. There are some issues with the game, of course. While the learning curve isn’t that steep, you can fall behind strength-wise if you don’t grind to build up your team. The game has some known glitches that can be exploited but can also delete your save as well.
Altogether, this is a phenomenal game that still holds up on replays.
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