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Pokémon Blue - The Good, the Bad and the "WTF!?"


During my childhood Pokémon was something really special to me. I first got addicted to the anime, and then it was the only thing I wanted to talk about, every day, all day long! And sometimes also about bug biology. As videogames always were something kind of expensive were I live, only two kids I knew had Game Boys at the time, one of them being my best friend and the other probably hating me. Afterwards, at the year generation 2 was released, me and my brothers ended up getting a Game Boy Color for Xmas and I got Pokémon Silver! Then I lost contact with the game series for a while, until I bought Soul Silver some years ago.

As you can see, Pokémon is for me a really important part of my life, even if I'm not cut for competitive, and also too lazy to catch 'em all. So when I discovered that Nintendo was going to port the OG games for the 3DS, I was really hyped to finally play it for the first time! I ended up getting Pokémon Blue a few days after it released and I am playing since them.

Yesterday* Some days ago I finally managed to beat down the Elite 4 and finish Pokémon Blue for the first time. What a great game! It aged a lot better than I was expecting. Now that I'm deep in Cerulean cave and about to add Mewtwo to my collection* already got Mewtwo and don't feel like catching them all, and am happy with it and ready to move on to the another game. But I also felt like writing about things that either I liked, disliked, or simply let me scratching my head while playing this classic, so here we go:

*started writing this some days ago, some info is outdated

Angry kids


151 is a manageable number of Pokémons to catch

One of the things I liked the most about Pokémon Y was the impressive ammount of different pokémons you could find in the wild. But when I decided to complete all 3 Kalos pokedexes and try to grab every single one of the 454 species I... I gave up because of how boring it got after a point that all the catchable pokés were catched, and all that was left was evlving and breeding. Having to catch and fight against only 151 is kind of relaxing!

The  beginning

This one isn't exclusive to Pokémon Blue. I really like the early game and how exciting is to catch your first pokés to fill up the team slots. And it feels a little bit like a survival game when a wild pokémon can faint your small team or when you got to hurry to the Pokémon Center while your pokémon fights against a poisoning.

The music is good

It is really good, and I love how it always put you in the right mood. Like the wild pokémon battle theme, for instance:

There are some glitches that are actually fun to exploit

Because of the collectible and competitive nature of those games, and also because of how old these games are, most of the glitches are well documented and easy to reproduce. And some of those are really fun to mess with! Want to grab a Mew before fighting Misty? Do a teleport glitch. Want to cut down the grinding of training a low level pokémon with rare candies? Missingno glitch is your friend. Want to see a fucked up game city? Welcome to Glitch City. Want to go back to SS Anne? You can surf over that NPC's head and get inside again, and also while doing it you can check out the unreachable truck.

A word of warning, though: some glitches can mess up your game and corrupt your data when done in certain ways. Seems like you can erase your save data with the teleport/fly glitch or get stuck in Glitch City if you don't bring with you a Pokémon that knows Fly.

The world, the routes and the shortcuts

One of the coolest things of Kanto is how interconnected the place feels, and the way the game lets you do some exploration and some sequence breaking regarding gym leader order. I really like it and because of how loose the plot is in this game you can choose sometimes gym leader order with a little bit of freedom. Even if it would be probably more fun to do it in the intended order, you can flip the game off and do it like you want to.

I really enjoy that the central cities can be accessed from various ways, either through the underground paths or from the Saffrom gates, the Rock Tunnel or Routes 11/12. You can enter Fuschia either coming from the Silence Bridge or the Cycling Road. And that you can easily go back to the beggining from Vermilion by the Diglet Cave. And it is awesome how cyclical the journey feels when you finally go back to Pallet and Viridian from Cinnabar to finish what you started.

Team Rocket

Team Rocket in this version is simply the best team to ever appear in the series to me. They got the best clothes. Also they don't want to do silly things, like world domination or mass genocide (though mass genocide was the only cool thing about Team Flare). They simply want to make some mad money through any means available: selling fossils, selling pokémons, gambling, taking over megacorporations... And the raids to defeat them are pretty fun!

One thing I like is that while they are a major plot point for the game, they are not one of the main focuses of the game. To me the game is more focused in catching pokémon and beating the gym leaders and the Elite 4.

The way legendary pokémons are handled

Mew and Mewtwo are only talked about in some documents you find in that burnt building in Cinnabar. Two of the three birds are hidding deep inside optional dungeons. Not a single one of them is a major plot point or an obligatory battle. And 5 legendaries is a very small number, so they actually feel like a small and special group of pokémons. None of them are in the box art.

I blame generation 2 for changing it. But mostly Crystal. Fuck Crystal. (Just kidding. You are a cool game too, Crystal)

Cerulean Cave 

Lots if new pokémons to catch, everything is high level and dangerous, your repels won't work most of the time and on top of that you can fight Mewtwo on it. I also enjoy that, from the game world perspective, this cave is so brutal that you have zero pokedex data about the available pokémons in there because anyone would even dare to step inside.


Completing a pokedex in a pre-breeding, pre-online era

A lot of pokémons can be catched only once per game, and it makes it harder to trade for equilvalent monsters. This kind of thing should be expected for legendary monster, but it make harder for some regular pokémon, like grabing all the 3 starters and all its evolutions, or Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee, or the fossils.

Some type combinations are kind of overused and tedious

Grass/poison. Rock/ground. Normal/flying. Meh.

Some of those get even stale if you already played later games.

Early game moves are boring

Lots of pokémons have really shallow movesets and take loooooooots of time to learn interesting stuff throught leveling up. Pikachu only learns Thunder, an amazing damaging move at level 43. Before that you have to resort to Thundershock (lvl 1) and Quick Attack (lvl 16), and both deal not much damage at all. Vulpix only learn Flamethrower at level 35. I gave up trying to use both pokémons early in the game and decided to use other ones instead.

Not having a second screen

After Soul Silver, Black and Y, tapping the lower screen during combats became so natural to me that I ended up accidentally pausing emulation during combats very often. Not a big deal but I got used to it and miss it.

TMs being consumed when used

This is the single most important improvement gen 5 brought to the series in my opinion. It breaks my heart to consume a TM, and having infinite uses makes a lot more fun to play with movesets and experiment. Also, if they are consumable, at least make all of them re-buyable!

That said, a lot of Gen 1 TMs kind of sucks. There is a Water Gun TM in this game. Water Gun.

Meeting the same wild pokémons again and again and again and again

I'm tired of entering a new area for the first time, excited to find new pokémons, only to be greeted by Rattatatatas, Pidgeys, Spearows and Bellsprouts. They are almost everywhere in Kanto. It happened way too many times, and it kills some of the fun in exploring to me.

Lack of difficulty

Ok, this one ins't really a bad  aspect, it is more like something I am sligthly disappointed with. I was expecting a harder game, and I found only the beggining, the Articuno fight and the Cerulean Cave challenging. I steamrolled over the gym leaders. I have stocked loads of high level medcine for the Elite 4, and most of it went unused.

The PC GUI and box management

Having to deal with box managing was a chore in this one. You can only check out box contents if you have at least one free spot in your team. If you open the status screen of any boxed pokémon and exit it, you are ejected out of the box and have to re-open it. There isn't cross-box pokémon transfer. You have to manually count how many pokémon you have in each box to know if any of them are close to getting full or not. Boxes doesn't auto switch when they fill up, wich is annoying when you are out in the wilderness catching pokémons.

The backpack

You can only carry 20 items with you, and the bag have a tendency of getting full right at the middle of caves/dungeon-like buildings. It is really a pain in the ass to keep things organized, as there isn't any quicksort option and everything shares  the same "pocket", unlike future games.

And I usually play games hoarding items instead of using them, so at midgame I found that the even PC have an item storage capacity too! 50 items this time. So I ended up in a rage induced process of either discarding or using every single TM I had stored. The bright side is that it was a little bit of a freeing experience too, to be honest.



Some sprites are really, really bad

Like, REALLY bad.

Focus energy and Dire Hit

Both were programmed wrongly into the game, so instead of raising your critical hit rate they cut it down instead!

Cerulean cave's Electrodes

I ended up not caughting any single Electrode back in the power plant and I'm too lazy to level up a Voltorb, so I decided I should try catching one at the Cerulean cave. So it turns out that the Electrodes from there have 2 of their 4 move slots occupied by suicide moves, more specifically Selfdestruct and Explosion. Yes, half of the time they use any move, they kill themselves. No, I still haven't caught a single one. I'm seriously considering using my masterball in one of those instead of Mewtwo. Nevermind, I just got one using Parasect + Spore. Crisis averted. But these Electrodes still being huge assholes.



And that is it! Thanks for reading. Now here is some pictures of my wonderful team, right after I beat the Elite 4:

- "I’m not trying to bug you babe, but I just got mugged today and I need some money to buy candy bars"

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About Churros89one of us since 10:08 PM on 02.07.2012

Hello! My name is André and I live in Brazil. Currently I'm a System Analisis and Development student and I'm a hobbyist game dev (current status: life block).

My love of games comes from when my parents gave me a Sega Mega Drive when I was 4 (i think). My mom still regrets this decision to this day.

Love all consoles equally, but my current game devices are a trusty 3DS and my ok-ish laptop (at least it was a neat machine back in 2014).

Dango made me a list with my very favorite games ever (thanks a lot dude!):

Also here are some other games that I really love, like, really much, in no specific order:

- Pokémon Y
- Pokémon Blue
- Pokémon Platinum
- Sonic 2
- Sonic Colors
- Sonic Generations
- Phantasy Star 4
- Phantasy Star Online 2
- Need for Speed Underground
- Shadow of the Colossus
- Soul Calibur 2
- Final Fantasy Explorers
- Torchlight 2
- Thunderforce 3
- Thunderforce 5
- Fire Shark
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX
- The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap
- Elemental Gimmick Gear
- Cannon Spike
- Fantasy Life
- GTA: San Andreas
- Etrian Odyssey 4
- Outlive
- Deadly Premonitions
- Ikaruga
- We <3 Katamari
- Ace Combat 5
- Ace Combat 0: The Belkan War
- Shining Force 2
- I'm probably forgetting stuff and will add more latter