Home > Gaming > Stupid Parts of Great Games: Pokemon Red/Blue

Stupid Parts of Great Games: Pokemon Red/Blue

The classic Pokemon games for the Game Boy were fantastic foundations for what became one of Nintendo’s most lucrative and beloved franchises, but they weren’t without their fair share of issues, both in the gameplay and in the fictional universe. I will list a few below, although I probably haven’t “caught ’em all.”

1. Bad Parenting

In the universe of these games, children can leave their homes at the age of 10 to embark on a journey to degrade and enslave little creatures known as pokemon. With no parental assistance, these kids go out into the world teeming with these sometimes hostile animals with no money in their pocket except for what they can beat out of other “trainers.” They have no place to sleep, protected from danger only as long as that danger is at a lower level than whatever they have. Do the parents hate their children so much that they can’t wait to kick them out, or is the world really that safe that they have nothing to worry about?

2. Team Rocket is Too Nice

Well, the world isn’t completely safe, because the sinister, militant cult known as Team Rocket prides itself on stealing these already kidnapped creatures from helpless children, with the ultimate goal of ruling the world or something similarly stereotypical. So when your character takes it upon himself (not herself – gender equality didn’t come around until later in the series) to invade a Team Rocket base and put an end to all their tomfoolery, how is he resisted? A pokemon battle, of course!

Apparently these people have never heard of guns, swords, or even plain brute force before, because if a measly 10-year-old beats them in a pokemon fight, they respectfully step aside and let the kid continue invading their base. In fact, these villains have such good manners that they even offer to pay their pre-pubescent assailant money for their victory. Or maybe the kids mug them…. whatever the case, these villains are doomed from the start because they just can’t bring themselves to be villains. Where’s the evil in this organization? Why should I take them seriously?

3. Random Encounters

This is a typical walk through a cave in Pokemon Red/Blue: Take a step inside. A wild Zubat appears! Run away. Take a few steps to the left. A wild Zubat appears! Run away. A fork in the road – will I turn up or down? I’ll try up… and a wild Zubat appears! Run away. Oops, looks like this wasn’t the right way to go. Turn around and… a wild Zubat appears! Run away. So obviously I have to go down. Hey, there’s an item sitting over there, too! Almost to it when… a wild Zubat appears! Run away. Okay, I’ve got the item and it’s a… pokeball. Yeah, like I didn’t already have 50 of those. But wait… am I at a dead end? Is this really the right way? The wild Zubat that appears tells me nothing. Run away. Apparently I missed something earlier, because there’s nowhere to go.

There’s a vast stretch of ground where I came from. Maybe if I’m lucky I can avoid… another wild Zubat appearing! Run away. Oh, there’s the right path. It looks like I’ll have to use Strength. Crap, I don’t have that yet. I guess I’ll just have to exit the place and come back later when I have it. But when I turn around I find that a wild Zubat has appeared! Run away. I’m one step from the door when… a wild Geodude appears!? Can’t run away. Well, I guess I’ll have to fight it. All my Charmander knows is scratch. Well, that and Flash, since I had to teach that sorry excuse for an attack to somebody to navigate through this cave. Geodude lands a critical hit, and it’s super effective!? Charmander faints? I’m out of usable pokemon? I hand this wild animal some cash? What is going on here? Screw this. I turn off the game and reload my last save… which puts me back at the end of the cave. A wild Zubat ap – FUUUUU!!!!

4. Realism Only When It Is Inconvenient

The pokemon world is not realistic… most of the time. You can fit a bicycle inside of a backpack, digitize living creatures so that you can store them on a PC hard drive (WTF?) and go years without ever visiting a single restroom. But if you just threw your only Master Ball to catch some sweet legendary pokemon, you had better hope that you remembered to leave a space in your party or PC box. If not you’ll get some message that says, essentially: “Oh no, your box is full! Normally we (the disembodied text boxes talking to you while you sit alone in a cave) could wirelessly transfer your newly enslaved physical creature into our computer system, but we have yet to discover the technology that allows us to switch boxes when necessary. As a result, you, sir, are screwed.” And just like that, you’re forced to release good ol’ Articuno back into the wild, never to be seen again. Better call those schoolyard kids up, because there’s some trading to force them into.

5. It’s a lie!

Much like the cake, the games released in America as Pokemon Red and Blue are flat-out lies. It’s similar to America’s Super Mario Bros 2 – gamers weren’t actually playing Super Mario Bros 2; they were playing a completely unrelated Japanese platformer. What we were being told was Red was really a modified version of Japan’s Blue, and what we assumed was Blue was really an upgraded version of Green.

Green!? That’s right, kiddies. The first two pokemon games that ever came out in the Land of the Rising Sun were Pocket Monsters Red and Pocket Monsters Green. The color blue never entered the scene until Pocket Monsters Blue appeared as a special mail-in offer to readers of the Japanese magazine CoroCoro. Blue featured new tweaks to the engine, graphics, script, and cave layouts of the previous games. When the time came to bring the cash cow known as Pocket Monsters (or Pokemon, for short) over to America, the translators used Blue as the base, but divided it into two different versions that each included exclusive pokemon (to encourage trading amongst owners of separate versions), as had been done before with Red and Green.

Ever wonder why we in America saw the Game Boy Advance remakes of Red and Blue as FireRed and LeafGreen? Because Nintendo of America knew they had lied to us. They were saying, “Here’s what actually came out in Japan, and instead of changing the colors like we did before, we’ll treat you with respect this time around and give your cartridges the correct pigmentation. Aren’t we cool?” No, Nintendo. The damage has already been done.

By Josh60502

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