From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue are the first installments of the Pokémon series of role-playing video games developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy to be released outside of Japan. They were first released in Japan in 1996 and later released in North America, Europe and Australia over the following three years. Pokémon Yellow, a special edition version, was released roughly a year later. Red and Blue have subsequently been remade for the Game Boy Advance as Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, released in 2004.
The player controls the main character from an overhead perspective and navigates him throughout the fictionalized region of Kanto in a quest to master Pokémon battling. The goal of the games is to become the Champion of the region by defeating the top four Pokémon trainers in the land, the Elite Four. Another objective is to complete the Pokédex, an in-game encyclopedia, by obtaining the 151 available Pokémon. Red and Blue also utilize the Game Link Cable, which connects two games together and allows Pokémon to be traded or battled with between games. Both titles are independent of each other but feature largely the same plot and, while they can be played separately, it is necessary for players to trade among the two in order to obtain all 151 Pokémon.
Red and Blue received strong reviews; critics praised the multiplayer options, especially the concept of trading. They received an aggregated score of 89% on Game Rankings and are perennially ranked on top-game lists including at least four years on IGN's Top 100 Games of All Time. The games' releases marked the beginning of what would become a multi-billion dollar franchise, jointly selling millions of copies worldwide, and in 2009 they appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records under "Best selling RPG on the Game Boy" and "Best selling RPG of all time".
The player's level 5 Squirtle
engaged in a battle with an opponent's level 5 Bulbasaur
, Super Game boy Version
Red and Blue are in a third-person, overhead perspective and consist of three basic screens: an overworld, in which the player navigates the main character; a side-view battle screen; and a menu interface, in which the player configures his or her Pokémon, items, or gameplay settings.
The player can use his or her Pokémon to battle other Pokémon. When the player encounters a wild Pokémon or is challenged by a trainer, the screen switches to a turn-based battle screen that displays the engaged Pokémon. During battle, the player may select a maneuver for his or her Pokémon to perform, use an item, switch his or her active Pokémon, or attempt to flee. Pokémon have hit points (HP); when a Pokémon's HP is reduced to zero, it faints and can no longer battle until it is revived. Once an enemy Pokémon faints, the player's Pokémon involved in the battle receive a certain number of experience points (EXP). After accumulating enough EXP, a Pokémon may level up. A Pokémon's level controls its physical properties, such as the battle statistics acquired, and the moves learned.
Capturing Pokémon is another essential element of the gameplay. During battle with a wild Pokémon, the player may throw a Poké Ball at it. If the Pokémon is successfully caught, it will come under the ownership of the player. Factors in the success rate of capture include the HP of the target Pokémon and the type of Poké Ball used: the lower the target's HP and the stronger the Poké Ball, the higher the success rate of capture. The ultimate goal of the games is to complete the entries in the Pokédex, a comprehensive Pokémon encyclopedia, by capturing, evolving, and trading to obtain all 151 creatures.
Pokémon Red and Blue allow players to trade Pokémon between two cartridges via a Game Link Cable. This method of trading must be done to fully complete the Pokédex, since each of the two games has version-exclusive Pokémon. The Link Cable also makes it possible to battle another player's Pokémon team. When playing Red or Blue on a Game Boy Advance or SP, the standard GBA/SP link cable will not work; players must use the Nintendo Universal Game Link Cable instead. Moreover, the English versions of the games are not compatible with their Japanese counterparts, and such trades will result in corruption of the save files because the games use different languages and therefore character sets.
As well as trading with each other and Pokémon Yellow, Pokémon Red and Blue can trade Pokémon with the second generation of Pokémon games: Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal. However, there are limitations: the games cannot link together if one player's party contains Pokémon or moves introduced in the second generation games. Also, using the Transfer Pak for the Nintendo 64, data such as Pokémon and items from Pokémon Red and Blue can be used in the Nintendo 64 games Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Stadium 2. Red and Blue are not compatible with the Pokémon games of the later "Advanced Generation" for the Game Boy Advance or GameCube.
Pokémon Red and Blue take place in the region of Kanto. This is one distinct region shown in later games, with different geographical habitats for the 151 existing Pokémon species, along with human-populated towns and cities, and Routes connecting locations with one another. Some areas are only accessible once the player learns a special ability or gains a special item.
The silent protagonist of Red and Blue is a young boy who lives in Pallet Town. After venturing alone into deep grass, a voice warns the player to stop. Professor Oak, a famous Pokémon researcher, explains to the player that wild Pokémon may be living there, and encountering them alone can be very dangerous. He takes the player to his laboratory where the player meets Oak's grandson, a rival aspiring Pokémon Trainer. The player and the rival are both instructed to select a starter Pokémon for their travels. Oak's grandson will then challenge the player to a Pokémon battle with their newly obtained Pokémon, and will continue to battle the player at certain points throughout the games.
While visiting the region's cities, the player will encounter special establishments called Gyms. Inside these buildings are Gym Leaders, each of whom the player must defeat in a Pokémon battle to obtain a total of eight Gym Badges. Once the badges are acquired, the player is given permission to enter the Pokémon League, which consists of the best Pokémon trainers in the region. There the player will battle the Elite Four and finally the Champion: the player's rival. Also throughout the game, the player will have to battle against the forces of Team Rocket, a criminal organization that abuses Pokémon. They devise numerous plans for stealing rare Pokémon, which the player must foil.
The concept of the Pokémon saga stems from the hobby of insect collecting, a popular pastime which game designer Satoshi Tajiri enjoyed as a child. While growing up, however, he observed more urbanization taking place in the town where he lived and as a result, the insect population declined. Tajiri noticed that kids now played in their homes instead of outside and he came up with the idea of a video game, containing creatures that resembled insects, called Pokémon. He thought kids could relate with the Pokémon by individually naming them, and then controlling them to represent fear or anger as a good way of relieving stress. However, Pokémon never bleed or die in battle, only faint – this was a very touchy subject to Tajiri, as he did not want to further fill the gaming world with "pointless violence."
When the Game Boy was released, Tajiri thought the system was perfect for his idea, especially because of the link cable which he envisioned would allow players to trade Pokémon with each other. This concept of trading information was new to the video gaming industry, because previously connection cables were only being used for competition. "I imagined a chunk of information being transferred by connecting two Game Boys with special cables, and I went wow, that's really going to be something!" said Tajiri. Tajiri was also influenced by Square's Game Boy game The Final Fantasy Legend, noting in an interview that the game gave him the idea that more than just action games could be developed for the handheld.
The main characters were named after Tajiri himself as Satoshi, who is described as Tajiri in his youth, and his long-time friend, role model, mentor, and fellow Nintendo developer; Shigeru Miyamoto as Shigeru. Ken Sugimori, artist and longtime friend of Tajiri, headed the development of drawings and designs of the Pokémon, and the music was composed by Junichi Masuda. Utilizing the four sound channels of the Game Boy, Masuda also created the sound effects and Pokémon "cries" heard upon encountering them. He noted the game's opening theme, titled "Monster", was produced with the image of battle scenes in mind, using white noise to sound like marching music and imitate a snare drum.
Tajiri always thought that Nintendo would reject his game, as the company did not really understand the concept at first. However, the games turned out to be a complete success, something Tajiri and Nintendo never expected, especially because of the declining popularity of the Game Boy. Upon hearing of the Pokémon concept, Miyamoto suggested creating multiple cartridges with different Pokémon in each, noting it would assist the trading aspect. In addition, to create more hype and challenge to the games, Tajiri revealed an extra Pokémon called Mew that was implemented into the games, which he believed "created a lot of rumors and myths about the game" and "kept the interest alive." The creature was only supposed to be acquired through a Nintendo promotional event; however, in 2003 a glitch was found that could be exploited to obtain the elusive Pokémon. In Japan, Pokémon Red and Green were the first versions released. They sold rapidly, due in part to Nintendo's idea of producing the two versions of the game instead of a single title, prompting consumers to buy both. Several months later, Pokémon Blue was released in Japan as a mail-order-only special edition, featuring updated in-game artwork and new dialogue.
During the North American localization of Pokémon, a small team led by Hiro Nakamura went through the individual characters, renaming them for western audiences based on their appearance and characteristics after approval from Nintendo of Japan. In addition, during this process Nintendo trademarked the 150 Pokémon names, in order to ensure they would be unique to the franchise. During the translation process, it became apparent that simply altering the games' text from Japanese to English was impossible; the games had to be entirely reprogrammed from scratch due to the fragile state of their source code, a side effect of the unusually lengthy development time. Therefore the games were based on the more-modern Japanese version of Pokémon Blue; modeling its programming and artwork, but keeping the same distribution of Pokémon found in the Japanese Red and Green cartridges, respectively.
As the finished Red and Blue versions were being prepared for release, Western localizers warned that the "cute monsters" may not be accepted by American audiences, and instead recommended they be redesigned and "beefed-up". Then-president of Nintendo Hiroshi Yamauchi refused and instead viewed the games' possible reception in America as a challenge to face. Despite these setbacks, the reprogrammed Red and Blue versions with their original creature designs were eventually released in North America over two and a half years after Red and Green debuted in Japan. The games were received extremely well by the foreign audiences and Pokémon went on to become a lucrative franchise in America.
Reception and legacy
Pokémon Red and Blue set the precedent for what has become a blockbuster, multi-billion dollar franchise. In Japan, Red, Green, and Blue combined have sold 8.2 million copies, while in the United States, Red and Blue have sold 8.6 million copies. The games entered the Guinness Book of World Records for "Best selling RPG on the Game Boy" and "Best selling RPG of all time" in 2009.
The games received mostly positive reviews from critics, holding an aggregate score of 89% on GameRankings. Especial praise was given to its multiplayer features: the ability to trade and battle Pokémon with one another. Craig Harris of IGN gave the games a "masterful" 10 out of 10, noting that "Even if you finish the quest, you still might not have all the Pokémon in the game. The challenge to catch 'em all is truly the game's biggest draw." He also commented on the popularity of the game, especially among children, describing it as a "craze." GameSpot's Peter Bartholow, who gave the games a "great" 8.8 out of 10, cited the graphics and audio as somewhat primitive but stated that these were the games' only drawbacks. He praised the titles' replay value due to their customization and variety, and commented upon their universal appeal: "Under its cuddly exterior, Pokémon is a serious and unique RPG with lots of depth and excellent multiplayer extensions. As an RPG, the game is accessible enough for newcomers to the genre to enjoy, but it will entertain hard-core fans as well. It's easily one of the best Game Boy games to date."
The success of these games has been attributed to their innovative gaming experience rather than audiovisual effects. Papers published by the Columbia Business School indicate both American and Japanese children prefer the actual gameplay of a game over special audio or visual effects. In Pokémon games, the lack of these artificial effects has actually been said to promote the child's imagination and creativity. "With all the talk of game engines and texture mapping and so on, there is something refreshing about this superlative gameplay which makes you ignore the cutesy 8-bit graphics." commented The Guardian.
The video gaming website 1UP.com composed a list of the "Top 5 'Late to the Party' Games" showing selected titles that "prove a gaming platform's untapped potential" and were one of the last games released for their respective console. Red and Blue were ranked first, and called Nintendo's "secret weapon" when the games were brought out for the Game Boy in the late 1990s. Nintendo Power listed the Red and Blue versions together as the third best video game for the Game Boy/Game Boy Color, stating that something about the game kept them playing until they caught every Pokémon. Official Nintendo Magazine named the games one of the best Nintendo games of all time, placing 52nd on their list of the top 100 games. Red and Blue made number 72 on IGN's Top 100 Games of All Time in 2003, in which the reviewers noted that the pair of games "started a revolution" and praised the deep game design and complex strategy, as well the option to trade between other games. Two years later, it climbed the ranks to number 70 in the updated list, with the games' legacy again noted to have inspired multiple video game sequels, movies, television shows, and other merchandise, strongly rooting it in popular culture. In 2007 Red and Blue were ranked at number 37 on the list, and the reviewers remarked at the games' longevity:
For everything that has come in the decade since, it all started right here with Pokémon Red/ Blue
. Its unique blend of exploration, training, battling and trading created a game that was far more in-depth than it first appeared and one that actually forced the player to socialize with others in order to truly experience all that it had to offer. The game is long, engrossing and sparkles with that intangible addictiveness that only the best titles are able to capture. Say what you will about the game, but few gaming franchises can claim to be this popular ten years after they first hit store shelves.
The games are widely credited with starting the series and helping pave the way for a successful multi-billion dollar series. Five years after Red and Blue's initial release, Nintendo celebrated its "Pokémoniversary". George Harrison, the senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications of Nintendo of America Inc. stated "those precious gems [Pokémon Red and Blue] have evolved into Ruby and Sapphire. The release of Pokémon Pinball kicks off a line of great new Pokémon adventures that will be introduced in the coming months." The series has since sold over 175 million games, all accredited to the enormous success of the original Red and Blue versions.
In-game screenshot of Pokémon Yellow
played on a Game Boy Color
, with the main character's Pikachu
following behind him
Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition (ポケットモンスターピカチュウ Poketto Monsutā Pikachū, "Pocket Monsters Pikachu") is the fourth game of the Pokémon video game series in Japan, and the third in North America, Europe, and Australia. The game is a slightly updated version of the previous two games, Pokémon Red and Blue, and features Pikachu as its mascot. It was released for the Game Boy in Japan on September 12, 1998; in North America on October 1, 1999; in Europe on June 16, 2000; and in Australia in 2000. Along with the release, a special-edition, yellow, Pokémon-themed Game Boy Color was also available for purchase.
The plot and gameplay of Pokémon Yellow is largely the same as in Red and Blue, although it features changes to make the game more similar to the animated series. Like Ash Ketchum in the anime, players receive Pikachu as their starter Pokémon. Unlike other Pokémon encountered in the game, Pikachu walks behind the player and will display emotion, reacting when the player enters certain buildings or rooms. If the player faces Pikachu and talks to it, a box will appear showing Pikachu's face and current mood, ranging from angry, to curious, to bursting with love. Other minor gameplay changes include a different selection of Pokémon available to catch, all three Red and Blue starter Pokémon being available from NPCs, and the anime's characters Jessie, James, and Meowth making appearances.
Despite being an upgraded variant of Pokémon Red and Blue, Yellow proved to be extremely popular. In North America the game received roughly 150,000 pre-orders and debuted second in sales and claimed the top spot a week later. It was difficult to find during its release and became the fastest selling handheld game of all time; the standard cartridge sold over 600,000 units in its first week and more than one million copies in its first fortnight, remaining the top selling handheld game for weeks. It entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2001 for selling one million copies within a span of one month. Overall, Yellow was well-received by critics, with an aggregate score of 85.5% on Game Rankings. GameSpot gave it a "Great" rating, with a 8.9/10 score, and IGN gave it a "masterful" 10/10, noting "The game is super easy to pick up and play, yet it's challenging in its own right. And it's addictive."
Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen
Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen are enhanced remakes of the 1996 original Pocket Monsters Red and Green video games. The new titles were developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance and have compatibility with the Game Boy Advance Wireless Adapter, which originally came bundled with the games. FireRed and LeafGreen were first released in Japan in January 2004 and released to North America and Europe in September and October respectively. Nearly two years after their original release, Nintendo re-marketed them as Player's Choice titles.
The games received mostly positive reviews, obtaining an aggregate score of 81 percent on Metacritic. Most critics praised the fact that the games introduced new features while still maintaining the traditional gameplay of the series. Reception of the graphics and audio was more mixed, with some reviewers complaining that they were too simplistic and not much of an improvement over the previous games, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. FireRed and LeafGreen were commercial successes, selling a total of around 12 million copies worldwide.
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