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pokemon rgby

Pokemon Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow
Generation I
Platform Nintendo Gameboy
Initial Release US 1998 JP 1996
Category Main Series
Fun 3/5 star
Formula 4/5 star
Function 3/5 star
Flair 3/5 star
Overall 3/5 star
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the first generation of pokemon was initially released on the gameboy. it predates the anime! and surely, it was a classic for a reason. it made up the raw contents of what you see in newer games in the series.

you get six pokemon, and you beat all the gym leaders, and take on the elite four - the greatest fighters of the npcs. the npcs have ai variants, of a sort, and there is a semblance of strategy involved when fighting against npc opponents.

you pick one of three starters, which remains a constant in the main series. you travel, you catch 'em all. you fight your rival.

however, i think these are best enjoyed as pockets in time; they have absolutely aged, making them a slog to play through and tends to be unfun when it comes to random chance and grinding. it's repetitive. you tend to get sick of an area after grinding for levels in it a bit.

the game is challenging, even for an experienced player, due to its brutal RNG. crit rates actually work differently for npcs vs the player, so unfair one-hit-KOs happen often enough. there's bugs that make some moves have unintended effects - or no effect at all, depending on the move.

but damn if it doesn't compel me so! with the primitive and vague nature of gameboy graphics, there's still a lot left to the player's imagination. there's a reason i was hooked on the series so early. it has this immutable feeling of striking out on your own, meeting people, seeing new places, learning things... like, how cool is that when you're a kid?

these games are, in my opinion, best enjoyed after experiencing some of the later games, despite having them be my first entry into the series. the way it's made gives it some amount of mystique, inviting curiosity. the games may be well documented, but if you go in blind, there is so many details to actually find and appreciate.

therefore, this game gets three stars. beautiful time capsule of game development in the 90s, despite its difficulty and clunkiness.