Monday, July 25, 2016

Pokemon: Generation I (Part 1 - Brock)

The Summer of Pokemon begins with the ultimate edition of Generation 1!

The Summer of Pokemon will be an event so monumental, Walt Disney himself left specific instructions to be un-frozen on July 25th 2016.

"Requires basic reading skills"... it's a wonder that Nintendo gave it an American release at all. Remember when the U.S. couldn't seem to get any RPGs localized because they were "too complicated"?

And now! It's time for America's favorite rodent: Pikachu!


Rad Surfing Pikachu!

Aerial Balloon Pikachu rules the skies! Pokemon Yellow intensity! Behold the Super Game Boy colors!

When I was a kid, I played Pokemon Blue, so this version is new to me. I remember wanting to get this for a time, but it simply wasn't different enough from Pokemon Blue for me to go out of my way to play it. Now, it has been long enough for me to play it and have it be fresh.

Further history lesson: Not only did I miss this one as a kid, I also missed Gen 2 entirely. While I was very interested, by then I was fully into PSX RPGs. A few years later Gen 3 rolled around and I barely noticed. It wasn't until someone gave me a DS and Gen 4 in 2007 or so that I got back into the series; I played every new installment from that point onward. This Summer... I plan to not only revisit Gen 1, but also finally see Gen 2 and Gen 3 for the first time.


...oh, it's Professor Oak. So named because his penis is strong like an oak tree. Just ask his four fully-satisfied girlfriends.

Prof. Oak takes time out of his busy schedule of railing poon to train some young punk in how to train monsters or some shit. I've gotta name said punk.

There's only one name I can think of for a young punk. Behold! It's...

...Dean "The Fuck" Ambrose!

Time to name the rival. What's his name? NOT YET. I'll drop the bass soon enough.

This dropped in 1999 (previous Gen 1 games in 1998) so the Super NES was in full swing. Still surprised he isn't playing the hip new N64.

Ambrose turns on the PC! He then burns his console. "That FPS ain't shit!" he says when reached for comment.

If you're not jacked in, you're not alive. It's good that our hero is merely logging off, because if he were jacking off, he would immediately die.

...I don't even

Ambrose's mom is the mom of the year. Mere seconds after these pictures were taken, she took a hit of cocaine off the table and bought a plane ticket to Tijuana to bang college guys from UCLA.

Our hero dons his Red Sox hat (that's right, Pokemon is Boston Strong) and confidently wobbles out into the town. Immediately I'm flooded with memories of playing Pokemon Blue as a kid...except I think I mainly played it on the monochrome Game Boy. I remember playing some of it on the TV with the SGB. It (and this) is one of those later Game Boy games with a special SGB color scheme programmed in rather than four random colors.

Professor Oak... has aides. 


I'm sorry.


That weird drug-pusher kid from South Park shows up here. "Psst," he says. "Want a boost?"

I'll take some sprint shoes, but they don't exist until Gen 2. Man, this game moves slower than I remember.

Prof. Oak again takes time out of his busy schedule of completing his Local Single Moms Dex to show me how to catch a Pokemon. This isn't just any's THE Pikachu. The one from the show.

He had a Pokeball on the table for me, but Rollins grabbed it first. Prof. Oak says he was going to give one to Rollins as well, then sighs and takes a long drag from a joint. When it comes to smoking grass, nobody hits the trees harder than Prof. Oak.

In the other Gen 1 games you choose between the three starters at this point, and the rival picks the one that yours is weak to (it's a rock/paper/scissors system with the starters).

In this one you don't choose a starter because you get Pikachu by default. So what does the rival get?

...Eevee, one of the more interesting First Gen Pokemon because it can evolve into one of several different forms. Interesting. I wonder which form it'll end up taking. Probably Vaporeon, the one that'd be strongest against Pikachu.

I lose the intro battle, which has never happened to me in a Pokemon game before. Eevee had too much of an advantage. This Yellow edition...doesn't seem optimized for challenge. They switched your starter on you and didn't adjust the early-game in any way to compensate... I'll get into that more later. Suffice to say that Pikachu isn't a good starter as it turns out.

That slippery, slimey Seth Rollins proceeds to slither out with the title.

The game really begins now. Pikachu follows our hero around, as in the show. It's pretty cool. As a bonus, walking Pikachu is a great way to meet chicks. that why I'm wearing a condom right now?

I leave town for the first time in my life. The journey to become Poke-Champion begins here! It's a metaphor for adulthood, striving to succeed in a competitive workforce, and the amount of balls that it takes to be a responsible father to your 151 kids.

Pokemon Go players should be very familiar with Pidgey, the most garden-variety of Pokemen. They may be common and low-level, but they can be dangerous with their pointy beaks. BEWARE HOW FURIOUSLY THEY PECK!

The balance issues with having Pikachu as a starter continue, as he's too powerful to capture anything in the first area. That's right, Pikachu's sole attack one-shots everything, so I can't catch a second Pokemon. Every time I try, Pikachu's Thundershock BLASTS THEM OUT OF THEIR BOOTS. I go to throw a Pokeball and it rolls uselessly off the pile of ashes.

On the other end of the spectrum, Pikachu is useless in the first gym.

What we don't realize is that this is code. To us Americans, it means nothing. In Japan, this means it's time to scramble the fighters.

Ambrose...isn't PC. Also, I'm keeping an eye on hat guy over there.

While she says this, the shopkeeper twirls her hair and daydreams. What is WITH Prof. Oak and the women?

I have to trek back to the first town already (I CAN'T ESCAPE), since the shopkeeper in the second town won't sell me anything until I deliver her damn sex-letter to the professor. That's right, in the late 90's we didn't sext, we had to mail letters if we wanted to give someone a list of the top ten things we were going to do to them tonight.

Man...I can't get over how cool this looks. I really nailed it with the names this time around. Haw haw.

Since this is a Japanese game, 38 year old Prof. Oak is much too old to walk around outside collecting 'mons.

Meanwhile, Ambrose's mom is busy collecting a different kind of 'mon down in Tijuana. JAMAICAN HER CRAZY!

Ambrose visits Rollins' sister. He was hoping for a booty call with that sweet Armenian goddess, but instead all he got was a map. Well, that'll infuriate Rollins significantly less, but it'll do.

The shopkeeper FINALLY sells me items, though she wonders why Prof. Oak isn't lettering her back. WHERE IS THIS RELATIONSHIP GOING, PROFESSOR?

It sounds like Prince Edward of Damcyan finally took the big step and became a dainty young lady.

Let's take a look at this map. Our journey is going to take us around the world clockwise (more or less), culminating back at the beginning when we go to the Indigo Plateau to face the Elite Four.

Ambrose has a long journey ahead of him, but he prepared for it by once walking from Philadelphia to Hartford in a snowstorm.

This woman is nosier than the NSA. I'm going wherever I damn well please! Lay off me!

While this dialogue looks completely unassuming to us Westerners, over in Japan it hides a subliminal message to arm the submarines! THE ATTACK BEGINS AT DAWN!

...that's weird, because all I see here is you. Where did you hide their bodies, YOU MURDERER?

I finally encounter an enemy that I don't one-shot, and am able to capture my very first Pokemon:


LASS is my favorite Pokemon trainer.

The good news about overpowered Pikachu: While it's a PITA (...chu) to catch regular 'mons, he can dismantle trainer battles.

Trying to get Caterpie some levels too. I'm a big fan of the wee caterpillar. My usual strategy for leveling Pokemon is to lead off with a weak one and then switch to my ringer before the enemy gets a turn. That way they split the exp. Pikachu is a great ringer, and Caterpie is what I needed to start catching other 'mons reliably.

After switching 'mons around for experience points, I go "lol" and end the fight with one shot.


Unlike this guy, Ambrose has no shortage of balls. ...I bought enough to last a while.

This twit is the worst trainer on the planet. He leads off with the offensive POWERHOUSE known as...

...Metapod. I tell you, BUG CATCHER wouldn't know a good Pokemon if it crawled up his leg and bit him on the junk. Which is exactly what I'm sending Caterpie to do now. You're a true menace, Caterpie.

This may be a completely unassuming line of dialogue to most of us adults, but to young American children it's a dog whistle: Shut off the power grid for your town, plunging America's Heartland into darkness. The Emperor will be pleased!

At level 11, trumpets play from above as Pikachu finally learns a new attack. And not just any attack: Quick Attack. It pretty much always goes first, and best of all, it isn't wildly overpowered like Thundershock. This means that he can FINALLY help me capture 'mons without obliterating them.

YES! I caught a pet rat! Eventually this little bugger will evolve into Raticate, a formidable mid-level Pokemon. As a bonus, Raticate is the only Pokemon with a PhD.

Finally, our hero arrives at Pewter City...also known as Suplex City.

I immediately head to a place unfamiliar to most Americans: The Gym. HO HO HO! ZAPOW! HOW DID THIS GAME GET A WESTERN RELEASE?

Like many gyms, this one is full of douchebags. I like how it denotes the gender of the opponents. That would NEVER fly in 2016!

Pikachu's electric attacks are useless here, and he takes 2x damage to boot.

Pokemon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition is a cold, cold bitch.

The good news is that I'm now well-stocked with the Peewee Hockey Team of Pokemon lineups. We've got the formidable Pikachu, who can't do anything in this gym, and a bunch of 'mons who would last a combined total of four turns against BROCK. Wait, four turns? But I have more Pokemon than that! You'd think, but Nidoran male and Nidoran female snuck away to engage in some red-hot Pokesex.

Hey, it's hard to meet other members of your species when you're constantly running away from obnoxious little kids throwing plastic balls at your head.


Since I simply could not get past the Jr. Trainer, much less BRRRROCK, I left the gym to grind some levels. Mainly leveled Pikachu up so that his Quick Attack would do more damage against these enemies, but also my other 'mons. Pidgey could be a solid ally for me with some levels. His furious pecking is among the deadliest tools in my arsenal.

The weird thing is that you can completely avoid fighting the Jr. Trainer if you want to. Some miniboss. It's weird because most gym minibosses are unavoidable, and they should be; they're there to prepare you for the big boss.

Pikachu is now strong enough to take out this guy by spamming Quick Attack...barely. This gym was NOT this difficult in the original Red/Blue versions of the game. On one hand I'd think maybe this is a sort of expert version of the game for experienced players, really isn't.

Pokemon Yellow is the same in difficulty throughout, but the starter makes the early-game extremely problematic. As a result, all of the difficulty is concentrated in the first 10% of the game, with fight challenge notably dipping for a while until the end when they're supposed to be difficult. The good news is that Pikachu absolutely demolishes the second gym.

BROCK has arrived. He takes a break from taking "supplements" to take Ambrose to Suplex City!

Jokes on you, BROCK! I have 300% more Pokemon than you do. By my math, that gives me a 133% chance of victory.

We're depending on YOU now, Pidgey!

I employ a cutting-edge strategy of repeatedly lowering the enemy's Accuracy until it becomes completely harmless. From then on, it's smooth sailing to a Pidgey victory.

But wait! Pikachu swoops in to finish the job!


I employ a similar strategy with Onix, using my under-leveled Pokemon to fire off stat-lowering moves until they get taken out.

After that, I bring out Pikachu...but he doesn't last long.



Well, here's something you'd never see in real life. Silly game! Ambrose isn't a part-timer!

Tune in for the next episode of Pokemon Yellow, which will usher in a new age of the cosmos. For a long time, there was nothing, and then there was The Summer of Pokemon. It will forever be heralded as the turning point where the universe aligned in perfect harmony.


  1. It came out in 1996 in Japan, so that at least explains the SNES, but not why they didn't modify it a bit to make it a N64 in 1998. At the time (and still now) I appreciated it as the SNES has a much better library than the N64.

    "Ambrose has a long journey ahead of him, but he prepared for it by once walking from Philadelphia to Hartford in a snowstorm." Hahaha, this was a clasisc. 'What, it wasn't that far'

    Wow, go Pidgey. As someone who always starts with Charmander this is a pretty similar experience, he can't do much against Brock. ...he also can't do much against Misty, though.