Happy Pokemon day! Okay, so I’m one day early. In honor of the franchise’s 20th anniversary, I have compiled a special “The Five” list. I wanted to do something different other than favorite or cutest Pokemon. Instead, I have come up with this. The five choices every new Pokemon trainer had to make. This relates to people who started out by playing Pokemon Red or Blue/Green. The Yellow version is not factored into this list, simply because it was not available with the initial games launch.
This is my tribute to Pokemon, so I hope you like it!
Red or Blue/Green
The first big choice we had to make was which of the two games to play. Yes, you could have bought both, but for those that stuck with one in those early days, needed to decide which version to get. The key difference being that certain Pokemon were not available in each version. Having that foreknowledge was useful, but at the time, the internet was not nearly as accessible, so we had to rely on strategy guides and classic gaming magazines like Nintendo Power or GamePro.
Your Starting Pokemon
This is obviously the biggest choice within the game, or any other version of the game. Do you start with grass, water, or fire? While it’s safe to say that Charmander was a big favorite among these three, the strategic choice early on was to go with Bulbasaur or Squirtle, as it would give you an advantage in the first gym, if not the second. Luckily, any choice here would still allow you to progress easily enough, since there are plenty of Pokemon to catch early on to fix any handicap.
The Fighting Dojo
After progressing through the game, you will eventually reach the Fighting Dojo. If you run a gauntlet of trainers using only fighting type pokemon, and defeat their leader, he will offer you one of two Pokemon: Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan. You can only get one of them during the game without trading, so this is a rather pivotal decision. I chose Hitmonlee the first time, and I would not make that choice again. Hitmonchan has become a favorite of mine and will be on my team for years to come.
Another major choice is what to do with your Eevee. In the later portion of the game you are given one as a gift. Since this is the only Eevee you receive, it’s time to decide which evolution stone is going to be used on it. It was a much easier choice back then, with only three eevee-lutions, but with only one Eevee, it was a tough decision overall. Personally, I am a fan of electric Pokemon, so Jolteon was my choice.
The Master Ball
The last major choice in the game relates to the Master ball. Once you receive it, you can now catch any one pokemon without fail. Obviously this would need to be saved until the right moment (Or glitch it out with Missingno.). It was also deduced very early that Mewtwo could only be caught with the master ball. I will also admit to wasting my Master ball on Zapdos, not realizing what the consequences were at the time. I fixed that with a new playthrough, but all that progress…
I should point out that I was about 11 when I got my copy of Pokemon Red. It was given to me as a Christmas present, and I did not have a lot of internet access at the time to look anything up. I have enjoyed the series from the beginning to the here and now, and with new games like Pokemon Go and Pokemon Sun and Moon, I look forward to the future of the franchise.