ByMarlon McDonald, writer at
Umm... are you going to drink that Skooma?
Marlon McDonald

If you've not been residing in a cave over the last month, you would've been aware that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Pokémon Red & Blue, which has just made me feel super old. Writing it out in words and stuff. But, despite all that, what a monumental feat for the franchise!

So if you're here, reading these words right now, you're probably interested in getting your hands on a copy of Red, Blue or even Yellow to recapture your youth, or go back to the source and see if it was any good.

Red, Blue & Yellow are practically identical games, but they do come packed with a shed load of little and monumental changes here and there. With that in mind, I've thrown together a list of those changes below, so before you head out on adventure's long and winding road, have a read and see which direction you fancy heading:

Differences In The OG Pokémon Games

1. The Pokémon!

Pokéroll call
Pokéroll call

Despite only having a now meagre 151 pocket monsters to corral into Pokéballs (how mind blowing was that number 20 years ago, huh?), Red & Blue also featured 'mons exclusive to each game. For example, you couldn't catch an Arbok in Blue, but the Poison-type 'mon could be caught in Red. Bulbapedia has a great list of exclusive Pokémon for you to peruse and decide upon.

Yellow, now, is a trainer's best friend, because this little gem of a game has a fair amount of Pokémon overlap, meaning, for the first time, Red & Blue's exclusive 'mons could be found in one game! Yellow also mixed up where you could catch the critters too, ensuring you're kept on your toes.

Starter Pokémon changed over the games too, as did their move learning abilities. In Red & Blue, you began the game with the age old decision of picking either Squirtle, Bulbasaur or Charmander, but in Yellow you started off with Pikachu as standard. An astute move to leap on the free-wheeling success of the iconic anime. But, no reason to fret! If you still wanted to get your hands on the classic starter Pokémons, you can always get them off trainers throughout Yellow.


Also in-line with the anime, Pokémon such as Charizard and Pikachu saw themselves learning moves that we were more accustomed to seeing them pull off on weekday afternoons. Charizard could learn 'Fly,' and Pikachu could learn 'Surf.' How cool is that!?

But, in Yellow, there were some pretty awesome Pokémon that were not available to catch. Dudes like Raichu, Electabuzz and Magmar never managed to make the leap across. So let's light a candle for our furry homies.

2. The Narrative!

Yellow belly
Yellow belly

Red & Blue's storylines are completely identical, which made for interesting conversations of how your friends managed to raise their 'mons's levels higher than yours when you're all at the same stage of the game. How, dammit!?

But Yellow saw some changes to its narrative besides starting with only Pikachu. Team Rocket's iconic d-bags Jessie and James were bumped up to the game, as well as their Pokémon, Meowth, Ekans and Koffing. And the latter two 'mons even evolve as the game goes on, just like the anime. Also, all gym leaders' Pokémon have changed in order to reflect their anime counterpart's 'mons.

Team Rocket
Team Rocket

Oh, and, your rival starts the game with an Eevee that will evolve differently depending on how you battle him. For example, if you're victorious in the battle at the lab and on route 22, he will get his hands on a Jolteon. If you win in the lab but not on 22, he will get a Flareon. Or if you're unlucky enough to lose both, your rival will be the proud owner of a Vaporeon. Lucky.

3. The Graphics!

Well, not a monumental leap because Yellow still released on the OG Game Boy, but the Special Pikachu Edition saw some amendments made its to 1st gen Pokémon's sprites. The backs of your trainers and 'mons remained the same, but, in some cases, 'mons facades were improved upon with more detailing or drawn in differing poses than their predecessors in Red & Blue.

So, what I was trying to get at during the duration of this post was if you were/are a huge fan of the Pokémon anime, Yellow is the way to go to fill your nostalgic needs. Otherwise hit up Red & Blue for the vanilla, OG funs.

Or, you know, get all three. Why not, life is short and there's Pokémon to be caught!


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