By David Rollins
On the 20th anniversary of Pokémon, Nintendo re-released Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow and there was a lot of speculation about how much the games would be changed. Updated graphics, an improved sound track, and many other ideas were thrown around but ultimately, there was very little done to them.
Those who grew up in the mid-to-late 90s might recognize these titles. Many probably played at least one of them on a Game Boy or Game Boy Color. If not, don’t worry – you can still get the same experience. All three games were re-released in their original state. The only update is wireless communication for trading and battling. Pokémon Red and Blue are still black-and-white, and Yellow has color.
I grew up playing these games on a Game Boy Color, which automatically added a color palette to black-and-white games, so it was fun and in some ways more enjoyable to to play Blue Version in its original form. I was able to experience a part of these games I never had before and despite the graphics and colors of today’s games I found myself going to Blue Version more than more recent games.
I would say these games are worth buying, and here’s why: An original cartridge copy is around $30, an unopened copy is near $300. This version, which is available for download on the 3DS are around $10.
For those who started later in the series and never played these games, it’s important to note that many of the game mechanics present in current games are not present in Red, Blue, or Yellow. These include breeding Pokémon, natures, and abilities, so these games do a good job of showing players how far Pokémon games have come.
To make sure the re-released games were the same as the original cartridge versions, I played through my cartridge copy of Pokémon Blue and then played through the digital copy on my 3DS. I didn’t take advantage of any in-game glitches in either playthrough. The controls felt right and I had no issue moving around or using any of the in-game menus. I do recommend using the D-Pad when playing.
When I started the game on my 3DS I knew right off the bat which one of the three starter Pokémon I wanted – Bulbasaur. As I played I found that I over-leveled to some degree and that made several battles that were supposed to be a challenge kind of easy, something many veteran players will probably experience. I remembered clearly how annoying catching Legendary Pokémon is, plus the Safari Zone catching mechanic.
I also tested the wireless communication by trading myself a Squirtle from the Red Version I have on my other 3DS. It worked really well. The only trade and battle restriction is that it has to be done locally and not over the internet. That was kind of a let down, but this does hold true to the originals in that players are face-to-face.
Ultimately, if you’re a veteran to the series, these games could be a fun trip back into the past. If you’ve just started, they provide a fun look at how far the series has come, without the prohibitive price tag of the original versions.