Pokemon Yellow Doesn't Hold Up




I've been a Pokemon fan since it arrived in the U.S. I still remember watching religiously every episode when it came out. The Pokemon craze was no joke, and I was swept up in it.


Everything had to be Pokemon for me. Birthdays and Christmas were easy when it came what to get me. One year for my birthday, my cousin got me a binder with hundreds of cards. Not sure how she got her hands on so many. I'm still assuming she hustled some neighborhood kids for them. Not long after I had Pokemon sheets for my bed. Had them well beyond what I should've, :cough: 17. 

My girlfriend, God bless her soul, seen them when we first started dating. She stayed around to my surprise, because she is a fan as much as I am.

These were the one. 

Pokemon Blue is the reason I have neck problems

Blue was the first Pokemon game on GB I played. My yellow Gameboy Pocket went everywhere with me. Burned in to my memory is when I first caught a Pikachu at my grandma's kitchen table. It's rare I get excited about anything as much as I did at that moment.

My parents got tired of buying batteries so then came the AC adapter. Seriously, I am positive I have neck problems from those handhelds I used to own. Countless hours on Blue. I played that game like it was my job. Some may call it cheating, I call it strategizing because I had the strategy guide. Missingno was my bitch every playthrough.

Without exaggeration, I've beat the game a dozen times with each starter. I never got tired of that game.

Pokemon Yellow was no different

Yellow was no different experience. Multiple playthroughs with different teams each time. After watching the anime so much it was kind of cool to play as Ash with his Pikachu. Unlike him, I caught Pokemon and won battles, including beating the Elite Four.

Seriously, what the Hell Ash? This kid is trash. Yeah there's lessons learned, but that's only because he's a terrible trainer and we have to learn through his mistakes. Maybe Gary should get some time in the spotlight?


Do they hold up?

I recently started playing Yellow again as a goal of mine to beat a classic game a month. Been seeing a lot talk about Pokemon on Instagram lately so decided to go back to the beginning.

Let me start off by saying, I'm not sure how the Hell I played these so much. 

The story is true to the anime. Leave home at the age of 10 to go become a Pokemon master. Hate stating the obvious, but 10 sounds way too young to be out adventuring. NPC's are not memorable. Whatever sidequests along the way are just filler. The goal is linear and there is only one ending.

Controls are simple. Four-way analog, two buttons, start and select. One button really does it all because all you do is select an action. It's not till you get the bike that navigating is bearable. Just don't use it inside any buildings.

Nothing sticks out as far as graphics, as iconic as they may be. What can anyone expect from a Gameboy. 

However, timeless is the only word needed to describe the music. I have the RBY OST playing right now as I type. Putting me in my feels. Sound design for all the Pokemon except Pikachu make no sense. Garbled mess. They don't say their name like the anime. 

Gameplay is simple. Like other RPGs it's turn-based. Each Pokemon is limited to only four moves they can know at a time. With limited movesets you have to play smarter. In the anime it would be ridiculous if a Pokemon forgot how to tackle because they figured they could shoot water or fire. One day I'm going to figure out Algebra and then forget how to read. (I failed Algebra 2 more than once when I went back to college)

Capturing Pokemon and battling is straightforward. There's not much to either. It's the grind in between Gyms that don't hold up. On the save file I have now I don't have my first gym badge. 

Not sure if I even want it anymore. You just grind Pokemon that are effective to what the Gym leader has and then dump them. Pikachu will be your strongest, as is tradition. Unlike a RPG like Final Fantasy, the characters you have will not always be with you the whole way through. Granted Final Fantasy has some characters that come and go as well.

Old vs New

Modern titles have more to offer with online battles. That is one of the best features besides improved graphics and larger list of Pokemon. I'll just say it now; newer titles are better.

Here come the GenWunners!

As a straightforward RPG aimed at children the original trio fit the bill. They are perfect for that. They can be somewhat deep with breeding and EVs, but really the games are designed for children. Enough grinding anyone can beat them. 

The problem is people wear their nostalgia glasses when they reminisce over the original games. As an adult, I'm not going to pretend I'm having as much fun as I did as a child. No one can. That's fine. People who grew up with Pokemon respect the past but embrace the future. 

When I didn't have bills and all that free time I can see how I could lose hours playing. Now, if I'm gaming I want to feel like I'm getting something out of it. Grinding isn't always fun and with no sense of accomplishment Yellow feels like a chore.


I may be harsh, but I’m still going to play

The classic trio will always be special to me. Like I mentioned, I played them a lot. Children now should start with them. Simple, easy to play, and will be fun for them. As bad as it seems, I’m still going to play Yellow. The game is easy for me to get frustrated with but just as easy for me to pick it up again.

What pairs well with Yellow is Vodka and lemonade. Country time lemonade if you have it. Now go on and pretend to be a drunk 10-year old and drink while adventuring.




Enjoy your drinks and game on.

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