As one of the world’s most beloved properties, Pokémon has stood the test of time, since becoming one of the all-time best-selling game series as well as a successful television and film franchise. Additionally, Pokémon has become a profitable brand of merchandising with trading cards, action figures, and much, much more. Most recently, the property explored previously uncharted waters with its foray into mobile gaming with the uber-successful Augmented Reality (AR) app Pokémon Go. As the franchise is now in its 20th anniversary, however, it’s important to remember the games that made the property the success it is today – Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow.
Even after two decades, these titles still remain as some of the gaming industry’s most celebrated role-playing games (RPG’s). With the rerelease of these beloved titles – now available on the Nintendo eShop – nostalgic gamers are revisiting their past and realizing that there is a lot of depth to these seemingly simple games. In celebration of the games’ respective rereleases, as well as the franchise’s 20th anniversary, we have compiled a list of 15 things you might not have known about Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, the series’ original flagship titles. Within this article, we will explore some of the game’s hidden secrets as well as some lesser known behind-the-scenes stories from the title’s development.
Here are the 15 Things You Never Knew About Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow.
15. You Can Fight Professor Oak
Many of the game’s secrets are hidden within glitches that have been found by gamers over the years. These glitches are often useful and, at times, somewhat humorous, but they are also key in uncovering some of Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow‘s biggest Easter Eggs. One of these fan-favorite Easter Eggs from the original game series is the secret battle with Professor Oak.
As the Pokémon Professor, and the protagonist’s guide of sorts, Oak is no easy battle. With a well-balanced team, all of whom’s levels ranging from the high 60s to low 70s, Oak proves that he is much more than an acclaimed scientist.
The glitch that acts as a catalyst for the battle with Professor Oak is a bit of an arduous journey that we won’t fully cover here, but fear not, as this Easter Egg is well-documented and only a quick Google search away. It is interesting to note, however, that Oak was obviously coded with an entire Pokémon team at his disposal, but for whatever the reason, the creators decided not to include this fun post-game battle. It would appear to be a missed opportunity, but luckily you are able to experience this fun Easter Egg regardless of Game Freak’s intentions.
14. Focus Energy: Worst Move Ever
While most would argue that “Splash” is the absolute worst move in any Pokémon game to date, it is certainly possible that they are unaware of the head-scratchingly terrible “Focus Energy” from Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow. Focus Energy is a move that is still around in Pokémon games today, but with a small caveat – it actually works now.
As more of a preemptive strategic move, Focus Energy was intended to make critical hits more common, allowing the user to dole out even more damage against an opponent. Due to a glitch in the first generation of the game series, however, this move virtually eliminated the possibility of scoring a critical hit. So, whenever an opponent in either Pokémon Red, Blue, or Yellow versions uses the aforementioned Focus Energy against you in a match, thank your lucky stars as they are basically sabotaging themselves and essentially wasting a turn.
13. Critical Hits Based On Speed Stat
More casual Pokémon players would likely assume that critical hits were more or less randomized, but as it turns out, that was not necessarily the case in the original game series. Yes, there was a sense of randomization to it, but some Pokémon were more likely to achieve critical hits more often than others. In the first generation of Pokémon games, creatures with a higher speed stat were, in fact, more likely to land critical hits and vice versa.
In the generations since, critical hits were no longer based on speed stats but rather a series of in-battle stages that can be altered either by a Pokémon’s move set, select items, or abilities. As the game has progressed through the years, it has become uber-popular in the realm of competitive gaming, and has seen years of intricate refinement. In order to balance the respective metagame, numerous changes have been implemented, generally altering the game for the better all in the name of fair play.
12. Mew Is Catchable
When Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow were first released, there were more conspiracy theories surrounding the capture of legendary creature Mew than there were concerning Area 51. Completing the Pokédex, defeating the Elite 4 over 100 times, and moving that mysterious truck in Viridian City were all plausible theories back in the day, but as we have come to find out in the years since, these rumors were all disappointingly false. It seemed that the only way to obtain Mew – outside of the infamous GameShark cheats – was to attend a Nintendo-sponsored event that just happened to feature a special distribution of the mythical creature.
Fortunately enough for fans of the original legendary Pokémon, obsessive gamers have, in fact, discovered a way to legitimately capture the incredibly rare character Mew. Much like the aforementioned battle with Professor Oak, it is a bit of an arduous process that we won’t fully cover here, but do not worry as it is incredibly well-documented across the web.
11. Celadon’s Invisible PC
Less useful, but a somewhat more humorous glitch is Celadon Hotel’s invisible PC. On the southeastern part of Celadon City, the most populated city in all of the Kanto region, lies a luxurious hotel. To the dismay of the game’s protagonist, there are apparently no vacancies. What gamers will find, however, is an invisible PC – a PC much like the ones found at Pokémon Centers and various other locations.
It should be noted that this glitch only occurs in Red and Blue, leading many to believe that this was not an intended Easter Egg but rather a coding mistake. Aiding in the belief of this theory is the fact that the hotel lobby very much resembles the lobby of nearly every Pokémon Center within the game. Now, it is widely believed that this mishap is rather a simple oversight in which the game’s programmers copy and pasted the code from the Pokémon Centers but forgot to remove the PC entirely.
10. Silph Scope Not Needed
Upon a playthrough of Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, players will find it impossible to advance past the Lavender Town Tower without the use of the Silph Scope, an item used for identifying Ghost-type Pokémon. But interestingly enough, it turns out that the required item is not required after all. For those looking to skip the fight against Giovanni and the rest of his gang (Team Rocket) at the Celadon City Game Corner, there is apparently a way to bypass this mission altogether.
In a traditional playthrough, defeating Team Rocket at the Celadon City Game Corner is essential for retrieving the Silph Scope and thusly saving Mr. Fuji from – you guessed it – Team Rocket from the Lavender Town Tower, but it has been discovered that another item can be just as useful in the fight against unidentified spirits: Poké Dolls. That’s right, by utilizing a Poké Doll mid-battle with Lavender Town’s restless spirit, gamers are able to scare away the ghost and make their way to the top floor without making use of the Silph Scope.
9. Rival’s Raticate Died?
In an otherwise lighthearted children’s game, Lavender Town stands alone as a rather dark setting within Pokémon lore. As a place that more or less amounts to a Pokémon graveyard, Lavender Town is the home to mourning trainers and tragic stories. One story that has since garnered some conspiracy-level theories is that of the protagonist’s rival.
A growing rumor among fans is the fact that the rival trainer – often referred to as Gary seeing as how the anime character is based on the rival trainer – had a Pokémon die, specifically his Raticate. The reasoning behind this theory is the fact that Gary’s Raticate is mysteriously missing from the battle at the Lavender Town Tower after making appearances in previous fights as either the aforementioned Raticate or the Pokémon’s previous form, Rattata.
There are entire articles across the web devoted to this theory, but the consensus is generally this: Gary’s Raticate is still likely alive, either traded away or back at the lab with Professor Oak. The rumor is hard to prove one way or another, but most of the evidence points to a relatively unharmed Raticate.
8. Creepy Lavender Town Myths
Over the years, Pokémon-related stories have basically become a treasure trove for Creepypasta myths. For those of you unfamiliar with Creepypasta, it is essentially a website filled to the brim with urban legends, ghost stories, and spooky tall tales, but for whatever reason, the Pokémon franchise has become a massive inspiration for many writers hoping to scare their respective readers with campfire stories concerning one of their favorite childhood pastimes.
At the center of countless Creepypasta stories is the already surprisingly dark Lavender Town. One myth, in particular, that frightened the internet as a whole is the tale behind numerous reported child suicides taking place in 1996, aka the same year that Pokémon Red and Green (as it was initially titled in its home country) were released in Japan. There are several different variations of this story floating around, but generally, it involves the musical theme of Lavender Town containing harmful frequencies that specifically target adolescents, and, according to the legend, drove a number of children to take their own lives.
While the story is, of course, fictitious, it is certainly creepy. As alluded to earlier, Pokémon is an inspiration for countless stories like this, all documented and just a few clicks away. Lavender Town is a perfect inspiration for many of these stories, considering the fact that it is an already dark setting within an otherwise lighthearted children’s game.
7. No Evolution Stones Required
As far as evolution stones are concerned, most are available for purchase within the game, but one stone, in particular, the Moon Stone, is only obtainable via exploration and within a limited capacity. While players are able to purchase as many Fire, Water, and Thunder Stones as they want within the game, Moon Stones are a bit more difficult to come by.
Through a bit of maneuvering, players are able to evolve Pokémon who generally require evolution stones without these items. By utilizing a certain Pokémon – Exeggutor, Onix, Growlithe, Psyduck, and even the mysterious glitch MissingNo. – in relief, these creatures act as a catalyst for Pokémon who generally require items to advance to the next evolutionary stage. Again, this list is by no means a guide to stone-less evolution in generation one Pokémon games, but luckily numerous “how-to” articles and videos concerning this technique are a readily available across the web.
6. Wild Safari Zone Pokémon
Some of the most difficult Pokémon to capture in the first generation of Pokémon games – Chansey, Scyther, Tauros, Kangaskhan, and Pinsir to name a few – have one trait in common: the location in which they can be found. All of the aforementioned Pokémon can only be found (within the Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow versions) in the Safari Zone.
The main difference between the Safari Zone and the rest of the game is the fact that wild Pokémon cannot be battled before attempting to capture them. For anyone familiar with Pokémon games, that puts the player at a major disadvantage. Within the Safari Zone, Pokémon are much more likely to run away and, generally speaking, take several attempts to capture. With the ability to use the HM Fly, however, this is no longer the only way to catch these rare creatures.
By utilizing the Fly technique, a player who travels from within the Safari Zone to another Kanto location, Cinnabar Island, can, by swimming up and down the coastline, encounter Safari Zone Pokémon, battle, and capture them. It should be noted, however, that this glitch was only accessible in Pokémon Red and Blue as it was apparently fixed prior to the release of the Yellow version.
5. 190 Original Pokémon
Catching all 151 original Pokémon stood as a monumental task back in the late 90s, but the game’s “Gotta Catch ’em All” mantra could have been much harder to adhere by if the title had contained all 190 Pokémon that were originally intended to debut in Red, Blue, and Yellow.
According to reports, it is said that the unused designs of the remaining 39 Pokémon were saved for the game’s ensuing sequels Gold and Silver. Along with the 39 unused creatures from generation one, an additional 66 Pokémon were created and added to the Pokédex of the second generation.
Among some of the fan-favorite Pokémon rumored to have been deliberately omitted from the first generation of games are Scizor, Elekid, Donphan, Heracross, Tyranitar, and a number of the second generation’s legendaries, just to name a few.
4. Munna Referenced
One rumor that has been heavily discussed by the franchise’s more hardcore fans across the web is the reference of Psychic-type Pokémon Munna in the series’ first generation. For those unfamiliar with the more current generations of Pokémon, Munna did not make its debut until Pokémon Black and White, the series’ fifth generation of the franchise that did not take place until over 14 years after the release of Pokémon Red and Green in Japan.
Supporting this rumor is the fact that a girl outside of the Rock Tunnel in Red, Blue, and Yellow makes a statement about a Pokémon that is “pink with a floral pattern.” While this certainly describes Munna, it is still a rather vague description. This is certainly no confirmation, but for many, it is still quite the neat little Easter Egg.
3. A Pokémon War?
As deep as any theory surrounding the Pokémon franchise – specifically the game series, but still pertaining to the franchise as a whole – is the Pokémon War Theory, also referred to as the Kanto War Theory. Explaining the lack of adult males within the game, the Pokémon War Theory claims that Red, Blue, and Yellow versions all take place just a few years after a devastating war between Kanto and a neighboring nation (usually theorized to be Johto from the titles’ respective sequels). This additionally goes on to explain the lack of infrastructure within Kanto, as well as the reasoning behind why fathers are largely absent from the game’s roster of characters.
This speculation is, of course, nothing more than a fan theory that attempts to explain a few of the game’s more interesting plot points and character decisions, but nevertheless, it is an interesting read. Without confirmation from the studio behind the games, it is impossible to say one way or another if this rumor is true or not, but the fun behind this theory is the belief that it could be true. While Pokémon’s creators may not have intended this deep of a backstory to be involved in a children’s video game and subsequent television series, it’s fun to theorize and read into the speculation.
2. Completed in Under 30 Minutes
Anyone who has ever picked up the Japanese role-playing game is unlikely to find that the campaign can be finished in less than one day, much less in under an hour, but speedrunners are another breed entirely. Speedrunners are gamers who make it their mission to complete a game in as little time as possible, usually by utilizing in-game glitches and playing with somewhat unorthodox strategies.
Speedruns of famous titles such as Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time have become popular around the web, but interestingly enough, the original series of Pokémon have caught the eyes of a handful of speedrunners. By utilizing a handful of glitches within the games code, gamers have found that the game can actually be completed in under a half hour.
1. Pokémon Almost Didn’t Happen
It is hard to imagine, but the games that spawned one of the biggest franchises of the past 20 years — a series that has seen a handful of worldwide phenomena since its inception, most recently with the viral mobile game Pokémon Go — almost never made it out of development.
In a celebratory video released by The Pokémon Company’s YouTube channel just a few months ago, the current Director at Game Freak Inc. Junichi Masuda talked a bit about the franchise’s 20th anniversary, giving viewers a brief background of the original game’s six-year development process. According to Director Masuda, these games almost did not come to fruition due to hardware malfunctions with – at the time – less reliable technology.
While the original Pokémon games were far from a doomed series, it does appear that Game Freak, much like other relatively young studios (at least at that specific time), had some technical issues early on. Thankfully, the team persevered, and Pokémon has gone on to achieve unprecedented success worldwide.
Did we miss any fun factoids about Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow? Let us know in the comments!