Pokemon Red, Blue, And Yellow 20 Years Later. How Do They Hold Up?

pokemon red blue and yellow

We here at Nerd Union think video game scores are important but we wonder if the way we have been scoring them all these years is actually the best way to do it. I don’t mean we should stop looking at the same aspects of the game when discussing the quality of the game but instead that the scale itself may need to change. Instead of using the typical numbering scale, what if we instead scored them based off the price being charged? This would give some of the older games that are being re-released in various virtual markets to perhaps have a more accurate assessment of their value compared to other games, instead of making them compete on all the same points that modern, more technologically advanced games are being judged on. And what better game to start doing this with than the recent re-release of Pokemon: Red Blue and Yellow version!

pokemon yellow title screen

This was a game release that many of us at Nerd Union were incredibly excited for and had a number of us purchasing the first moment we had time to play. We sat and texted each other discussing who would get which version and who would choose what starter so we could fill up our Pokedexes with the data for each and every Pokemon. It was almost like being a kid again from way back when the game first came out, and I think that’s exactly what helps make this game succeed 20 years later.

pokemon red intro

The game completely succeeds at recapturing all of it’s initial magic from the moment you see the Gamefreak logo on the screen. As soon as you see Professor Oak introduce you to the Pokemon world all the nostalgia of the original game rushes in and the adventure feels exactly as new and exciting and fascinating as it did the very first time through. The fact that the game is 20 years old and several other versions have advanced the series actually ends up doing the original ones a favor surprisingly. The Red Blue and Yellow re-releases actually kept all of the original mechanics of the games exactly the same which means that returning back to the original meta genuinely could be a very new playstyle for some younger trainers playing these games. The lack of Dark, Steel, and Fairy types keeps the original games challenging and has you having to re analyze each battle that you enter into along with having to take a second look at some of the Pokemon who might be a standard choice for you team because of the current meta. Keeping the original movesets, type matchups, and returning to the days where special defense and special attack were the same thing adds an extra challenge that will keep you on your toes and definitely not bored with battles from a simpler time. (And makes Alakazam and other psychic types A LOT more terrifying.)

pokemon rival battle

One would think that going from the beautiful fully 3d graphics of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire to the 2d original Gameboy graphics of Red, Blue, and Yellow might detract from the trainers ability to enjoy the adventure, but in reality, it’s actually pretty refreshing. Its kind of nice not having something jumping around on your screen as you decide upon a battle strategy and actually helps the Pokemon to regain some of their original charm by having simpler, more animal like  models on the screen. Another refreshingly retro experience for the game was only having 151 pokemon to choose from instead of the 700+ choices of the modern era. (Seriously guys, its really difficult only choosing 6 pokemon sometimes….except for you Scizor, you will always be my main guy!) The gym battles brought on tons of fond memories (Except for Sabrina and her dang psychic types) as did being a young trainer taking down the Poke-Mafia: Team Rocket and was just as much fun as it was when I was a kid, if not even more fun! But Gary is definitely still a total jerk….Who smells people later anyways?!?!

pokemon link club

Sadly, the biggest difference between playing the original games and the re-releases was something that could have been one of its greatest strengths. I know that Nintendo wanted to keep a lot of what made the original game so special and the Cable Club was a big part of the trainer experience as a child. Heck, hooking up a link cable to our two Gameboy’s and duking it out for hours with one of my cousins was my favorite pastime as a child! However the lack of ability to go online and battle with some of those same people that I had many a great battle with as a child proved to be more of a deterrent to the quality of the experience and really helped me remember that this game is actually 20 years old and not this fascinating new adventure that my inner 10 year old was re-discovering. I understand that the choice to only battle locally was meant to appeal to our nostalgia and bring us back to how it was in the original Kanto days but it would have been nice to be able to also play with my friends who live in different cities than I do. This is what actually caused a lot of us at Nerd Union to stop geeking out about the re-releases as we played through them. But despite that fact this game still proves to be worth just about every penny and if you have friends you can play with in the same room then it isn’t that huge of a problem and you will have tons of fun battling, stopping the evils of Team Rocket and trying to catch them all as you journey through Kanto together.


Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow Re –releases $9.50/$10.00

Like this post? Check out some of our other posts below!

31 Thoughts You WILL Have playing Pokemon Red Blue or Yellow

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