Top 10 Reasons Pokémon Red and Blue Haven't Aged Well

When Pokémon was released in Japan in 1995 and North America in 1998, it was a total phenomenon. It went beyond the basic Game Boy games and went on to become one of the most iconic anime of the 1990s. There was merchandise everywhere; toys, notebooks, backpacks, just about anything you can think of. There was even a feature-length motion-picture featuring Mewtwo and Mew. However, the passing of time hasn't been kind to these games. In fact, the release of Pokémon Gold and Silver would've made them totally obsolete if it weren't for the fact that there were certain Pokémon in Red and Blue that you couldn't get in Gold and Silver, such as the three starting Pokémon, Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle. At least without some kind of cheat device. Now I'm not saying these games are bad by any means. But when you compare them to later installments and especially the Fire Red and Leaf Green remakes on Game Boy Advance, it's easy to see why these games haven't age particularly well. And here are ten reasons to start with.
The Top Ten
1 Psychic Pokémon were severely overpowered

In the world of Pokémon, there shouldn't be any one type better than the rest. But that wasn't the case in Red and Blue. A lot of the time, Psychic Pokémon dominated the battlefield because they had only one weakness and that was the Bug-Type. In later Generations, Psychic Pokémon became weak against Ghost moves. Of course, Psychic Pokémon in Generation 1 were actually immune to Ghost attacks.

But probably the most broken Pokémon in Generation 1 that was legal was Alakazam. It had ridiculously high speed and special and could learn Psychic by simply leveling up. Suffice it to say, any Psychic Pokémon in Generation 1 was enough to make both rookie and veteran trainers tremble in terror. This is why Gold and Silver had to introduce Dark-types to counter them.

2 Very little post-game content

In recent Pokémon games, simply beating the champion isn't enough. After that, there's more to do and more Pokémon to catch. But in Red and Blue, there was only one area you could explore after defeating the Elite Four and your Rival, and that was the Cerulean Cave. This cave had the highest level random encounters and contained Mewtwo, the supposed strongest Pokémon in the game.

After getting to Mewtwo and either beating or catching it, all there was left to do was fill up your Pokédex and beat any trainers. Yup, that was it. No second region like in Gold and Silver, no battle tower like in Ruby and Sapphire, no forest or city like in Black and White, and certainly no DLC like in Sword and Shield.

3 The casino in Celadon City

Mini-games inside games are a nice diversion when done right. The casino, however, wasn't really a good idea. It involved actual gambling and was the only way to obtain a Porygon. The RNG had to be in a really good mood if you wanted a nice payout.

In fact, when all the Game Boy Pokémon games from Generation 1 and 2 were released on the 3DS Virtual Console in Europe, they were slapped with a PEGI 12 rating because of simulated gambling. Starting with Pokémon Black and White, the casinos were finally taken out of the games. In all honesty, casinos shouldn't have been in Pokémon games to begin with.

4 They're too slow

The whole game moves incredibly slowly, making it almost unbearable to play on a regular Game Boy or Game Boy Advance. However, you can play Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow much faster in Pokémon Stadium after unlocking the Doduo and Dodrio upgrades.

5 The way you carried items

In today's Pokémon games, players don't have to worry about sorting items too much. Each one goes into its own compartment. Starting with FireRed and LeafGreen, it was possible for players to carry 999 of each consumable item with the exception of TMs. But in Red and Blue, your backpack had enough room for only 20 items. That's it. 20 of any kind of items, period. Medicine, Poke Balls, TMs, and Key Items all went into the same pouch.

What was really frustrating is if you tried to pick up an item when your bag was full. It would simply tell you, "No more room for items." It wouldn't tell you what you were trying to pick up, so you either had to deposit an item in your PC, use an item, or look up a guide. Veteran players like myself don't miss this feature at all.

6 HM moves

Let's be honest. HM moves were a real pain in the rear. In Pokémon Red and Blue, there were certain obstacles that you couldn't bypass unless your Pokémon learned the appropriate HM move.

The most common one was CUT because there were a lot of small trees blocking your road. You also needed STRENGTH to move huge boulders and SURF to cross bodies of water. FLY was useful because you could then quickly travel between towns. FLASH was totally useless because there was only one dark cave in the whole game. If you looked at a map or played Pokémon Red and Blue on a Game Boy Color or Game Boy Advance, you could fiddle with the color palette to make the walls stand out more, or use a map.

You also couldn't use HM moves outside of battle without the corresponding badge. For instance, you couldn't challenge LT. Surge before Misty because you needed the Cascade Badge to cut the tree blocking his gym. But the worst part of HM moves is that there was no way to delete them. Once you used HMs to teach your Pokémon a move, they were stuck with it. This is why many players caught Pokémon just to be their HM Slaves. Later games starting with Gold and Silver would introduce NPCs that would delete HM moves on their Pokémon. But for Generation 1 players, they had to think about it a lot more carefully.

7 All the bugs and glitches

It's no secret that Pokémon Red and Blue are filled with all kinds of bugs and glitches. There are so many, Bulbapedia has an entire page dedicated to every single one found in the game so far. Some of the most infamous ones are the Focus Energy glitch, which was supposed to multiply the user's chance for a critical hit by 4, but it divides it instead. There was even a glitch that gave One-Hit KO moves 100% accuracy.

There's also the infamous Glitch City and the Safari Zone glitch which lets you catch Pokémon on the coast of Seafoam Islands if done right. And then there's the most famous glitch of all: the Item Duplication glitch. If I have to tell you how to pull this off, then you're probably not a fan of Pokémon. But suffice to say, Pokémon Red and Blue was one hell of a buggy mess.

8 The move sets weren't that great

These days, Pokémon players are spoiled for choices when it comes to picking the right moves. But it certainly wasn't the case in Red and Blue where moves were quite limited, and your favorite Pokémon couldn't always learn the moves you wanted.

For instance, Dragonite can't learn FLY from HM02 even though he's technically a Flying-Type (although he can learn it in Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal). There are also only 3 Bug-Type attacks and those were mediocre at best (String Shot is not an attack, by the way). Dragon Rage was the only Dragon-Type attack in the whole game and it inflicted a set damage amount. So the next time you complain about how your Pokémon can't learn the moves you want in newer games, take a gander at what Generation 1 players had to make do with.

9 Some of the Pokémon designs were terrible

How many of you remember when Pikachu was on the chubby side? If you do, you probably remember other bad designs for our beloved Pokémon. One such was Gastly where they looked like nothing more than a ball of pixels with eyes and a mouth, which flaunts the line between simplicity and laziness.

But I believe Jynx had the worst design of all. I don't know if it was deliberate or not, but her design looked a lot like a depiction of blackface which a lot of people in North America have a major beef with. It was so controversial, it got three episodes of the Pokémon anime removed from circulation on streaming services and future DVD and Blu-ray releases.

10 There were some awful sprites
The Contenders
11 The Safari Zone was mandatory

The Safari Zone is actually a nice little diversion to catch Pokémon without having to battle them, and it has some Pokémon that you can't obtain anywhere else such as Tauros, Chansey, Scyther, and Pinsir. But the problem is it's mandatory because you need to get to the northwest section in order to obtain two of the three mandatory HMs.

The man in the house will give you HM03 SURF, and you need to obtain the Gold Teeth found just as you enter the area with the house to give to the warden to get HM04 STRENGTH. There are two problems with this: the first is that you have to pay an entry fee of 500 poke dollars. If you reach this area without enough money and have defeated all the trainers up to this point, you have only four options: 1) Sell enough items to get the needed cash, 2) Obtain a Meowth/Persian that knows Pay Day, 3) Trade Pokémon with someone that knows Surf, Strength, or Pay Day, or 4) Delete your save file and start all over.

The second issue was that you could only take 500 steps each visit. This goes without saying that rookie players had better get a map out so they don't waste precious steps.

12 Easy bosses
13 Special Attack and Special Defense were one stat

Today's players are comfortable with Pokémon having separate stats for Special Attack and Special Defense. But in Pokémon Red and Blue, they shared the same stat.

Basically, Special determined both how well a Pokémon could inflict damage using an attack classified as a special attack and how well it could defend against such attacks. This meant that Chansey could use special attacks like Psychic with almost as much devastating force as Alakazam. When Pokémon Gold and Silver split this stat into Special Attack and Special Defense, many players saw this as a welcome change.

14 Lavender Town
15 Super Game Boy's color palette was limited
16 Overrated Pokemon that have become famous because of Pokemon's TV show
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