Now you know what you’re asking your significant other (or yourself) to buy for you for Valentine’s Day. On February 27th Nintendo will release versions of Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow for the 3DS console. This 2016 release follows the success of remakes Heart Gold and Soul Silver in 2009 of the 1999 Gold and Silver on the DS, and the remakes Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire in 2014 of the 2003 Ruby and Sapphire on the 3DS. Currently there are only two generations of Pokémon gaming made for the 3DS. While Pokémon X and Y have something to be said for themselves and Omega and Ruby were wonderfully redone, there’s plenty to be excited for with this new launch of the old.
The Founding Fathers
Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue, and Pokémon Yellow represent the very first generation of Pokémon gaming available on handheld consoles. In Japan Pokémon Red and Green were introduced to the Gameboy in 1996. Blue quickly followed due to a surge in Pokémon’s popularity, and the Special Pikachu Edition (Yellow) launched as a unified version of Blue and Red. Since Satoshi Tajiri’s achievement with these earliest editions, Pokémon has slowly come to dominate the world of Nintendo gaming, spawning other forms of enjoyment like manga, anime, card games, and toys. Pokémon is now such a popular phenomenon that Microsoft Word will mark “Pokemon” as wrong and tell you to spell it “Pokémon.”
The New Release
The news of these re-releases has hit fans differently across the board. Given that this first generation do-over is Pokémon’s 20th anniversary gift to itself and its consumers, people are torn by both excitement and disappointment. Red, Blue, and Yellow are expected to maintain their original charm, including their monochrome pixel art and 4-bit background music. The primary difference will be that these remakes will have the ability to trade Pokémon wirelessly, as would be expected with a 2016 release of any Pokémon game.
Many people are complaining that this release isn’t big enough to warrant its significant anniversary date. While the nostalgia factor is undeniable, it is also undeniable that these games belong in the late 90’s that they were conceived in, not the latter end of the 2010’s. If playing Pokémon Yellow on the 3DS is mostly identical to playing it on the Gameboy, what’s the point? Regardless, Pokémon fans globally are rejoicing to see the revival of the first generation of the game. Pokémon rocked the world when it was initially introduced and today it continues to sweep countless fans into a fervor to “catch ’em all,” no matter the minor grumbling.