Every month leading up to the release of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet versions (which mark the start of Generation 9), I will take a look back at one of the previous generations of Pokémon. Naturally, we start at the beginning with Generation 1. Without a doubt the peak of the Pokémon franchise in terms of its mainstream popularity, but powerful enough that the series as a whole remains part of the public conversation to this day. This is largely due to many of the trends that began here.
Unless otherwise stated, all release dates are North American.
Red and Green (Game Boy; February 1996 Japan) and Red and Blue (Game Boy; September 1998 North America)
A few years before the rest of the world will experience this wonderful phenomenon, Red and Green took Japan by storm! Fast forward a couple of years and now it was time for the rest of the world to find out how fun Pokémon can be!
The odd Pokémon sprites in comparison to the designs we are more familiar with today have its unique charm, and while the formula that these games set in motion has been criticized for being used so religiously 25+ years later, it worked. You pick one of three starter Pokémon Grass Fire or Water, build your team around them, earn 8 gym badges, take down the evil team, and become a Pokémon Master by excelling in battle and collecting 151 (although Mew started as a secret) Pokémon.
The genius of Pokémon games came from the endless combinations of Pokémon teams and how trading with friends was necessary to complete the games. While this was a nightmare for shy or lonely people with no one to trade to, this built a community and the image of Pokémon being a collective journey as well as individual. Mirroring the anime introducing us to the traveling trio of Ash, Brock, and Misty.
Super Smash Bros (N64; April 1999)
It says a lot about the popularity of Pokémon that in its short lifespan, they were worthy of having 2 of the 12 fighters in Super Smash Bros. Pikachu and Jigglypuff represented the franchise and while Jigglypuff’s competitive…