Welcome to Part 2 of my series where I take a look back at each of the eight Pokémon generations we have experienced so far prior to the start of Generation 9 when Pokémon Scarlet and Violet come out in November.
Generation 1 headlined by Red, Blue, and Yellow set the tone for the entire franchise with a fascinating battle system, a lively region to explore, and 151 memorable Pokémon. However, there was some room for improvement. After all, we didn’t even learn Kanto’s name until Generation 2!
The first expansion of the Pokémon universe began with Gold and Silver. We head west from Kanto to the Johto region, and the number of Pokémon expands to 251. With 100 new Pokémon, including 5 legendaries, 1 mythical, 3 starter evolution lines, and several pre-evolutions and evolutions of old Pokémon, it mixes up the dynamics. But that’s just the beginning.
The eight gyms of the Johto region feature the Flying, Bug, Normal, Ghost, Fighting, Steel, Ice, and Dragon types, a sharp contrast from Kanto’s lineup of Rock, Water, Electric, Grass, Poison, Psychic, Fire, and Ground. This meant that the starter Pokémon types that were effective early on in Generation 1 would be shifted in Generation 2. While Bulbasaur started off strong and Charmander struggled in Kanto, this time it was Chikorita who had it rough in the early going. Cyndaquil would give Fire type fans a better beginning.
One of the biggest changes these games brought is the addition of two new types. This was done to address the overpowered Psychic type. With Dark immune and Steel resistant to Psychic, as well as the introduction of stronger Ghost and Bug type moves like Shadow Ball and Megahorn, relative balance has been restored. Additionally, the Special stat was split into Special Attack and Special Defense.
Gold and Silver didn’t just fix things from earlier games but advanced the depth of the Pokémon world and the experience. Even minor differences like giving NPCs individual names besides simply Youngster or Bug Catcher. On a larger scale, the introduction of genders, the day and night cycle, events specific to days of the week, the use of a phone-like device to rematch trainers, and breeding made the world feel more immersive and deep.