Nintendo Gives Game Boy Players Pokemon Red & Blue – Today in Retro Gaming – September 28th, 1998

When Nintendo brought over the Pokemon franchise it is unclear if they knew it would have been as big a success in the North American market or not.  Sure, now we can look back and say they did everything right and reaped the success from it.  While many players raised all kinds of trouble, at least verbally, for Capcom and their milking of the Street Fighter II franchise during the 16-Bit days – Nintendo was not much better with the Pokemon franchise on the Game Boy.  Still, fans lapped each release up like it was the first time they saw a pocket monster. 

If you started with Pokemon Red or Blue then you were in on the ground floor of a new franchise.  These were the first time that North American gamers got a chance to check out this idea of catching little monsters and making them fight for you (yeah, think about that for a moment).  If you are not the type that enjoys buying basically the same game multiple times, each having slight variations from the others, then you are probably not a Pokemon fan (nor a Street Fighter fan for that matter).  Nintendo released Pokemon Red and Blue simultaneously with the only major difference being the type of pocket monsters you could capture when playing.  That is minimal at best.  Both games start you with the same three Pokemon choices Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander.

Exclusive pocket monsters are:

Red Only:
Ekans, Arbok, Oddish, Gloom, Vileplume, Mankey, Primeape, Growlithe, Arcanine, Scyther, Electabuzz

Blue Only:
Sandshrew, Sandslash, Meowth, Persian, Bellsprout, Weepinbell, Victreebel, Vulpix, Ninetales, Pinsir, Magmar

Now, you may be thinking that you have to purchase both games to get all of the Pokemon available.  Not really.  Nintendo threw fans a bone here and allowed trading between the games with the Nintendo Game Boy Link Cable.  This made playing Pokemon Red or Blue a social adventure as you needed to search out more players to enjoy the benefits of trading with them (precursor to what eventually became Pokemon GO?).

Who started their quest to “catch ‘em all” here with Red and Blue?  Didn’t have these two in your collection, or lost them as life got busy?  No worries, Ebay has copies ready right now.