Saturday, February 27, 2016

Gaming Bits: Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow/Green Version: The Game: The Myth: The Legend: The Movie: The Game

20 years ago today, The legendary games were released, Pocket Monsters: Red and Green, It would inspire a worldwide phenomenon.. This would inspire Anime, Card Games, Manga, Real Life Events, Stores, Clothes, Toys, Books, and more. The legend lives on in a very special gaming bits segment. This is Gaming Bits, Pokemon Generation 1...


Satoshi Tajiri, The autistic son of a Nissan Salesman and a housewife, born in Tokyo in late summer of 1965, had a fascination with bug collecting, to the point where his friends would call him Mr. Bug. At one point he wanted to be a entomologist. He found a new fascination in his teenage years with Video Games, Since his home town of Machida, Tokyo, was being taken over by streets, buildings, parking garages, and other types of business. His rural lifestyle was over. Tajiri really liked Taito's Space Invaders around this same time, so much so that 1) his parents were worried about his possible Delinquent Status, and 2) he frequently cut classes and almost failed High School to make time for gaming. His Parents wanted to get him a job, but Tajiri declined, eventually he graduated, got a technical college degree, and even took apart his Famicom and won a contest for a game idea by Sega.


In 1981, Satoshi Tajiri released the ongoing fanzine known as "Game Freak" with his best bud, Ken Sugimori. the magazine was kind of successful in it's day, going on for 5 years and peacefully ending in 1986. The magazine focused on the arcade gaming scene, with hints, tips, tricks, and any type of information that an arcade nut can wet himself on. After becoming a company, and switching to game devlopment (after Tajiri studied Family BASIC and getting a Famicom Development Kit), they duo pitched an idea for a puzzle game called Quinty (which came out as Mendel Palace here in the States) to Namco. The game wasn't a classic, but the japanese version had similarities in art style to Pokemon, which can be seen in many Game Freak Games. Game Freak had the Idea of Pokemon in 1990, from Tajiri's passion of bug collecting. They wanted to make a game that would use the Game Boy's link cable to have kids show what creatures they got to their friends and maybe trade them like Gashapons, In fact early in development, the game went by the name Capsule Monsters, then later CapuMon. After companies rejected it, Satoshi went to his friend Shigeru Miyamoto, and then a close friendship was formed, a friendship that would lead to even bigger business opportunities. One of those opportunities was making a few Mario games like the NES game Yoshi, and the Japan only Super Famicom game Mario & Wario.


The game's development was HELL!!!!! Many people would be considered overworked, heck the project nearly bankrupted Game Freak, and they had to release side games like Pulseman for the Mega Drive/Sega Genesis as a desperate attempt to not fall apart. This only added more pressure to the already hectic development of Pokemon but after 6 years in development, the game was released with it's red and green versions in February of 1996. You played as a kid who gets to choose 3 Pokemon before going on your journey, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charmander. Along your journey, you could obtain the other 149 known Pokemon (some being version exclusive, which is where the training mechanic is based on), train & evolve existing ones, fight trainers who also caught Pokemon with a combat system similar to rock paper scisors using 15 different types which can be combined 2 at a time), get 8 Gym Badges, and foil the plans of Team Rocket., It all lead up to a climactic battle with your rival at the final tournament of the game. It wasn't initially a success thanks to coming out late in the Game Boy's life, but Children's Magazine CoroCoro Comic revealed the existence of a mysterious 151st pokemon, they also gave out Pokemon Blue (which fixed bugs in the game, and improved the Graphics) for subscribers of this comic. The magazine was no stranger to the like of licensed offers, like those featuring B-Damans, Barcode Battlers, Bikkurimans, RC Cars, and even stuff from Nintendo like Kirby, Mario, and Donkey Kong. This increased interest in the game, enough for a ton of merchandise, and an international release.


The game inspired The Pokemon Trading Card Game (which has it's own fans and it's own video game), A Pokemon anime (which still goes on to this very day), Real life events (like the Pokemon Sticker Rally), a store chain (the Pokemon Center), Spin off games (for every nintendo platform since the N64), various manga (some being goofy, some beings serious), and lots more merchandise (from toys to clothes). The Game even came out in the US of A a couple years later, while it was going to be radically different, the unchanged product still was a success in America. leading to the whole of Pokemania to take the world by storm. After the Anime received some Major Buzz, a more accurate version came out called Pokemon Yellow. It had better sprites, Characters and events resembling those from the anime, and even more bug fixes. It's main draw was Pikachu, you could interact with it, teach it crazy moves it would normally not be able to learn, and recreate adventures from the anime. The 4 versions of the game would go on to sell 20 million units, and become a staple for millennias everywhere. In 1999 in Japan and 2000 elsewhere, the Gold and Silver versions of the game were released for the Game Boy Color, and the rest is history.




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