Pokémon: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Generation I

Pokémon's first generation started it all, and it has some interesting quirks that even superfans might not know about.

The Pokémon games, and resulting spinoff media, are divided up into generations, with each new generation featuring pair of games set in a brand new region with a host of new Pokémon to catch and battle. Every generation has its own identity and introduces something new to the Pokémon formula, and fans find it extremely easy to pick out their favorite generation based on personal preference.

Generation I, which started with the release of Pokémon Red and Green in 1996 in Japan, or Pokémon Red and Blue in 1998 in North America and elsewhere, kicked off the Pokémon craze with a pair of games that are still lauded to this day. Generation I continues to be iconic, and recent generations have featured a lot of nostalgic callbacks to the original games. However, even as popular as it was, there are some interesting details about Pokémon’s first generation that even seasoned franchise veterans might not know about.

10 It Had More Moves Than Pokémon

The first Pokémon generation started it all, so it’s not surprising that it introduced the most moves out of any generation with a whopping 165. These moves covered all types, though not at all evenly. Generation I is the only Pokémon generation to date that has included only a single Dragon type move, for instance. Seeing as every Pokémon can have up to four moves at a time, it makes sense that Gen I would include more moves than Pokémon. This is the only generation that has introduced more moves than Pokémon, and Pokémon outnumbered moves starting in Generation III.

It Is The Shortest Generation To Date

Thanks to the disparate release dates between North America and Japan, Generation I is the shortest generation to date in terms of overall release dates. Pokémon Red and Blue were released in 1998 in North America, while the first Generation II games, Gold and Silver, were introduced just two years later in 2000. Starting in Generation III, Pokémon started including remakes and more spinoff games, which even further lengthened the lifespan of each generation.

It Lacked Customizability

As time has gone on, Pokémon games have included more and more options for player customization. In the last three generations, players can fully customize their outfits and accessories. Prior to this, there were simply given the choice between two sprites, each representative of a male and female character.

Generation I, however, is the only generation where the player has no choice and is forced to play as a young boy. There is evidence that an alternate character sprite was planned, but it never made it to the final release.

In addition to their Pokédex number, every Pokémon in Generation I had a hidden value called their index number. While the Dex numbers are generally listed in the order a player is likely to encounter them, the index numbers are listed in the order that they were designed. This offers some insight into the design process not possible in other generations. The first Pokémon listed is Rhydon, indicating it was the first Pokémon to be conceived. The first starter on the list is Ivysaur, which means it was designed before its pre-evolved or evolved forms. Several Generation II Pokémon are also found in this list, indicating they were initially planned for inclusion in Gen I.

It Was The Only Generation Where Water Wasn’t The Most Common Type

Water is an extremely popular Pokémon type, so popular in fact that it is the favorite type of Pokémon composer Junichi Masuda. It has been the most common type for decades, but this was not the case back in Generation I. In Gen I, there were 32 Water types, but there were 36 Poison types. In the intervening years, Poison has lagged to eighth place among the most common types, while Water pulled ahead in Generation II and never looked back.

It’s The Only Generation With Multiple Remakes

The first-ever Pokémon remakes came out during Generation III with FireRed and LeafGreen. These games were complete rebuilds of the original games using modern graphics and technology. Remakes have become a staple of the Pokémon video games, with the most recent, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, being released in 2021.

The Generation I original games are the only games to date that have multiple remakes, with FireRed and LeafGreen in Generation III and Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee in Generation VII. Whether the next remakes will be of the Gen V games or Gen II will join Gen I in getting multiple remakes, only time will tell.

The Type System Wasn’t Quite Ironed Out Yet

Pokémon relies on a set of interacting types to govern its battles, but the system as it is now wasn’t quite settled back in Generation I. Steel, Dark, and Fairy didn’t exist, but even the types that were around had different interactions. Instead of being super effective against Psychic types, Ghost type moves had no effect on them. This led to Psychic having only a single weakness to Bug types, which didn’t have a lot of offensive power. Psychic was also only resisted by other Psychic types, making it an extremely over-powered type.

It Was Inspired By Satoshi Tajiri’s Love Of Bug Collecting

The legend of how the Pokémon concept came about goes all the way back to creator Satoshi Tajiri’s childhood. Growing up in a suburb of Tokyo, Tajiri loved exploring nature and had a special fascination with insects. He collected beetles and other bugs so much that his friends used to call him “Dr. Bug.”

Once he got into game design he wanted to create a game to recapture his old love of insect collecting. As the story goes, he saw two kids playing on a pair of linked Gaby Boys and imagined bugs crawling to and fro between the two consoles. Thus, Pokémon was born.

Pokémon is a portmanteau of “pocket” and “monsters,” and it was first released in Japan under that name. When localization efforts for North America began, Game Freak wanted to keep that name, but they ran into a major copyright dispute. Monsters in My Pocket was an existing media property owned by Mattel, most famous at the time for a line of soft plastic figures made by Matchbox. In an effort to avoid litigation, the new video game series was shortened to Pokémon. Time has been much kinder to Pokémon than Monsters in My Pocket, though the latter is slated to see an animated series released in 2022.

It Might Take Place At The Same Time A Generation III

While the storyline isn’t always the top focus of a Pokémon game, every generation at least tries to offer an engaging narrative surrounding the player’s journey to becoming a Pokémon champion. There is some evidence that the story of the Kanto games, which features the villainous Team Rocket and their various money-making schemes, actually takes place at the same time as Generation III’s conflict between Teams Aqua and Magma. Lanette, a computer technician in Hoenn, has email correspondence with Bill in Kanto about the development of the Pokémon Storage System. The Oceanic Museum in Slateport City has a model of the S.S. Anne in its upper floor. The Pokémon timeline isn’t extremely clear, but there is enough evidence to say that these games take place approximately simultaneously.

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