Hello fellow PokeNerds and welcome to another trip down memory lane with Ireland’s newest blog for nerd culture, nonsense and more… Straight Outta Kanto!
What with all the excitement of the brand new Nintendo Switch games Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee and the fact they are in essence light Pokemon Yellow remakes, I thought the time for a little Pokemon Yellow look-back was ripe. (And also, 20th anniversary much?!)
By the time Pokemon Yellow was released in Ireland in the early 2000s, I personally was already well and truly ADDICTED to the franchise and had spent MONTHS hounding my mother to buy this for me. As it was released at a time that was neither my birthday nor Christmas, that took some hardcore nagging-child-persuasion…!
I have a vague memory of my mother relenting only after ten year old me threatened to go… busking… of all things to raise money to buy the game. My mother then rose to the occasion and saved the people of Dublin’s ears from such a hideous act.
Pokemon Yellow has a very special place in my heart, despite the fact that I’m old enough to know now that it was mainly released as a cash-cow franchise tie-in with the super successful TV series… Nothing wrong with that, per say, just a little disillusioning for your warm and fuzzy childhood memories…!
So, strap yourself into the time-machine nerds, we’re going remembering!
(1) Kawaii as feck intro:
Pikachu surfs… … …
… he acts like a low-budget Jules Verne…
… And he greets you gloriously on the game start screen!
The music is charming and unique and Pikachu’s little adorable antics make you feel all soft gooey inside (a bit like a heated brownie in a restaurant.)
This is still my personal favourite opening to any Pokemon game EVER. Fight me. 😉
(2) Pikachu is your starter ‘mon AND the prototype for outside-the-pokeball companion ‘mon!
As Pikachu was now the official series and franchise mascot it was a magnificent gimmick to even MAKE Pokemon Yellow in the first place. While technically there are very few obvious changes (hence a top 5, not a top 10!) barring a few more tie-ins with the TV series – I think everyone can agree that getting Pikachu as your starter ‘mon was one of the single best things about the game.
True to TV show Pikachu form your little fat friend won’t go inside a pokeball at all but needs to traverse alongside you for your entire journey. K… K… KAWAII!
Even BETTER THAN THAT!?
YOUR PIKACHU HAS EMOTIONS AND CAN COMMUNICATE THEM WITH YOU!
A bit like a more adorable tomogatchi, Pikachu expresses a range of visible emotions. From the initial mistrust and dislike of it’s new owner, all the way up to it’s extreme love of you. Status changing conditions such as poisoning and paralysis also affect how your pal feels and in Lavender Town your Pikachu full-on trembles in fright, his little voice quavering in fear.
This was a gimmick we wouldn’t see again until HeartGold/SoulSilver, but my god was it cute.
(3) Y’all don’t have to choose between Charmander and Squirtle anymore OR inevitably ignore and abandon yo’ Bulbasaur…!
The whole appeal of the Pokemon series is to choose your starter ‘mon out of a choice of three. This inevitably ends with people Sophie’s Choice-ing it over whether they think the fire starter or the water starter would be more useful to them early on in the game and poor old Grass type gets left behind… BUT NOT IN POKEMON YELLOW!
Again, true to the TV show of the time, your in-game character acquires the original three starter Pokemon much in the same way Ash Ketchum does.
That’s just really bloody cool, it so is.
It’s also, as far as my limited knowledge is aware, the only game to do that so far in the Pokemon game franchise? There are options in later games to get a few extra starters, but none have ever offered the option to get all three main game ‘mon in one!
(4) Giovanni was no longer just a generic boss villain…!
It’s so hard to discuss Pokemon Yellow without always making comparisons to the TV show, because there’s just so much TV show content in the game!
Apart from some wild Pokemon catching variations, the Pikachu surfing side-game thingy and various trainers having different type match-ups etc, the main changes just ARE the TV show tie-ins.
In Red and Blue Giovanni was always a boss (literally and figuratively) (and a bae) but over all he was just a generic-ish evil villain. Yes, he got all philosophical at the end once you handed him is ass for the millionth time, in his own gym, but he was still just a game boss villain you had to defeat.
However, I found Giovanni far more sinister in Pokemon Yellow after having seen how ruthless and cruel he was in the TV show. Primarily it was just his Pokemon changing in the game to match his TV character, but I still looked at him far more askance in Pokemon Yellow than I did in Red and Blue…
“I know what you did to Mewtwo, you little b*tch…!” is generally how I felt 😉
(1) “TEAM ROCKET’S ROCKET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Firstly… check out this Team Rocket song on YouTube and then continue reading this article:
It’s bloody glorious, isn’t it!?
I love Team Rocket.
I know for a fact I’m not alone in being severely annoyed in Gen 1 on Nugget Bridge when you were offered a place in Team Rocket after defeating the gang leader only to have the game designers assume you’d err on the side of good and lawfulness and make your character turn down the offer. Don’t they know how positively eeeevil I am!?
Team Rocket were no longer generic men in black yielding whips and threatening you for your Pokemon… THEY WERE JESSE AND JAMES!!!!!!!!!!
Pure TV show tie-in but it worked… oh my god did it work.
Jesse and James are my two favourite TV show characters of all time EVER (sorry, Jon Snow!) so to have them actually be the villainous antagonists in Pokemon Yellow was majestic. Being called “Twerp” in game was great fun and again, added an extra dimension to baddies you were thrashing!
Over all Pokemon Yellow gets 4 PokeBalls out of 6 from Straight Outta Kanto, mainly because it only added TV show tie-ins and nothing else new, but was still cute and entertaining none-the-less.
Hopefully Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee will add extra dimensions to this particular re-boot! Better start saving up for those Switches now, guys! 😉
There we have it nerdlings! Keep watching the skeys, I mean skies!
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Thanks for reading! 🙂