This one is for all you PokéManiacs out there. Whether you played the games for hours, woke up early to watch the show, or tried to collect every holographic trading card, you knew what Pokémon was. Throughout the past decade, Pokémon has grown from 151 creatures to 649. If you have been living under a Geodude since 1998, you’ve missed out on a plethora of awesome creatures. Allow me to bring you up to speed with Pokémon by comparing Black and White, generation number five, to the original Red and Blue versions.
The first thing you should do after crawling out from underneath that Geodude (if it’s not a Golem by now) is buy a Nintendo DS and a copy of Black or White. The immediate difference you’ll notice is how far portable gaming graphics have come—but I won’t be touching much on that. Start by choosing to play as girl or boy, a feature not available back in the day. After visiting each professor a tough decision emerges; whether to pick a fire, water, or grass starter, just as it’s always been. If you still think Charmander is the best starting Pokémon, that’s fine. I don’t mind your opinion, but you’re wrong. Try not to dwell on the past because the future has many more opportunities.
A Pokédex is usually based on how soon you can find and catch Pokémon within the game. Mewtwo is at the end of the list meaning you’ll find it last; it doesn’t take a Psychic-type to figure that out. Starters, a little rodent, and the bird Pokémon are all found in the beginning area of each game. Although in the new game a Pokémon has been placed before number one. Victini, with the number 000, is the first to ever to hold this position. This puts it first on the entire National Pokédex, even ahead of Bulbasaur from the first generation. Other than this slight change of order, the rest of it is completely modeled after the original.
Many that are found in the latest game could possibly be considered distant cousins to those from Red and Blue. Zubat, the most annoying cave-dwelling creature, has a bat counterpart in Woobat, a hairy ball of cuteness. The Machamp family would get along great with the Conkeldurr clan. Both are fighting-types, have a three stage evolution, and to acquire the final form you must trade between games. Remember this classic question, “Who would win a fight, Hitmonchan or Hitmonlee?” Well, there’s a new question to be answered: who would win a fight, Throh or Sawk? Another pair of fighting-types with similar anthropomorphic characteristics appears in Black and White. Instead of punching and kicking, their specialties are judo and karate.
You know Voltorb, right? The Poké Ball-looking electric-type and easiest Pokémon to draw is one of the few non-animalistic Pokémon. With the fifth generation came more inanimate objects like a gear named Klink and a robotic being called Golurk. The legendary bird trio were the rarest Pokémon with only one chance to capture them. They’ve upped the ante since the Game Boy days. Now there are sometimes five, six, even eight legends or more in one game. Some of them are a once in a lifetime encounter, while others are able to flee battle and must be tracked. As you can tell, there are species reminiscent of the first generation still being created.
I enjoy many of the new Pokémon and their unique appearances, so many of them are much more appealing than the originals. Different type match-ups are always fun. Generation five saw the first pairing between electric and bug with Galvantula, water and ghost with Jellicent, and steel and grass with Ferrothorn. No previous Pokémon have those combinations. This shows evolution within the games to create strategy and balance your team to make them more effective. If you enjoyed how challenging the original was, Black and White won’t be a walk in the park. On top of new types are a fresh set of attacks, abilities, and battle styles. You’ll be kept busy a lot longer than after beating the Indigo Plateau.
The Pokémon craze may have quieted down since the 90’s, but fans remain dedicated and new games are in production. Pokémon recently teamed up with Nobunaga’s Ambition to create a crossover-strategy game. There is also a direct sequel to Black and White that has already been released in Japan. If you still think the original version of Pokémon is the best of all time, just give the others a try. You might have grown up, but you’ve still gotta catch em’ all.