Ah, Pokemon. The big daddy of the Monster Battling genre. So big that people forget that it wasn’t the original video game to introduce the concept of catching monsters and training them to fight other monsters. Nevertheless, it did what Dragon Quest V did not; it turned this concept into it’s own unique sub genre of the Role Playing Game.
Now, the Fifth Generation of Pokemon games have been officially released in the United States. It’s been close to 13 years since I first played Pokemon Blue and in that time, I’ve had innumerable memories of the one Nintendo super franchise that rivals Mario in name recognition. I got Blue for my 11th birthday, but got to play it before I turned 11, meaning that I indeed started my Pokemon journey at 10 years old. And for those of you who know your Pokemon, you’d understand why that’s such an important memory for me.
One of the hallmarks of why Pokemon is so popular is that everyone can have their own favorite Pokemon (especially now, as the count is now up to 649 individual Pokemon), allowing a child to have a favorite Pokemon to train and befriend in the same manner that they did as Ash did with his Pikachu. Of course, I’m no exception and with each generation, I’ve had my favorites. As a follower of the old traditions of “With enough training, any Pokemon can beat any other Pokemon” and “Always use your favorites; Pokemon are your friends, not weapons”, I always use my favorites and never purposely EV train. This may get my Poke-dudes asses kicked by the legion of EV-Train ONLY people out there, but the trade off is knowing that I use my Pokemon because I enjoy them and not because they can mathematically outperform other Pokemon. As such, here’s the first of the list of my Top 5 Favorites from each Generation, plus my first Starter from each.
Generation 1 – Red, Blue, Yellow, Green
The originals. The glory days of Pokemon. The days of there only being 151 Pokemon. These were the times of Pokemon in it’s purest and rawest. As such, most people feel like, if the new Pokemon are too dissimilar to the original 151, they’re TERRIBLE. This was also the heyday of liking Pokemon because you thought they were cool, as apposed to today, we’re you have to like them for stats and the moves you can force them to have.
My Starter: Squirtle
I love turtles and I love this guy. Unlike the relationship between Ash and his Squirtle (Parole Officer and Ex-Con), me and my Squirtle were bros. Even though my starter in FireRed was Charmander, Squirtle is my A1 favorite starter of all-time. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I was one of those kids who got Squirtle because Blastoise was on the cover of Blue… But, thankfully, I was able to bro it up with my Squirtle. Favorite moment? Paying back Giovanni’s Kangaskhan in Silph Tower with my Blastoise for nearly taking out my team in the Rocket Hideout.
Now on to my 5 favorites of this Generation.
Meowth. And not because of the show, either. I love cats and this motherfucker provided me with money after I became King of Kanto (i.e. beat all the other Trainers). Hilariously, in the early days of the franchise, they didn’t make that many toys in America, so a huge chunk of the toys were the Japanese ones just repackaged or just straight up imported (my mall’s EB Games was full of imported Japanese Pokemon toys). Unfortunately, I got the American packaged Talking Meowth. When I activated it, it wasn’t the Brooklyn accented Meowth that I was use to. I was the screeching Japanese version. Do you know know how scary it is to get a Meowth that would just scream all of this?
Farfetch’d. I really liked this guy. Even though he was an in-game only trade Pokemon, he was fun to use and just plain funny. I wasn’t until FireRed when I got to use my very own, personally owned Farfetch’d. And for whatever reason, this guy was a MONSTER in battle. Fun fact: Farfetch’d is based after an Asian saying about something being as odd as “a duck walking with a leek”, or (to Americanize that for you), something as far-fetched as a cow carrying a bottle of A1 Steak Sauce. If you still haven’t gotten the joke; it’s weird for a duck to be walking around with what you would cook it with. Incidentally, Farfetch’d are indeed eaten en-mass in the Pokemon world.
Hypno; the non-Alakazam Psychic Pokemon. Often ignored by most people in favour of the more popular Alakazam, I was guilty of ignoring this guy until he proved to be a heavy hitter. My Hypno turned out to be perfect for catching Snorlax by himself. Because of that, he’s a pretty unexpected opponent to go up against. And if my Seismic Toss knowing Pikachu is any indication, I really like having Pokemon that are more than means the eye.
Starting a trend of Pokemon with morbid backgrounds, Cubone is odd in the fact that one single incident defined their entire race. The Cubone in Lavender Town is the only one that’s really wearing the skull of it’s deceased mother. It’s mother was killed and it wore it’s mother’s skull to keep her close. How this carried over to the other Cubone everywhere is beyond me. Still though, this pint-sized pugilist is a powerhouse in his own right. He also shares that generic monster body that alot of Pokemon have. And, according to some theorists, Cubones are actually baby Kangaskhans.
This crazy lighting monster was one of my favorites right from when I first saw him in the anime, even though I couldn’t get him in Blue. He seemed like a cooler version of Pikachu; a real electric monster that could put the hurt on anyone he chose. I love both him and his Baby form, but goddamn if I don’t hate his evolved form from the 4th Gen. Hilariously, it wasn’t until his debut episode that I found out that Scyther was a real Pokemon. I had gotten the KFC collectible cards of Pokemon, and found the Scyther one. I was pissed, because I thought that they had thrown in a fake Pokemon.
Tomorrow will be the best Generation ever: Gold and Silver.