Pokemon: The Gold (and Silver) Standard | NowThis Nerd

– Hey trainers, I'm Andrew and I am so happy that we're finally getting to explore Galar in 'Pokemon: Sword and Shield' And while I'm having fun leveling up my Scorbunny and catching new Pokemon in the Wild Area, I have to get something off my chest, I kinda miss the old games

(panting) Pikachu! (screaming) I know, I know, I'm really showing my age here but there's something so magical about the first few entries, something the latest releases haven't captured in a really long time despite all the new bells and whistles I'm still waiting for Nintendo to live up to the standard set by what I think is the perfect Pocket Monster game, 'Pokemon: Gold and Silver' So today, in honor of the eighth gen critically hitting the Nintendo Switch, I want to talk about how the mainline Pokemon games evolved How did Game Freak develop a formula fans would play for more than two decades? What are newer games lacking that 'Pokemon: Gold and Silver' have in spades? And what other game series can we leave in the Day Care with Sword and Shield to hatch the next great Pokemon game? This is, Pokemon: The Gold (and Silver) Standard Before we can talk about 'Sword and Shield,' and even before we talk about 'Gold and Silver,' we have to talk about Pokefever

– Bulbasaur! – Vinosaur! – This Pokefever is making my head sore! – As a kid, Pokemon creator Satoshi Tajiri roamed the Japanese countryside, catching insects with a net, leading to his childhood nickname, Dr Bug Soon, he found a slightly less disgusting hobby in video games and he founded a fanzine called Game Freak in 1981 When Game Freak decided to actually branch out into development in 1990, Tajiri took a look at Nintendo's Game Boy and came up with a concept inspired by his insect obsession He envisioned bugs crawling between the Game Link Cable that connected two systems, allowing trainers to not just battle their creatures, but trade and exchange them in the great pursuit of catching them all

'Pokemon' featured 150 unique monsters that players could add to their ranks, but Tajiri split them up into two seperate games, 'Red and Green,' each with 11 version-exclusive monsters, meaning players would have to trade with each other in order to fully complete their Pokedex – [Announcer] Grab a Link Cable and a friend with a Game Boy and with both packs, you could catch them all – Got ya! – Now, recruiting monsters wasn't new to JRPGs, 'Dragon Quest V' and 'Shin Megami Tensei' popularized the concept years earlier, but it was the social aspect that made Pokemon revolutionary It took four developers, six years to create 'Pokemon Red and Green,' and even when it was finally complete, Nintendo had no idea how successful their collect-them-all franchise would be – It's such a craze

People like them so much, they tend to steal – Oh no, I, don't shoot me, please! – The games were released in Japan on February 27, 1996 on the aging, Game Boy console It received a fairly positive reaction, but things really took off thanks to the popular Japanese magazine CoroCoro, which ran a contest awarding the legendary 151st Pokemon Mew to only 20 lucky entrants CoroCoro received 78,000 entries, and sales of 'Red and Green' skyrocketed Nintendo, who considered the ancient, black and white Game Boy to be at the end of its lifespan, was stunned by the sales, and quickly capitalized on Pokefever

– Hey little buddy, wanna ride? – Pikachu! – Yeah, whatever (tires screeching) – The games made their way to the United States as 'Pokemon Red and Blue,' together with an Anime, a trading card game, toys, clothes, backpacks, and anything else you could slap a Pokemon on Soon, 'Pokemon' had sold 20 million copies in Japan and the US alone It was a full-fledged phenomenon and with fans hungry for more monsters and the flashy new Game Boy Color on the horizon, Game Freak started to work on the next chapter of Pokemon history, one of the most crucial moments in The Evolution of the Series Few games in history were more anticipated than 'Pokemon: Gold and Silver

' Thousands of people bought tickets to 'Pokemon: The First Movie' just to get a glimpse of second gen Pokemon like Marril and Snubbull along with a highly-coveted holographic Pikachu card Believe or not, Game Freak thought that 'Gold and Silver' would be the final game in the series, which is why they set out to create the "Ultimate" in Pokemon games And boy did they deliver – But it's gonna take more than that to impress m– (growling) – When 'Pokemon: Gold and Silver' were released in Japan on November 21, 1999, players found themselves in a brand new region, Johto Complete with 100 new Pokemon to catch, a day and night system, Pokemon breeding, Shiny Pokemon, new Pokeballs, two new types of Pokemon: Dark and Steel, full color graphics and sprites, and, best of all, a proper, utterly mind blowing end game

After conquering all eight gyms and the Elite Four in Johto, trainers unlocked the ability to return to the world of the very first game Future Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata built special compression tools to help fit the entire Kanto region on the same cartridge as Gold and Silver, complete with its signature gym leaders and Elite Four, with a few changes here and there And once you kicked Kanto's ass, you headed to Mount Silver to challenge Red, the protagonist from the first game and inspiration for Ash Ketchum in the anime Essentially, you have to battle you from the past, in the future – Future! Future! – 'Pokemon: Gold and Silver' definitely delivered on the ultimate Pokemon experience

My 10 year old brain couldn't handle it – Ah! Okay, bye – And it established a precedent for what fans could expect from future releases: A new setting, new Pokemon, new systems, and a meaty, tasty, end game But unfortunately, none of them ever really lived up to that promise Every main series release that followed added very meaningful additions to the formula, but they never journeyed back to regions past

They emphasized battles and backtracking, instead of giving us an entirely different environment to explore through battles Now, before you "Okay, Boomer" me in the comments, there are a lot of things that newer games gave us that I could not live without 'Ruby and Sapphire' gave us Abilities and Natures, 'Diamond and Pearl' gave us Global Trading and WiFi battles 'Black and White' gave us 156 new Pokemon and the Dream world 'X and Y' gave us full 3D models, Mega Evolutions and Pokemon Amie which let us finally play with Pokemon instead of battle them

While 'Sun and Moon' gave us regional Pokemon forms and, you know, Z-moves So, you know, good stuff Each one of these games also gave us a Battle Tower, or Battle Subway, or Battle Tree as our end game, which is great if you're a competitive player, because a lot of the rewards helped you EV train your Pokemon which is a whole other video But this, brings us to gen eight 'Sword and Shield,' baby! There's a Wild Area! Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing! Pokemon Camp! Raid Battles! And now that we finally have the game in our hands, we know that there's no going back to any previous regions

For the record, I'm having a blast and will say that 'Sword and Shield' is a fantastic game that is just a joy to play But hear me out Why are Battle Insert-Place-Here still the standard end game for a series that has just moved from a portable to a full fledged console that yes, is also portable? 20 years later, why are we still unable to travel to past regions? And more importantly, why has the game's plot and gameplay core remained the same since its inception? Pokemon is a series with some serious staying power, and during its lengthy reign on top, a lot of other franchises have entered the fray, games that have actually improved on formulas and systems that were pioneered by Pokemon While I am enjoying the new games, I still think Pokemon is far from perfect so how could we, Fix The Formula? With its massive pop culture presence, it's easy to forget that, at the end of the day, Pokemon is still a role-playing game, which got me thinking about other established RPGs that have innovated while aging, series that Pokemon could learn from and build upon to improve as a whole, series like 'Fire Emblem' Pokemon gives us a ton of interesting NPCs but the bonds you form with other trainers could benefit from a little more functionality

For example, 'Fire Emblem: Three Houses' gives it's supporting characters an opportunity to actually improve your party with skill lessons Imagine if gym leaders had an unlockable membership upon defeat, like if you could drop off your Bulbasaur for a week at the Grass Type Gym, so it could learn to take less damage from Fire Types It's just as rewarding as some TM I'll probably never use, plus it'd finally give all those trainers you juked on the way to the gym leader something to do They kinda did this in 'Sword and Shield' with Poke Jobs, but to me it'd be cooler to know my Wooloo is training and not working an internship Pokemon could also learn some lessons from 'Persona's' confidant system

In 'Persona 5,' the main character forms bonds with supporting characters and NPCs, unlocking new abilities and perks that can be used in and out of battles Pokemon already has a version of this, bonds in earlier games, like X and Y prevented Pokemon from fatal injuries But what if bonding with your Pokemon for a bit meant they could learn moves a few levels earlier? Or even evolve earlier? Ultimately, I'm just asking for more options to help me create my own Pokemon experience Last year, 'World of Warcraft' introduced level scaling, allowing players to go anywhere in Azeroth and challenge whatever monsters and enemies they found without fear of dying an unthinkable death Can you imagine such a system in Pokemon? Players could tackle gyms in any order, with leaders scaling down or up for an even challenge regardless of your party's level

It would blow the game wide open, so trainers could create their own journey instead of having to follow the same story beat for beat each and every time I'm sure every trainer has their own wishlist of what they want from the series, like, I don't know, a National Dex with all of my hard-earned Pokemon available But despite the controversy of Dexit, 'Sword and Shield' has also made some very cool tweaks to the experience For decades, we've been clamoring for a full-fledged Pokemon MMO and the new four player Raid battles are definitely a step in the right direction, injecting some Monster Hunter feel to co-op battles, which I'm personally a huge fan of It's also adapting a cooking system similar to 'Breath of the Wild,' allowing trainers to cook different kinds of curry rice to boost the stats of their Pokemon

'Sword and Shield' might lack the end game I had hoped for, but it does prioritize systems and quality of life improvements that are steering the franchise in the right direction Do I think it can touch the godlike 'Gold and Silver?' Honestly, I can't answer that right now Maybe in time, I'll truly appreciate 'Sword and Shield' as the definitive upgrade to a franchise I felt was going stale But for now, it's a solid foundation that with a little inspiration, can bring us back to that ultimate Pokemon experience, a man obsessed with bugs and his small team of programmers achieved 20 years ago

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