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Early Installment Weirdness / Pokémon

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Ah, the good old days, when you just needed to catch all of the Pokémon to be a Pokémon Master. The series has evolved quite a bit since then.

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    Game Mechanics 
  • The first two generations allowed trading with each other, not just transferring. But it was impossible to transfer Pokémon from them to later games until their Virtual Console releases (which are compatible with Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, and Ultra Moon), mostly due to the stats working VERY differently until Gen III,note  and the fact that games for the original Game Boy and the Game Boy Color cannot link with Game Boy Advance games. This resulted in some weird kludges in Gold and Silver to ensure compatibility with newly introduced features:
    • Gender was determined by a Pokémon's Attack IV — at or above a certain value which depends on the species gender ratio, it's a male. Below that, it's female. Future games make a point of not tying gender to stats, except in clear cases of species-wide sexual dimorphism that causes the opposite genders to be considered separate species (e.g. Nidoran and Volbeat/Illumise).
    • Shininess was determined by IVs. If three of them were exactly 10 (out of 15) and Attack was one of eight arbitrary values, it's shiny. This meant that shiny Pokémon's stats were slightly above average but not exceptional, and Pokémon with a 1/8 chance of being female would never be both shiny and female. A shiny Pokémon can technically exist in Generation I (whether caught there or traded from Generation II), but it won't appear shiny until traded to Generation II.
    • Both the shiny and gender calculations were changed for the Gen I Virtual Console release, to allow transferring to Pokémon Sun and Moon; gender is determined at random, while shininess is calculated similarly to Gen II, but with the roles of the Attack and Defense stats swapped. An update to the Poké Transporter released just prior to the Virtual Console releases of Gold and Silver repaired the inconsistencies, so gender and shininess are now consistent whether you trade a Pokémon between Generation I and II or transfer it to VII.
    • Catch rates have always been constant and unchanging per species, but in Generation I, this data was saved on individual mons anyway, even though it would never be used again once the mon was caught. Generation II repurposed this bit of the data to store held items in, resulting in some interesting quirks:
      • When a Pokémon caught in a Generation I game is transferred to a Generation II game for the first time, it will always be equipped with a held item, which depends on the Pokémon and sometimes the game.note  Even more interesting is that if the Pokémon is transferred back to Generation I, the held item that it happens to carry will be intact if transferred to Generation II once again!
      • A Pokémon that knows Transform can can steal its opponent's held items in Gen I, by copying their catch rate along with the rest of the target's stats. The trick is that catch rate does not reset after battle.
  • Breeding also didn't exist in Gen I; the daycare was originally an experience shed for a single Pokemon, and was refitted to allow for breeding in Gen II. This meant that capturing and trading were the only ways to get new Pokemon and Gen I, with levels and TM/HMs being the only way to get new moves.
  • Time, and by extension day and night cycling, are also non-existent in Generation I and its Gen III remakes. The other Gen III games had day and night (though in-game it always appeared to be daytime), but lacked the "Morning" time period from Gen II, and had much fewer time-based features (Gen II had time-based wild Pokémon appearances, and events that only occurred on specific days of the week).
  • The first generation only has 15 types; Dark and Steel were added in Gold and Silver, and Fairy type was added in X and Y.note  This made Psychic very over-powered (especially with the mistake that made Psychic Pokémon immune to Ghost, although as mentioned below, it wouldn't have made much of a difference), Fighting quite weak (partly due to Psychic's dominance), and Fire having few type advantages. This also means that Bite was originally Normal-type, and Magnemite and Magneton were only Electric-type.
    • Sand Attack, Gust, and Karate Chop were Normal-type in Generation I, despite having their types from later games exist in Gen I, unlike Bite. The only other move to change its type to an existing type between generations was Curse, which became Ghost-type in Generation V so that the ???-type could be retired (later type changes involved making existing moves Fairy-type in Generation VI).
    • The type chart was slightly different at first. Bug and Poison were super-effective against each other; later games would have Poison resist Bug with Bug taking neutral damage from Poison. Fire didn't yet resist Ice, and notoriously, Psychic was immune to Ghost instead of vulnerable to it thanks to a programming error.note 
    • Psychic was undoubtedly the most broken of the Generation I types. Not only were Psychic Pokémon immune to Ghost moves, their sole weakness, Bug moves, had only three attacks — Leech Life, Pin Missile, and Twineedle. Unfortunately, nearly all Pokémon that had access to these moves were part Poison-type, so they were weak to Psychic attacks, which meant the only way to fight Psychic-types (and especially Gym Leader Sabrina) was to use Jolteon or Parasect, or hope that your Pokémon are strong enough to defeat them quickly. To make matters worse, none of those attacks were particularly strong, so even a super-effective hit wouldn't do all that much. Of course, even if Psychic had been weak to Ghost as intended, it would have run into many of the same issues: the only Ghost types in existence were part Poison, and the only Ghost move that didn't do fixed-damaged was the incredibly-weak Lick, which could only be learned by the aforementioned Ghost Pokémon and the exceptionally rare Jynx.
    • In contrast to Psychic, Dragon was nowhere near the terror it would later become. While it had perfect neutral coverage on paper, it didn't actually have any moves that could take advantage of type matchups: the only Dragon move was Dragon Rage, which always did a fixed 40 damage, a fairly low value at higher levels. Likewise, it should have been great defensively as well, only vulnerable to itself and Ice while resisting Grass, Fire, Water, and Electric. Unfortunately, there were only three Dragon-type Pokémon in the game, and the strongest was part Flying, cancelling out the Electric resistance while giving it a new weakness to Rock and doubling its existing Ice weakness; this was also the generation where Blizzard had 90% accuracy instead of its later 70%, leaving poor Dragonite to suffer from a nasty case of Kryptonite Is Everywhere in competitive play. And, of course, the aforementioned "weak to itself" was negligible due to the nature of Dragon Rage. Generation II would add in some useful Dragon moves and a new Dragon-type Pokémon that was only weak to Dragon, setting the stage for the type's later dominance.
    • The limited number of Pokémon also created some type weirdness. In Gen I, Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar were the only Ghost-types and, for some reason, all of them were Ghost/Poison. Gen II added only one new Ghost-type, Misdreavus, the first pure-Ghost type; this caused some confusion since its weaknesses were different from what many assumed was normal for ghosts — Gastly's family is only weak to Psychic and Ground because its part-Poison. And then Gastly's family, plus Misdreavus and many other ghosts, got Levitate in Gen III, making them immune to Ground.
    • Pokémon GO had only Gen I Pokémon at launch, but had attacks and types from every generation. This created the odd situation of having Dark-type moves, but no Dark-type Pokémon, because, unlike with the introduction of Steel or Fairy types, none of the first-gen Pokémon were retconned into being Dark-type. Let's Go Pikachu & Eevee got around that by allowing the Alolan forms of Gen I Pokemon.
  • There used to be just one Special stat, which served as both Special Attack and Special Defense, instead of it being divided into two stats like it is today. This made certain Pokémon very powerful, like Mewtwo and Alakazam. It also made the move Psychic overpowered, where it used to have a 30% chance of lowering Special, unlike today where it has a 10% chance of lowering Special Defense. Amnesia was also another offender which Mewtwo and Slowbro would often abuse, which would double Special — equivalent to two modern-day Calm Minds, but now it only doubles Special Defense.
  • Experience did not appear onscreen during battle. The only way to check a Pokémon's experience would be to see it on the Pokémon's Summary screen.
  • In Generation I, even moves with 100% accuracy would miss 1 time out of every 256. Only Swift wasn't affected, since it didn't check for accuracy at all (causing it to also ignore the invulnerability granted from Dig and Fly).
  • Critical Hit mechanics were very different in Generation I, being based on the Pokémon's base Speed stat, meaning faster Pokémon crit more than slower ones. (The fastest Pokémon tend to have base critical rates of 20% or more.) High critical hit ratio moves were practically guaranteed a Critical Hit. Criticals also ignore all stat modifiers, positive or negative, meaning that if you use, say, Swords Dance twice and then get a critical hit you'll actually do less damage that you would have done without one. Later generations would make critical hits a fixed 6% chance for all Pokémon, and they only ignore stat modifiers that would negatively affect their damage.
  • The backpack in Generation I had no way of sorting or organizing your items (apart from moving them up or down in the list), making it tedious to scroll through your big list of items just to find the new item you acquired. Generation II fixed this by giving the backpack separate pockets for different items; one pocket stored your medicines, berries, and other consumables, another pocket for TMs and HMs, a pocket dedicated for your Poké Balls, and another pocket to store key items. Generation III then added another pocket specifically for your berries, as the berry "system" was completely overhauled. The changes made sorting items much easier. As of Generation IV, now the bag is bottomless and you will never need to use the PC item storage system again in those games, while later generations completely removed the item storage system.
    On that note, the PC Storage System in Gens I-III was limited too: each was Capped at having 50 inventory slots. The categorization in Gens II and III made this limit irrelevant. In Gen I? That TM of a Disc-One Nuke that's Too Awesome to Use? Yeah...
  • The lack of a Held Item mechanic in Gen I made it impossible to transfer items to another Generation I cartridge without owning Pokémon Stadium 1 or 2.note 
  • The first two Generations of games use a different hidden stat system from the rest. The values ranged from 0 to 15 instead of 0 to 31, the value that modified HP was determined by a formula using the other stats, and the values for Special Attack and Special Defense were always identical (as to have the Gen II games compatible with the originals).
  • Similar to the Special stat, prior to Generation IV the stats a move's damage depended upon (Attack and Defense or Special Attack and Special Defense) was based on the move type. This means that Gyarados wasn't able to utilize its same-type attack bonus because Water is a Special type and said Pokémon has a very terrible base Special Attack stat. It took until Generation IV to actually make the moves be specific on whether it's Physical or Special, thus giving certain types (like Psychic) physical moves when they generally are full of special moves, and vice versa. The exception to this was the Shadow Moves in XD: Gale of Darkness, which were always classified based on the specific move.
  • TMs only had one use each in the first four generations. Starting in Generation V, TMs have infinite uses, as HMs always have.
  • From Generation II thru Gen VI, using an HM move outside battle is usually as simple as just getting an object that you need to interact with, and pressing A, with a display box asking you if you would like to Cut/Surf on/use Strength on the object, as appropriate. In Generation I, all HM moves require the player to open up the "Pokémon" menu with Start, select the Pokémon that knows the move, and then select the move. This sequence has to be repeated for each subsequent usage of Cut in the area or, when changing areas, Surf and Strength. This was not quite as intuitive or easy as the later installments, as Twitch Plays Pokémon found out. The only HM moves that still followed the Gen I rules were moves that did not have a relevant object to interact with.note  Gen VII, however, swapped out interaction moves for Pokéride, meaning that you now have to use a (different) menu to use those Pokémon.
  • Several other exclusive early weird mechanics from Generation I.
    • Using Rage meant that you were locked into using the move until the end of the battle. From Gen II onward, this was changed to allow for the player to have control again on the next turn.
    • Using trapping moves (Wrap, Bind, Fire Spin, Clamp) completely immobilized the target until the attack wore off after 2-5 turns. This was changed from Gen II onward to allow for the opponent to have control, and became an effect that just deals extra damage after every turn and prevents switching out until the move wears off.
    • Pokémon had to waste an extra turn just to wake up from the Sleep effect. As a result, it was possible to chain-sleep if the sleeping-move was timed correctly.
    • The Freeze effect was particularly nasty, giving the victim no way to thaw out naturally. The only ways to fix it during a battle were to use an Ice Heal or to hope that the opponent would foolish and/or gracious enough to do the deed themselves by using Haze or any Fire move that could inflict a Burn (at the time, any of them other than Fire Spin). Oh, and just like Sleep, Frozen Pokémon couldn't act on the turn that they thawed out. Fortunately, the only moves that could inflict Freeze had a mere 10% chance to do so, keeping it from being a reliable tactic.
    • Using X Accuracy gave Pokémon 100% accuracy for all moves, including OHKO moves.
    • Water Gun, of all moves, was a TM. Other unorthodox TM moves included Whirlwind, which was nigh-useless in Gen I, Pay Day, which was retconned into the Meowth line's Secret Art shortly afterwards, and Soft-Boiled, which could be learned by a grand total of two Pokémon: Chansey and Mew, and the latter only got it due to being compatible with every TM ever made.
    • Blizzard had an incredible 90% accuracy.
  • The official tournament formats have gone through several changes, but the ones featured in the early generations were especially different. Pokémon entered could be between Level 50 and 55, and there was a Cap of 155 on the combined total of all three Pokémon's levels. Generation II's Battle Tower restricted levels to multiples of 10, but allowed any multiple, not just 50 or 100 like later games. (So you could fight a challenge with Lv 10 Pokémon) It also allowed Olympus Mons to be used in the Lv 70 or over categories, while most later battle facilities banned them entirely. Generation III introduced the now-standard Lv 50 cutoff, but any Pokémon higher were forced to enter the Lv 100 category. It wasn't until Generation IV that the games were able to de-level Pokémon to 50 for battle facilities and multiplayer.
  • The Exp. Share item had a lot of changes between the generations. The original Exp. Share, Exp. All, would be given to the player as a reward for registering 50 Mons in the Pokédex, and would divide experience between all Pokémon. With an individual message for each Mon each time. From Generation II to Generation V, the EXP Share would be a held item that would divide up EXP between the Pokémon that fought and the Pokémon who held the item. Starting with Generation VI, it went back to its original functionality (which has been indirectly enhanced by the fact that multiple Mons earning experience from the same source would each be awarded the full amount) but it does it silently and is given out early on as part of the plot.
  • Want to get around more quickly, but don't have a bicycle yet? Running didn't show up until Ruby and Sapphire, and even then it actually used an item, the Running Shoes, before it became a standard feature in Generation VI. It wasn't until Diamond and Pearl that you could run indoors either.
  • Up to Pokémon Crystal, the Speed stat was the fourth one down on the list of a Pokémon's stats, right after Defense. From Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire and onwards, the Speed stat would be the sixth and last stat.
  • Generation III introduces Double Battle that's somewhat different compared to the following generations. If a Pokemon faints in Double, switching occur immediately afterward in Generation III, that was changed to occurring at the end of the turn from Generation IV onwards. Furthermore, spread moves deals 50% of the power on multiple Pokemon rather than 75%.

    Other Game Aspects 
  • Each generation introduces a hundred or more new Mons, but while Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire and Pokémon Diamond and Pearl show off the new Pokémon as much as possible and Pokémon Black and White have only new Pokémon until after the credits roll, Pokémon Gold and Silver mostly rely on the original 151 with the others hanging around. Justified in-universe because Gen II happens right next to the setting of Gen I, which is actually visited later in the game (the only games with this feature released since Gen II are the Gen IV remakes of those games), while the others are farther away, with Gen V focusing on new Pokémon more so than usual due to being even farther away (Unova is implied to be in a different country, as the foreign Team Rocket Grunt in Gen II and their Gen IV remakes is revealed to be from Unova, with the now-reformed Team Rocket Grunt residing in Unova's Icirrus City in Black and White). Flipside, it also means Gen II has very few expies and Suspiciously Similar Substitutes compared to later generations, with the vast majority of new Pokémon with similarities to old ones generally evolving from (or into) said old ones - in fact, almost half of the new Pokémon introduced in Gen II were leftovers from Gen I's original intended roster of 190 Pokémon. Some of this weirdness makes a return in the 3DS games, though it's likely because the developers were more focused on the new mechanicsnote  than on newer mons.
  • Some weirdness from Generation I, such as the Pokémon League apparently being a new thingnote , and all the crazy stuff that happens in the Pokémon Tower (namely, Pokémon, even non-Ghost-types like Cubone, disguising themselves as utterly untouchable ghosts and the player fighting the ghost of a dead Marowak) which are never mentioned again and subsequently forgotten (in later games, one can encounter Ghost-types in the wild and they do not disguise themselves). Also, on a basic programming level, glitches are far more common, spectacular, and just plain weird in the earlier games, particularly the ones that require more effort to set up.
  • Your rivals in the series often have the Trainer class that's simply Pokémon Trainer, which is the default class name used for important and storyline Trainers. However, your rivals in Gen I and Gen II actually had the Trainer class of Rival, and are also the only two who actively antagonize (or otherwise be a jerk to) the player. The two also stand out in other ways. Blue, the Rival of Gen I, is always trying to one up the player and is still the only Rival who ends up being the Champion until Trace in the Gen VII pseudo-remake. Meanwhile Silver, the Rival of Gen II, is a selfish thug who steals his Starter Pokémon, is completely abrasive towards others (at least at first), and is the only Rival with connections to a villainous team (being Giovanni's son and all). With the semi-exception of Hugh, whose hostility isn't even directed at the player, every Rival character introduced afterwards is a lot nicer and just ends up competing with the player in friendly competition and nothing more,note  with a few of them even being childhood friends of the player.note 
  • Team Rocket was also a more realistic Mafia-like or Yakuza-like organization that are something of a Knight of Cerebus in the plot: they're stated to have killed several Pokémon just because their skulls sell for a high price, for one. Yes, Never Say "Die" is averted in the first games, which makes most others seem Lighter and Softer by comparison (until Pokémon Sun and Moon). Gold and Silver made Team Rocket the goofy comic relief villains they're known as today, probably influenced by the anime. Later games would follow this route for the Grunts of villainous teams, though the bosses and admins are still treated seriously. Villain teams as a whole would also come to have greater and greater aspirations with each passing generation, from terraforming the planet to world domination to world destruction, making the illegal trafficking operations of Team Rocket seem quaint in comparison.
  • The first-generation games have Legendary Pokémon completely detached from the game's plot and are there solely as extras. The second generation was the first to actually incorporate them into the story, and even then they weren't the main focus. From the third generation on, Legendary Pokémon usually became the driving force behind the antagonists' motives, with Generation VII having it as part of the protagonist's motives. This can even be seen in the number of them introduced each generation, with the first having five, and the fourth and fifth having thirteen. Each. (The sixth only has six, but the two mascots are still central to the plot, and the overall lower number of new Pokémon means those six represent a proportionately-similar amount of the new species.)
    • The Generation I Legendary Pokémon just hung around in places associated with their types (Articuno and Zapdos) or in locations that have nothing to do with themselves (Moltres and Mewtwo). It wasn't until Generation II that Legendary Pokémon were given designated places to be or, if the legends fit, would roam about. FireRed and LeafGreen moved Moltres to Mt. Ember, a volcano, giving it a more fitting location, similarly to the other members of its trio.
    • Even when Legendary Pokémon were promoted to mascot status, there was some weirdness. Lugia and Ho-Oh were a true duo, and lacked a "secret" third Pokémon that formed a trio in an Updated Re-release or sequels, as Rayquaza, Giratina, Kyurem, Zygarde, and Necrozma were. Instead, Crystal used Suicune — a "lesser-tier" legendary with a small connection to Ho-Oh — for its mascot.
  • Rayquaza is the only "third mascot" that never got an alternate form which debuted in games following its original debut as a seemingly unimportant Pokémon. By contrast, Giratina obtained its Origin Forme in Platinum, Black and White Kyurem appeared in Black 2 and White 2, Necrozma got new forms in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, and while Zygarde never got a game to itself, its forms appeared in Sun and Moon (and before that, it was a major character in the anime's XY&Z series). Though Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire gave Rayquaza a Mega Evolution, retroactively giving it an alternate form, it isn't an exclusive transformation akin to Black Kyurem et cetera.
  • The very earliest Pokémon programmed into the game tended to look more like generic fantasy monsters than any real-life animal, often with a somewhat saurian or kaiju-esque bent. Rhydon, the first ever, bears little resemblance to a rhino aside from having a horn, Kangaskhan is pretty similar but with a pouch, and the Nido family's only obvious animal inspiration is maybe Baragon. Pokémon designed later on, or appearing in the following games, tended to be more clearly based on real animals or have obvious mythological origins (and even the latter is mostly reserved to Legendaries), with the generic monsters falling by the wayside.
  • With Pokémon Red and Blue, this interestingly also manifests in a couple of Pokémon names, both in English and Japanese:
    • On the English side, the names "Mr. Mime" and "Geodude" as particular standout examples feel very out of place these days (especially since genders were introduced in the next generation, and yes, both of them can be female), and it seems the only reason Mr. Mime's pre-evolved form, Mime Jr., was called such was to keep up the pattern, no matter how strange it feels.
    • A few Gen I Pokémon are named after specific celebrities: For example, Hitmonlee's English name is based on Bruce Lee and its Japanese name (Sawamular) is named after Tadashi Sawamura, a famous Japanese kickboxer. Hitmonchan's English name is derived from Jackie Chan and its Japanese name (Ebiwalar) comes from World Champion Boxer Hiroyuki Ebihara. It was probably the legal debacle involving Kadabra and Uri Geller (Kadabra's Japanese name, Yungerer, and its spoon-bending shtick was based on him and he promptly sued for defamation) and the general Earth Drift that took place early on that led to this naming convention no longer being practiced.
    • On the Japanese side, one gets the feeling they weren't even trying with some of the Generation I names (such as the legendary birds being called "Freezer,"note  "Thunder,"note  and "Fire"note ) and it was only from Gen II onward that this changed and effort consistently happened. Though the English translators changed those names, that didn't stop the translators from coming up with new names that were just creatively spelled variations of common English words, and sometimes not even that, such as "Persian", "Abra", "Kadabra", "Alakazam", "Golem", "Slowpoke", "Krabby", "Electrode", "Koffing", "Weezing", and "Ditto", in addition to some names which were just two words put together without making a portmanteau out of them, such as "Beedrill", "Sandshrew", "Sandslash", "Vileplume", "Bellsprout", "Geodude", "Voltorb", "Marowak",note  "Seaking", and "Magikarp".note  Later generations avoided using regular or misspelled English words, though with a few exceptions.note  Portmanteau names seem to have become the norm.
  • Referring to all Pokémon as "it" is likely an artifact from Generation 1 lacking genders, though (in translations at least) NPCs did refer to their Pokémon by gendered pronouns even in the original games. Also, up until Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Pokémon didn't have gender differences. All Pokémon had one design no matter their sex, with "shininess" being the only exterior distinction between Pokémon.
  • In Generation I, there was only one obviously young Gym Leader, Misty,note  and the Gym Leaders tended to act less nice, while later generations usually include many young Gym Leaders and it's rare for them to act especially nasty. There's also the fact that one of the Gym Leaders from Generation I was the Big Bad, while many Gym Leaders in Generation V fight against the Big Bads.
  • Pokémon Blue doesn't have that many changes from the Japanese Red and Green; most are simply aesthetic and the occasional glitch-fixing. Yellow, and to an even greater extent Crystal, began the trend of the revised version of the generation's main games having plot differences from the original, as well as the introduction of major features.
    • The exclusive Pokémon of Japanese Red were featured in overseas Red, likewise for Green and overseas Blue. Both of those overseas games used the updated sprites of Japanese Blue. This type of overhaul was never seen again for future installments. Even though Japan's Green and overseas Blue weren't exactly the same from a programming standpoint, they have the same basis and it's anyone's guess as to why Green was changed to Blue during localization. Each of the paired and solitary main series games since Gen II's Gold and Silver would keep the version naming theme from the original Japanese games.
    • As a remake, LeafGreen can be this for several western fans not familiar with the localization process stated above. They're likely thinking "Shouldn't this game be WaterBlue?"
    • For that matter, Pokémon Yellow is unique among Pokémon games for several reasons: First, it's a version of Gen 1 that was created after a third versionnote  was already produced. No other Generation has this distinction. Secondly, its biggest design differences is based on the anime, meaning that the game serves as an advertisement for the anime (and not the other way around) which doesn't usually happen much nowadays (the closest in more recent games is the inclusion of Ash-Greninja). Thirdly, it's the only main series game that doesn't give you a choice of starter. Other side games put similar restrictions but Yellow is the only main game to do this until Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, which are remakes of this title.
  • Pokémon lay eggs... except that one of the journal entries found in the Pokémon Mansion says "Mew gave birth. We named the newborn Mewtwo." This was unchanged in the remakes, which feature breeding. To be fair, this isn't the only way in which Mew's not exactly your standard Pokémon.
  • Wonder why Charizard and Gyarados aren't Dragon-types? Well, it's because the Elemental Tiers worked differently back in Generation I. Nowadays all the elemental types are meant to keep checks on each other, with a wide selection of Pokémon to choose from each type, but this was not always the case. In addition to several ordinary elemental types like Fire, Water, and Flying, Generation I had two (intended) exotic Infinity +1 Element types each exclusive only to a certain species: Dragon, which had no resistors and was unique to the Dragonite line, and Ghost, which had no weaknesses besides itself and was unique to the Gengar line.note  Generation II tried to undo this by introducing new Pokémon with these types, as well as Steel and Dark types to resist them. While they succeeded with Ghost, it wasn't until the Fairy type was introduced in Gen VI that Dragon was on equal footing with the others. No elemental type has been designated a unique Infinity Plus One ever since. And Gyarados still has not been retconned into a Dragon, though its Mega Evolution did gain the Dark type, which is weak to Fairy as well.
  • Downplayed example: In Gen I and Gen II, as long as you have the basic type relationships in your head, you could get by in most Gym battles. note  Fast forward to Generation VI, and now you will actually need to think about your Mons and their movepools, abilities, and stats more, because the Trainers are more savvy.note 
  • Even the music didn't escape this. Generations I and II are the only ones which play music on the file select menu. Generation I continues playing the title music, and Generation II has an original theme which was rearranged for the game start sequence in the remakes.
    • A couple of series-standard jingles were in odd locations or didn't exist in Red and Blue: The fanfare for obtaining an item and leveling up were switched originally, the TM-acquired theme debuted in Generation II, and Gen I, its remakes, and Emerald play a unique fanfare after catching a Pokémon that no other game in the series uses (they instead opt for using the same jingle played after a successful evolution).
    • Since Gen I, different battle themes are assigned for encounters with certain characters, but only four battle themes are present in said generation. These were for wild Pokémon, Trainers, Gym Leaders, and the Champion. Since Gen II, themes were also given to the Rival and the evil team's Grunts, while battle themes for the evil team's Leader became a standard since Gen III. As such, battles against Bluenote , Giovanninote , and the Team Rocket Grunts used the "Trainer" theme in the Gen I games.
    • It didn't become a standard for Legendary and Mythical Pokémon to have their own battle themes until Crystal, where one was given to the legendary beasts, Raikou, Entei, and Suicune. Prior to this in Gold and Silver, encounters with them only used the "Wild Pokémon" theme. The same applies for Lugia and Ho-Oh in all Gen II games. However, they each gained their own unique battle themes in the Gen IV remakes HeartGold and SoulSilver. In said remakes, the Crystal battle theme for the beasts was arranged three different ways for each of them.note 
  • Gen I had the starter Pokémon (Charizard, Venusaur, Blastoise, and Pikachu) as the version mascots. From Gen II onward, legendary Pokémon are the version mascots and play a bigger role in the story.
  • Gen I and II had a few Pokédex entries and bits of text that reference real-world events and countries, notably referring to Lt. Surge as "The Lightning American", Mew being found in the jungles of Guyana, and a few others. While the Gen III remakes preserved them, the series generally avoids explicitly referencing real countries anymore. Instead, cultural differentiation is done more slightly more subtly. Unova, which is based on New York and part of New Jersey, has a notably more ethnically diverse set of NPCs and a few indigenous Pokémon (like Braviary) that reference local wildlife. Kalos (which is based on most of France) uses Gratuitous French in dialogue while Alola (which is based on the four largest islands of Hawaii) takes some of its place names from the Hawaiian language.
  • It was Gen III that first fully codified the concept of a new Generation in Pokémon; Gen II was much more closely tied to Gen I, as they had the same evil team, the League was in the same location, the regional Pokédex was not a sub-set of the National Pokédex (which didn't even exist back then), but a mere re-ordering of all Pokémon of the time, and it was possible to visit the former games' region. This gives Gold & Silver quite a few comonalities to Black 2 & White 2, the chief difference being that the latter was in the same region as its predecessor, albeit significantly expanded.
  • Some Pokémon, notably Gastly, Cloyster, and Koffing looked rather Off-Model in Red and Blue Versions. Even the Pokémon who were portrayed accurately had a lot of weird spriting, with some surreal proportions on the Pokémon (such as Pikachu or Golem) compared to Game Freak's artwork or the anime. Yellow completely revamped the sprite-work to make the Pokémon look less bizarre... but messed up some of the colours when the international releases converted the game into a Game Boy Color-enhanced game (the Japanese version was designed solely for the original Game Boy and Super Game Boy), making some purple Pokémon an ugly green-yellow colour.
  • Until Platinum, there were always a few Pokémon that were designed so that not only could they not be caught in the wild, but they couldn't even be seen — literally no Trainer had them on their team and the player could complete the entire game without ever coming across them, which could make catching them very much a Guide Dang It!. This was changed in Generation IV, especially in Platinum.
  • In Red and Blue, Caterpie and Weedle couldn't learn Harden upon evolving into Metapod and Kakuna, despite Harden being the iconic ability of both cocoon Pokémon. Additionally, wild Metapod and Kakuna didn't have any attacks but Harden. Both of these were changed as early as Yellow.
  • Gen I had a handful of Pokémon, such as Voltorb, Sandshrew, Butterfree, and even Charizard, that did not learn any attacks of their own type in their level up move pools. TMs were able to provide for some, but the lack of variety left certain Pokémon with no way to get any moves of their own type. Kabuto and Omanyte could not learn any Rock moves, nor could Pinsir and Scyther learn any Bug moves. Gen II began to expand move pools and offer more varied TMs, and it is now generally unheard of for a Pokémon not to naturally learn at least one move of its own typing.
  • The three Pokémon Stadium games use less digitized, more animal-like cries for the Pokémon. Succeeding games in a similar style, such as Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon Battle Revolution, use the normal cries from the handheld games.
  • The first generation had a lot of humanoid Pokémon. The Machop and Abra lines are the most obvious, but there are several others, including Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee, the boxer and kick-boxer. Mr. Mime, Jynx, Electabuzz, and Magmar are all close together in the Pokédex and resemble a team of superheroes with goofy costumes. Later generations still had these kinds of designs but used more animal or alien-looking designs, although some like Gen V's Conkeldurr and Gothetelle are throwbacks to the Gen I era of humanoid designs.
  • Gen I is the only generation with no female protagonist. Gen II started off the same, however Kris was added in Crystal and Lyra was added to the remakes. Early official art implies that a female protagonist was planned for Red and Green however she was ultimately scrapped (likely due to no space being left on the cartridge for her). Her design was later reused in the remakes as Leaf and in Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee for Green.
  • Kanto is the only Fantasy Counterpart Culture region to share a name with its real-world inspiration. The region's name is only mentioned once during the Gen I era, and it was removed in the translation. The name gets more frequently referenced ever since Generation II allows players to return to Kanto.
  • The fact they are called "regions" implies that the areas the series takes place in are parts of a bigger country. Over time, however, it seems regions have become more similar to individual countries. In XY, one Tourist in the Battle Maison even refers to Kalos directly as a country upon being defeated, at least in the English version, making the use of "regions" sound jarring.
  • The National Dex may be an offshoot of the above, implying that the games are all part of one, well, nation. It made sense in Gen II, as Kanto and Johto were literally right next to each other, and still sort of worked in Gens III and IV, as they were still based off parts of Japan and could be assumed to be close by. However, it's still referred to as such in Gens V-VII, despite Unova, Kalos, and Alola being further away, making it sound a downright example of Grandfather Clause.
  • Red of the Kanto games is the only protagonist to be firmly established and defined in the series' canon, appearing as a recurring Bonus Boss with a set team. Later protagonists never appear past their own games, and whenever their exploits are brought up in other games, they're referred to only by gender-neutral terms ("that Trainer" etc), leaving it ambiguous as to who "really" saved the region/world/universe that one time. The one time this was averted was in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, albeit via an optional Old Save Bonus with no "canonical" protagonist. Red was also the only protagonist with a confirmed age until Sun and Moon.
  • The human characters in Generation 1 are noticeably muted compared to future generations. Most NPCs have relatively realistic Japanese designs with hair colours in either brown, black, or colours that are stylized versions of those colours and their designs aren't that "out there"note . It wasn't until Gold and Silver that the games fully embraced Anime Hair, You Gotta Have Blue Hair, and more flamboyant clothes.
  • Pokémon Snap is very odd in that it is an anime tie-in. It stars anime-only character Todd, features the anime version of Professor Oak, has a Mythology Gag to the anime's Jigglypuff, and uses the anime's art-style and voices. Aside from Pokémon Puzzle League (a Dolled-Up Installment also released for the Nintendo 64) and Pokémon Yellow (and its remakes), the games try their hardest to avoid referencing the anime outside of minor Mythology Gags and DLC.
  • The original Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team is the only game in its series to feature an ordinary Pokémon (Rayquaza) as its final boss. All other games in the series to feature final bosses either use a corrupted version of a Pokémon (Explorers) or an Eldritch Abomination (Gates to Infinity and Super) instead. The first game also doesn't include genders and uses mostly Gender-Neutral Writing.
  • In the Japanese version, the Coffee Man was passed out drunk. Since Gen 1, the games have avoided alcohol references.
  • The first few post-Crystal games mostly used Gender-Neutral Writing. Starting with the DS games, the series makes more of an effort to use gendered pronouns for the protagonist.
  • The sapience of Pokémon was dubious in the first generation. Several Pokémon, such as Lapras, are specifically noted for being able to understand humans, signifying this is uncommon for Pokémon. Trainers using whips (even pacifistic ones like Sabrina) also implies that Pokémon are treated more like animals. Over time, Pokémon as a whole have become more anthropomorphic in intelligence as well as in personality.
  • In the Kanto games, Lt. Surge mentions a Great Offscreen War that happened that he was involved with. The war has never been clarified upon since. Considering the original games were much more Earth-like, he's likely discussing a real world war.
  • The Kanto league has the unusual title of "Indigo League" because Kanto wasn't commonly referred as such until Gold and Silver, possibly because it is also the only league that serves two regions. All other leagues are named after their region (Hoenn League, Sinnoh League, etc).
  • The Generation I Pokémon Aerodactyl is the only extinct Pokémon to be revived from something other than a fossil—Old Amber, in Aerodactyl's case—and the only extinct Pokémon to not have a two-stage evolution line.
    • This was also the only generation to have more than two fossil Pokemon introduced at a time. In every later generation they have always come strictly in pairs.
  • The first regions up to Sinnoh had a nonlinear geographical progression. The regions were maze-like, and the next town over on the route was not necessarily the next one you'd visit. As a result, these regions were full of blockades of various sorts to prevent Sequence Breaking, from a house closed off by police in Kanto's Cerulean City to a power outage in Sunyshore City. From Unova and onward, you pretty much travel a direct path from one town to the next, with much fewer obstacles in the way, though at the cost of the adventure being more predictable when you look at the fully illustrated regional map.
  • In the first generation, some HMs are located in obscure or unintuitive locations, living up the "Hidden" part of their names. Cuttable trees would actually hide or in the way of more important things such as Gyms and other HMs. Later generations would make them progressively easier to obtain.
  • Downplayed. The Unown made more sense when the series still used real-world written languages. Since Black & White, the games have switched to the anime's usage of Wingdinglish. However, some some English text still remains (such as Team Rocket's symbol) which suggest that English text still exists in the Pokémon world, even if it's not as common as the made-up text.

     The Trading Card Game 
  • The Base Set had the card PlusPower, which was attached to a Pokémon, before Pokémon Tool cards were created. Since it was a Trainer card and not a Pokémon Tool, this created a loophole where PlusPower was not bound by the same rules as a Pokémon Tool card, such as being able to equip more than one of them to the same Pokémon or combining PlusPower's effect with a Pokémon Tool's. PlusPower would continue to be reprinted again and again, making it nearly always relevant in tournament play.
  • Early sets were full of cards that could outright discard Energy cards from the opponent's Pokémon, most notably Poliwrath and Energy Removal. This was found to be such a Game-Breaker that Energy destruction in sets from Generation II and onwards either had drawbacks or relied on chance. On top of that, Energy accelerators were introduced, which allowed easy access and rapid attachment of Energy cards.
  • Initially, Trainer cards in the western-language versions came in every rarity, but over time, most of them would be classified as Uncommon, with a few Commons out of tradition (though these were sometimes Uncommon anyway) and a few Holo-Rares as collectors' cards.
  • Originally, Pokémon that were considered Poison type in the video games were grouped under Grass type for the TCG; beginning with the Diamond & Pearl set they would instead be grouped under Psychic. Also, before Dragon was its own type, Dragon-type Pokémon were considered Colorless, though they still frequently used the type's gimmick of relying on multiple Energy types to attack.
  • When the Darkness and Metal Energy types were first introduced, they were only printed as Special Energy cards. Thus, a player could only have four of them in a deck, limiting the ability of players to use Pokémon that used those energy types. Later sets, starting with Diamond & Pearl, would include basic energy versions of those types.

    Other Adaptations 
  • Early chapters of Pokémon Adventures has some of this, likely by the mangaka trying to figure which game elements he wanted to use in his stories. Things got smoothed out a bit in later arcs:
    • In the RGB arc, there was no Ground immunity to Electric and it was claimed that there were only 150 Pokémon (and Mew).
    • HMs and TMs existed in early chapters. Afterwards these items were Adapted Out.
    • When people claim that Adventures is dark, they are mostly referring to Kanto and occasionally Johto. While other arcs are still Darker and Edgier and Bloodier and Gorier than most of the franchise, they're quite toned down from the original arcs. Humans get bruised up a lot less and the battles are less brutal. Red was once attacked by zombie Pokémon (one of which was dissolved by acid), Blue seemingly had his Charmeleon kill Koga's Arbok by cutting it in half, and Giovanni ordered his Cloyster to freeze a Magmar then shatter it.
    • Characterization Marches On is quite noticeable. Red's Pikachu was a Jerkass for all of one chapter before mellowing down for the most part. Red himself was interested in girls (including Green and Misty) before becoming an Oblivious to Love (willfully oblivious, at that!) Chaste Hero. Blue's personality change is so noticeable that even Red lampshaded it. Blue started out as a snarky jerk, more on-par with his game counterpart, but a few chapters in he reappeared as The Stoic he is today.
    • The series is prone to changing characterizations, however Kanto still featured dramatic ones. Due to the lack of notable villainous NPCs beside nameless grunts and Giovanni, the entirety of the Elite Four and several gym leaders were given Adaptational Villainy, although they all later had Heel Face Turns with the sole exception of Agatha.
    • In an early chapter Red is nearly eaten by Pokémon. Amongst the prey, what look like small animals can be seen. This is the only time real world animals are shown in the manga.
    • Crystal's original hair color in colored official artwork was brown. Later she was given blue hair like her game counterpart.
    • The first gym battle in the manga is Red vs Brock. Red wins by having his Plkachu use an electric-type move on Brock's Onix to one-hit KO it. This is despite Onix having a type-advantage over Pikachu. Future gym battles stick closer to the game's mechanics.
  • Pocket Monsters: Red and Green's names are only mentioned to be nicknames in the first chapter. They're presumably nicknames to better explain their unusual color-related names, except that the manga later introduces a ton of characters with equally odd names like "Blue", "Fire", and "Diamond" without explanation.


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