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Early Installment Weirdness / Pokémon Red and Blue

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Being the very first installment in the Pokémon franchise, the game's features are a lot different than what later generations would establish and turn into series staples.

See here for the main Pokémon page.

  • There's only one Special stat, covering the job that both Special Attack and Special Defense have in later games.
  • The Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors has a number of oddities. Due to a bug, Psychic-types are immune to Ghost attacksnote  which are played up by NPCs and the anime as their primary weakness. Intentionally, Ice does neutral damage to Fire-types instead of being resisted, and Bug and Poison are both super effective against each other. Dragon-types are already programmed to be super-effective against themselves, but they might as well not be since the only damage-dealing Dragon-type move is a Fixed Damage Attack. The Psychic-type is overpowered because (in addition to an immunity to Ghost-type moves and a scarcity of damage-dealing Ghost- and Bug-type moves) neither the Dark-type nor the Steel-type exist yet.
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  • Instead of Effort Values like the more modern Pokemon games have, this game has the Stat Experience system, which works similarly but has some key differences. When it comes to accumulating Stat EXP, instead of each pokemon giving 1-3 EVs in certain stats upon being knocked out, you gain Stat EXP in each stat equivalent to the knocked out pokemon's base stats, and while EVs caps at 255 per stat, Stat EXP caps at 65535 per stat. Then when it comes to converting them into the actual stat boost, EVs are simply divided by 4 to determine the additional stat gain at level 100 (and divided farther by the pokemon's level if under level 100), while Stat EXP works similarly but is instead squared and then has the result divided by 4. This works out to both systems boosting a stat by up to 63 points at level 100 when maxed out, but for one final and vital distinction, with the EV system a pokemon has an overall EV cap of 510, meaning pokemon essentially have an available 129 stat points that must be distributed among each stat and with none getting more than 63, but with the Stat EXP system there is no overall cap, so you can cap out and raise all of your pokemon's stats by 63 points. Functionally, in competitive play this removes the need to have your pokemon specialize, gives how each player builds their pokemon a lot less variance, and makes pokemon relatively much more durable, while in the singleplayer game it gives the player's pokemon a huge statistical advantage over the ingame trainers (whose pokemon always have no Stat EXP), especially by the end of the game where the player's pokemon will have naturally accumulated a lot of Stat EXP. Gen 2 would keep the Stat EXP system intact, but Gen 3 would replace it with the EV system that has remained in the series for all future Generations since.
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  • Struggle is treated as a Normal-type move, so Ghosts are immune to it. This can potentially make a 2-player battle Unwinnable by Mistake if both players' last Pokemon is a Ghost with no PP left.
  • Moves with a 100% hit/crit chance will still fail 1/256 (0.4%) of the time; in the Japanese version, this even applies to Swift, which is also susceptible to accuracy-modifying moves like Sand-Attack.
  • Critical Hit ratios are calculated based on a Mon's Speed stat instead of having a universal rate, while being much higher in general (in future games the universal critical hit rate is 6.25% or a 1/16 chance, while in Gen 1 the fastest pokemon, Electrode, has a 27.45% chance or a slightly over 1/4 chance), and will ignore stat boosts the user may have. Also, moves with the effect of a higher crit chance will increase the crit rate massively by eightfold instead of just doubling the rate like in later Gens, and in effect any pokemon with a base Speed of 64 or faster (which considering that even slow pokemon like Flareon reaches that mark, means the vast majority of fully-evolved pokemon) will essentially always get a crit with such moves (there is still a 1/256 glitch that can make the crit not hit, but it still might as well be guaranteed).
  • Certain Badges upon being obtained will grant a permanent 12.5% boost to a corresponding stat to your pokemon in battle (the Boulder Badge increases Attack, the Thunder Badge increases Defense, the Soul Badge increases Speed, and the Volcano Badge increases Special), so throughout the game your pokemon will have a significant edge on all the opposing trainers, and by the end of the game all your pokemon's non-HP stats will have a 12.5% boost in battle. This, combined with trainer pokemon not having EVs, means the drastic level jump at the end from Giovanni to the Elite Four isn't actually anywhere as severe as it looks, as at these end game levels you can have the same pokemon ten or so levels lower and still have better stats than the opponent's equivalent. The mechanic of Badges granting a permanent stat boost would be kept in Gens 2 and 3 (albeit slightly nerfed in the latter to a 10% boost), then dropped in Gen 4 onward.
    • Due to (surprise) a programming bug, this stat boost is reapplied every time a move alters your Pokémon's stats in battle, making this even more overpowered in Gen 1.
  • Multi-hit moves like Pin Missile use one check for crits instead of doing each hit separately. This means if the first one crits, every hit will.
  • Paralysis and Burn cut speed and attack respectively, as intended and carried on into all future games, but the stat change is stacked into the normal stat modifier instead of being its own thing. Because of this, Rest does not remove the stat drop when it cures the status.
  • Sleep lasts several turns longer, you cannot attack the turn you wake up, and it's possible to wake up on the turn it is inflicted.
  • Due to how infliction for status effects work, damaging moves that inflict the Paralysis, Burn, and Freeze status effect cannot inflict their status on pokemon of the same type as the move. So Normal-types, Ghost-types, and Electric-types cannot be paralyzed by Body Slam, Lick, and damaging Electric moves respectively. This does not apply to pure status moves, so Thunder Wave can still paralyze Electric-types. This additionally does not apply to the Poison status, so Twineedle, a Bug move that can inflict the Poison status, can still poison Bug pokemon, while it cannot bypass a Poison-type's poison immunity to poison them. Starting in Gen 2 this mechanic would be removed with the Paralysis status, then in Gen 3 the Fire-types and Ice-types would become immune to the Burn and Freeze status respectively and in Gen 6 the Electric-type would become immune to Paralysis.
  • Many moves have different power, accuracy, and even typing from later games. Some of the most notable examples include Dig being a 100 power move (instead of the 60 power it would have in Gens 2/3 and 80 power post Gen 3), Blizzard having 90% accuracy (instead of the 70% it would have in all future Gens), and Gust and Karate Chop being Normal type (instead of Flying and Fighting type respectively like in all future Gens).
  • Reflect and Light Screen will remain active as long as the user is on the field and end immediately when they faint or switch out, instead of remaining active when the user switches out and going away after a set number of turns like in later titles. They also double the user's appropriate defensive stat instead of lowering the attacker's offensive stat during the damage calculation.
  • Disable will affect one of the opponent's moves at random, instead of the last one they used, like in all later generations. Because of this, it can work on the very first turn (in later generations it will fail if used before the opponent has had a chance to attack).
  • Instead of copying the last move the opponent used, Mimic instead allows you to copy any move they know by opening a separate menu that allows you to pick one of them. This also has the side effect of instantly allowing you to see what moves the opponent knows.
  • One-Hit Kill attacks will fail if the user is slower than the target, whereas from Generation 2 onwards, such attacks will fail if the user is at a lower Level than the target. The user also does not get an accuracy bonus based off the difference between the user's and target's Level like in later games.
  • X Accuracies give your Pokémon 100% accuracy, including the aforementioned One-Hit Kill moves. Such an aspect was severely nerfed in future games.
  • Counter has a lot of quirks. It only works from being hit by a Normal or Fighting attack (including opposing Counters, Bide, and Seismic Toss unlike later games), can hit Ghosts, works with damage dealt to the user's Substitute and can be used multiple times off of one hit.
  • Bide ignores accuracy and evasion, can hit foes during the invulnerable period of Dig or Fly, hits Ghost-types, will last either 2 or 3 turns instead of a set 3, and has a couple other complicated quirks involving how damage is stored.
  • Trapping moves like Wrap and Clamp prevent the target from taking any action until they end, but oddly do not prevent switching out. The user also cannot switch moves during the duration similar to Thrash.
  • Substitute has a lot of oddities in this Gen that were fixed in Pokémon Stadium and later Gens.
    • It does not block Paralysis and Sleep infliced from status moves, but does block status from secondary effects of damaging moves like Paralysis from Body Slam. Additionally it blocks the Confusion status from status moves, but does not block it from secondary effects of damaging moves like Psybeam if the Substitute isn't broken by the attack. This was fixed in Stadium.
    • If a Pokémon with exactly 1/4 of its HP attempts to make a Substitute, it will succeed and then promptly faint. This was fixed in Stadium, where it will fail as usual when trying to make a Substitute with too low of health.
    • If a Pokémon uses Selfdestruct or Explosion on an opponent's Substitute and breaks it, the exploding pokemon will not faint nor take any self-inflicated damage at all (though its sprite will still disappear). Similarly if a Pokémon breaks an opponent's Substitute with Hyper Beam they will not have to recharge the next turn. Both of these issues were fixed in Stadium.
    • If a multi-hit move breaks an opponent's Substitute before it ends, breaking the Substitute will instantly end the move and not continue on to damage the opponent.
    • Super Fang and the trapping moves will bypass Substitute and hit the user as usual.
    • Leech Seed will bypass a Substitute and latch onto the opponent as usual, and a Pokémon behind a Substitute can be flinched from its Substitute being hit by flinching moves.
    • If a confused Pokémon is behind a Substitute and tries hitting itself in confusion, it will instead hit the opponent's Substitute if they too have one up, if the opponent doesn't then the confused Pokémon does not hit itself nor its Substitute.
  • Held items, Abilities, and Natures do not exist yet. IVs also only go up to 15 (but are doubled in their effect), and the HP IV is dependent on those of the other four stats.
  • No Pokémon except for Nidoran have a defined gender. Most of these Pokémon will have a gender if traded to Generation II (or transferred to Pokémon Bank in the case of the Virtual Console releases); in later generations, only certain Pokémon, such as most (but not all) Legendary and Mythical Pokémon, are genderless.
  • There are no Circling Birdies to signify when a Pokémon is Confused. An animation featuring a question mark is shown instead, with said animation being similar to that of the move Amnesia, which is a stat-raising move that has nothing to do with confusion.
  • There is no visible Experience Meter during battle. The only way to check how close a Pokémon is to leveling up is to check its stat screen.
  • There's an odd open-endedness for a good part of the game, while later titles would make you take on the Gyms and events in a very set order. While you still need to foil Team Rocket plots in order note , you may do so at your own pace and once you beat Misty, you are free to challenge the next five Gyms (Lt. Surge, Erika, Koga, Sabrina, Blaine) in whatever order you deem fit, except that Koga must be beaten before Blaine.
  • You can go catch Zapdos and Articuno as soon as you beat Koga, the fifth Gym Leader, as you can then Surf to their locations where they are just sitting there without any story or prerequisites, and being at level 50, they'll be more than strong enough for the Elite Four at base, so you can stomp the rest of the game with them easily if you can catch them. As mentioned above, you can even go trek to Fuchsia to beat Koga and get Surf as soon as you beat Misty and get Cut if you really wanted to trivialize most of the game with Zapdos. In future Gens, you generally won't be able to obtain any of the game's legendary Mons outside of events until after at least the sixth gym, and with other story requirements attached on top of that. In the case of the Gen 2 games, you could technically catch its legendary trio before beating the fourth gym... but they require so much luck to even encounter and then are so absurdly hard to catch when you do find them that no player is realistically going to catch them until late into the game, if at all. FRLG actually kept Zapdos' and Articuno's locations without adding any story prerequisites, so you can still get legendaries rather early without any fanfare there.
  • The TM list is weird, ranging from moves as basic as Rage, Bide and Water Gun to the likes of Bubblebeam, Swords Dancenote  and Fissure, and even the exclusive-to-Chansey Softboiled. There's additionally the oddity of Fire Blast being the only Fire TM, with not even Flamethrower being a TM like it would be in all the post Gen 2 games (and since Fire Blast is only gotten from beating Blaine, this leaves Fire types stuck with just the weak Ember for most of the game as Flamethrower is learned so late by them or never at all in the case of the Ponyta line).
  • The TMs you get from beating Gym Leaders are also very weird. Future Gens would have Gym Leader TMs be moves with neat effects, unique status moves, and really solid moves in general. Here you get a nigh-useless move that has nothing to do with the Gym Leader's type (Brock giving Bide), a decent midgame move with a Speed-lowering secondary effect (Misty giving Bubblebeam), a very weak move even by midgame (Erika giving Mega Drain), an RNG set damage move that will often deal crap damage (Sabrina giving Psywave), and even an OHKO move of all things (Giovanni giving Fissure). But then you also got Lt. Surge just handing you Thunderbolt, one of the best moves in the game, before the halfway point of the game, and Blaine giving you just a really strong attack in Fire Blast. Additionally, none of the Gym Leaders' TMs are learned naturally by any pokemon (with the exception of Pikachu learning Thunderbolt in Yellow), which really hurts Electric and Fire pokemon as Thunderbolt and Fire Blast are really desired moves for them and you just get one TM per file. Needless to say, the Gen III and Gen VII remakes really changed up the Gym Leader TMs to stuff more generally useful and interesting (or in the case of Surge something more appropriate for midgame), with only Koga giving Toxic and Blaine giving Fire Blast being kept the same in Generation III and Generation VII.
  • HM moves have to be done manually, meaning that you have to access your Pokémon from the menu and select whatever HM they learned. From Generation 2 onwards, you'll be asked if you want to use the HM required when in front of either a boulder (Strength), tree (Cut), or body of water (Surf). The sole exception is Fly, which has to be selected manually regardless.
  • It's purely cosmetic in function, but when trying to catch Legendaries or Pokémon in the Safari Zone, expect to see "You missed the POKéMON!" instead of the standard "Oh, the POKéMON broke free!".note 
  • Your team is not automatically healed when entering a Player Versus Player battle, nor are they healed after beating the Elite Four. Neither are they automatically healed when you take them out from the box.
  • Normal NPC Trainers do not have their names given; you're just told what their Trainer class is. All other games, including this game's remakes, give the Trainers names.
  • These games remain the only installment in the series in which it is possible to migrate Pokémon back from their sequels, thanks to Gold, Silver, and Crystal versions all being released for the same system. Because of the changes in platforms and system overhauls in between generations, any ability to transfer Pokémon forward to the next generation is a one-way trip.
  • The wild battle theme of this game and its remake are the only one to be constantly frantic instead of being at least partly joyous. Even the later incarnations of the song, whether the anime incarnation, the Super Smash Bros. incarnation or even later games in the series, all rearrange the song in such a way so that it has parts that give out vibes of it being joyous.
  • There are regular references to Real Life locations which now seems odd due to the Earth Drift that the series underwent in later installments:
    • Lt. Surge's title is "Lightning American" and his official backstory describes him as being a former officer and pilot in the American army, one of the few times a Real Life location is directly referenced in the series. Later games would imply that America doesn't exist and replace them with Fantasy Counterpart Cultures of several different parts of the real US, such as the Arizona-based Orre, the New York City-inspired Unova, and the Hawaii-derived Alola. An NPC even lampshades this in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, wondering if Lt. Surge is actually from Unova. The reference to the United States is kept in all of Lt. Surge's later appearances until Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, which are remakes of Yellow; his title in those two games is changed to "Lightning Lieutenant" in the English translation and "Lightning Tough Guy" in the Japanese version.
    • A few other NPCs as well as some Pokédex entries also make reference to real life places. Raichu's 'dex entry mentions an Indian elephant, Mew is said to have been found in Guyana, South America, a Silph Co. employee complains that he's being reassigned to the Tiksi branch, calling it "Russian no-man's land", and Arcanine's Pokédex entry in Yellow says it's legendary in China. References to real-life locations remain present in FireRed and LeafGreen, but were removed in Let's Go (for example, Arcanine's Pokédex entry says it's legendary in the East instead of specifically mentioning China).
  • These games internally handle whether or not a Pokémon successfully gets captured significantly different than later games in the series, the most obvious being that, as mentioned, it's possible for the player to miss the Pokémon entirely (changed to the Pokéball not shaking at all from Pokémon Gold and Silver onwards). Probably the most bizarre is that Great Balls (the mid-tier ball in all future games) have special handling that doesn't apply to any other ball, and sometimes makes them a more effective option than the top-tier Ultra Balls.
  • Numerous trainers are depicted as carrying whips (Cooltrainers, Tamers, Rocket Grunts, Cue Balls, Sabrina); both the remakes and all future games removed them (except for the Tamers, who still have whips in the remakes).
  • Fixed Damage Attacks can hit mons that would normally be immune to their type. While ignoring Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors was mostly kept, it's only in this generation that they bypass full immunities. This is also the only generation that introduced any of these attacks at all; they're kept in due to the Grandfather Clause (no move has ever been fully removed from Pokémon until Pokémon Sword and Shield in Gen 8), but you almost get the feeling they're an Old Shame.
  • The box art don't show the game's resident legendary, but one of the possible starter's final evolution. In fact, the legendary Pokémon are completely disconnected from the plot (even in the remakes), and there's no legendary duo akin to those in later games (though Mewtwo can unofficially be considered this gen's main legendary, having more backstory than the birds and being banned from battle facilities like other mascot legendaries, and is technically part of a duo with the never-officially-released Mew). The remakes would keep this style for consistency.
  • From Gen 2 onward, each "uber legendary" would have a signature move or ability that only it could have (for example Ho-oh and Lugia got the exclusive move Sacred Fire and Aeroblast respectively, the Hoenn trio Groudon, Kyogre, and Rayquaza got the then-exclusive abilities Drought, Drizzle, and Air Lock respectively, and so on), but Mewtwo had no such exclusive moves, it was just a ridiculously strong pokemon. It wouldn't be until Gen 5 that Mewtwo would be given a signature move, gaining the new Psystrike.
  • In Red and Blue, when the Bike is in use, the music is always playing on the overworld, even when moving to a new area. Yellow changed this so this music doesn't play on Route 23 or in Victory Road, but its usage is otherwise the same in that game.
  • Unlike future installments, the Pokémon League Champion is not established as the leader of the Elite Four. It's also the only generation where the league Champion is The Rival.note 
  • Pokémon given by NPCs (such as Lapras) will be automatically sent to the PC if your party is full. Later games require having an empty slot in your party before you can receive them, save for Pokémon Sun and Moon (which are quite inconsistent in this regard).
  • There's a "badge check" route before the Elite Four that has never been in any following game (minus FireRed, LeafGreen, and Let's Go, which are remakes). In later games, the "badge check" usually happens right before taking on the Elite Four or going to Victory Road.
  • Speaking of the Elite Four, they all have the regular trainer battle theme when you fight them. The only exception is Lance, who has the gym battle theme. Barring Generation II and the remakes note , all future generations have their own unique Elite Four battle themes.
  • The Silph Scope is required in order to see and identify Marowak's ghost in Pokémon Tower so you can progress with the plot. Without it, Marowak's ghost effectively blocks you from reaching the final room, as your Pokemon will be too scared to attack it note . This concept was immediately dropped in the next generation.
  • Most of the Pokémon have very sparse level-up movesets compared to later generations, making TMs a neccessity for most Pokémon to have remotely decent movesets (while good TMs are also sparse and very few can be obtained more than once). Many also lacked moves that by all logic they should learn (Lickitung the "Licking Pokemon" for instance does not learn Lick), and some don't even learn any STAB moves naturally (such as the Rhydon line, leading to Giovanni and champion Blue using Rhydons with just weak Normal attacking moves in what are supposed to be climactic endgame battles).
  • When you trade a Pokémon, the background music still plays, when later generations has the evolution theme play in its place.
  • Speaking of trading, you can trade Pokémon that know HM moves. With the exception of Generation II, all other games make it a requirement that Pokémon cannot know any HM moves in order to be traded.
  • If an NPC Trainer switches Pokémon, the experience distribution can become flaky. For example, you send out Pokémon A while your opponent sends out Pokémon X. You immediately switch to Pokémon B, while your opponent switches to Pokémon Y. Pokémon B defeats Pokémon Y. The NPC trainer then sends Pokémon X back out. Pokémon B defeats Pokémon X. In all future games, Pokémon A will still get a share of experience after the defeat of Pokémon X. Here, however, Pokémon B will get 100% of the experience. As very few NPC trainers are programmed for switching and those few that can will do it randomly for no rhyme or reason at that, you will probably never run into this, but it is weird nonetheless.
  • Some key items can only be obtained by registering a certain number of Pokémon as caught in the Pokédex and then speaking to one of Professor Oak's aides, who are scattered around Kanto: the HM for Flash requires 10 Pokémon, the Itemfinder requires 30, and the Exp. All requires 50. Starting with Generation II, HMs and key items are generally received either automatically during the main story or simply by talking to an NPC, and later generations began to make them all obtainable through unmissable NPC and other plot events. The only games to bring back the "must own a certain amount of Pokémon to receive item" mechanic were the remakes and the Let's Go games, the latter of which placed much greater emphasis on catching lots of Pokémon anyway.
  • The notion that "Red" and "Blue" are the canonical names for the player character and his rival was not established until Gold and Silver. Early official materials, such as Nintendo's official strategy guide, tend to use the names "Ash" and "Gary", like the anime.
  • Unlike in all future generations, it is possible for offensive moves to do zero damage. Whenever this occurs, the game will display it as a miss, regardless of whether the move actually hit or not. This can be most easily demonstrated by catching a Weedle and attempting to use Poison Sting against Brock's Pokémon; unless you've done some serious grinding, it will miss every time, despite being a 100% accurate move. In subsequent games, even the weakest moves are rounded up to 1 HP of damage.
  • Almost every trainer's Pokémon lineup is of uniform level, e.g., if one of a trainer's Pokémon is Lv. 20, they will all be Lv. 20. The only trainers with Pokémon of varying level are Gym Leaders, the Elite Four, your rival, and Giovanni. In all future generations, any trainer's lineup may have level variance.
  • Trainers generally have more Pokémon than those of later generations. Three Pokémon is the most common number, and four and even five-Pokémon lineups are pretty widespread. Single-Pokémon trainers are much rarer than in later games (where they're practically standard.)
  • Critical Hit mechanics were very different, 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 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. It also only had room for 20 items. You could have more that 99 of a single item but that would result in multiple stacks of the same item. 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 effectively bottomlessnote  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 made it impossible to transfer items to another Generation I cartridge without owning one of the Pokémon Stadium games.note 
  • 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 status healing itemnote  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.
  • 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, the player fighting the ghost of a dead Marowak, which disguises itself as an untouchable ghost) 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.
  • Legendary Pokémon are 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.)
    • They 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.
  • 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 and Pseudo-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 and evolved forms, Mime Jr. and Mr. Rime, are 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", rather than only referring to genderless Pokémon as "it", is likely an artifact from Generation I 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. With the exception of Unown and Deoxys (the latter as of FireRed and LeafGreen), both of which are genderless, all Pokémon had one design no matter their sex until Generation IV, with "shininess" being the only exterior distinction between Pokémon.
  • 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.
  • 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 was unresisted and was unique to the Dratini line, and Ghost, which had no weaknesses besides itself and was unique to the Gastly 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.
  • 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.
  • A handful of Pokémon, such as Voltorb, Sandshrew, Butterfree, and even Charizard, 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 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 Blue 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 for Green.
  • The human character designs 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.
  • In the Japanese version, the Coffee Man was passed out drunk. Since Gen 1, the games have avoided alcohol references.
  • 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 (likely Gulf War, the most recent war involving the US at the time).
  • 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 until Generation VIII.
  • Generation I was the only generation until VIII to have more than two fossil Pokémon introduced at a time. In later generations, they have always come strictly in pairs, with two pairs in VIII; Aerodactyl remains the only standalone fossil.
  • AI opponents have unlimited PP; consequently, stalling is impossible in single-player battles.
  • All status moves and debuffs have 75% accuracy when used by the AI, which makes some (such as Hypnosis, normally 55% accurate) hit more often and others (such as Growl and Leer, normally 100% accurate) hit less. In all future generations, AI move accuracy is the same as for the player.
  • Gen I's story was pretty barebones compared to the later games. Here, you're just out for an adventure to become a Pokémon Master while competing against your rival every so often. Team Rocket was a secondary plot line that didn't have much impact on the main story other than a few roadblocks. Likewise, the legendary Pokémon birds were given little to no backstory or context for their existence and while Mewtwo did have some backstory to its creation, it has no bearing on the overall plot and is nothing more than a Bonus Boss you could potentially catch. Later games would have legendaries and villains become interconnected with the story.
  • The locales were extremely basic in design where most of the buildings were copy pasted and the majority of the routes were just straight roads with the usual patches of grass and maybe a side area or two that contained an item. Even the unique locations like the Seafoam Islands and Power Plant didn't stand out much other than the legendary Pokémon that were there. Later games would start using more unique designs for the buildings, added more unique dungeon areas, and made most of the routes have more points of interest in between them.
  • Team Rocket had some odd quirks when they were first introduced:
    • Compared to the other villainous teams in future games, Team Rocket are straight up evil; not only do they openly admit to being evil, they also brag about being selfish, abuse Pokémon, and use/sell Pokémon for profit. Later villainous teams introduced to the franchise would use more (seemingly) noble goals or other excuses for their actions.
    • Another quirk with Gen 1's Team Rocket is they have no unique battle theme and use the generic Trainer battle theme. It wasn't until Gen 2 where they were given their own unique battle theme. The Gen 1 remakes kept the Rocket battles with generic themes for consistency.
    • Aside from Giovanni, there were no unique Team Rocket members. It wasn't until Gen 2 where Grunts were given a female design to go along with the generic males and there was also the introduction of male and female Executives. Later games would follow a similar trend. FireRed and LeafGreen went back to having all Grunts being the generic male with females and only a few Executives showing up in the post game, while Let's Go instead replaced some of the existing male grunts with females, including replacing the Rocket Brothers in Silph Co. with the Rocket Sisters.
  • After trading or battling other players in the Gen I games, you can't go back to the main game normally. Instead you have to reset the game to continue where you left off.
  • The region's name was barely referenced and kept ambiguous:
    • Kanto is the only Fantasy Counterpart Culture region to share a name with its real-world inspiration. Outside Japan, the name "Kanto" wasn't used until Pokémon Gold and Silver. The non-Japanese versions of Red and Blue and all of their associated media and merchandise refer to the region only as the "Pokémon World". Even in Japan, the name "Kanto" appears exactly once in-game, on the Town Map in your rival's house in Pallet Town.
    • 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).
  • If a Pokemon gains multiple levels at the same time, it will not learn any moves that it otherwise would have from any of the levels it skipped. This is corrected in all future generations.


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