RetroVision – 10 Reasons Why Gen 1 May Not Be As Good As You Remember

There are many people who believe the original 151 Gen 1 Pokémon can’t be beaten. I’m here to tell you that they’re wrong! Now before you get upset, I’m not saying they’re rubbish. No, far from it.

Pokemon Covers

In truth, l’m one of the biggest Pokémaniacs you’ll ever meet, and my countless hours playing Pokémon Blue is what set me on my gaming journey. Pokémon Red / Green / Blue’s colourful cast of characters are some of the most iconic and well made that you’ll ever find in gaming, and outside for that matter. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re invulnerable to criticism.

This isn’t just some ‘hipster’ viewpoint aimed at generating clickbait. No, I’m just here to give you a different spin, one without that nostalgic tinge. So if you’re ready to take off those rose-tinted spectacles, read on to find out the 10 reasons why Gen 1 may not be as good as you remember.

1. Psychic Is Completely OP

A massive oversight in the first generation is just how overpowered the Psychic Pokémon are. Psychic Pokémon were only weak to Bug Types. This poses a problem as there are no strong bugs/ bug type moves. What’s more, all the ‘good’ Bug Pokémon were part poison, which is weak to Psychic!

Sabrina Psychic
Talk about a hard Gym battle.

2. Ghost & Dragon Types Only Contain One Pokémon Chain

There’s only one evolutionary chain of Ghost type Pokémon (Ghastly-Haunter-Gengar), and on top of that there’s only one evolutionary chain of Dragon types (Dratini-Dragonair-Dragonite). This gave you no choice if you didn’t like either of these chains.

Gengar & Dragonite

Yes they’re still both amazing to this day, some of the most iconic Pokémon in fact. However, this really is no excuse to only have the one for each type. They even had the audacity to focus two of the Elite Four on these types, even though their teams couldn’t be filled out with Pokémon of that type.

3. The Difficulty In Obtaining Certain Pokémon

Make no mistakes, there’s a number of Pokémon in Gen 1 who are incredibly difficult to catch. Of course, making Pokémon hard to catch is part of making the game fun, it’d be too easy if you could get them all with ease. What is a problem though, is that the balance isn’t completely fair leading to much frustration.

Chansey Safari Zone

Notable inclusions are:

  • Porygon – The sheer number of coins required to buy Porygon was, and still is, ridiculous.
  • Tauros, Kangaskhan and Chansey in the Safari Zone – All three are hard to find, often run away, and have very low catch rates.
  • Mewtwo – At level 70 Mewtwo is extremely powerful, and as was discussed earlier, it’s a Psychic type making it incredibly difficult to weaken. On top of this, Mewtwo has the move recover. Yes the Master Ball is meant for this moment, but if you don’t have it, you could be in for worlds of trouble.
  • Mew – Only available by event, which unlike todays wireless events were incredibly rare and required real life travel.

4. Bad Sprites

I don’t need to dwell on this one, a simple search for ‘Gen 1 Pokémon sprites’ will show you everything about this (though just to stress, I’m not referring to the designs of the Pokémon here, just the sprites). Of course, every franchise has to start somewhere, and I’m certainly not trying to be over critical as many are phenomenal. However, it can’t be denied that Gen 1 certainly falls behind in comparison to its successors, and this is ultimately a good thing for the Pokémon franchise.

Pokemon Sprites
Whilst all of Game Freak’s designs were excellent, some of the sprites have definitely improved over time.

I mean just take a look at the Gen 1 sprites for Pokémon such as Eggxecutor, Golbat, Moltres, Blastoise, Mew, Venusaur, and especially Koffing. Now tell me Gen 1’s sprites are superior.

5. No Running Shoes

This one may seem small, but honestly, try going back and playing these games without the ability to run. You’ll more than likely end up being extremely frustrated by how slowly your character moves. Yes the bike will help when you’re outside, but once inside the buildings and the caves, well then you’ll really know what pain is.

6. Broken Moves

Balancing issues plagued the Gen 1 Pokémon games, and the moves within are no exception. In fact, there are so many of these that it would be irresponsible of me to write them all down. Although, special attention should be paid to Amnesia which is drastically more powerful in Gen 1. However, for those that are interested in the full list it has been neatly compiled in the picture below, (the original can be found via this link). You may be shocked by just how many there are.

Gen 1 Moves

7. Critical Hits

From Gen 2 onwards, critical hits are calculated at 6.25% for every Pokémon, but this isn’t the case when it comes to Gen 1. In these critically acclaimed games, it’s actually calculated differently for each Pokémon based on its speed stat. This means Pokémon such as Electrode, Aerodactyl, Jolteon and the recurring Mewtwo, all end up having have incredibly high critical hit ratios. And in the case of Mewtwo that’s on top of it’s other ‘assets’.

Mewtwo Banner
Mewtwo is very much the definition of legendary. In fact, it’s very nearly unstoppable.

8. Special Stats

Unlike in further Generations, there’s a Special stat rather than a separate Special Attack and Special Defence stat. This means that Pokémon such as Gyarados, who in later generations has a lower special attack stat, gains a significant boost. Add this to Amnesia (as mentioned, probably the most OP move in the game), and you can create some incredibly strong Pokémon in both special attack and special defence (and guess who can learn Amnesia, thats right, Mewtwo).

9. Glitches

Everybody knows about that the famous MissingNo Glitch, and its abilities to help you both catch rare Pokémon, and increase the first item in your bag. However, when it comes to glitches, that’s just the tip of a very large iceberg, as it was in most retro games. Just like with the unbalanced moves, there’s far too many to name in one go. Nevertheless, if anyone is interested in reading about all of these glitches (and why wouldn’t you be?), then all these glitches can all be found in the following Bulbapedia article.


10. You’re Missing Out On All The Other Great Pokémon

There are so many great Pokémon since the initial 151. Yes there are some bad ones, but the good far outweigh the bad. By clinging onto the notion that these are the greatest, and anything else is bad, all you are doing is limiting the possibility of finding a new favourite Pokémon. You’re also holding yourself back from having multiple new and exciting Pokémon adventures.

Pokemon All

Now of course, as I said at the start, please take this as what it is, an alternate viewpoint from an unashamed Pokémaniac. Pokémon Red / Green / Blue are some of the most iconic games ever made, hence why we here recommended them unequivocally. Truth be told, the original Pokémon titles hold some of the greatest experiences you can have in gaming, and began one of gaming’s all time greatest series. Just don’t go thinking that Gen 1 is all that far ahead of it’s equally amazing successors.

Stuart Drake

Not very good at writing about games and even worse at them. Is that going to stop me doing either? Absolutely not! You can follow this Pokémaniac on Twitter and Instagram via @Boogbn

One thought on “RetroVision – 10 Reasons Why Gen 1 May Not Be As Good As You Remember

  • 13/10/2021 at 15:21

    Many have lost interest in playing new games. It’s just a copy of Generation 1.


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