20 years ago today, on the 27th February 1996, Pokémon Red and Green were released in Japan. I’ve asked a few of my friends, who also grew up around Pokémon, to name a team of their favourites to mark this anniversary day.
Andrew and I have always talked about Pokémon. Not only are his opinions very assured (and agreeable) but he knows pretty much everything that there is to know about the moves and the species and the items - this of course makes him a very formidable opponent (especially when he is using hacked Pokémon with super-charged stats) but he also works hard to train his Pokémon well and choose the best movesets for them.
I know he's really popular and most people's favorite but he just brings me back to the first time I played the game.
I think he must have been one of the first Pokémon I ever saw.
He's just rapid isn't he. Just imagine how fast he would be in real life.
He just looks bad ass doesn't he?
Probably one of the only Pokémon after Gen 3 that I've really, really liked.
Always nice to have an ice type to deal with pesky dragons.
Could have easily have chosen loads more though, it was hard.
Adam would often come to stay over at my house; on a particularly memorable occasion, when it snowed, there was little assurance that the buses would be running for him to get home, so he stayed over night - it was on such evenings that we would play many games, for we have very similar interests in all sorts of things. Pokémon is something we have discussed, laughed about and mused over many times, especially on our long walks around town or across the countryside of Bath.
Because the first movie is all I've seen of the Pokémon anime (I liked it) and Mewtwo is very powerful and I enjoy being him in Smash Bros,
Because while I initially thought this rubbish Pokémon was a rubbish Pokémon, I was later able to appreciate it as absurdly hilarious.
Because I always liked the idea of an alien Pokémon, and I always wanted Deoxys, but sadly never caught one.
Because how could I not choose this handy horrifying abomination?
Because it's D best! Also, because I always thought Unowns looked really cool.
Because it is the 'main' Pokémon, and I'd like to choose at least one cute one!
Very tough to narrow it down to just six, but I'll make those my final choices. I almost wrote down Missingno, but I'm not sure if it would count!
Alec always used to invite Sam and I over to his house to play all kinds of things; Super Smash Bros. was a usual go-to, but occasionally we’d get out our Pokémon. Because we tended to be at many different stages in the game, we often cobbled together a half-good, half-random team from what we had, which was always amusing.
Eevee has always been a favourite of mine,
I like Sandshrew because of the Anime, he looked really cool in that.
STARAPTOR, POLYWRATH, LUXRAY, SQUIRTLE
As I've travelled a lot with them.
A long time ago now, almost ten years, I remember Sam and I bought our Nintendo DSes into school - a rare thing indeed considering that Sam’s bag was usually stolen about three times a week. We battled on Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, barely able to see the screens in the bright sunlight. I always remember that day, because Sam and I have known each other for a long time now, and have played Pokémon together many times since.
Because it is a cool looking dragon, looks pretty fierce.
Because I like it more than the evolved form, and keep it in its first one out of spite.
Because they feel reliable and I like them in Smash Bros.
This one also looks cool.
It's my legendary of choice, and someone once told me it can work well in a balanced team, which this most likely is not.
Again, I like the look of this one, even though it does look a bit like an edgy teenager designed it.
I used to say goodnight to Naomi and shut my bedroom door - yes, she said she would just switch the lights off next door and go to bed herself. When I got up later to go to the bathroom, a yellow light glowed from across the hall - she would come to say goodnight to me again, and tell me how she had found a Snorlax, but couldn’t wake it up, for she had never played Pokémon before. I went to bed very happy after hearing her stories from Kanto.
Before I even knew what Pokémon was, a friend bought me a talking Togepi keychain for my Birthday. It was so cute! and I never got bored by its "Toge Toge", "Toge Piii!"
Years later, David introduced me to the game and I haven't looked back since, enjoying all the cuteness and fun being a Pokémon Trainer brings.
My Digby was a good friend to me - I liked him, making me chuckle, and his Magnitude could do astounding amounts of damage. Later I realised how useful Dig was as well. He eventually evolved, but he'll always be Digby to me.
Grumpy but cute, one of the first times of playing that I realised I could be quite tactical - do “leech seed” so the defending Pokémon is steadily drained, and also switch out so that someone else can be healed. Rather handy when you’re out of potions! Even wild Pokémon can serve as a mobile Nurse Joy.
He cheers me - he is quirky with his leek, did well as my slave and, because he was a trade, he levelled up quickly - so I went ahead and trained him to level 50 along with my other Pokémon. His False Slash is extremely useful and I used him a lot to catch wild Pokémon. Having to gauge the HP of Zapdos was previously annoying! But with Farfetch’d it became easy.
He’s so cute! :3 I didn’t want to evolve him for a long while because I liked the sound he made, which deepened when he became a teen - I’ve seen the Pokédex entry for the last evolution and I’m not happy with those red eyes!
There's something so cuddly about the formidable bulk of Snorlax, and his calm, friendly, passive nature. As soon as I caught him he became a favourite of mine, happily rendered real in the form of a poké doll given as a Thank You gift from David. His cute smile always cheers me up. :)
I’d like a real Shinx :) and I'm sure he’ll be my companion when Pokémon Go comes out!! :D
Pokémon for me started with the collectable toys - my Mum kept a check-list in her purse for years and would try to buy me a set when she went into town; I was always excited to come home from school thinking there might be a new pair of new Pokémon there. In the following years, I have grown up with Pokémon around me - loved Pokémon Gold and Silver, Ruby and Sapphire, Diamond and Pearl, and now that I am poorly and unable to play, I still have fun collecting and sorting my Trading Card collection.
All those years ago, my Mum took me to second-hand shops to buy old games for my new Yellow Game Boy - there were hardly any at all, except for a red-coloured cartridge with a Charizard on it and half its sticker torn off. I still have this copy of Pokémon Red, and it still works with its original battery - I have returned to it many times and am greatly nostalgic about it.
Dragonite was my first ever favourite, probably around the age of six or seven. He appears in Pokémon The First Movie as a postman with a side-satchel, and is always portrayed as gentle, intelligent and strong - so he stood out to me as something a young Pokémon trainer should aspire to. I also greatly admired the character Lance, who trains dragon Pokémon. Lance has a red cape and the player even gets to fight alongside him in Pokémon Gold - so as a young boy, I found him extra-specially cool and wanted to grow up, be like Lance, and fly around the world on a Dragonite of my own.
I’ve always liked Gengar. When I used to collect the Pokémon toys, Gengar came in transparent purple which was extremely cool, so he was always my favourite. He can learn some pretty good moves too from a wide variety of types: Shadow Ball, Giga Drain, Thunder, Ice Punch etc. Also, as mischievous as he appears, I think he’s pretty cute about it and would ultimately be a playful friend.
You can tell by looking at Arcanine just how loyal and brave he is. He can run extremely fast, and I imagine holding tight to his back as he runs from place to place. He is a very majestic Pokémon and I know he would always defend those in need.
I was pleased with Togekiss because I have always liked the Togepi-Togetic chain, but it’s never really found a place anywhere. Togekiss is clearly very cuddly and fluffy - you could snuggle down into it while it flew off into the clouds. It visits peaceful regions and appears before kind-hearted people, bringing them gifts of happiness - I like this idea a lot because it is much better, I think, to live a life of peace and kindness and to find happiness there, than it is to actively seek it.
Alakazam has always been a favourite ever since I was young - I think it’s the fact that he is supposedly really intelligent, with an IQ of 1500 (whatever that possibly means) and that apparently his brain cells never deteriorate so he is able to remember everything. When I was little, this was the kind of thing I found impressive, and still do of course, when compared to physical strength where none of my aspirations lie. I also really love psychic Pokémon - I think if I were a Pokémon I’d be a psychic type; I find the telekinesis intriguing and there is a brooding impressiveness to metal bending that requires no words. Mostly, I love developing and challenging my mind, so I think Alakazam would be proud to train with me.
I chose Ambipom for his moves, initially finding him a bit ugly, but now he has become one of my utmost favourites - so much so that I have a (now unbuyable) Pokédoll of him which is so heart-crushingly adorable that I couldn’t not have him to hug.
First, he uses Fake Out, which causes the opponent to flinch so they can’t use their opening move - this always strikes first and never misses. Fake Out deals 40 damage but because Ambipom is a Normal type (the same type as Fake Out) he gets STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus) which multiplies by 1.5. Next, he has the ability “Technician”, which multiplies all moves under 70 damage by 1.5. And finally, I’ve given him a Silk Scarf which (aside from keeping him nice and cosy!) powers up all Normal moves by 1.2 times.
So 40 x 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.2 = 108
And he hasn’t even been attacked yet.
Then he can use U-Turn which, being a Bug move, gets none of the above bonuses, but it deals 80 damage and returns Ambipom to the party nicely unharmed. So he basically does 188 damage all without being hit.
(Plus... he’s really cute.)