Way Back When
Almost no childhood was complete in the 90s without a Game Boy and a copy of Pokémon Red or Pokémon Blue – or both, if you were the kind of pocket monster collector who absolutely had to collect literally every one. These 1998 handheld titles brought with them a level of success unlike anything the world had ever seen, rapidly infecting millions of kids (and plenty of adults, too) with Poke-fever.
As the very first Pokémon video game installments, Red & Blue laid the foundation of the franchise and introduced gamers around the world to the concept of collecting, trading, and battling Pokémon. It’s not surprising, then, that Nintendo and developer GameFreak opted to make the games turn-based RPGs, serving as many kids’ very first introduction to the genre altogether and possibly even helping it to gain popularity in the years that followed.
Red & Blue also set the standard for having two versions of each Pokémon game release. Though the plot remained the same across both versions, each one provided eleven exclusive Pokémon for players to find and catch, all but ensuring that they’d either need to buy both versions or have friends to trade with in order to collect all 151 pocket monsters and complete their Pokédex. Whether splitting the games up this way is consumer-unfriendly remains up for debate even now, but there’s no denying that it has contributed heavily to building a genuine sense of community among Pokéfans throughout the years.
Red & Blue received widespread critical praise and has been ranked among the greatest video games ever released. And unlike many other fads that came and went during that time in the world of toys and gaming, Pokémon defied the odds and has only grown in popularity since that fateful Game Boy launch, having now sold over 300 million copies worldwide. There’s no sign of it slowing down, either, so it seems as though we’ll all be on a quest to catch ’em all forever.
Where You Can Play It Now
Sadly, Nintendo hasn’t brought any of the older Pokémon games to the Switch yet, so your only modern option for diving into Pokémon Red & Blue will be to grab the Virtual Console versions on the 3DS.
Here’s the modern platforms on which you can access Pokemon Red & Blue:
- Nintendo 3DS (Virtual Console)
Of course, the Pokémon franchise has only grown exponentially since the days of Pokémon Red & Blue, so if you fulfill your need for nostalgia with those classics, there are plenty of other options available, both new and old. The most recent double entry in the franchise was Pokémon Sword & Shield, and it takes the series to the Switch in a full 3D adventure, so it would make the perfect comparison game to show just how far these games about cute critters have come over the past few decades.