New to Pokemon: My 1st 8 Hours with Pokemon Yellow

As a big PlayStation gamer for the majority of my life, I missed the train on the Pokemon craze. Aside from the cartoon that played every morning before I went to school, my exposure to the franchise is minimal. Fast forward to current day, my friends were all Nintendo kids, and I am the sole Sony fan touting the brilliance of Spyro, Crash, Ratchet and Jak & Daxter. One of them is a die-hard fan of Pokemon, so much so that his enthusiasm swayed me to try out Pokemon Yellow on my 3DS. I have played for eight hours; here are my most notable experiences with the game so far:


Since I’m playing it because of the enthusiasm of a friend, there is a perfect way to implement him in the game right off the bat, your rival. Your rival in the game does you dirty right in the beginning and strolls up on you every once in a while to battle. The interactions between you and him are great! It is a competitive relationship but underneath it all is an underlining sense of camaraderie. It is a personal touch that goes a long way.


Pokemon Yellow is a jolly game. Every pokemon trainer you come across has their own beginning and end quips that characterize how kids would interact with each other, and it’s really good. Some are aggressive about battling, others just want to have fun. Some congratulate you on the win, some get salty. One interaction that stuck out to me is a Jr. Pokemon Trainer that self-proclaimed himself as cool because he had a girlfriend. It’s hard not to grin at the amount of character presented in this game. Speaking of trainers…


Every time I enter a new zone, I am mentally prepared to battle about a dozen pokemon trainers that are waiting to pick a fight with me. It gets to be a slog about halfway through them all because many have the same pokemon, so you just have to use the same tactic over and over. Also, it is impossible to up the battle speed of these encounters. Pikachu’s Thundershock is sweet, but after seeing it so many times in a row…I just want to get past.


Pokemon Yellow

I find this to be neither a good or bad thing as I see it as a necessary mechanic to the game. You get low or your Pokemon faint, you have to go back and get healed. (Sidenote: How in thee heck does the Pokemon Center remain operational? Are they government sanctioned or something?)


This is probably the biggest aspect of Pokemon. The game does a poor job telling you what each ability does, so I had to research many of the moves outside of the game. I also had to research strengths and weaknesses to each pokemon type because some are not obvious, especially to a newbie like me. Once I got the hang of the gameplay loop, I felt a sense of gratification from using my pokemon smartly rather than letting my most powerful pokemon repeatedly smack the opposition until it faints.


Two words; no checkpoints. It is borderline anxiety-inducing to go through this game’s dungeons. I only experienced Mt. Moon Cave, and that was the most difficulty I’ve encountered thus far. I appreciate that the game recognizes that you’ve completed pokemon battles with people you meet along the way, because it would be completely unbearable otherwise. The penalty for death isn’t bad at all; you just get transported back to the Pokemon Center with full health so you can make your way back up to where you were. There is a bit of extra challenge other than battling in the form of remembering where each path leads. There is no mini-map, the mini-map is your brain which is refreshingly old-school.


Even compared to modern games, Pokemon Yellow is really good at giving the player cues as to when it’s a good idea to run through the shrubbery. Have you been through these particular shrubs before? Are the trainers matching your strength? Are the pokemon you’re encountering new or old? All of these questions run through your head as you decide whether to progress or chill and explore an area, which is great.


While you do run into free items along your journey, it is not enough to heal yourself reliably every time you’re in a bind or every time you need to catch a new pokemon. You get money for defeating trainers and the items are NOT cheap. I personally break out that mental math every time I go into the mart and pick up some pokeballs, potions, and ailment heals. I’m still figuring out why the rope is useful since you can get out of dungeons by having all your pokemon faint. Maybe is just a matter of convenience if the Pokemon Center is too far from where you are.

Those are my most pertinent experiences with the first few hours of Pokemon Yellow. I am very much enjoying the game. What are your experiences with the pokemon game franchise? Leave and comment and let me know!


IMAGES BY Game Freak

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