I give my first ever video game...an 85/100!
Oh, the nostalgia! I can't resist! I have a very close and personal relationship with this game. In fact, this is my first ever video game! When I was young, my sister took dance classes at a local dance school in my old hometown, and I saw a boy older than me playing a GameBoy Color and one of the Pokemon games. I also remember seeing the commercial for the green GameBoy Color. Soon, on my seventh birthday, my parents surprised me with an actual lime green GameBoy Color and Pokemon Yellow, my first ever game console and video game! You should have seen how happy I was, as I was already a fan of the anime. But back then I was too young to really be addicted to games, nor did I properly understand certain concepts and mechanics, so I couldn't actually finish it. But now, 14 years later, I'm glad to say that I replayed the game from scratch on my GameBoy Advance and actually beat the game! I still own my Pokemon Yellow game, as it's WAAAY too important to me to throw away, and my green GameBoy Color is now dead beyond repair. Yes, I tried putting in new batteries but it didn't work. My sister's old blue GameBoy Color worked, but I sold it to a good friend of mine. I'm still keeping my green one, though! So what if it's broken and dead? It's my first ever game console!
The game itself was a big innovation of its time, and it kinda wanted to cash in on the anime's success by making Pikachu follow you around like it does Ash. But this came with problems: you couldn't evolve it unless you traded it to another game, and I don't think you can store it in the PC either. I don't remember if the second one is true or not, but I could be wrong. But anyway, you play as a Pokemon trainer with the task of completing the PokeDex. Along the way, you encounter an evil organization called Team Rocket who wants to make a profit out of stealing and experimenting on Pokemon. Yes, Jessie and James are in it. You have to capture all of the Pokemon in order to complete the PokeDex.
The game came out in Japan in 1998, and in the US in 1999, but I didn't get this until my 7th birthday in 2000. Now that I've finished it all the way through, I can see how this game was very innovative for it's time. It's the first Pokemon game to actually utilize a majority of different colors whereas Pokemon Red and Blue only used one color for everything. In Yellow, the cities change color when you go into them and the Pokemon all have different colors. For example, Pewter City is a brownish purple, keeping with Brock's Pokemon type preferences, Cerulean City is blue keeping with Misty's water type Pokemon, Cinnabar Island is red, various grassy routes a light green, etc. Not only that, while in Red and Blue all of the Pokemon sprites looked rather odd and were limited to just one color for everything, Yellow improves on the sprites drastically and gives all of the Pokemon different colors: Pikachu yellow, Squirtle blue, Bulbasaur green, Clefairy reddish pink, etc. The addition of color was very new to the Pokemon games back in those days, as technology was improving quite a lot. But the game itself is still in the 8-bit style, just like Red and Blue and later on Gold, Silver, and Crystal. I don't know much about the details of 8-bit and 10-bit, but it was still around in the nineties, even though games like Final Fantasy VII began utilizing 3D sprites and features, so in that way, it was a little behind the times, not that I mind. The 8-bit style is okay, but it is rather limiting in today's era. You can only move the player avatar in four cardinal directions, not diagonally. Heck, the Pokemon games in general didn't make the player characters be able to move diagonally until last year with Pokemon X and Y!
I will admit, the story itself is rather cliche and childish. It's as simple as making pie: collect monsters, defeat an evil organization, get stronger, battle trainers, and become champion. It's as simple as that. Granted, the Pokemon games were made with children in mind, so they couldn't do anything complicated with it unlike games of that era like Final Fantasy VII and Golden Eye. But I like it plain and simple, so it's easier for kids and adults to understand. This was before Pokemaniacs began caring about IVs and EVs and all that stuff. Just because something looks simple doesn't mean it isn't fun. There are some drawbacks to the earlier games, however. If your Pokemon learns a new move and you delete another one, you absolutely cannot relearn it. This was before Ruby and Sapphire came up with Move Reminders and Move Deleters. I remember when I was young my Pikachu learned Quick Attack and my sister replaced Thundershock, and I remember that made me mad as heck whenever I'd be up against Pokemon that required electric moves to defeat them. Also, you couldn't evolve Pikachu unless you traded it to another game so you could use a thunderstone on it. If you trade it back, Pikachu won't follow you around. On the flip side, if you make your player face Pikachu every once in a while and press the A button, it delivers a variety of absolutely adorable facial expressions depending on the situation. Unfortunately, they didn't bring those back in Heart Gold and Soul Silver, but they're still so cute to see.
I don't play video games very much, and the only games I've ever really played often are Pokemon (though I've gotten into Kirby, Starfy, and Phoenix Wright). Pokemon isn't a masterpiece, and Pokemon Yellow isn't even the best Pokemon game in my opinion. But it's my first ever Pokemon game, and it'll always have a spot in my heart. My game still works, so it's good!