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Pokémon today and the first generation

Blast

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In recent years, now having reached a high point with the reveal of LGPE, a heated discussion surrounding the role of the first generation, particularly the famous 'original 151' and the Kanto region, in the Pokémon games and the franchise itself has started to brew.

From my own experience, I still remember how excited my friends and I were watching that Direct and finding out that first generation starters were also receiving their own Mega Evolutions. This is in stark contrast to the dismay and sometimes even repulsion towards the announcement of LPGE expressed by many longtime Pokémon fans. Terms as 'nostalgia pandering' and 'casuals', which are related to fans of the first generation, are now regularly used when discussing the upcoming Pokémon games.

It is obvious that, while the first generation remains close to the hearts of Pokémon fans, there are also those who have become fed up with the way Kanto and its Pokémon seem to have gotten, and are continuing to get much more attention than other generations. This thread is for discussing in what way the first generation and its Pokémon should be treated in future games and in the franchise as a whole. Since this can be a touchy subject, please keep it civilised.
 

Esserise

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I prefer it when they don’t, but I’ve really got nothing in particular against them milking Kanto and Gen 1 for what they’re worth. The franchise is in a weird position where it has continued to be successful over the years, but nothing it has produced has ever managed to be as successful or memorable (for the general public) as those first few years. So, I get why they do it, and I’m willing to accept that.

That said, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people to feel disappointed when you get something like the Alola Forms, where it’s a cool new concept that is kept exclusive to Pokémon from Gen 1. Even setting aside the fact that loads of people have favorites from later generations and would understandably like to see them get some time with the new toys, it just feels like Game Freak are passing up a lot of potential ideas or opportunities by limiting themselves to the original batch. Granted, I wouldn’t necessarily want the design team to force in something they weren’t satisfied with, and I understand that calibrating and balancing the stats and mechanics of new Pokémon or new forms can be tricky, but I mean... there are still over 600 other Pokémon designs besides the original 151, and you’re telling me that they couldn’t think of absolutely anything for a couple of non-Gen 1 Alola Forms for USUM?

So like... I’m not too bothered by the “favoritism” toward Kanto, but I think there is a justified sense of, “Would it kill them to throw the other generations a bone?”

Then again, maybe a lot of this just has to do with timing. Yes, XY included a lot of Gen 1 callbacks, but they were right on the heels of two consecutive games with probably the least amount of substantial references to prior games, which had proven to be quite polarizing. And even though the lion’s share of XY’s Mega Evolutions went toward Gen 1 Pokémon, Gens 2, 3, and 4 weren’t left out altogether. Then ORAS came in and, naturally, focused entirely on nostalgia for Gen 3, tipping the Mega Evolution ratio in Hoenn’s favor and throwing in a couple of new ones for the more recent generations as well. So, when the time was right to let another generation have its moment in the sun, Game Freak came through for it.

It’s just that, right after ORAS, it was 20th anniversary time, so of course they were going to lean even more heavily on the nostalgia for the early days. And now we’ve got LGPE, but to be fair, they are specifically targeting those games toward the broader public perception of the franchise rather than the entrenched playerbase, who are getting a game that’s more geared toward them next year. Not to mention that LGPE were developed in a quick two years in response to GO’s success, which sort of explains why the game map is just a lazy upscaling of FRLG Kanto to the Gen 7 graphical scale, and I suspect that part of the reason for limiting the roster of LGPE to the original 151 is because they want to see if that style of game will turn out to be successful, and if it is, they can then continue to make more games like LGPE and roll out the rest of the Pokémon gradually, just as GO did. Which I can also understand.

Which again, sums up my basic thoughts on the subject: I don’t love it, but I get it. I am curious to see how much emphasis the 2019 game will put on Gen 1 elements.
 
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Unown Seer

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Some Kanto Pokemon are still very neglected, but it would be better for that to be addressed in LGPE than the 2019 games.

I'm just curious about GS' 20th anniversary and how long it will take for the games to be remade in some fashion, but I am not holding my breath for anything great after LGPE.
 

Dieter

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That said, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people to feel disappointed when you get something like the Alola Forms, where it’s a cool new concept that is kept exclusive to Pokémon from Gen 1. Even setting aside the fact that loads of people have favorites from later generations and would understandably like to see them get some time with the new toys, it just feels like Game Freak are passing up a lot of potential ideas or opportunities by limiting themselves to the original batch. Granted, I wouldn’t necessarily want the design team to force in something they weren’t satisfied with, and I understand that calibrating and balancing the stats and mechanics of new Pokémon or new forms can be tricky, but I mean... there are still over 600 other Pokémon designs besides the original 151, and you’re telling me that they couldn’t think of absolutely anything for a couple of non-Gen 1 Alola Forms for USUM?

So like... I’m not too bothered by the “favoritism” toward Kanto, but I think there is a justified sense of, “Would it kill them to throw the other generations a bone?”
Which again, sums up my basic thoughts on the subject: I don’t love it, but I get it. I am curious to see how much emphasis the 2019 game will put on Gen 1 elements.
Agreed, though I don't necessarily mind the first come, first serve approach when it comes regional variants. A lot has changed since Gen I, so giving some of the less viable/popular Gen I Pokemon a boost is hardly a crime. That said, it did bother me a little that USUM didn't introduce any new regional variants, when it already expanded the dex AND introduced new pokemon/forms, plus the release of G/S on the VGC was right before USUM's release. Was it too much to ask for some Johto based regional variants?

This won't be as much of a complaint if they do return to regional variants in the next generation though.

As for pandering... I can't say I particularly care. I'm not super interested in Gen I/Kanto, but LGPE isn't targeted at me either. Although I wouldn't exactly consider myself a hardcore player (where do we draw the line between hardcore and casual anyway?), LGPE's target audience is clearly casual players/GO players/people with a Switch who might not have been particularly interested in Pokemon before. Another main series entry is supposed to be released next year, so big deal, I can wait. Plenty of other games to play in the meantime.

I do hope attention given to older Pokemon will be more balanced in the future though. While Megas are more balanced after the release of ORAS (and will balance out further probably if new Megas are released in the future), as I mentioned before, regional variants should def go to later generations too, if they make a return.

I also just realised I only focused on Pokemon, not on plot or region design. Santalune as a copypaste didn't bother me. It's an early game dungeon, a different lay-out won't make a drastic difference here. The Rainbow Rocket episode was a little silly, but fun. It's not even that I dislike Gen I, or a lot of its elements. Honestly, something I wouldn't mind returning is the less forced upon you plot (though Gen I hadn't that much of a plot), or even a more urbanised region like Kanto is. Things like the ghost marowak event, and the amount of 'hidden' lore I'd gladly see return too
 

Blast

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I'm happy with LGPE, but thinking about it, I can more and more clearly understand people's problem with the trend of focussing more on Kanto than the other regions. One point of frustration might be that one of the fans that are now entering adulthood have grown up with a generation which had little to nothing to do with Kanto, namely Generation 4. Before the announcement of LGPE, I, like many others, was holding out for a new Sinnoh adventure. DP were first released in 2006, 12 years ago. Every other generation (that has been remade) has gotten a remake (well) within that timespan. "Although it was finally supposed to be time for Sinnoh, now we're stuck with yet another Kanto remake", I think that kind of sentiment is playing a part and I admit I also feel like that to some degree. The earliest we can expect a Sinnoh remake is in 2020 and even that isn't confirmed.

Until now, the cycle of remakes and new games has remained mostly consistent, with ORAS being the exception. However, now that that this routine is broken in favour of such a divisive game as LGPE and the Sinnoh remakes so many people are still waiting for are nowhere in sight yet, this 'Kanto problem' suddenly becomes a big issue, be it explicit or subconsiously. If the regular cycle of games starts up again after LGPE, I think it'll please the most people. I don't mind the first generation continuing to have a big presence in the franchise, as long as all the other Pokémon and regions at least get their turn in regular intervals too.
 

Poke Dragon

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I think this had to do with the fact that the Switch is the new hardware for Game Freak to develop on, as it stands, LGPE seems to give off a "transitional" game type of vibe in addition to the one-shot vibe others have mentioned, which is why I don't think it will be prevalent as what some others think it will be. Where as a traditional remake would be a good way to speed up the introduction of newer Pokemon for the new players as it wouldn't be too much either, especially if they do it like ORAS where most of the obtainable Pokemon was from Hoenn before the post-game. Remember that Game Freak doesn't have the mindset to separate Pokemon by generations like we do, this is especially true with USUM where they introduced Pokemon mid-generation. So it can totally work to continue traditional remakes in order to expose a certain region's Pokemon to the newer players without it being too much.
 
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RileyXY1

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I'm not really a fan of Gen 1 pandering. It gets in the way of the new stuff and it gets on my nerves. I highly doubt that GameFreak will stop pandering to nostalgia.
 

Aulos

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I seriously wish they would just stop. I had a massive amount of nostalgia for Pokemon Red. I played the game as a kid back in the late 90s and was obsessed with it and everything about it. The nostalgia was kept alive for several generations. I think this was in part that the Gen I Pokemon were sprinkled in the games, along with the other generations' Pokemon. They still felt special, and it was a delight to see them pop up, like they were something long lost. Nowadays, Gen I Pokemon are everywhere and not only that, but they are getting special attention in spite of later generation Pokemon. I no longer get any of that nostalgic feeling from seeing them at all, anymore.

I see Pokemon Lets Go Pikachu/Eevee as lacking any kind of substance and it honestly agitates me much more than it makes me nostalgic. I see a weaponization of nostalgia just to make cheap money, and it's not going to work on me. GF could have actually accentuated my nostalgia by making a beautiful reimagining of Kanto with a modern design that makes the region come to life. Instead we're stuck with the same old limited Gameboy Kanto just put into 3D (2.5D style). Honestly, not only do I think it is cheap, I think it is a bit insulting to me as someone who has played since Generation I.

Nostalgia can be a very special feeling that I love. But GameFreak has, as I said, weaponized it and just utterly destroyed something beautiful for me. It's not the end of the world for me, I will keep watching the franchise and look forward to Generation VIII, but I am certainly saddened.
 

Nicolas721

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From Gen III to V, the main series games focused primarily on the new Pokemon, with a few old Pokemon thrown in so people wouldn't feel confused. But that changed when Gen VI came, now Gen I Pokemon specially have much more importance and impact on the Pokedex than the region's natives. And along with them, came the mentality of forcing Kanto references, with the excuse that the games being the most popular means that they're the most accessible. Go just gave them more arguments, ignoring the fact that the games' success lies elsewhere.

As for me, what irks me the most is the Pokedex domination. In Game freak's eyes, having a 90% chance of fishing a Magikarp and a 90% chance of encountering a Zubat in a cave is somehow funnier than having those chances spread out between new mons. While I grew up with Kanto, I only began to choose my favorites in the late Johto-early Hoenn era, so I only feel affection for like 5 or 6 species, the rest range from "ok" to "horrible" to me. Some references also went irk me, like the Nugget Bridge thing from SM (20 minutes of sweeping Pidgeys and Kantonian Rattatas I will never get back), and the LGPE map being too similar to the original.

I will understand having Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Eevee, Gengar and Machamp in every dex from now on, I understand having a Kanto mon as the face of a new mechanic, and I understand Mewtw:bulbaWave:Mew getting a movie every few years. But I don't get things like "Remember that ugly dungeon from 20 years ago?" or "Remember that Team Rocket quest you spend 10 minutes in?". Kanto as a region and its plot are NOWHERE as iconic as the Pokemon who brought it to life, and don't deserve a 1-1 remake.
 

Seth Rollins

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Actually, it was something I predicted would happen. I knew they were going to make an updated Kanto remake soon. This is where GameFreak screwed up. The Kanto Pokémons are up to date in the sense that they have all these exclusive Z-moves and Megas, heck even the Kanto characters appear a lot. How many times have we seen Blue, Red, Professor Oak, Gym Leaders...etc. ? Yup a lot. But there’s one thing in Kanto that is outdated: the games.

Now I don’t understand why gamefreak gives so much attention to them, but my theory is that they are going to remake every game, including the remakes. Let me explain. What game was after the GBA Hoenn games? Fire Red. It’s a Kanto remake, then. After that comes Sinnoh, which should be after the new Gen 8 game. After the Sinnoh games it’s Heart Gold and Soul Silver, si after the new Gen 9 game it’s a Johto remake. See the pattern?


EDIT: To be fair, although SM and USUM gave attention especially to Kanto, All regions were referenced in some way.
 
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Violeta

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I love Gen 1 as much as most people, but the Gen 1 pandering in the past four years or so has been excessive. Every year it seems like Game Freak/Nintendo finds a new way of topping themselves with Gen 1 promo, and my wish for the future is that they'd just take a step back and focus on designing completely new Pokemon for the Gen 8 games, yet I have a horrible feeling that they'll come up with another gimmick (like Alolan variants in Gen 7) that'll shove Gen 1 Pokemon in our faces again.
 

TechSkylander1518

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I think my main frustration with the treatment of Kanto is the refusal to admit that any part of it might be lacking or flawed in some way.
  • Zubat and Magikarp are iconic for being annoyingly common, even back in Gen 1, but 20 years later and they're still giving those two 90% encounter rates like Nicolas said, despite the hundreds of Pokemon they've added since then.
  • Kanto has only one evolutionary line for the Steel, Dragon, and Ghost types, and none for Dark, and rather than recognize that the dex is imbalanced and that they could add Pokemon from the six other generations, one of which took place right next door, they just leave it as it is. You could argue that Dragon doesn't need to be present in a dex that much, and I would agree with you were it not for the fact that there is a Dragon-type specialist in the Elite Four whose party consists of one line repeated three times (the Dragonoirs even have the same moveset and level) and two Pokemon that aren't Dragon-types.
  • Pikachu can't evolve in Yellow, disappointing Raichu fans and leaving it a bit behind stats-wise. Not only does LGPE keep this (though they give it a stats boost), Eevee is also given the same treatment, despite the fact that they state Eevee is popular because of its ability to evolve.
Rather than using the designs they've created, they just focus on being similar to a game two decades ago.

And I genuinely do not see the reason to hyperfocus on the Gen 1 games? Yes, Red and Blue outsold every other generation, even though the other generations still reached the top 50 video games sold. But LGPE is specifically a Yellow remake-and Yellow only sold 14 million, which is less than GS, RS, DP, BW, XY, and SuMo. Yes, Red and Blue were released in the childhood of many players-but we just celebrated the 20th anniversary two years ago. There are players who can legally drink alcohol and didn't even exist at the time of RB's release. (Or, in America, players who are one year shy of that, since it released two years later here) And seeing as children three years old and younger don't often play games like Pokemon, I'd say that age range could go up to 23-25 years old. (FRLG was released since then, so this group isn't going to be clueless about Kanto, but FRLG didn't sell nearly as high as other games, with only 12 million, and it likely didn't have the "first game" position RB did for other players.) LGPE is supposed to be appealing to newer players (in the sense that they didn't buy recent games), but with 23 years of players of players that didn't have Gen 1 as their first adventure (especially the younger audience this is supposed to appeal to), it's bizarre that features like "less Pokemon" and "you encounter the same Pokemon over and over" are not only included, but supposed to be positives in the game.

Kanto's designs are great and fun! I still love having them around! I love getting to enjoy them in each following generation, and to see them included with stuff like Megas, regional variants, and Z-Moves! But I don't like having features with yellow "Gen 1 Only" tape around them. (LGPE can't even have outside Pokemon transferred in!) They're not fun because they're the first-they're fun because they're good Pokemon.
 

Unown Seer

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Seth Rollins said:
heck even the Kanto characters appear a lot.
I wouldn't say that. Outside of remakes, the only special cameos have been Prof. Oak in Sinnoh and Red and Blue in Alola (the latter were joined by several characters from other regions). PWT and Rainbow Rocket honored all the regions (Giovanni may have been the leader, but he barely stood out).

But LGPE is specifically a Yellow remake-and Yellow only sold 14 million
I don't see why they wouldn't appeal equally to the other 16+ million players who only played RGB. If there is anything unappealing them (there is), it isn't the Yellow elements (how many people can't stand Pikachu or Eevee?). FRLG might be another story due to the apparent lack of held items, abilities and Sevii Islands.

The most important audience is kids who weren't even alive when FRLG were released. Some of them have been exposed to Kanto Pokemon via the 3DS games and Go, but none of those is comparable to an RPG that capitalizes on those critters. Besides, going by interviews Game Freak wanted a Go-related entry first and then they decided on a return to Kanto.
 
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TechSkylander1518

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I don't see why they wouldn't appeal aboout as much to the other 16+ million players who only played RGB. If there is anything unappealing them (there is), it isn't the Yellow elements.
I'm not saying that the Yellow elements are unappealing to RB players. My point is that "the same Kanto adventure, but with some improvements" wasn't enough to make those 16+ million people buy Yellow, and yet the new features of later games were enough to gain an audience almost the same size. It doesn't make sense to try to conform to the standards of an audience that only bought one game when another audience has been consistently buying games since.
The most important audience is kids who weren't even alive when FRLG were released. Some of them have been exposed to Kanto Pokemon via the 3DS games and Go, but none of those is comparable to an RPG that capitalizes on those critters.
But why do they need a game with just those 151 Pokemon in it? Why isn't being able to play with them in addition to other Pokemon satisfactory?
Besides, going by interviews Game Freak wanted a Go-related entry first and then they decided on a return to Kanto.
Isn't that more of a case against Kanto focus? They first started by considering a Go-related game, and then decided to restrict the game exclusively to Kanto Pokemon, to the point where other Pokemon can't even be transferred in?
 

Kallyle

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I agree with @TechSkylander1518 on this one, especially on limiting the games not only to just the original critters, but also sticking to the original map minus parts of that map with seemingly nothing/not much in return. At the very least, would it have killed Game Freak to include all the cross-generation evolutions of said Kanto mons? And couldn’t they have added some new areas to Kanto?

It’s not the return to Kanto that bothers me, nor do the references to Kanto in other games. Instead, what bothers me is the fact that Game Freak’s limiting themselves to nostalgia and simplicity being the main selling points of their latest games to the detriment of the games themselves.
 

Pyrax

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There's only so much Kanto Gamefreak can celebrate without alienating fans who started with later generations. XY was fine - it was the first fully 3D main series title, so maybe they wanted to catch the attention of people who've only played Gen I. SM was where things started getting a bit overboard. The game felt so saturated with Kanto references that I think GF didn't realize that the anniversary was supposed to celebrate the franchise as a whole, not just the first games. The other regions suffered as a result, especially Johto which doesn't even have a Battle Tree representative.
Honestly, it's starting to get a bit ridiculous two years on. I'm remaining hopeful that LGPE gets this favouritsm out of their system so that Gen VIII's region can stand on its own without constantly referencing Kanto.

Some Kanto Pokemon are still very neglected, but it would be better for that to be addressed in LGPE than the 2019 games.
I'd have to agree. Where's the love for the Nido family amidst all this Kanto love? Rhydon? Even Dragonite of all things feels a bit neglected.
 
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Seth Rollins

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I wouldn't say that. Outside of remakes, the only special cameos have been Prof. Oak in Sinnoh and Red and Blue in Alola (the latter were joined by several characters from other regions). PWT and Rainbow Rocket honored all the regions (Giovanni may have been the leader, but he barely stood out).
Except when you realize Red and Blue alone have appeared in every single generation ever except Gen 6. Heck, Pokémon Origins was released in Gen 6 so you can say they had a whole story just for them. Oak has also appeared in all of them except 5 and 7. In 7, he had his cousin who looked just like him and was created just to reference him. Also, the remakes are part of a generation so yeah...

I love Kanto. I don’t hate any regions to be honest with you. Let’s take a random character from any region...Professor Birch. Has he ever appeared or has been even mentioned in other gens? Nope...

What I’m saying is, I’m 100% fine with them referencing Kanto once in a while but they’re exaggerating here. If my favorite region, Hoenn, was getting referenced as much as Kanto I’d naturally get bored after a while.
 
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