When Nintendo introduced the Game Boy Advance, Pokémon had a problem. Backwards compatibility wasn’t a thing between the GBA and GBC/GB so their first games for the console, Ruby & Sapphire, were effectively reboots. Some fans weren’t happy with this detachment, and while Emerald brought access to some Gen 1 and 2 Pokémon eventually, there needed to be a better solution and that’s where FireRed and LeafGreen came in, 20 years ago today.
Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen were the first of many remakes to come from Game Freak, giving fans another taste of Gen 1 after 8 years. But FRLG were more than just a copy and paste job; a new console brought new ways of playing such as trading and battling with the GBA Wireless Adapter which came with the games, you could play as a female character (based on Green from the manga), and there was a brand new region called the Sevii Islands, where players could catch Gen 2 Pokémon, many of which were exclusive to this area, in this game, in this gen.
I loved the revisit to Kanto as a kid and as an adult I saw FireRed/LeafGreen as a bridge and a necessity for people wanting their Kanto faves in Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald. Now, I’m somewhere in the middle with how I feel about the games but I had my best Nuzlocke result on LeafGreen and managed to get a full odds shiny Deoxys on it so I can’t deny those highlights.
With all that said, here are some links from others celebrating the milestone, reviews from 2004, and other retrospectives:
- Pokemon FireRed Version review (IGN)
- Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green review (GamesRadar+)
- Pokemon FireRed Review (Gamespot)
- Are Pokémon Fire Red & Leaf Green Still the Best Games in the Series?
- You Owe Pokémon FireRed & LeafGreen’s Rival Blue An Apology
- Pokémon: 10 Things You Never Knew About Fire Red & Leaf Green
- Beating Pokemon FireRed & LeafGreen How Nintendo Intended
- 20 Years Ago, a Classic Pokémon Remake Solidified a Weird Franchise Trend