A great look at Pokémon Red & Blue’s influence on the franchise and gaming as a whole, with old interview quotes from Tsunekazu Ishihara and Satoshi Tajiri. The opening paragraph nails the current situation with fans:
When Pokémon Red and Green (internationally Red and Blue) released to Japanese audiences on February 27th, 1996, the team that developed the games had no idea exactly what would happen next. How could they ever expect their little Game Boy experience to become a global phenomenon worthy of having its release marked and remembered by its fans over two decades later? But this fanbase is in a bit of a mess at the moment. Its original fanbase has begun to age away from it in favor of more complex and large scale games; its second wave audience is dissatisfied with the franchise’s development direction; and for the actual target audience, the competition is both extremely different and larger than ever.
I’ve ranted about the Pokémon community a lot over the last year. They’re never satisfied and the complaints, speculations, and knee-jerk reactions to minutes of footage is draining to witness. But back in 1996/1998, those expectations didn’t exist. The flaws were glossed over because there wasn’t much to compare it to (and even now, they add to the charm of the early games).
It was a new experience and a chance for children everywhere to catch some creatures, trade with friends, and be the best like no one ever was. Thanks, Red & Blue.