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| Pokémon Green Version|
Box art of Pokémon Green Version, depicting Venusaur.
Pokémon Red Version (Japanese: ポケットモンスター赤 Pocket Monsters: Red) and Pokémon Green Version (Japanese: ポケットモンスター緑 Pocket Monsters: Green) were the first Pokémon games ever released to the public, in Japan on February 27, 1996. Introducing the gameplay concepts that went on to provide the standard for games in the core series games, these games were eventually localized and released worldwide as Pokémon Red and Blue Versions, using a combination of the engine from the Japanese Pokémon Blue Version and the obtainable Pokémon from Red and Green. Much as would become standard, Red and Green were later joined by a solitary version, the aforementioned Blue, which slightly improved upon their features and provided the code for the international releases (Red and Blue), and eventually Pokémon Yellow, a second solitary version based on the anime.
In 1999, the sequels to these games, Pokémon Gold and Silver were released with the Game Boy Color in mind but remaining playable on the original Game Boy like Red and Green. In 2004, the remakes of these games were released for the Game Boy Advance as Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen.
Red and Green begins the Pokémon series in the region of Kanto, where players play the role of an ten-year-old boy just starting off on a journey as a Pokémon Trainer from his home of Pallet Town, on the same day as his rival. After obtaining a starter Pokémon (a choice of the Grass-type Bulbasaur, the Fire-type Charmander, or the Water-type Squirtle) from Professor Oak, the local authority on Pokémon (and with the player's rival choosing the Pokémon whose type weakens that of his or her Pokémon), players journey across the region, defeating the eight Gym Leaders: Brock, Misty, Lt. Surge, Erika, Koga, Sabrina, Blaine, and Giovanni. After all eight have been defeated, the player goes on to challenge the Elite Four, Lorelei, Bruno, Agatha, and Lance, and finally, in his or her last battle, the current Champion, the player's rival.
Along the way, the player will encounter the villainous Team Rocket, a group of criminals that seek to exploit Pokémon as tools, rather than train them as friends and partners, and must defeat them to put a stop to their actions. The rival will also continuously harass the player, challenging him or her to a battle multiple times, with an increasingly powerful team. As the player's own Pokémon become more powerful, he or she draws ever closer to the Indigo Plateau.
The two games introduced the ability to allow players to trade Pokémon between two cartridges using a Game Boy Game Link Cable. To take fullest advantage of this feature, several Pokémon are exclusive to each game of the pair, making it required that a player trade with others in order to complete their Pokédex. The Game Link Cable also makes possible battles with another player, allowing one to pit their Pokémon against equals when their Pokémon are as powerful as they can be, at level 100. Trades done between Pokémon games in different languages are impossible in this generation, and will always result in corruption if it is attempted. This is due to the fact that the games can't automatically translate the Pokémon as there isn't enough room on either cartridge for all of the text in so many languages (a feature that would later become possible).
If a battle between two different region games is to be attempted, the battle would simply not work, with the save file left intact.
As would become the case for each Pokémon game in the core series to come, there are eight Gyms in Kanto, each with their own type affiliation. The Gym Leaders are:
Brock (Rock) at Pewter City, Misty (Water) at Cerulean City, Lt. Surge (Electric) at Vermilion City, Erika (Grass) at Celadon City, Koga (Poison) at Fuchsia City, Sabrina (Psychic) at Saffron City, Blaine (Fire) at Cinnabar Island, and Giovanni (Ground) at Viridian City.
Another standard established by Red and Green, the goal for players, the Elite Four, is located at Indigo Plateau. The Elite Trainers are Lorelei (Ice), Bruno (Fighting), Agatha (Ghost), and Lance (Dragon). The Pokémon Champion is the rival, Blue, who does not specialize in any one type.
Each game contains pre-recorded data on 151 different species of Pokémon, including Mew, a Pokémon even Nintendo was not aware of initially. However, not all Pokémon are available to the player, regardless of version; trades must occur between players in order to complete their Pokédex without the use of cheats or glitches. In addition, Mew is not normally obtainable in either game; the only legitimate way to obtain Mew is through a Nintendo sponsored event.
The following Pokémon are only obtainable in one game of this pair. In order to obtain Pokémon exclusive to the other game of this pair, they must be traded either from that game or from another compatible game of Generation I or Generation II which has that Pokémon available.
Pocket Monsters Red and Green set the precedent for what has become a blockbuster, multi-billion dollar franchise. In Japan, Red, Green, and the third version Blue combined have sold 10.23 million copies. In the United States, Pokémon Red has sold 4.83 million copies, while Pokémon Blue has sold 5.02 million copies. These numbers combine to make a total of 9.85 million copies sold in the US.
Pocket Monsters Red and Green were the namesake of the Generation III remakes of FireRed and LeafGreen released in 2004, even in regions where Blue was paired with Red.
- Main article: Pokémon Red and Green beta
Pokémon Red and Green had many pre-release elements that differ from the final release, although Pokémon Red and Blue would later have several altered aspects of their own during the two-and-a-half years between the release of Red and Green, their bug-fixing release, Blue, and the release of the merger of the trio into Red and Blue for overseas markets.
An error made during development causes the Pokémon depicted during Professor Oak's introductory lecture to be a Nidorino but with the cry of a Nidorina. It was not fixed in the Japanese Blue or in Red and Blue.
- Main article: Game Boy: Entire Pokémon Sounds Collection CD
The soundtrack contains all of the background music and sound effects used in the games, all of which were composed solely by Junichi Masuda. This includes Pokémon cries and Pokédex entries read by "Dexter", Ash's Pokédex.
- Main article: Staff of Pokémon Red and Green
Pre-release flyer with the earlier release date
- Development of Red and Green started during 1990, making their development the longest of all Pokémon games by far.
- The game's main characters, Red and Green, have several default names, among them サトシ Satoshi and シゲル Shigeru, respectively. These names come from Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri and his friend and fellow Nintendo developer, Shigeru Miyamoto. When the games were translated into the English Red and Blue, the default names became Red and Blue. Alternative names that could be chosen were Ash and Gary, after the anime characters that share the names Satoshi and Shigeru, respectively.
- While Red and Green are the first Pokémon games released, they were not necessarily the first Pokémon trademark ever registered. Mew was the first Pokémon trademark ever applied for; the application for the Pokémon was submitted on May 9, 1990, while the application for Pocket Monsters Red and Green was submitted on September 11, 1995. Before Red and Green were granted registered trademarks on December 26, 1997, Mew (then spelled ミュー, not ミュウ) had already become the first Pokémon trademark registered, granted on March 31, 1994; ミュウ was later granted on August 6, 1999.
- Mew was added to the internal data after the debugging features were removed. The programmers took a great risk in doing so, since further tests for glitches that would have been caused by adding Mew could not be done, which goes against standard programming procedures.
- The games were originally scheduled for a December 21, 1995 release, according to an old Nintendo of Japan flyer. This could explain the copyright year of 1995 that appears in the games' introductory sequence, and all subsequent games and official merchandise.
- In The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon, Professor Oak references these games with his password, "REDGREEN".
- ↑ CERO did not exist at the time of release, therefore they have not rated the game.