Pokémon Red and Green Versions
|Pokémon Red Version
Box art of Pokémon Red Version, depicting Charizard.
|Pokémon Green Version
Box art of Pokémon Green Version, depicting Venusaur.
|Game Boy (enhanced for the Super Game Boy and Super Game Boy 2)
|2 players simultaneous
|Game Link Cable (Game Boy)
3DS Wireless (3DS VC)
|Generation I core series
|A (3DS VC)
|6+ (3DS VC)
|February 27, 1996 (Game Boy)
February 27, 2016 (3DS VC)
|February 27, 2016 (3DS VC)
|February 27, 2016 (3DS VC)
|The Pokémon Company (Game Boy)
The Pokémon Company (Virtual Console)
Nintendo (Game Boy)
Nintendo (VC, Red)
Nintendo (VC, Green)
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) are the first video games in the Pokémon series of games. They are the first primary paired versions of Generation I, developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the handheld Game Boy. They were first released in Japan on February 27, 1996, and were later followed by the updated Pokémon Blue and the supplementary Pokémon Yellow.
Developed over the course of several years, Red and Green established several standards for later Pokémon games and sequels. They take place in the Kanto region, with the player having to collect eight Gym Badges to become the Pokémon Champion while also completing the Pokédex by collecting all 151 Pokémon. The game was a commercial success in Japan, which prompted the localization of Red and Green for an international release; the games were then released as Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue.
In 1999, the sequels to these games, Pokémon Gold and Silver, were released for the Game Boy Color. In 2004, Red and Green were remade for the Game Boy Advance as Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. In Japan, the original 1996 games, along with Blue and Yellow, were available on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console between the Pokémon 20th Anniversary on February 27, 2016 and the discontinuation of the 3DS Nintendo eShop on March 27, 2023. The rerelease also allowed compatibility with Poké Transporter, a tool which can send Pokémon from Virtual Console copies of Pokémon to Pokémon Bank, where they can be withdrawn in Pokémon Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, and Ultra Moon.
In these Japanese games, the English terms "Red Version" and "Green Version" are found on their title screens:
The exact titles Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Green Version are not used in these Japanese games, in their manuals or on their boxes. However, they are mentioned on the official website Pokémon.com. For instance:
- "Twenty-six years on from the release of the original Pokémon games—Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Green Version in Japan—the number of Pokémon discovered has finally surpassed one thousand."
Red and Green begin the Pokémon series in the region of Kanto, where players play the role of Red, an eleven-year-old boy who has just started his journey as a Pokémon Trainer from Pallet Town, on the same day as his Blue, who is Red's rival and the grandson of the local authority on Pokémon, Professor Oak. Oak lets the two boys choose a starter Pokémon, a choice of the Grass-type Bulbasaur, the Fire-type Charmander, or the Water-type Squirtle (and with the player's rival choosing the Pokémon that has a type advantage over the player's Pokémon). Oak also gives them a Pokédex and asks them to catch all the Pokémon in the region.
During their travels, the player will encounter the villainous Team Rocket and their boss Giovanni, a criminal gang that treats Pokémon as tools, rather than train them as friends and partners. The player must defeat them to put a stop to their crimes, which include killing a Marowak while keeping Mr. Fuji hostage, and taking control of Silph Co. to obtain plans for the Master Ball. The rival will also continuously challenge the player to a battle, with an increasingly powerful team. As the player's own Pokémon become more powerful, they draw closer to the Indigo Plateau.
Between the battles with Team Rocket, their rival, and other trainers, the player journeys across the region, defeating all the Gym Leaders: Brock, Misty, Lt. Surge, Erika, Koga, Sabrina and Blaine. The eighth and final Gym Leader is Team Rocket's boss, Giovanni, who disbands the team after his final defeat within his Gym. After defeating all eight Gym Leaders, the player goes on to challenge the Elite Four: Lorelei, Bruno, Agatha, and Lance, and finally, in the last battle, the current Champion, the player's rival.
The player becomes the Champion after defeating their rival and is commended by Professor Oak for their friendship with Pokémon. After becoming Champion, the player will be allowed to enter the mysterious Cerulean Cave, filled with strong Pokémon, where the Legendary Mewtwo awaits.
As would become the case for almost every 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.
Players may trade Pokémon between two cartridges or battle with another cartridge using a Game Boy Game Link Cable. To take full advantage of this feature, several Pokémon are exclusive to each game of the pair and others require trading to evolve, making trading necessary to complete the Pokédex. The games can trade and battle with Japanese versions of Pokémon Red, Green, Blue and Pokémon Yellow. They can also trade with Japanese versions of Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal via the Time Capsule. Pokémon Red and Green are completely incompatible with games from Generation III onward.
Trades between Pokémon games in different languages are possible; however, a Japanese game cannot connect with a non-Japanese game without causing corruption. This is due to the fact that the games cannot automatically translate the Pokémon data from Japanese to a different language or vice versa, since neither game fully encodes both kana and the Latin alphabet (only encoding one fully and the other partially). If a battle between a Japanese game and a non-Japanese game is attempted, the battle simply does not work, with the save files left unharmed.
Pokémon Red and Green are compatible with Pokémon Stadium, Pokémon Stadium 2 (released as Pokémon Stadium in English), and Pokémon Stadium Gold and Silver (released as Pokémon Stadium 2 in English). While link battles are not possible directly between Pokémon Red and Green and the Generation II games, a player may challenge a Generation II game using Pokémon Stadium Gold and Silver.
The Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console releases use 3DS wireless communication as a substitute for the Game Link Cable. Japanese and non-Japanese Generation I core series games do not recognize each other when attempting to link them via 3DS wireless communication.
Using Poké Transporter, the entirety of Box 1 can be sent from the Generation I core series games to Pokémon Bank (regardless of language), from where they can be withdrawn in the Generation VII core series games.
Differences in the Virtual Console release
The Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console releases can link with other Virtual Console Generation I and II core series games via Nintendo 3DS wireless communication, simulating the Game Link Cable. When initiating a link, the Virtual Console menu on the touch screen replaces the Cable Club attendant's dialogue.
The moves Blizzard, BubbleBeam, Confusion, Dream Eater, Explosion, Guillotine, Hyper Beam, Mega Kick, Mega Punch, Psychic, Reflect, Rock Slide, Selfdestruct, Spore, and Thunderbolt had their animations changed slightly to tone down the flashing.
Pocket Monsters Red and Green set the precedent for what has become a blockbuster, multibillion-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.
- Main article: Pokémon Red and Green beta
Pokémon Red and Green had many pre-release elements that differ from the final release, although the international 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 the international Red and Blue.
- Main article: Game Boy: Entire Pokémon Sounds Collection CD
- Main article: Pokémon Red & Pokémon Green: Super Music Collection
The Game Boy: Entire Pokémon Sounds Collection CD soundtrack, released on November 1, 1997, 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. A reissue of the Red and Green soundtrack was released on April 27, 2016 as Pokémon Red & Pokémon Green: Super Music Collection.
- Main article: Staff of Pokémon Red and Blue
Front of Japanese flyer
Virtual Console Icons
- According to Pokémon Story, Shigeru Miyamoto suggested to turn the game into multiple versions separated by colors. The idea was to make seven versions in all rainbow colors, but they ended up with just two (deciding on red and green because of Mario and Luigi). Tsunekazu Ishihara integrated different encounter rates and version-exclusive Pokémon to motivate "exchange".
- 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. In the English counterparts Pokémon Red and Blue, the default names are 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 by Shigeki Morimoto to the internal data as part of a prank after the debugging features were removed. He took a great risk by 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".
- At the back of the game packages (including the package of the Japanese Pokémon Blue, but not on Pokémon Yellow), there's a battle screenshot where a Charmander named Sepultura (Japanese: セパルトラ; in Spanish and Portuguese, "sepultura" means "grave", as in the place where a body is buried) uses Scratch on a Pidgeotto.
- This image also appears at the back of the box of the Virtual Console versions of not only Pokémon Red, Green, Blue, but Pokémon Yellow as well.
- According to a FAQ page that was available in February 1999 on Pokémon.com, there were no plans to release an American version of Pokémon Green, as well as any other Pokémon games that had been only released in Japanese at the time, which included Pokémon Yellow, Gold, Silver, and Stadium. However, with the exception of Pokémon Green and Pokémon Stadium (the first Japanese game, not the later game which was released in English), all the other Pokémon games mentioned were eventually released in English nonetheless.
- Pokémon Red and Green are the only core series games in which HP Ups are not obtainable by repeatable means.
- Sales of these games combined with the Japanese version of Pokémon Blue, and the English versions of Pokémon Red and Blue exceed 31 million units, making these the highest selling Pokémon games as well as the only games in the series to exceed 30 million units.
In other languages
- ポケットモンスター 赤・緑 | ポケットモンスターオフィシャルサイト
- 『ポケットモンスター』シリーズの原点 | ニンテンドー3DSバーチャルコンソール用ソフト『ポケットモンスター赤・緑・青・ピカチュウ』公式サイト
- The Roster Has Finally Surpassed One Thousand Pokémon! Commemorative Video Released!
- Iwata Asks - Pokémon HeartGold Version & SoulSilver Version | 1. Just Making The Last Train
- Japan Platinum Game Chart. The Magic Box. Access date: 2008-01-26.
- US Platinum Videogame Chart. The Magic Box. Access date: 2008-01-26.
- ゲームチラシコレクション ゲームボーイ ロールプレイングゲームチラシ
- 【ポケモンゲーム史１０】「交換」の動機づけ | 参考・『ポケモン・ストーリー』 (Japanese)
- 【公式】世間を騒がせた幻のポケモン「ミュウ」の誕生秘話！【#ゲームフリーク ひみつきち #10】 (Japanese)
|This game-related article is part of Project Games, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon games.