August 15, 2016
Let’s start by clearing something up: Professor Oak totally comes to you in a dream, right? The first thing you see in Pokémon Red is Professor Oak, talking to you like you’re not from this world and he’s never met you – he asks your name, and then can’t remember his own Grandson’s name, letting you name him whatever you want – a sacred duty that you must perform with the utmost sincerity.
So next thing you know, you wake up in your bedroom, go downstairs, and your mother says that Professor Oak has been looking for you. Which means he’s been looking for you hard enough to invade your dreams like some doddery Freddie Kreuger. That’s weird, right? Even weirder is how you can’t find him until you try to leave town, then he’s right there on your tail in an instant. He doesn’t mention that he’s been trying to find you – he almost seems confused that he’s decided to give you a Pokémon of your own.
You choose your pokémon – Bulbasaur, natch – and then you have to fight your rival. The aim of this battle is simply to win and get that sweet, sweet XP.
You may be wondering why I have named my Bulbasaur Kanye. This will become apparent.
The first thing the game has you do is a fetch quest, because all of these goddamn RPGs have fetch quests. You walk to Viridian City, go into the PokéMart, and a guy you’ve never met decides to entrust you with a package that’s addressed to Professor Oak because… You tell him you’re from the same town? That’s pretty loose security on that postal service there, Kanto. Even worse, the package is revealed to be a custom PokéBall – now I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing that shit ain’t cheap.
Here’s where Oak gives you and your rival a PokéDex – a catalogue of all of the world’s pokémon that would have been the Professor’s life work, except now he’s too old so he entrusts this massive and lethally dangerous undertaking to two children. Smart.
Anyway, after this I breeze on through Viridian City to get to Viridian Forest, an area full of bugs and trainers spoiling for a fight. I’ve spent some time in here levelling up Kanye and looking for a couple of specific pokémon I’d like for my team early on.
Oh, and why did I name my Starter Kanye?