Blast from The Past
Pikachu, I choose you in Pokémon Yellow
There’s something about picking up those oldie but goodie little cartridges from the Game Boy era – preferably for a Game Boy Colour or Advanced at least – and letting yourself get sucked back down the rabbit hole of Up, Down, Left, Right, A, B, Start, Select.
Pokémon Yellow was a great arrival for a young Pokémon obsessed kid like me. While I have fond memories of being on vacation in Portugal and buying Pokémon Blue for the Game Boy (the non-colour one), it wasn’t until Yellow that it felt right.
Being a fan of the Pokémon TV series I wanted a Pikachu from Professor Oak – I didn’t want Bulbasaur, Squirtle or Charmander, though I’d sure as heck be collecting them. It was because Yellow actually followed the highly popular anime, which meant you were Ash Ketchum.
Prepare for trouble! Make it double!
It also meant the meddling duo of Team Rocket from the anime – Jessie and James – actually showed up, along with their Pokémon. It was like the real journey to catch ‘em all could finally start, although Yellow did tend to follow the story of Red and Blue closely.
It was the 2D sprite adventure, stuffing your pockets with Pokéballs, potions, wadding through the tall grass, defeating your 67th caterpie, and grinding your Pokémon roster to their more powerful forms. Not Pikachu though, since Yellow wouldn’t let that happen anyway. In fact Pikachu would follow you around outside their Pokéball like in the show, develop a friendship and cry out.
Gotta Catch ‘Em All, providing you link Game Boys
It was also a simpler time of just 150 Pokémon to collect and they each seemed to bring something, whereas today’s Pokédex is in the hundreds upon hundreds. Of course you still had to connect with a friend to trade certain Pokémon you couldn’t get in Yellow, which meant poor old Blue and Red still had its uses, provided I could also borrow someone’s Game Boy to connect with.
With a game like Pokémon Yellow you were in it for the long haul. It could easily be picked up and played anywhere, had strategy, party management, turned-based battles that could get surprisingly tense, Gym leaders, an arch rival, a criminal gang with their own theme tune, and a mousey sidekick who could shoot lightning. This was the height of the Game Boy era fused with an addictive anime.
Where to get Pokémon Yellow today
Thankfully Nintendo still officially sell ‘Pokémon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition’, which you can purchase from the Nintendo eShop for £8.99 as a digital download.
Today you’re much more likely to play Pokémon Yellow on the Nintendo 3DS, which happens to have fancy WiFi for those sweet on-the-go Pokémon trades.