Pikachu Was Chosen as the Mascot Near the End of the Game’s Development
While Pikachu may nowadays be the worldwide mascot of the Pokemon series, the original mascot was actually going to be Clefairy. Game Freak changed the series mascot to Pikachu because they apparently felt that while Clefairy would only appeal to girls, Pikachu would appeal to everyone.
While Pikachu may have stolen Clefairy’s role as the series mascot, that hasn’t stopped Clefairy because it, along with Pikachu, were the main character’s starter Pokemon in the earliest Pocket Monsters manga. Oh and his Clefairy could talk too!
Mew’s Addition to the Game Happened Because of a Prank
In an Ask Iwata interview before the release of Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver, the Director of Game Freak Shigeki Morimoto, and the CEO and President of the Pokemon Company Tsunekazu Ishihara, admitted that the reason behind all of the Mew glitches present in the first generation games was because of a prank.
According to the interview, before the games were released, they took out a debug feature which freed 300 bytes of space which they decided to use on adding Mew.
It’s a good thing that they did, because if they didn’t, Mew might never have been available. As Morimoto noted “But then due to an unforeseen bug, Mew ended up appearing in some players’ games. It looked like we planned all of this, but that wasn’t the case. So although it caused all sorts of problems to many concerned, fortunately enough it ended up having a positive effect.”
One of the Japanese Version’s Rival Names References Miyamoto
Did you know that one of the optional rival names in the Japanese games is Shigeru, which is a reference to the creator of Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto.
According to DidYouKnowGaming?, the story behind this reference dates back to when Game Freak’s Satoshi Tajiri pitched the idea of Pokemon to Nintendo, Miyamoto took an interest to the idea despite Nintendo not being interested at the time. Miyamoto became sort of like a mentor to Satoshi, so he included Miyamoto’s first name into the game for the rival trainer as a tribute. Satoshi’s own name meanwhile was one of the optional names for the protagonist.
There’s an Invisible PC in the Celadon Hotel
For some reason, if you head to the hotel in Celadon City, you can find a fully functioning and invisible PC in the top right-hand corner of the building. You can even walk through the PC.
The reason for the invisible PC is most likely due to the fact that the Celadon Hotel is based on the Pokemon Center’s layout, so it’s most likely there because of a simple developer oversight.
Two Pokemon Creators Revealed the Favorite Gen 1 Starter Earlier This Year
One of the most popular and longstanding debates in Pokemon is who the best starter is. So earlier this year Kotaku asked the producer of the third generation Pokemon games, Shigeru Ohmori, and the composer of Pokemon Red and Green, Junichi Masuda, who their favorite starters are.
Masuda revealed that Bulbasaur was his favorite starter because he feels that Bulbasaur exemplifies what a Pokemon should be. As he puts it:
It’s kind of strange to say this, but it’s a very Pokémon-like Pokémon. It really kind of exemplifies what Pokémon is for me. It has that kind of monster-like creature, with a plant-like thing on its back—and I think that that simple combination exemplifies what Pokémon is all about.
Ohmori meanwhile revealed that Squirtle was his favorite starter because “I always liked to choose the water-type Pokémon, so Squirtle is my choice”.
You Were Originally Going to Battle Professor Oak
For many trainers, the Elite Four and Mewtwo were the final test of their team’s strength. But hidden in the game’s code was one more battle with Professor Oak and his team’s levels are way higher than any other team in the game. Professor Oak’s team consisted of a level 66 Tauros, level 68 Arcanine, a level 70 Gyarados, a level 67 Exeggutor and the final evolution of whatever Pokemon you and your rival left abandoned at the start of the game
While it’s unclear when you were originally supposed to battle Oak, his levels suggest that he may have been designed as the final battle, kind of like the way Red was the final battle in second generation games.
Five Original Pokemon Were Used on Official Currency
In the South Pacific, there’s a country called Niue which is a dependency of New Zealand. In the year 2001 they released five coins which featured five first generation Pokemon. The five Pokemon are Charmander, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Meowth and of course, Pikachu. These coins were used as official currency too.
This isn’t the only time Niue would use famous images on their coins. In the past they’ve also printed coins with Mickey Mouse, famous Russian singers, and even some coins celebrating the release of the newest Star Wars film. If you’re interested in getting these coins yourself, be ready to fork over some dough. They are extremely expensive, weighing in at $1,390 for the whole set.
Lickitung Can’t Learn Lick
It is well-known that the original Pokemon move sets left a lot to be desired, but out of all the bizarre decisions, why can’t Lickitung learn lick? Okay to be fair, Lick is a weak move that has a 20% chance to paralysis its target, but Lickitung is literally known as the Licking Pokemon, and its most obvious feature is its giant tongue.
Another example of weird first generation move sets can be seen in Charizard who despite having wings, can’t learn fly until Pokemon Yellow. Oh and the only electric type move that Magneton naturally learns is the weak Thundershock.
Dragonair Is Nearly Twice as Big as Dragonite
Speaking of weird things about the original Pokemon, Dragonair is actually nearly twice as big as its evolution Dragonite. According to the Pokedex, Dragonair is 13’01 feet tall while Dragonite is only 7’03 feet tall. Still despite the smaller size, Dragonite is one of the most powerful Pokemon in the original games. No wonder Lance decided to order up three of them in Gold and Silver.
You Can Glitch Yourself a Level 100 Pokemon in Viridian Forest
The original games are known to be pretty buggy, but did you know that one of these glitches can net you a level 100 Pocket Monster before you win your first gym badge?
In order to do this glitch, you’ll first need to beat two bug trainers in Viridian Forest before you reach the final trainer waiting at the exit. Now this is where things get a little annoying because, in order to activate this glitch, you’re going to need to trigger a battle with a Pokemon just before the final trainer challenges you to a battle and then lose that battle.
After getting destroyed by a low-level Pidgey, the next time you enter Viridian Forest you’ll encounter a powerful low-level Pokemon. This Pokemon can be anything from a Slowbro to a Nidoking, and which one you’ll fight will depend on the special stat on the last Pokemon you encountered.
Finally to get it to level 100, you’ll need to growl any Pokemon you encounter six times before you trigger this fight. The reason for this is because doing so lowers the glitched Pokemon down to level 1… for some reason. Because level 1 Pokemon don’t actually exist in these games, after it gains any amount of experience, it will shoot up to level 100. You can check out this glitch in action in this video link where the glitch begins at the 6:30 mark.
Nintendo Originally Wanted to Make Pikachu More Muscular to Appeal to American Gamers
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal back in January 2014, Satoru Iwata revealed that the then president of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi, wanted Game Freak to redraw Pikachu to be more muscular. According to Iwata, the reason behind this redraw was so Pikachu would appeal more to American gamers.
As the Wall Street Journal explained it “Then-president Hiroshi Yamauchi was shown mock-ups of a muscular Pikachu, and advised that only a complete redrawing would make the ‘Pokemon’ game sell.”
So that’s 11 facts about the original Pokemon games that you (probably) didn’t know! Are there any other fun facts that you know? If so, share them in the comments section below!