In the debut release of Pokémon on Game Boy, players had to choose between Red and Blue versions of the game. Although both are identical experiences, each features a slightly different roster of monsters. Players can trade between their different versions to catch ’em all.
This balance has become one of the game series’ defining features.
An ancient Pokémon debate
When Pokémon was first released, not as many adults joined in on the fun as they do today. As such, instead of smartly written articles that compared the two versions, discussions about the topic went something like this:
“Charizard is awesome! It’s a dragon! I’m asking for Red version for my birthday.”
“No, look at Blastoise… it has water cannons that come out of its shell. Blue version rules.”
It was fantastic.
Since then, the franchise has acknowledged this playground rivalry by hinting at which version is each generation’s successor to Red and Blue. Proof of this theory is in the poké-pudding when comparing Pokémon Sun’s red and orange branding to Pokémon Moon’s blue and purple hues.
In the latest installment of this pocket monster saga, something’s different. Pokémon Let’s Go presents a choice between Pikachu and Eevee themed versions. Both of these monsters have become two of the most recognizable creatures that the series has to offer. Instead of any red or blue coloring, each version’s packaging is adorned with yellow and brown accents. Has The Pokémon Company has finally ended the age-old feud of Red versus Blue?
It’s time to investigate. To get to the bottom of what’s going on here, we’ll need to learn a little more about Pokémon Let’s Go.
Where’s Detective Pikachu when you need him?
In this game, trainers will return to the region that started things off for Pokémon: Kanto. This isn’t the first time that players have been swept back for a visit to the series’ roots. In 2004, Pokémon FireRed / LeafGreen delivered an updated version of Pokémon Red / Blue. That being said, Pokémon Let’s Go is not a remake of the original games. Rather than dissect the story, it might be more fruitful to look into why Pikachu and Eevee were tasked with headlining this game.
Pokémon Let’s Go features more similarities to the cartoon series than any other game before it. For example, our chosen partner refuses to stay in their pokéball, just like the Pikachu who accompanies Ash – the show’s protagonist. To follow this thread a bit, Pikachu and Eevee are best known for accompanying Ash and Gary (his rival) on their respective journeys. But, it’s clear that the trainer we play as in Let’s Go is not Ash or Gary.
So, what’s the point?
Thinking back on Pokémon Red / Blue, it’s important to consider what happens when naming the game’s characters. While most players chose their own names, the default options for the hero are “Red”, “Ash”, and “Jack,” while the rival’s default names are “Blue”, “Gary”, and “John.”
However, Ash or Gary are not the characters in the original Pokémon games. In order to make fans of the cartoon feel more at home, the “Ash” and “Gary” options were included. When referring to the original game’s story, it’s official canon to call to the main character as Red, and his rival as Blue.
Of course, Ash and Gary have a fair amount in common with Red and Blue. Most notably, their partner Pokémon. Red has a friend in Pikachu, and Blue keeps Eevee at his side.
What a coincidence! All of our evidence paints a clear picture.
Players who choose Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee are joining the ranks of those who’d have picked Pokémon Blue in 1996! After all, if you’re trying to be as successful as the great Blue himself, why not start with an Eevee just as he did?
On the other hand, Pikachu is the face of the entire Pokémon franchise! A popular, zappy mouse is obviously the winner here. Furthermore, Red is the boldest trainer that the world has ever seen. Following in his footsteps is to echo success.
So, are you picking up Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee or Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu? Let me know on Twitter!
Personally, I’ve always been partial to Pokémon Blue and its successors. There’s just something so unmistakably cool about the way Blastoise looks. My 11 year old brain still can’t deny that awesome looking tortoise.
It’s Team Eevee for me. Smell ya later!