Favorite Pokemon (Gen I)

Back in the first days of catching Pokemon it was difficult to imagine exactly how much mileage these first 150 critters would get. Several retypings happened, status split happened, abilities arrived and megas came to be. Sometimes I get the feeling that some of these Pokemon are the same “in name only”, or do you see any Cloyster lacking Shell Smash or Spikes nowadays? Can you take seriously a Dragonite spamming wrap?

However, there is an esthetical virtue to each Pokemon that allows it to incarnate the previous générations. It looks the same, it carries the same charisma and you gladly accept it as one of your team. This has changed only in small details, so it’s mostly a valid argument to like the same pokemon since it’s introduction. Nevertheless, I think that discussion mostly about the looks of a Pokemon leads to many bias that I seek to avoid. I care about how the Pokemon look (trust me, I love the design of the critters), but it’s not the key factor to make it my favorite. I have to play with the thing (I play enough to allow this criterea!).

Without further ado, let’s delve into my original favorites, back when we couldn’t really compare them against themselves, only accept them as they were:

  1. Snorlax
  2. Venusaur
  3. Golem
  4. Exeggutor
  5. Parasect
  6. Mewtwo
  7. Jolteon
  8. Machamp

I just made a top 8 from the top of my head, the order is probably messed up a bit after Golem. It’s safe to say that nowadays only one of these critters even makes top ten, so I guess the newer games were quite relevant for me.

Back in the day my brothers and I picked the original list of 150 pokemon and drafted them of sorts, so each of us would train those exclusively. My elder brother got pretty much the better powerhouses of the generation (‘Lax aside): Gyarados, Starmie, Alakazam, Gengar and Slowbro (and future super star Magneton). He also had amazing Speedster Aerodactyl and Parasect on his team, which he trained to level 100 allowing me to carry them to battles when I started to play the social aspect of the game. But this internal logic made it so we only played with a fraction of the Pokes through normal gameplay and that we couldn’t fully suit up movesets for all our level 100 critters. Rhydon was one of mine, but it suffered from having crappy level up moves and I never fully got behind him (seeing Golem as the Superior of the two!). Barring Parasect, my list is entirely made up of Pokemon that I selected in that original draft. Now let’s talk a bit about these guys one by one:

Snorlax: Nearly as gamebreaking as Mewtwo with decent level up moves and great bulk. Snorlax had and still has one of the classic Pokemon designs that are easily recognizable, being so much of a pet that his preevolution was used to market Gen IV games and that his signature Z-Move was among the first introduced. Cool design and powerful Poke, what’s not to love? Back then I appreciated that very simple evidence and I truly loved my Snorlax in all its Body-Slamming glory.

Venusaur: I loved the Bulbasaur line since I first picked them as my starters and loved their looks and abilities, however, it was a popular opinion (that I shared) that Venusaur was the less “good looking” end evolution from the original starter trio and it took a while for me to get used to him. However, I still played him extensively, abused his Leech Seed and Sleep Powder when I started battling. His only limitation was that Grass moves were pretty mediocre when it came to offense… So I had to depend on Razor Leaf crits in order to rack up damage. If we played averages Venusaur would probably be my “favorite Pokemon from all time”, but being honest in those first years of playing I was more under Snorlax’s charm than anyone elses.

Golem: He had Explosion, Earthquake and Rock Slide. Good physical bulk and decent attack, relevant STABs. Sure, he had an horrific type combo that made it utterly weak against uber common Water moves and Grass. But here I started my career of using Pokemon with difficult typings and use them for the most. In Battles we mostly got the short end of the stick until I pulled off Explosion, which averaged his prowess. The design and abilites were cool enough back in the day, but I believe his popularity was also due my restricted roster.

Exeggutor: He was that Pokemon that I had every reason to love but didn’t quite use as much as I pretended. The issue here was that his abilities were mostly redundant with Venusaur’s whose decent bulk and straightforwardness always won me. In a practical standpoint Exeggutor was actually better than I gave him credit for, carrying actual offenses in Psychic and even being able to Explode (but I never used that back in the day). I like it’s design well enough, but it’s also the dirtiest of this buch.

Parasect: In my most memorable R/B battle it was Parasect that carried me to victory, by the virtue of his Spore and the easily abusable sleep mechanics on the original games. However, while Parasect is quite broken training one and allowing it to survive against opponents that carried several Mewtwos was no easy task. Originally played by my brother it wasn’t used by me on my in-game run, instead I had a crush on Venomoth who, like Exeggutor, I hyped more than I actually played with him. I do think Parasect has a superior visual design than Venomoth and it represents to this day the tricky aspects of battling that I’ve come to adore.

Mewtwo: He remains one of my favorite legendary Pokemon of all time, though I find it a bit frustrated that he’s so over exposed (but I blame the Smash series, they never did any good to the Pokemon franchise). Honestly, even back then when he was the heavy hitter of the series just using brute force with him wasn’t a guaranteed win: he remained quite fragile and could be sponged on the Special side. Sure, back then I ignored that Gen I Amnesia was unadulterated cocaine, so I actually never abused the fellow. Since it’s uncommon to have a balanced game with Legendaries, Mewtwo obviously fell from my liking over time, but as I said, back in the day people came at you throwing three of these without as much as “I’m sorry” afterwards.

Jolteon: I loved speedy Pokemon (still do) and that’s also partly why I liked Mewtwo. But Jolteon was even faster and could get the jump in pretty much all other non-Electrode critters. I actually wanted to like Electrode more, but Jolteon was the one who gave me the better results… Superior offenses seem to beat “doing harmless things fast”. Jolteon looked decent enough, I always thought Flareon and Eevee were mediocre looking pokes, but Jolt was acceptable.  Still, it deserves a mention because I played it a lot and it was part of what shaped my battle style in the years to come.

Machamp: That guy I liked fairly well, but barely trained at all. Submission has a move with lots of potential and solely for that move I went and picked a Machamp that I played extensively. Nevertheless, it’s limited use in battle was pretty disappointing. I liked the idea of Fighting types back in the day, I thought Machamp’s design was neat (it remains one of my favorite Fighting-type designs to this day) and really saw potential in them. Well, fighting types improved, but my love story with them never came to be. As with Machamp I wanted to like them a lot, but never quite managed to.

In my next entry I’ll jump into the future to discuss a bit of the ongoing rumors for the Gen VII games. Let’s see where the adventure takes us next!

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