Nintendo announced yesterday that Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow versions would be coming to the 3DS via the eShop on February 26th, the 20-year anniversary of their original Japanese release (Yellow was released two and a half years later, on September 12, 1998).
This news initially got our seven year old selves racing with joy, but it dissipated quickly when we realized just how poorly these games have aged. Unfortunately, between playing the games on original Game Boy cartridges (we still have one, though a dead battery means we can’t save anything) and watching speed runs on YouTube, the very first Pokémon games leave a lot to be desired.
When they were first released, these games were a marvel because they were not only playable in short bursts but equally playable for long stretches, making it easy to lose hours on a Saturday (or during school, if we’re being totally honest) to the world of Kanto. Graphically, at the time we didn’t know any better. But with games like Pokémon X and Y making the rounds, not to mention the remakes we’ve come to expect from The Pokémon Company such as Fire Red and Leaf Green or Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the original games are little more than vessels of nostalgia.
Looking at the games through rose-coloured glasses, we all thought they’d still look amazing, but here’s what the game actually looks like. Eww.
Nintendo has said that they’ll be updating the titles to include wireless connectivity for trading Pokémon (there’s nowhere to stick a link cable, not that anyone has one), but that they’d otherwise be preserving the experience to run exactly as it did on the very first Game Boy in the mid-90s.
No pricing has been released as of yet, but we expect the games to cost anywhere between $5 and $10. Anything more and Nintendo is pricing themselves out of the market; anything less, and they’re likely losing out on a bit of revenue.
We’ll have a full review of the games when they launch next February, but don’t expect much beyond it being a nostalgia-ridden journey that, unfortunately, doesn’t hold up very well over time.