View RSS Feed


Days of PokePast - The Wonderful Art of Pokemon Generation 1

Rate this Entry

The Wonderful Art of Pokemon Generation 1

I love Pokemon Gen 1. I loved it when it came stateside in '98, and I love it still now, nearly two decades later. It is a strange, almost experimental feeling set of titles, defined by many odd quirks, bugs, and choices the developers ironed out in subsequent generations, and because of this, it, more so than any other generation in the series, has a distinct flavor all its own. No more visibly is this demonstrated than in the art of the original two sets of titles (Red/Green, then Red/Blue) in the generation, where many of the designs so familiar to us today are in their infancy, lacking either artistic quality control or refinement, or, in a few cases, even slightly shifting in form for later entries. Rediscovering this old artwork as I replayed the Gen 1 titles, especially when I checked out the art from the original games we didn't get over here, became an unexpected joy, as I've been so used to the quality of artwork from Gold and Silver onward that I almost forgot there was sometimes such a large difference between the titles.

So, with that said, I figured I'd share some of my favorite art, both good and bad, from the first generation alongside their current designs, starting with my favorite Gen 1 starter:

Squirtle - Pokemon Yellow

So, let me start off by saying that Pokemon Green and Blue both had much worse looking Squirtles and it might have been more amusing to look at those, but I don't even remotely care, because Pokemon Yellow's Squirtle may, in fact, be THE most huggable thing in the history of ever. And I love it.

Venusaur - Pokemon Green

Oh God, it's been squished! D:

Pidgey and Pidgeot - Pokemon Blue

This is actually the example of shifting design I've always remembered, as Pidgey originally looked a lot more like a real bird before Pokemon Yellow shifted it towards the design we have now, not that we are remotely worse off for the choice, especially since it kept us away from that Pidgeot design. X_X

Ekans - Pokemon Green

The day will come when that Pokemon Green art ceases to amuse me.

I dread that day.

Nidoqueen - Pokemon Green AND Blue

Now this was an interesting one when I looked at it, because there is a substantial improvement between the Green and Blue Nidoqueen artwork, to the odd point that Gen 1 has both my favorite AND least favorite Nidoqueen artwork. Go Pokemon Blue. ^_^ /

Wigglytuff - Pokemon Green

Loooooooooool, the eyes.

Modern Wigglytuff is also noticeably huggable.

Golbat - Pokemon Blue

Wow, that's . . . quite a difference, actually. I don't know if Golbat has ever had a noticeable tongue in any other artwork, but one would hope not after looking at this.

The Ghastly family - Pokemon Green AND Blue

I love that Ghastly looks like the spraycan effect from MS Paint with eyes drawn on. I mean, it works better for the idea of a gaseous Pokemon that the later design, but that doesn't change how amusing it looks. I'm rather glad Gamefreak decided against that look by the time Yellow rolled around. That original Gengar art is something else too, and the Blue artwork there isn't any better. Haunter fared pretty well though, and Blue has my favorite artwork for the 'mon in the series.
: D

Hitmonlee - Pokemon Blue

Pokemon Blue has some of my favorite Hitmonlee artwork. Go, Pokemon Blue! ^_^ /

Koffing - Pokemon Blue

Why are you upside down? D:

Also, unrelated to Gen 1 art and all, but is there a happier Pokemon than Koffing? Look at that face.
: D

Chansey - Pokemon Green

Something about that Chansey disturbs me. D :

Kangaskhan - Pokemon Blue

I actually REALLY like this art. : )

Mr. Mime - Pokemon Green AND Blue

Mr. Mime may be my single least favorite design in the franchise, so it isn't much of a surprise that I found his art in Green and Blue absolutely awful. Mostly because it is.

Omanyte - Pokemon Blue

That Omanyte is THE boss, and it knows it.

Moltres - Pokemon Blue

So, I've always thought Moltres was far and away the worst looking of the Kanto bird trio, but wow . . . that looks awful. I think early gen 1 just had terrible luck with birds in general.

Dragonite - Pokemon Green

. . . And dragons. Man, Dragonite, you've come a long way. Be proud. Be proud.

Mew - Pokemon Green

I don't know what happened to its head. D :

Anyway, that's what I've got. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you again when I do . . . something else.
Tags: None Add / Edit Tags


  1. Freya's Avatar
    Damn Mew, what happened to your head.
  2. Shauna's Avatar
    oh my god wigglytuff what happened
  3. Ayen's Avatar
    This got me wanting to play Pokemon again.