Memories of Yellow Version

Screencap of a commercial, showing the cart, box, & limited-edition GBC

Yellow Version was the fastest selling video game of all time. I looked it up last night, using my old copy of Guiness World Records from 2001. The video games page had a large picture of Pikachu, with a caption noting the game sold 10 million copies on it's first day of release. As noted on the main page, I got Blue, not Yellow, but any Pokemon game was a great present.

Still Yellow was special; early copies came with a limited-editon Game Boy Color. The game was in color; you could get all three starters, &, most importantly, Pikachu followed you around. You could talk to him, & he'd talk back, using voice samples from the TV show. Plus the developers had worked overtime to give Pikachu dozens of reactions, some reflected his mood, others reflected in-game events. Talk to the Jiggily Puff in Pewter City's Pokemon Center, & Pikachu'lll fall asleep; he faints when he sees Bill transform from a Pokemon to a human; he falls in love with the Clefairy in the Pokemon Club, etc.

Eventually, I got to play Yellow. My cousin had a copy, & she was stuck at the first gym. While the anime made Pikachu weak against rock-type Pokemon, the games went a bit overboard; electric attacks had no effect on Brock's team. I think I got through with Quick Attack, but it took a long time. Yellow was hard.

In highschool, Game Boy games were cheap. This was before Pokemon had become popular again, &, since the games sold well, there were plenty of copies of Red, Blue, & Yellow at the local GameStop. I already had Blue, so we bought Red & Yellow. Red was for my sister, who lost her copy years ago; Yellow was technically hers too, but we both could play it. There was just one problem: the cart's internal battery had failed; we couldn't save our progress in Yellow. I'd never seen that before; even today I have mid-90's games with working save batteries. (Kirby's Pinball Land, Super Mario Land 2: The Six Golden Coins) Perhaps the game had been poorly cared for; half the label was torn off.

Yellow version became my long-car ride game. Pokemon games were always a good time-sink; a bump in the road won't mess you up, & you can save anywhere outside of a battle. Without that last feature, the game was still playable; just leave it on when you stop to go to the restroom or get a bite to eat. I enjoyed seeing how far I could get before I had to stop. I think I made it to the S.S. Anne once, but it's been a long time.

I don't think I could buy a used Pokemon game today; demand is up, & they cost almost as much as a new game. It is tempting tho; what are Ruby & Saphire like? What have I missed out on?

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