DiscoverArrggh! A Video Game Podcast from The Waffling TaylorsPokemon Turns 25: Mad Max in Bright Colours with The B
Pokemon Turns 25: Mad Max in Bright Colours with The B

Pokemon Turns 25: Mad Max in Bright Colours with The B

Update: 2021-08-27


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Pokémon turned 25, and it made both Jay and Squidge feel really old. And because misery loves company, we asked The B to talk about it on the show. We also reached out to the Pokémon community for comments and questions.

Here's a sample of the full show notes - make sure to click through and check them out.

Content Warning

There are a couple of bleeped swears in this episode - because bleeped swears are funnier, right?

At 01:15:03 The B says:

it's the crack cocaine of video games
- The B

There's also a potential spoiler for the first Pokémon movie at 01:58:03 , check your podcatcher for chapter markings for this.

And there is one mention of a certain type of disease, at the _VERY_ end of the episode - like, within the closing minute of the episode

Please listen responsibly

Show Notes

Welcome back to another episode of our podcast! This episode is all about Pokémon - that's right, the game which took butterfly catching and made it into a video game - and we don't mean that creepy intro bit to Resident Evil: Code Veronica, either

Pokémon turned 25 this year - 2021, in case you're listening from the future - and it made us feel super old. So we got together with The B to talk about just how old it makes us feel.

As a bit of a break from the norm, we handed over the hosting privileges to Squidge for this episode - mainly because he knows WAY more about Pokémon than Jay does.

In fact, the actual cast for this episode was:

  • Backpacker Squidge

  • Beautiful Lass Jay

  • Hex Maniac B

As you can see, it was one heck of a cast.

10,000 ft View of Pokémon

We started the episode by asking everyone to give their own 10,000 ft overview of the Pokémon games. You know, in case someone listening had never heard of it.

And some of our interpretations of the games are... interesting, to say the least. It included theories as to who the main character is, where the human hospitals are, why Professor Oak can't remember his grandson's name - worst grandpa ever - whether Professor Oak and Rick (from Rick & Morty) are the same person, why normal RPG rules don't apply, and whether social services should have been involved.

It's not like The Island of Dr. Monroe. Humans aren't Pokémon. Or are they?
- Squidge

And of course Jay's description of Pokémon was provided via interpretive dance - making it harder for Squidge to edit into the episode

Basically Pokémon covers the full gamut of neglectful and abusive behaviour of other species and children
- TheB

Way to keep up those positive waves, B.

Community Comments #1

We reached out to the wider Pokémon community ahead of recording this episode, and asked for comments on what Pokémon meant to everyone. We had quite a few comments, so we wanted to pepper them throughout the episode, and these were the first set of comments.

First up was Mr. Ray, and he had this to say:

Pokémon to me meant friends. Not just with the pokemon pals I had, but that it forced a shy kid to socialize and trade so I could catch them all. Since, yknow, the game is designed for that
 - Mr. Ray of the $2 Creature Feature Podcast

Next up was Sakura, and she had this to say:

To be the best, like no one ever was because it's my destiny.
Seriously though, Pokemon means to me: nostalgia/good memories, friendship, a connection, determination, and something that makes people come together.
You don't realise the power and effect pokemon has given to people universally, until those first few notes of the original theme song play and you see a venue holding a 1000+ attendees, suddenly stop whatever they were doing and all sing the song in unison with such passion in their voices - everyone in that room is rethinking their own adventure together with everyone in that moment. It's beautiful and makes you feel wholesome that your part of such a worldwide phenomena
- Sakura

Both of these comments are wonderfully wholesome, we're sure that you'll agree.

And as B points out, both Tomb Raider and Pokémon have this uncanny ability to bring communities together. And of course we couldn't let B mention this without referencing out previous anniversary episode - which was on Tomb Raider; here's a link

- The B

Famous Firsts

No one can talk about Pokémon without talking about their firsts, and being the investigative types that we are, we wanted to know what everyone's first Pokémon game was.

  • Jay: Pokémon Blue

In fact, his first exposure to Pokémon was not the games, the TV shows, or the movies. But a high school maths class - which is something he goes into later in the episode, when a special guest appears

  • The B: Pokémon Yellow

Which had more references to the TV show; with the main character been called Ash and there was a Pikachu which followed you around the game overworld.

  • Squidge: Pokémon Blue

Squidge got into Pokémon through friend of the show Ik - and one of Squidge's childhood friends, along with The B - got him into it, back in his high school days.

Famous First Starters

Just like our famous first games, the choice of your first starter reveals a lot about someone. As such, we wanted to know which Pokémon we each chose as our first starter.

  • Jay: Bulbasaur
It's the correct answer; everybody knows
- Jay

Which lead to Jay calling out both Facebook and Twitter on whether he is right or not.

  • The B: Pikachu

Because B started with Pokémon Yellow, he had no choice over his starter Pokémon. But had he played any of the other 1st generation games before Pokémon Yellow, he would have picked Charmander.

  • Squidge: Charmander

Squidge let's us know that Charmander is essentially hard mode, and that he managed to brute force his way through the game with a team leader who was a fire type.

Keeping The Starter in Your Team; Yay or Nay?

Just because you pick a Pokémon at the start of the game doesn't mean that you have to use it all the way through to the end of the game. So did anyone keep that starter around all the way to the endgame?

  • Jay: Yes
It's Team Bulbasaur all the way. All you need is Bulbasaur
- Jay
  • The B: Yes

B has a similar strategy to Jay: keep the starter in the team and get them to level 100 - or whatever - before the end of the game. But he only did that for the first generation, it seems.

  • Squidge: Yes

Squidge saw Charmander as a Rocky Balboa character, so he would keep his Charmander around in order to kick some serious butt. Right up until Ik showed Squidge the many different, and some times challenging ways to play the game.

Which lead us into a discussion about which other pop culture icons the other starters resembled.

  • Squrtle: Prince; because of the Squirtle-Squad and how flashy Squirtle is, when in the squad

  • Pikachu: doesn't resemble a pop culture icon, because Pikachu IS a pop culture icon; being the face of the brand

So you're saying that Pikachu is Mickey Mouse, fair enough
- Squidge
  • Bulbasaur: a plant pot; because Squidge likes to make fun

Did You Catch 'Em All?

Squidge decided that Jay didn't matter for this section, as he hadn't played enough of the Pokémon games (I'm as saddened as you are - Jay). But this spawned a conversation about how there are no lose conditions in this game, and that there are multiple win conditions:

  • Catch them all


  • Beat the story


  • Catch them all AND Beat the story

Almost no other game, especially in the fifth generation of video game consoles, had multiple ways to beat the game. Regardless, was "Gotta Catch 'Em All" just a clever marketing slogan, or did we actually manage to catch them all?

  • The B: No

Whilst B aimed for it, he never achieved it - becoming bored with the game way before catching them all. Especially after having reached the end of the story of each game.

  • Squidge: No

Just like with B, Squidge got to around 100 caught Pokémon before giving up on that part of the quest.

Most Difficult Gym

All of the Pokémon games have a deceptively simple gameplay mechanic:

  • Level up your Pokémon

  • But not too far

  • Because you need badges to prove to them that you are a strong enough trainer

And the way that you get the badges is to travel to each town and take on the gym leaders. These are powerful Pokémon trainers who will award you with a badge for beating them.

  • Jay: "The one without Bulbasaur in it"
It shouldn't be "Pokémon: Gotta Catch 'Em All"; it should be "Pokémon: Gotta Use Bulbasaur"
- Jay

Jay really leant into Bulbasaur being the best Pokémon, in this episode:

🎵Pokémon, got his Bulbasar
🎵You know it's true; he's gonna beat me and then beat you.
🎵He's gonna hit you with the Leed Seed.
🎵And he'll give you a whip, and then he'll evolve into the next stage
🎵Buy some time! Gotta sing this song
- Jay
  • The B: None

Based on the fact that B's first game was Yellow, he didn't feel as though there were any particularly bad gyms in the game. But if he had to choose one, it would be Koga's gym (in Fuchsia city) because of the invisible walls.

  • Squidge: Misty's gym

Because Squidge always had Charmander in his team, and Misty using water-based Pokémon, it would always be the toughest fight in the game for him; with everything else being on easy street from there.

A Wild Maz Appears

We'd gotten in touch with Maz prior to recording this episode - totally not during the recording for his episode on the show. Nope. Not at all - and asked him what his thoughts were on Pokémon turning 25.

It feels like yesterday [that the first game came out]
- MazGamingUk

We agree Maz in that if you didn't live through that era, then you won't be able to fully appreciate the wider reaching affects of the zeitgeist that was the Pokémon sensation.

Listen, I'm not saying that if you picked Squirtle or Charmander that you're a bad person. I'm just not saying that you're not a bad person
- MazGamingUk" >}}

Interestingly, none of knew anyone who knew the rules to the trading card game. And if we're honest, we still don't know anyone who knows the rules.

It's one of those things where it's worth the hype, because it's as good as it says it is.
- MazGamingUk">}}

And we talked about some of the Nuzlocke challenges that are available for players who are looking for an extra challenge. Including getting to level 100 before leaving the first route, or ditching a Pokémon as soon as it feints.

What's in a Nuzlocke?

One of the hobbies of, friend of the show, Ik is to try out and come up with completely new challenges. This helps to keep Pokémon feeling fresh, and his challenges are usually based off of the Nuzlocke series of challenges - you may have noticed our fledgling challenges page, which has similar challenges but for all sorts of different games.

Squidge decided to list some of the challenges that Ik likes to run through. Some of these challenges require using a particular Pokémon from that start, in order to do that Ik uses ROMs - of the games that he legally owns; don't steal or pirate games, folks - and an application which lets him set one of the starters to either a random choice or a specific creature.

He also plays by the Professor Oak challenge rules:

  • You must obtain all possible pokémon before each badge, before challenging the elite 4, and/or other checkpoints that are game specific.

  • All pokémon must be obtained by use of a single game. Thus, you don't need to get unavailable version exclusives, nor pokémon that evolve through trade. Generally, no glitches should be used.

Ik also adds two more rules into the Professor Oak challenge:

  • Every caught Pokémon must be trained to level 100 BEFORE heading to the next gym

  • All Pokémon must be caught using PokéBalls, unless they are shiny Pokémon. In which case, you can use a Premier Ball

Some of Ik's achievements, using the above rules are:

  • Pokémon Blue: Professor Oak Challenge

  • Pokémon Red: Farfetch'd only run

  • Pokémon Ruby: Gotten one Pokémon to level 100 before the first gym

And the current challenges that Ik is gunning for are:

  • Pokémon Fire Red: Bug types only

  • Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee!: Catching all Pokémon in Master Balls only

  • Pokémon Omega Ruby: Professor Oak Challenge, and creating a LivingDex

This means that he needs to have one of each Pokémon in the storage PC. A Living PokéDex, if you will.

Full Show Notes

Make sure to check out the full show notes for more discussion on the points we raise, some extra meta-analysis, and some links to related things.

Have you played the Outbreak series of games? Are you a fan of survival horror games? What about rogue-likes? Will you be checking out the Outbreak games after this episode? Did you have a question we didn't cover?

Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, leave a comment on the show notes or try our brand new contact page.


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Pokemon Turns 25: Mad Max in Bright Colours with The B

Pokemon Turns 25: Mad Max in Bright Colours with The B

The Waffling Taylors