The second generation of Pokémon was possibly one of the most highly anticipated titles of its time for Nintendo. The concept of playing a game where you catch monsters that you can not only train and battle with but also keep in your pocket was incredible. And yes I also meant keep in your pocket in-game as well as real life since the games were released on the Game Boy Color. The franchise, having already received success across Japan and the world with Pokémon Red and Blue, was now about to celebrate their next successful title, Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver.
Pokémon Gold to me is not only a Golden Treasure but a Golden Oldie. It is the game that solidified my passion and love towards the Pokémon franchise since I did not originally own Pokémon Red and Blue. Besides adding additional Pokémon, The Pokémon Company went further and created a larger world. This is something that we’ve not seen since (obviously excluding Pokémon SoulSilver and Pokémon HeartGold which are remakes of Pokémon Silver and Gold). The larger world I am referring to is the region of Johto which players will begin in and Kanto which players will be allowed to adventure through once you’ve completed one of the game’s main objectives: – “…to be the very best, like no one ever was”. How do you become the very best? Well if you’ve never played a Pokémon game before its actually quite simple. Just as the first Pokémon games you’re tasked with travelling the world/region to capture and discover Pokémon for a professor who’s studying Pokémon. The player travels across Johto from city to city challenging the strongest trainers around and defeating the Gym Leader (the strongest trainer in the city). By defeating the gym leader, you’ll acquire their gym badge as proof. Once the player has collected all 8 gym badges you will then be able to challenge the number one trainers in the world known as The Elite Four. This journey includes a rich, memorable story amongst its characters such as the villainous Team Rocket and even its gym leaders.
Pokémon Gold and Silver not only brought an additional 100 Pokémon to its franchise but also added a ton of new features. Some of the highly acclaimed features added are the real-time internal clock that actually works alongside the real-world clock where if it was day in the real world, it would be day in the game and vice versa. What’s more is the fact that the game also tracked the days of the week. So, with today being Friday, it is Friday in my game right now. This all has a specific purpose and wasn’t just added for fun. With the internal clock constantly being active the creators had the opportunity to add events and Pokémon appearances specific to date and time. Something that many of us now days are not accustomed to since we all want instant satisfaction. An example of this feature is the fact that once you’ve acquired a certain HM (Hidden Move which allows your Pokémon to interact with objects outside of battle) which would be Surf, you will then be able to catch Lapras but only on Fridays which is when Lapras appears in the game.
Apart from the internal clock, other features added to the game is the fact that Pokémon can now hold items. The items are utilised to heal HP and cure poisoning to name a few of their functions. Many of the newer generation of Pokémon trainers and fans might not know this but this was the beginning of what would be an important key feature in competitive battle with trainers across the world now using items as a battle strategy to either surprise their opponents with items that allow their Pokémon to survive a super effective attack by holding on with only 1 HP or increase their Pokémons attack or defence stats. That is but a drop in the bucket of what the items can do.
Another new feature added are new Pokéballs. Unlike Pokémon Red and Blue, Pokémon Gold and Silver has specific Pokéballs. These Pokéballs can be created by collecting apricorns of different colors within the game. Once acquired it can be given to an NPC in the game that will create the special balls for trainers. Some of these special balls included are the Lure Ball, Moon Ball and Fast Ball. Each granting the trainer and advantage against certain types of Pokémon and/or their stats. And this of course was the beginning of many more specialized Pokéballs to come in later games.
This was a golden time in the Pokémon franchise. The game improved on a multitude of features from its predecessors and set the standards for its successors to come. The nostalgia hit hard in many aspects including the music, sprites and locations within the game. The magic was absolutely real and I felt my childhood coming back to me. This golden treasure is an absolute must for all Pokémon fans that would like to discover many of the Pokémon games beginnings just as it was when Pokémon Red and Blue released recently or to relive their childhood (this time with a back-light…). And if I was not limited I could probably go on for days as I’ve left out so many things from the game including the Pokégear which includes a map, radio and phone. However, I have to add that if you’ve never played this before you might run into the problem that many have when going back into time after beginning a franchise from its latest instalment, and that problem is that more often than not a memory is best left in the past. And so, it is with Pokémon Gold and Silver. Over the generations the Pokémon games have ‘evolved’ in many ways apart from its many new additions to its Pokédex, new coats of paint, navigating its menus, teaching Pokémon TM’s and just generally travelling across the world itself has been made simpler, better, faster. And it is this fact that I believe that might turn younger fans and players away from this treasure that is Pokémon Gold.