The first Pokémon games came out in Japan in 1996, and their development was fraught with problems. The Game Freak team didn’t have much programming experience, their budget was limited, and Nintendo didn’t have high expectations for them either. For Satoshi Tajiri , an aspect that should be reflected in his game is that each player lives a unique game . And for that reason, his original idea was to release 65,535 versions of the game .
Pokémon was not going to be limited by two versions
Thanks to some research from the YouTube channel Did You Know Gaming, we now know that the Pokémon ‘ Trainer ID ‘ was going to have an interesting function in the original Pokémon games. Tajiri wanted to develop a single Pokémon game, and that when starting the game, the ‘Trainer ID’ would work to induce entropy into the game.
In this way, the requirements that Tajiri wanted would be fulfilled: two identical cartridges would serve to live a different adventure . Depending on the number generated, the game would show one or another Pokémon, making it more interesting to exchange creatures with other players through the Link Cable.
However, Tajiri stumbled upon the voice of experience. Shigeru Miyamoto was not so sure that this idea was easy to implement, and the worst; the players would not understand. And, considering that it was this one who convinced those above to give Pokémon a chance, those of Game Freak would end up paying attention to him.
I talked to Miyamoto about how we would make players understand that each cartridge was different. He told me that the system I had devised sounded interesting, but that it was a bit difficult to understand. He said that if players couldn’t tell it apart just by looking at it, then it wouldn’t work and it would be better if the color or appearance of the games were different.
Thus, the idea of releasing Pokémon Red and Green (and later, Pokémon Red and Blue in the West) was Shigeru Miyamoto’s idea. Since then, Game Freak has followed that pattern in every generation they have released to date. Two identical games, with different covers that sell us the same story, but in a kind of parallel universe .
Would Pokémon have succeeded the other way?
This debate between the creators of Pokémon took place nearly 30 years ago, and it’s amusing to see how the gaming world has proven Satoshi Tajiri right. Today, many of the most successful titles have maps and procedurally generated content , and the Pokémon universe could benefit greatly from this technique. However, it is possible that Pokémon would have failed had it been released the way Tajiri envisioned it.
If you are interested in seeing the full DidYouKnowGaming video, we leave you the link right here. The youtuber has dedicated a lot of effort and a lot of money to translate the interviews he has been finding in order to publish his research.