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#539 The Charmander Rant

*This is a bit of a tangent from the usual Be MOP posts but this rant has been nesting in the back of my mind for ages and I need to get it off my chest*

There is a running gag on the internet that out of the three generation 1 Pokemon starters that Charmander was the best choice and Buldabuar was the worst pick. When in fact it is quite the opposite.

Two things you need to know before continuing:

Pokemon’s main gameplay strategy is to use type advantages. That is quite literally lesson one of the game and why the three starters are Fire-Water-Grass and not three types that are neither super or not very effective against each other, like Normal, Poison and Electric. That is why you do not go against the Elite Four’s Bruno with Fire or Bug Pokemons.

And way back when, when I was playing Pokemon Red on my Gameboy color, I was one of the Pokemon Trainers that chose bulbasaur as my first starter.
250px-001Bulbasaur

And that is why the few righteous players that picked Bulbasaur were rewarded with the first two gym leaders, Brock and Misty, that were super effective against grass types. People who picked Squirtle were rewarded with only the first gym to be super effective against, while those poor people who picked Charmander got NOTHING.

In the early game there is not as many chances to get the variety of Pokemon types compared to after at the second gym, when you get to Vermilion Gym and the game starts opening up some more.

By the third Gym, electric, the game world was able to stretch it’s arms and show us the other elemental pokemons, like the invaluable Diglett Cave and allowing the game difficulties to plateaued a bit between the three starters.

Despite the all that, bulbasaur being the objectively best choice of starters, he still get the shaft in terms of marketing and promotion and community love.

It is incredibly infuriating.

“oh but Charizard's a winged DRAGON how cool is that!?” First, everyone knows that Charizard is not a proper dragon type and secondly Charizard could not even use HM02 until Pokemon Yellow, THEY HAD TO PATCH THAT FEATURE IN LATER.

“oh but Charizard’s a winged DRAGON how cool is that!?” First, everyone knows that Charizard is not a proper dragon type and secondly Charizard could not even use HM02 until Pokemon Yellow, THEY HAD TO PATCH THAT FEATURE IN LATER.

I was giving this particular rant to a college friend of mine, and this response, as I am assured some of you who are a fan of game design might argue; that the Pokemon Team intentionally gave charmander and squirtle a type disadvantage to give a subtle EASY, NORMAL, and HARD mode to the Kanto region.

That argument would have hold water if it was not for the FireRed and LeafGreen revisiting Generation 1 for the GameBoy Advance, and gamefreak gave charmander they obscenely over-powered-against-rock-types and out of place move, Metal Claw. A move that wipes the floor with Brock’s team, rebalancing the first game giving all starters a fair shake at being SUPER EFFECTIVE against the first Pokemon boss, Thus retconning one of Pokemon’’s poor Gen 1 game design.

Can someone please explain to me, even with the argument I made, WHY charmander and charizard still gets so much love on the internet and from the Pokemon Company? Why since everything in the Pokemon’s own game points towards to obviously superior grass type starter pokemon.


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Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

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