Hmm. Which one were you…?
Oh, right; you were the one who asked what I thought of the 5th generation Pokémon, right? Yeah, it’s not that lots of people have asked me about it, it’s that it was originally the whole purpose of this blog. That’s why I started writing, and that’s what the whole of last year was about.
Anyway, this question.
This question is tricky, not so much because there are no first generation Pokémon that are badly designed – there are – but because, counterintuitive as it seems, I don’t think you can hold them to the same standard. They were created in a very different context. First of all, there was nothing to compare them to. This is particularly important when you consider that one of the biggest problems I had with many fifth-generation Pokémon was “well, this is just [Pokémon X] with a new paint job and a haircut.” There’s no way you can reasonably make that complaint about Red and Blue (well, not without attributing some mystical foresight to Game Freak). Second, the designers themselves weren’t that experienced. Game Freak was only founded in 1989; it wasn’t that old when Pokémon was first released and they’d only ever made one or two other games for Nintendo, which never achieved any great notoriety. Black and White were released when Game Freak had been designing Pokémon for over fifteen years, and I am sometimes startled at how little they appear to have learned in that time (not that they don’t still produce some good stuff – they do – but that was true of the first generation as well). Third, no-one ever anticipated that Pokémon would become the global phenomenon it has. There was no guarantee that Red and Green would even be released outside of Japan. Even when the games were remade into the Red and Blue that we played, you can see how low standards were for fixing problems in the code. Today, Pokémon games are guaranteed an international release, and Pokémon is the second most profitable video game franchise on the planet, behind Mario (which, incidentally, means a much bigger budget).
What I am by slow degrees trying to say here is that mistakes were made in Red and Blue, and I’m okay with that. I’m not okay with the exact same mistakes being made, repeatedly and often quite insistently, in Black and White. The phrasing “I deny this Pokémon’s right to exist” was deliberately over-the-top, and meant to convey that if I had been on the design team, I would have scrapped the Pokémon in question. I would never use it of any Pokémon from an older iteration of the franchise, and in fact I probably wouldn’t use it of a fifth generation Pokémon either, if I redid all of those reviews now – we’ve got them, and we may as well work with them.