In 1998, Pokemon Red and Blue versions released for the Game Boy Color, and created a massive fan community. Kids could capture and battle with their favorite Pokemon from the cards, square off against their favorite characters from the cartoon show, and even connect with their friend’s version and trade and battle with them. Few things were as addicting as trying to catch ’em all and becoming a true Pokemon master. Then, towards the end of the year 2000, the next installment of the series, Gold and Silver versions, shipped to store shelves.
Gold and Silver starred a new hero, beginning his quest to be the best in a whole new land, called the Johto region. Gold and Silver added so many new features to the series, including breeding Pokemon in order to hatch baby versions of the parents, a full day/night and week schedule, which was synced perfectly with the real time and date, two new types of Pokemon, calculating the friendship between a trainer and his/her Pokemon, and, of course, nearly 100 new species of Pokemon, among others. These improvements helped create a world that felt alive and constantly changing. Some Pokemon were early birds and only came out in the morning, whereas some were nocturnal and roamed the fields late at night. Shops were mostly open only during the day, and some shops were closed on specific days. The environment was more interactive as well, such as being able to pick berries from bushes and headbutt trees to shake certain Pokemon loose.
Gold and Silvers’ greatest achievement, however, may just come towards the end of the game. After defeating the Pokemon League trainers, you receive a ticket for a ship leaving from the Olivine City port. You emerge from your entertaining and rather long voyage in an unexpected but familiar land: Kanto, the world from the Red and Blue versions of the series! It may sound boring revisiting the same places you have previously explored, but it is made refreshing by having many of the characters you’ve grown to love facing new problems and living in different times of their lives. For example, Misty, a young child when you first met her is now a young adult and dating a boyfriend. The karate master in the fighting dojo has left to train in a faraway land, but he leaves a note behind detailing where he is. And one of the gym leaders has become a member of the Pokemon League Elite Four, and so now his daughter is in charge of the gym. These are just a few of the ways in which the land you knew so well has changed. The game designers, however, were able to maintain the core essence of what made the land unique, so people who played the first games still felt familiar with everything, but they changed enough to make it engaging all over again.