By Ishaan . November 12, 2011 . 4:30pm
No, it wasn’t Pikachu. Or Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle. The first few Pokémon created during the development of Pokémon Red and Green (Blue outside of Japan) were Rhyhorn, Lapras and Clefairy, each with their own predetermined roles, such as carrying baggage, giving you a ride across the sea, or simply being a pet.
This little piece of history comes from an old three-part interview with the development staff of Pokémon Red and Green, unearthed by GlitterBerri. You can find links to all three parts here. They make for a very interesting read.
The interview also reveals that Pokémon was originally more RPG-like. As development progressed, however, it became a game about collecting monsters and trying to complete your Pokédex instead. Memory capacity resulted in there being 151 Pokémon in the first set of games, although many more were designed.
This ties into another interesting story we ran last year. Mew, who’s #151 in the original Pokédex, was actually squeezed into the games at the last minute, after the removal of debug features created 300 bytes of extra space on the cartridge. He was never intended to be revealed to players, and was instead intended for post-launch promotions.
Unfortunately — or fortunately, rather — a bug resulted in Mew appearing in the games of a few players. Word of mouth got around, and led to Nintendo announcing their first “legendary offer” via CoroCoro magazine in Japan, where they would give Mew away through special events. It was this #151 announcement that kickstarted the popularity of the Pokémon games.