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Are the Virtual Console versions of Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow worth buying on the 3DS eShop?

Pokemon Red

As part of the franchise’s 20th anniversary, Nintendo will be making the first generation of mainline games available for download on the Nintendo 3DS family of platforms. So are the Virtual Console versions of Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue and Pokemon Yellow worth buying on the eShop? Before you make up your mind, let’s examine a few factors that could affect you purchase.


Despite selling millions of copies, the original cartridge releases of Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow can still fetch a pretty penny on reseller sites such as eBay. Fortunately, the games are much cheaper on the eShop. You can check out the pricing for the three games with the following links on Amazon: Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue and Pokemon Yellow.

Original Games

The core gameplay of Pokemon hasn’t really changed that much over the years. Just like the newer iterations, you play as a Pokemon Trainer trying to work his way up to becoming Pokemon Champion. You do so by capturing pocket monsters and training them to fight other trainers, including Gym Leaders and the Elite Four. There are also subplots to deal with along the way (in this case, dealing with Team Rocket and your rival).

While Red, Blue and Yellow are still great games, its gameplay is obviously not as streamlined as the later installments. Not to mention that the new releases also have more features (such as online multiplayer, Pokemon-Amie, added stats and the ever growing Pokedex).

With that said, the new 3DS eShop versions are still very fun and comes with more than enough content to justify its cheap price tags, even if you have already played the original cartridge releases. This is especially true if you are a fan of the first season of the Pokemon television show.Pokemon Blue

New Additions and Subtractions in the Virtual Console Versions

Of course, Nintendo had to make several changes to release Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue and Pokemon Yellow on the Nintendo 3DS. The first is that gamers will now have to use a wireless connection, instead of a wired cable, to trade pocket monsters and battle. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that you can play online as you can only connect to another Nintendo 3DS locally within you system’s range.

The other limitation is that you can only trade Pokemons between the Virtual Console versions of Red, Blue and Yellow. This is because the 3DS can’t connect to a Game Boy or Game Boy Advance. Not to mention that the second-generation of games (Gold, Silver and Crystal), which originally support trading with the first generation, has not yet been announced for the 3DS Virtual Console.

It is currently unknown if any of the glitches found in the original versions (such as MissingNo, Mew and item duplication) will remain intact in the eShop releases. With that said, Nintendo normally does not alter the code when it comes to Virtual Console games.

Differences Between Red, Blue and Yellow

If you decide to only want to purchase one of the three games, there are some differences that you may want to consider as well. Most of which is the Pokedex as some pocket monsters can only be caught in a certain version. This is done to encourage trading between players, which also has a few other benefits (some Pokemons can only evolve after being traded, for example).

In Pokemon Red, you won’t be able to capture the following: Bellsprout, Magmar, Meowth, Ninetales, Persian, Pinsir, Sandshrew, Sandslash, Victreebel, Vulpix and Weepinbell.

With Pokemon Blue, you won’t be able to acquire the subsequent monsters without trading: Arbok, Arcanine, Ekans, Electabuzz, Gloom, Growlithe, Mankey, Oddish, Primeape, Scyther and Vileplume.

Last but not least, you are locked out of capturing the following in Pokemon Yellow: Arbok, Beedrill, Ekans, Electabuzz, Jynx, Kakuna, Koffing, Magmar, Meowth, Persian, Raichu, Weedle and Weezing.

While Red and Blue are the same games with slightly different rosters of catchable pocket monsters, Pokemon Yellow does have some changes as it came out later than the other two. Since it is based on the anime, you will automatically start out with a Pikachu as your starter Pokemon as it will follow you around during exploration. There are also some other gameplay, story and visual tweaks that make this version stand out against Red and Blue.Pokemon Yellow


Although not as deep or streamlined as the current mainline Pokemon games, Red, Blue and Yellow are still great games by today’s standards. If you can only buy one, we recommend getting the Yellow version, especially if you enjoy the animated show.

With that said, the Virtual Console versions are cheap enough that buying all three shouldn’t be too much of a commitment, especially if you have more than one 3DS and are planning on capturing all of the original 151 pocket monsters.

The Virtual Console versions of Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue and Pokemon Yellow will be released in the North American eShop on the 27th of February. You can preorder the titles on Amazon with the following pages: Red, Blue and Yellow.