Pokemon yellow

Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition
ポケットモンスター ピカチュウ
Pokemon Yellow boxart.jpg
Pokémon Yellow Version's boxart, depicting Pikachu.
Basic info
Platform:Game Boy*
Players:2 players simultaneous
Connectivity:Link cable
Developer:Game Freak
Part of:Generation I main series
Release dates
Japan:September 12, 1998
North America:October 1, 1999
Europe:June 16, 2000
South Korea:N/A
Japanese:Official Site
English:Official Site

Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition (Japanese: ポケットモンスター ピカチュウ Pocket Monsters Pikachu), often known as Pokémon Yellow Version (Japanese: ポケットモンスター  Pocket Monsters Yellow), is the third Pokémon game released worldwide, as a follow up to and expansion onPokémon Red and Blue. In Japan, the game was the fourth Pokémon game released, as a follow up to Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue intended to buy Game Freak time to rework the then-upcoming Generation II games.

Similar to Pokémon Red and Blue, Yellow arrived towards the end of the Game Boy's lifespan. It managed, though, to receive the title of second best-selling non-bundled game for its console, losing only to its predecessors.

Aesthetic changes

Changes from Red, Green, and Blue

  • The front Pokémon sprites have all been updated to resemble how they appear in their then-current Ken Sugimori artwork usually used in promotional images and strategy guides for Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue, as well as some of them resembling how they appear in the anime. The back sprites are the same as the previous games.
  • Some Trainer sprites were also redone. Red and Blue now better resemble their stock art for Generation I, as the Pokémon sprites do. Brock wears an outfit like his anime counterpart's, and Misty's bikini was changed to a shirt and shorts similar to those worn by hers, albeit without suspenders.
  • Cerulean Cave, the game's final dungeon, is redesigned a second time.

Location changes

Gameplay changes

  • Pikachu is the only starter Pokémon the player can have, and travels with the player on-screen, outside of a Poké Ball like Ash's. The rival starts withEevee, and the three normal Kanto starters can be obtained later in the game. No other wild Pikachu can be found in the game.
    • The cry of the starter Pikachu, or any Pikachu with the same OT and ID of the player for that matter, is changed to "Pika!" in battle, or "Pikachu" on the status screen, instead of the original Pikachu cry.
    • The rival will eventually evolve his Eevee (and thus affect which are the other members of his party) depending on the player's actions early in the game.
      • If the player beats the rival at both Oak's Lab and the early optional battle at Route 22, Eevee evolves into Jolteon.
      • If the player loses one of these two battles or passes up the Route 22 battle, Eevee evolves into Flareon.
      • If the player loses at Oak's Lab, and loses or passes up the Route 22 battle, Eevee evolves into Vaporeon.
  • In-game trades are changed to different Pokémon.
  • Level-up and TM compatibility altered slightly.
  • A minimal happiness system is implemented to track how Pikachu feels about the player, and Pikachu will refuse to evolve.
  • Gym Leaders have different teams, some based on those that appear in the anime.
  • Enhanced compatibility with the Game Boy Color is present outside of Japan, providing color palette changes as the player switches locations. The ability to print out Pokédex entries using the Game Boy Printer was also implemented.
  • A majority of glitches were disabled, and many glitch Pokémon were altered because the data forced into a Pokémon template had changed.
  • Surfing Pikachu minigame, Pikachu's Beach, is included. However, to play this the player will have to first teach Pikachu Surf, which requires the use of Pokémon Stadium.
  • The location and availability of some wild Pokémon allows the player to experience the game in a manner similar to the Pokémon television series.
    • In the TV series, Ash catches a Caterpie and a Pidgeotto in Viridian Forest. In this game, Caterpie (but not Weedle) and Pidgeotto are both available in Viridian Forest for the player to catch. This is the only instance in Generation I where a Pidgeotto can be caught at a level earlier than Pidgey would evolve into it.
    • The Pokémon that Team Rocket use (KoffingEkansMeowth and their evolutions) are not available to be caught in the wild. It would be unlikely that Ash would catch these Pokémon in the TV series as they are the primary antagonists.
    • Wild Pikachu and Raichu are not available in this game, as Pikachu is the character's starter Pokémon (furthermore, it is unlikely that Ash Ketchum would catch another Pikachu or a Raichu).

Storyline changes

  • Jessie and James appear and are involved in Team Rocket's scheme, and typically appear before the player battles Giovanni. They also replace the three Team Rocket members in the Pokémon Tower that hold Mr. Fujihostage as well as two Team Rocket Grunts: one close to the exit of Mt. Moon and the other one near the entrance to the President's room at Silph Co. Curiously, they are never referred to by their individual names and share their Trainer class with any other Team Rocket Grunt.

Pokémon unobtainable in Yellow

The following Pokémon are not obtainable in Pokémon Yellow. In order to obtain any of the below Pokémon, they must be traded from one of the paired versions of Generation I which has that Pokémon available, which will be indicated.

Note that "G" indicates a Pokémon that can be caught in the Japanese Green, and thus in the English Blue as well. "B" indicates a Pokémon obtainable in the Japanese Blue.



Unlike other games, Yellow was inspired by the anime, and thus, instead of having a choice between BulbasaurCharmander, and Squirtle, players are forced to start off with a Pikachu that Professor Oak caught on Route 1. With the rival beginning with an Eevee, the player now journeys from Pallet to go through an all-new experience—with no Grass-, Fire-, or Water-types to fall back on until each member of the Kanto starter trio is given to the player later on, about a quarter of the way through the game.

Much like before, players journey across Kanto from their hometown of Pallet, defeating the eight Gym Leaders (Brock and Misty do not join the player, unlike in the anime) and eventually the Elite Four.

Team Rocket battles feature yet another special, anime-based surprise, as Jessie and James show up, along with their Pokémon, EkansKoffing, and Meowth. Beyond these changes, the plot of Yellow is very similar to that of Red, Blue, and Green.


"You've finally been granted your Pokémon Trainer's license, and now you're on your way to becoming the world's greatest Pokémon Trainer! The shockingly-cute Pikachu tags along behind you as you search the enormous world for monsters to train and evolve. Face off against Blastoise's torrential water cannons. Stand strong when facing Pidgeot's stormy Gust. Develop the ultimate Pokémon strategy to defeat the eight Gym Leaders and become the greatest Pokémon Master of all time!"


As well as reprising the ability to allow players to trade Pokémon between two cartridges via a Game Boy link cable, Yellow also debuted a new link battle mode, Colosseum 2. While battling another player's Pokémon team had been possible since the release of Pokémon Red and Green two years before Yellow's release, Yellow introduced several regulations in Colosseum 2 mode. Battle modes introduced include the Pika Cup (for Pokémon between levels 15 to 20 only; their combined level limit is 50), Petit Cup (for Pokémon between levels 15 to 20, heights under 6'8", and weights less than 44 pounds only) and Poké Cup (for Pokémon betweenlevels 50 to 55 only, and the sum of all entered Pokémon's levels cannot exceed 155. Mew is not allowed). These three cups would later become standard cups in Pokémon Stadium.


Like Pokémon Red and Blue, Pokémon Yellow was also well received by the press. Like its predecessors, it received a perfect 10/10 "Masterful" rating from IGN.[1] However, it was criticized as being "just a stopgap to help us wait for the real sequels".[2] Yellow received a slightly lower average score than Pokémon Red and Blue of about 85% on GameRankings. Despite this, it was the site's top rated Game Boy game in the year of its release, 1999.[3]


The Pokémon Yellow Version game cartridge
While this game's title has become widely accepted as simply Pokémon Yellow, its officially recognized name is not entirely certain. On the boxart for most English versions, "Special Pikachu Edition" replaces the series' then-current slogan "Gotta Catch 'em All!," below the Pokémon logo, while "Yellow Version" is at the bottom, near where Red and Blue had theirs. However, "Special Pikachu Edition" is repeated on the box's opening and spine, while the Japanese title is simply Pocket Monsters Pikachu, with no color specified.

Despite this, the instruction manual refers to the game as "the Yellow version of Pokémon", the player has the option of being called Yellow, following the trends of the other versions, and "Yellow Version" can be seen at the game's title screen.


  • The opening of Pokémon Yellow features the least Pokémon out of all main series games, fittingly showing only Pikachu.
  • Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, which implemented the walking Pokémon mechanic that was introduced in this game, were released in Japan exactly 11 years after this game was released in Japan.
  • Pokémon Yellow is the first main series Pokémon game to depict two Trainers (Jessie and James) in a battle sprite.
  • Pokémon Yellow is the only Generation I game in Japanese where a message describing the current progress of a save in course appears, unlike the international versions, where such behavior is present in all games of the generation.
  • Pokémon Yellow is the first game to allow the player to walk into the grass without any Pokémon, though Prof. Oak intervenes after taking two steps into the grass; the second isPokémon Diamond and Pearl and Platinum.
  • If a player uses cheats to obtain another Pikachu and releases the one they started with, the new Pikachu will continue to follow the player as if it were the original. In addition, the new Pikachu will refuse to evolve intoRaichu. This shows that the game recognizes any Pikachu whose original Trainer is the current player as the starter (this is normally fine, as no other Pikachu can be obtained in the game without trading). If one of the new Pikachu is released, the "active" Pikachu will have a disappointed expression for a limited time.
  • Despite being playable on the Game Boy Color, the boxart has the original Game Boy's logo on the front.
  • What determines a 'starter Pikachu' is actually whether it has the same OT and Trainer ID number of the player. If it doesn't, it will not follow the player around and can be evolved using a Thunderstone.
  • The two available starter Pokémon of this game, Pikachu (player) and Eevee (rival), are the only Pokémon introduced prior to Generation V to evolve with a Thunderstone.
  • This is the only game in Generation I where Lickitung and Farfetch'd can be caught in the wild; in Red, Green, and Blue these Pokémon are only available by means of an in-game trade.
  • This is the only game released before Generation III to lack the slogan below the Pokémon logo.

Comparison to Anime

The game is loosely based on the original anime series, but has several differences.

  • Brock does not surrender during the Pewter Gym battle, and does not accompany the player thereafter.
  • Misty is first encountered in the Cerulean Gym. In the anime, she had left the Gym when Ash met her.
  • Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle are acquired from tasks. In the anime, Charmander is rescued from heavy rain, and Squirtle merely follows Ash, and Bulbasaur was caught.
  • Meowth can use Pay Day and does not speak in the game.
  • Bulbasaur and Squirtle are able to evolve in the game.

In other languages

Japan Flag.png Japaneseポケットモンスター ピカチュウ
France Flag.png European FrenchPokémon Version Jaune
Germany Flag.png GermanPokémon Gelbe Edition
Italy Flag.png ItalianPokémon Versione Gialla
Spain Flag.png European SpanishPokémon Edición Amarilla