I Choose You! The Best First-Gen Pokémon

Pokémon is back in the news cycle again with a new game. Actually, two new games!

Pokémon Sword and Shield are the latest additions to the legend that is Pokémon and the fast-growing Nintendo Switch catalog. I know I’m excited. And I’m not alone. Millions around the world are relishing in another opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of Pokémon.

Such a moment calls for a celebration. As such, we’re going to enter the Pokémon Hall of Fame and re-live the glory days. That’s right, we’re going back to the first generation.

There are 151 Pokémon in all, but 15 of them rise above the rest. These are the best first-gen Pokémon ever.

15. Pikachu

Pikachu may not be the most powerful Pokémon, but the lovable face of the Pokémon franchise has some serious clout everywhere else. Pikachu is an electric-type Pokémon that became synonymous for accompanying Ash Ketchum, the main character of the TV series, on his adventures.


Pikachu is often the first Pokémon that comes to mind for most people — and that’s no accident. Pokémon is in the merchandise business after all and Pikachu merchandise sells.

small1 / Shutterstock

14. Squirtle

What’s not to love about the lovable, turtle-esque water Pokémon Squirtle?

If you’ve been a fan of the series for long enough, then no doubt you’ve enjoyed adventures with this little guy. In the original Pokémon games and its remakes, players get the option to start with him.

Though he may be adorable at first, don’t get it twisted. Squirtle’s larger and stronger late-stage evolutions make this guy an important component of every Pokémon Trainer’s arsenal.

Jon Harris / YouTube

13. Charmander

Charmander is adorable much in the same way that Elmo is adorable. Except, you know, Charmander sets things on fire.

Like Squirtle, this cute little pyromaniac is also a starter Pokémon for the original games in the franchise. Despite Charmander’s status as a starter Pokémon, it is more well-known for starring in episode 11 of the TV series. In this episode, Ash Ketchum and friends discover an injured Charmander and nurse it back to health.

Skye / YouTube

12. Bulbasaur

Bulbasaur is the third choice for most people when choosing a starter during Pokémon’s first-generation video games. It’s not that Bulbasaur isn’t powerful or adorable. It’s just Charmander and Squirtle command more favor amongst fans.

Bulbasaur is a grass/poison type Pokémon that looks like a bear cub with a tulip bloom strapped on its back. It may seem unassuming at first, but as it evolves, it Bulbasaur becomes one of the strongest Pokémon in the game.

Beanie Draws / YouTube

11. Dragonite

Dragonite is far from a household name, but this small winged, big-bellied dragon is as powerful as they come. Dragonite is the final evolved form of Dratini and Dragonair.

Everybody’s favorite orange dragon plays a prominent role in Pokémon GO. After two years, Dragonite remains one of the most powerful Pokémon available in GO.

The Official Pokémon YouTube channel / YouTube

10. Gyarados

The name Gyarados may invoke memories of lemony Greek cuisine. But take my word for it, you won’t want to take a bite out of this guy.

Gyarados is a water/flying Pokémon that looks a lot like what I’d imagine the Loch Ness Monster would look like. This powerful Pokémon is the fully evolved version of the rather useless Magikarp.

Square Box Photos / Shutterstock

9. Gengar

Known as the Shadow Pokémon, Gengar is a ghost/poison type. In fact, Gengar is one of the first Pokémon that gamers are introduced to, as it appears in the opening video of Red and Blue.

This dark purple, bipedal Pokémon is the final evolution of Ghastly and Haunter. In the video game, it has the rare distinction of being one of the few Pokémon that evolves when traded.

The Official Pokémon YouTube channel / YouTube

8. Mew

The origin of this genderless, pink, bipedal Pokémon remains one of the series greatest unexplained mysteries. Mew doesn’t evolve into or from any other Pokémon. It can fly, it can swim, and it enjoys the unique ability to learn every technical machine, hidden machine, and move tutor move in the game. Plus, Mew played an important role in the creation of an even more important Pokémon (who we may or may not discuss later).

So, what makes Mew so great? I guess people are just suckers for the unexplainable.

888poke / YouTube

7. Snorlax

Snorlax isn’t the strongest Pokémon in Kanto and he’s probably not the most useful either. But, for many a Pokémon fan, Snorlax is the most relatable.

Snorlax is famous for sleeping in the most inconvenient places. In many of the Pokémon RPGs, you can find a sleeping Snorlax blocking the road to a new city. In order to wake him, you usually need to play him a tune from your Poké Flute.

The Official Pokémon YouTube channel / YouTube

6. Articuno

I still remember the pure unbridled extasy of catching my very first Articuno in the original Pokémon games. This majestic ice Pokémon was incredibly difficult to catch. All the more reason to go get one of my own!

Articuno is one of three legendary birds available in the Kanto region. As such, it’s big, rare, and incredibly powerful. It can freeze water vapor to create snow and relies on its world-beating ice attacks to take out all that stand in its way.

Mixeli / YouTube

5. Rhydon

Part rhinoceros, part dinosaur, Rhydon is a rock/ground type Pokémon that can deal some serious damage. The large, bipedal beast can topple buildings with just a sweeping blow from its tail and shatter diamonds with its devastating horn.

Dwelling in rough terrain, this monster can even pass through streams of magma unscathed. It’s no wonder that Rhydons are so coveted.

PianoError / YouTube

4. Venusaur

While Bulbasaur may be the clear, third-best option for a starter Pokémon in the first generation, don’t get it twisted. Bulbasaur’s final evolution, the Seed Pokémon Venusaur, can do some serious damage.

Venusaur is the international mascot for Pokémon Green and Pokémon LeafGreen and has enjoyed more than a few appearances on the TV show.

The Official Pokémon YouTube channel / YouTube

3. Blastoise

Squirtle is no joke. Case in point, Blastoise.

Blastoise is the final evolution of the spunky turtle Pokémon highlighted earlier. Blastoise uses water cannons that poke out of his shell to blast enemies into submission. Much like Venusaur, this Pokémon is the mascot for Pokémon Blue.

It’s safe to say that if you plan on being a successful Pokémon trainer, owning a Blastoise is a must.

The Official Pokémon YouTube channel / YouTube

2. Mewtwo

Serious fans of Pokémon’s first-gen roster revere Mewtwo. Mewtwo is a legendary Pokémon that relies on its staggeringly powerful psychic abilities to crush all that stand in its way.

As a fan of the franchise, I always loved Mewtwo’s backstory. Using cells from Mew, Mewtwo was developed in a lab for further experimentation. Don’t let the name fool you, there’s only one Mewtwo — and it’s a real bugger to catch.

DidYouKnowGaming? / YouTube

1. Charizard

A flying, fire breathing dragon? Sign me up.

Charizard is without a doubt, the best first-gen Pokémon. Heck, you could make the case that Charizard is the best Pokémon in the history of the brand. Powerful, cool-looking, and instrumental to the various video game and TV show storylines.

Plus, a first edition Charizard trading card is one of the most sought-after collectibles in the world.

Super Smash Bros. / YouTube

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