Pokémon Day is right around the corner, and here at The Game Crater, we’re all ecstatic! We love Pokémon and can’t wait to hear about all the juicy, upcoming news! But until the 27th rolls around (it can’t come quick enough), we decided that the best way to celebrate Pokémon and all its glory is to compile a list of the best starter Pokémon in town. Several writers have contributed to this article, each one with their own impassioned piece about their all-time favourite starter Pokémon. This is a mix of several generations, so there’s bound to be some good advice here for the budding trainer!
Bulbasaur – Leon
My favourite starter pokemon is Bulbasaur. With his agility, higher defence and strong grass attacks, he is the perfect choice for the trainer who uses a tanking strategy. Bulbasaur can take a beating and use moves like Drain to get back up to 50% of the HP he just smacked out of his opponent. Not to mention the leafy boi is a cute little bugger that is fiercely loyal and protective. I believe that Bulbasaur has the potential to be a Pokémon that you never have to evolve as he can learn a lot of highly effective moves from TM’s. I don’t think he needs to become Ivysaur or Venusaur to be a super-effective battler. Did I mention that he’s cute too? I think I did.
Charmander – Josh
My favourite starter is Charmander. For me, it goes back to as a kid watching the anime and seeing him as an outcast and wanting to be accepted, creating that feeling of resilience and wanting to show people I am more than my circumstances might show. That and he’s just really cute! He can make a really good addition to a roster of fighters. Also, Charmander was the first Pokemon card that I ever got as a kid and I still have that card now over 20 years later.
Charmander – Shea
My favourite starter easily has to be Charmander. Pokémon Leaf Green was my introduction to the series and I still remember it being such a simple choice. Charizard is easily up there with Pikachu as the mascot of Pokémon. There’s a reason why it’s available in practically every game. Charmander has always been my number one when it comes to starters and is also one of the best from the anime. Between looking awesome and being powerful in the game it’s the perfect Pokémon.
Totodile – Jared Lord
Usually, when I first start playing a Pokémon game, I wind up agonizing over which starter to pick. I’m never quite sure which one will fit my playstyle and more than one of them will usually appeal to me aesthetically. While I’m sure I’ll use all of them eventually, picking the first one is always a heavy decision for me. Sure, in the grand scheme of things it’s not that important, but it can have a huge impact on my first experiences of a generation of Pokémon. It is very rare that I look at a new generation of starters and immediately go – “That’s my ‘mon.”
When my friends and I got those first glimpses of Gold and Silver on AOL and in Nintendo Power, however, I immediately knew who I was starting with. One glimpse at Totodile’s happy-go-lucky grin, and I immediately went – “That one is going to be my buddy.” And when the remakes of these games came out, I definitely looked to my old friend for my new first outing in the Johto region. I have a lot of fond memories of Totodile, and he remains one of my favourites to this day.
Totodile – Gem
Totodile is my favourite because of watching the anime growing up, Totodile was always hyper and happy and it really resonated with me. PokémonSilver was also the first proper Pokémon game that I got into, and Totodile was my first choice then! That has stuck with me ever since.
Chikorita – Jared Lord
I remember when Gold and Silver first came out, the hype among my friends about finally getting new Pokémon. And much like Red and Blue, most of my friend group gravitated towards the fire type starter, Cyndaquil. I personally went for Totodile. The one that pretty much no one I knew went for, however, was Chikorita. All of us thought that the little grass-type bean was “too girly”, and all of us being red-blooded American males, none of us really wanted to use it.
But, as the years have passed, something about Chikorita has grown on me. Intellectually, I realize that in terms of stats and moves, Chikorita is far from the optimal starter. From a competitive standpoint, it is often considered to be among the worst starters in the franchise. Nevertheless, something appeals to be about this sassy little grass type, and it’s frequently one I come back to again and again whenever I go on my journeys through the Johto region.
Chikorita – Heather Callanan
Often the cuteness and the final form of a Pokémon is what draws me in overall compared to say how useful they are in battle. For example, there was Charmander who I gravitated towards at the beginning of Red and Blue, as there weren’t a lot of dragons and the few there were didn’t impress me. Charizard was the closest early on so I naturally went with him.
When I went to Gold and Silver, I thought Chikorita was the most adorable out of the three starters. On top of that, she was the only female out of the bunch and after having only the NidoKing/Nidoqueen variant in the original games, having a female Pokémon that kicked ass and looked cool drew me to her. I was also impressed by her personality in the anime where she was super tough and unwilling to go down or be captured.
Now, I like all the Johto starters, but Chikorita was my first and the one I most identify with to the point where Pokémon Mystery Dungeon assigned me to her right away when I took the quiz. So I guess in a way she’s my favourite.
Treecko -Jared Lord
Hoenn is probably the region I have the vaguest memories of for one simple reason: the last time I played in this region was on the Game Boy Advance! But even though I haven’t really played these games in over a decade, I do still consider one of the starters from this region to be one of my favourites. And that is Treecko.
I remember first seeing Treecko and thinking to myself – “Finally, a grass type with the same reptilian, draconic aesthetic that Charmander and Totodile have!” And the Pokémon itself just radiated a “devil may care” attitude that immediately appealed to me. This speedy, nature fueled cowboy of a gecko is definitely one of my favourites. And Sceptile’s Mega-evolution gaining Dragon-type certainly doesn’t hurt anything either.
Treecko – Jayden Hellyar
As a kid in Australia, I grew up on Channel 10’s wacky Toasted TV. This program gave Australians access to Yu-Gi-Oh, Dragon Ball, and, most importantly, Pokémon. I completely fell in love with the anime, watching it every day before school. Eventually, I managed to get a hold of a game boy and Pokémon Emerald, and that’s when my love for Pokémon grew significantly.
Being situated on an isolated island, it took a while for the latest Pokémon episodes to reach Australia, so I picked my starter Pokémon blind. I immediately fell in with Treecko and he was my number one for my whole playthrough. I played the game the same way everyone does the first time; level up one Pokémon and try to beat the whole game with it.
I finally managed to defeat the elite four after countless attempts with my level 75 Sceptile. In the anime, Ash also used a Sceptile and it only solidified my love for the Gen 3 Grass starter.
Chimchar – Jared Lord
There’s a big stretch of the franchise’s history where the Fire Type starters have kind of a bad rap. For three generations in a row, the fire type starter’s final form wound up being a dual-type Fire/Fighting blend. Fans got tired of it really quickly, and I don’t entirely blame them. Among most of the fans, the one of these that is most tolerated is Hoenn’s Torchic, for being the first of this stretch. And yeah, Torchic turns into Blaziken, which is a cool Pokémon.
But something about Chimchar appeals to me just a little bit more. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s built to be a swift glass cannon. Or perhaps it’s the whole Son Wukong aesthetic it’s got going on. Maybe I just like tricky monkeys. Whatever it is, Chimchar has a very special place in my heart in the franchise.
Chimchar – Bhromor
I love Chimchar because Pokémon Diamond on the DS was the first one I played. I remember beating what is undoubtedly the hardest elite four-member, Cynthia, with my level 100 Infernape just by using cut! Like most Pokémon players, I remember my first playthrough very fondly. I was constantly getting lost on my way to the rock gym, bumbling my way through wild Pokémon after wild Pokémon. I genuinely believed I had to fight them all! Oh, the follies of youth! Not understanding how EXP distribution worked, I got my trusty Chimchar to do all the work. Inevitably he reached level 16 and evolved to the absolute beast that is Monferno. After finally finding the rock gym, I rustled over to the gym-leader and spammed the living-daylights out of mach punch! Chimchar was an absolute champion from the moment I got him, and I’ll always remember him fondly.
Turtwig – Tom Wilson
I’ve played Pokémon for almost my entire life. It’s hard to even imagine a time where Pokémon wasn’t the go-to game for car journeys. When Diamond and Pearl rolled around, I was just a bairn, and yet I still remember them very fondly. That’s predominantly because of Turtwig, the first starter Pokémon that I truly fell in love with. Whether it’s the sapling sprouting from their head, or the childlike grin plastered across their face, I’m not entirely sure. But from the moment I saw Turtwig, I knew we’d be fast friends. Even when they grew into a tremendous, tree-bearing turtle, Turtwig was still my little guy at heart. What a cutie.
Piplup – Tom Steel
As a Pokémon fan since the very beginning, I can honestly say that there are so many candidates for my favourite starter, across all generations. However, considering the ever-present rumours of late regarding Diamond and Pearl remakes, it seems fitting to choose my favourite from Sinnoh: Piplup. Not only is Piplup an adorable penguin but it eventually evolves into Empoleon, which can become a powerhouse in the late-game of gen 4. This is also the only starter line to give us a steel-type, which is by far my favourite and most-used type in the Pokémon games.
Fennekin – Jared Lord
I’ve been around Dungeons and Dragons for even longer than I’ve been around Pokémon. So when fans started talking about how the Kalos starters were going to be loosely inspired by some of the standard DND classes (Fighter, Mage, Thief), that definitely got my attention. And while Kalos is not necessarily my favourite region, it delivered one of my favourite Pokémon in the form of Fennekin.
While I’ve long been a player of DND, I wouldn’t say I’m particularly good at it. And one of my weak points is that I tend to be bad at playing spellcasters in general. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE spellcasters, and want to be good at them. It just requires a certain way of thinking that I’m apparently not wired for. Pokémon giving me the chance to use a Fox Wizard is thus combining two dreams: becoming a Pokémon Master, and finally successfully playing a wizard in something.
What are some of your favourite starter Pokémon? Are you excited about the upcoming Pokémon Day? Let us know down in the comments below!