Anniversary: Pokémon FireRed And LeafGreen Are 20 Years Old Today

Image: Gemma Smith / Nintendo Life

Get your appropriate ageing GIF at the ready (Matt Damon in Saving Private Ryan, the Tenth Doctor, that Titanic one — the choice is yours) because we have to break it to you that Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen are now 20 years old.

While we let that sink in, let’s run through some facts. Released on the Game Boy Advance on 29th January 2004 in Japan (the games would be released in September and October in North America and Europe respectively), FireRed and LeafGreen saw The Pokémon Company turn to the past for the first time in the series, remaking Gen I’s Pokémon Red and Blue in a similar style that Trainers had seen in Gen III’s Ruby and Sapphire two years prior.

Aside from a graphical update, FireRed and LeafGreen also introduced a handful of new features to keep the remakes up with the times. Additions included the appearance of Dark- and Steel-Types, new attacks and abilities and some fresh UI tweaks. The games also expanded on the Gen I stories, introducing the Sevii Islands for even more catching after you first defeat the Elite Four.

And who can forget the unlockable trade options with the game’s Gen III contemporaries? Marking the series debut of the GBA Wireless Adapter, many of us put in the hours to attempt to catch ’em all like never before. Whether the laggy link battles, fiddly set-ups and clunky trades were worth it is a question for another time, but in 2004, the world of Pokémon had never felt bigger.

Neither game has graced a Virtual Console in the 20 years since their release, making them a somewhat tricky catch today. We might be wishing on a Starmie here, but our fingers are still crossed that they will make their way over to the Nintendo Switch Online GBA library one day… please…

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