Pokémon is officially over two decades old now, with the original Game Boy games launching in Japan in February 1996. Since that time, the brand has endured and thanks to more recent releases like Pokémon Go and Pokémon Sun and Moon, is as popular as ever. With over 800 different Pokémon spread out over seven different generations, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with all the different monsters out there to catch and train. However, one thing that does remain clear is that the first generation is still the best or at the very least the most beloved, as many of the first 151 Pokémon are still some of the franchise’s most popular to this day.
In celebration of Pokémon 21st anniversary this year, we’re ranking the 21 best Pokémon from the first generation. You can find our picks below and be sure to sound off in the comments with your own personal favorites (and let us know if we missed any).
Just because Bulbasaur was the least popular first generation starter doesn’t mean he’s not a great Pokémon in his own right. Come to think of it, Grass-type Pokémon tend to get overlooked in favor of pretty much anything that isn’t a Pidgey or Rattata, which makes Bulbasaur’s placement on this list especially meaningful, as he’s arguably the best of his type that you would actually want to have in your possession. Part of the reason for that is that despite the huge gulf in popularity between him and his fellow starters Squirtle and Charmander, Bulbasaur is still a solid pick, especially in the early stages of Pokémon Red and Blue. It also helps that Bulbasaur has the cuteness factor going for him, as you don’t see very many dinosaur/plant hybrids that look this good.
Unfortunately, unlike Charamander and Squirtle, who both get cooler with each evolution, Bulbasuar’s later forms Ivysaur and especially Venusaur are just plain ugly from a design standpoint and are go a long way in helping to explain why so many people chose other starters over Bulbasaur. Still, we’ll always love the little guy … even if we never did pick him.