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37 first-gen Pokemon that should be wiped from existence

It’s time to make some tough choices

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Russ Frushtick is the director of special projects, and he has been covering the world of video games and technology for over 15 years. He co-founded Polygon in 2012.

Let me start by saying that I enjoy Pokémon. You should know that upfront. But like all things I enjoy, I can also appreciate ways in which they can be improved — for example, by deleting these 37 original Pokémon from existence. I’m talking Back to the Future, fading Polaroid-style removal, like they never existed in the first place.

I realize some people might disagree with these harsh methods. Those people are wrong. Let’s begin.


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Charmelon is an adolescent jerk that no one wants. No one dreams of having a Charmeleon. They suffer through Charmeleon to get to Charizard, or they just stick with adorable Charmander.


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See: Charmeleon.

(You’ll note that Ivysaur is not on this list. That is intentional. He offers a nice middle-ground between super-cute Bulbasaur and beast-mode Venusaur. He is like coffee with just the right amount of milk. Keep it up, Ivysaur.)


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Of the two early-game bug Pokémon, there’s a clear winner, and it’s Caterpie. When you look into Caterpie’s soulless black eyes, you find a blank slate, ready and willing to accept your love and compassion. With Weedle, you just see an asshole with a spike on its head. Pass.


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Give me something new, Pidgeot. According to the Pokédex, Pidgey is a foot tall, Pidgeotto is three feet tall, and Pidgeot is four feet tall. If Pidgeot was a giant goddamn monster bird, I’d say, sure, it sets itself apart. But no, Pidgeot is just a Pidgeotto wearing lifts. What does that bring to the table? Nothing.


The Pokemon Company

Dude’s a rat. And not even a nice, French rat who can cook. He’s all Black Plague’d out with his teeth and stuff. Who wants that?

(Raticate is a giant goddamn monster rat, so he gets a pass.)

Nidoran, et al.

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I’m gonna go ahead and just delete this whole crew. They’re poison rabbits, and not even cute poison rabbits. And what’s with the bizarre gendering of them and no one else in the game? Y’all need to chill, Nidos.


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Obvious. We can move on.


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I like Psyduck a whole heck of a lot. To be perfectly honest, if Golduck was just a giant Psyduck, I’d be all over it. (See: Raichu). Instead, he looks like the sorta thing you’d step on in the middle of the night and eviscerate the sole of your foot. He’s awful at every turn, losing all of Psyduck’s headache-y charm.


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Poliwhirl, the progenitor to Poliwrath, is a wide-eyed idealist. He grabs onto the future with both gloved hands and refuses to let go. Poliwrath, on the other hand, is angry at the world. Look at his eyelids. He’s permanently aggravated. He’s like that guy at the party who’s still complaining about the Lost finale. Who wants that popping out of a Poké Ball every two seconds?

Machoke and Machamp

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The fact that they needed to put underwear on both of these Pokémon to keep them from being horrifying is clear evidence that they should have never existed in the first place.


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Bellspout kicks things off with an adorable innocence, and Weepinbell, despite having its heart broken once or twice, is still going out there, day after day, doing its thing. Victreebel is a man-sized horrorshow that belongs in a fire. How many children has that dark maw ingested? Countless. It must be stopped.

Graveller & Golem

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There’s just one Rockman-esque Pokémon I need in my life, and that’s Geodude. He’s a ... holy crap, he’s a geode. I just put that together. Anyway, Graveller and Golem just get worse as they progress, making you wish you had stopped that evolution in its tracks. Stick with Geodude; he’s all the dude you need.


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I can see wanting some weird robotic Pokémon to mix things up. There’s actually a lot of room to grow with Magnemite. Maybe he builds legs and arms for himself and a ray gun blaster on his head or something? No, he just finds two more of them, and they all stick together. Sorry, but you are not a new Pokémon. You are just three of Magnemite.

(Arguably, you could say the same thing about Dugtrio, but they are cute with their oval noses and stuff so they can continue to exist.)


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We only need one puke-shaped Pokémon, thank you very much. (For the record, the other one is Grimer. Ditto is a snot-shaped Pokémon.)


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This was a tough one. Gengar might be my favorite Pokémon of all time, so to ditch his origin story seems harsh, but Gastly just doesn’t bring enough to the table. Ghost Pokémon are about pranks and messing with people. You need more than just a face for that. All Gastly can do is float through walls and make faces. It’s just not enough, Gastly. If science can find a way to skip right to Haunter, we should go for it.

[Ed. note:]

Just sayin’. — Allegra.


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There aren’t many Pokémon that I would eat, but Kingler is def up there. Cooked in some nice saltwater with just a hint of butter, man, that giant claw would be amazing. Krabby, on the other hand, is too small and puny to get any decent meat from. And without the upside of great crabmeat, what’s the point of crabs?

Voltorb and Electrode

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Oh yeah, just what I wanted, a Pokémon that looks exactly like a Poké Ball. Oh wait, you’re telling me it explodes at will? How is this not a major security risk? You’d have to check every single Poké Ball coming into Pokémon Stadium. It would take forever.


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Y’all are just a bunch of eggs. You’re nothing. Call me once you’re a thing.


The Pokemon Company

The dichotomy of Cubone is what makes him work. On the one hand, he’s a cute dino. On the other hand, he’s canonically wearing his mother’s skull on his head. By turning him into a more badass-looking Pokémon with Marowak, he suddenly loses that dichotomy. Of course Marowak’s wearing his mother’s skull on his head; he’s a total dick. No one’s surprised. It’s just excessive.

Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan

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I actually have no preference on which gets torched. It’s really up to you guys. But it has to be one of them, Sophie’s Choice-style.


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I have no idea what Tangela is hiding under those vines. It could be fine, or it could be full-body Clown Posse tattoos. There’s no way to know, and I’m not going to take that risk.


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Falling into the category of “Way Too Human Looking to be Locked in a Ball Forever,” Jynx is just problematic at every turn. Recent additions to Jynx’s evolution cycle have only confirmed this, as it ranges from adorable human-looking toddler to adult lady. Not cool, Game Freak.

Drowzee and Hypno

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It’s important to note that Jigglypuff never intends to put anyone to sleep. She sings, and her song, much to her chagrin, knocks people out. So she gets rightfully pissed and draws on their faces. Drowzee and Hypno, on the other hand, are actively trying to put people to sleep, whereupon they, wait for it, EAT THEIR DREAMS. Here’s a passage from the excellent Bulbapedia on Drowzee’s technique: “It eats dreams through the victim’s nose, so it is said that Drowzee is standing over a person’s pillow if their nose itches while they are asleep.” Jesus Christ.

Electabuzz and Magmar

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Both of these guys need underwear.


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Magikarp is my kinda fish. It does fish things. It swims, it flops around on land, it splashes people. It’s not a fighter. It’s just Magikarp. Which begs the question of how that sweet little fish boy becomes the sea demon that is Gyarados.

Just imagine for a second how amazing it would be if there were no Gyarados. You’d find a Magikarp in the game and painstakingly level it up, assuming that, of course, it’ll be worth the effort. Sure, it does nothing now, but certainly at some point something amazing will happen. Months go by. And years. And it’s still a fish. Because that’s just how fish are. You’re born a fish, you die a fish. Deal with it.


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A bull with three tails does not count as a mystical fighting creature from another land. It’s just a bull with three tails. Too lazy. It’s gotta go.


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I don’t know, man.


The Pokemon Company

Yes, I’m aware that it’s one of the very few legendary Pokémon, but this 2011 Reddit post confirms what we’ve all been thinking: Take away the fire, and Moltres is a rubber chicken. There’s nothing legendary about a rubber chicken dipped in lighter fluid and tossed into the sky.

To the 126 original Pokémon remaining: carry on.

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