You probably didn’t notice, but a bunch of Pokémon actually lost fingers when they were redesigned after Red & Blue.
Pokémon has evolved quite a bit over the past few decades. There’s, of course, the numerous new Pokémon (including the 400 or so that didn’t make the cut in Sword & Shield), as well as new features like Z-moves and Gigantimaxing.
However, it turns out that’s not all that’s been evolving. Some of the very first Pokémon ever created have actually changed over the years and you might not have even noticed.
We can thank Dr. Lava for pointing out this gaming detail. In case you’ve never heard of him, Dr. Lava is a Pokémon historian that loves to post Pokémon trivia on Twitter. He’s also got a YouTube channel where he uploads longer Pokémon-based videos that are truly worth a watch.
He’s also portrayed by a weird action figure with an eye-patch who smokes a cigarette. Never mind that and just focus on the Pokémon info.
It turns out that “countless Gen 1 Pokémon had their designs subtly revised long after Gen 1 was already over — probably without you even noticing.” Well, not actually “countless” since there are only 151 Pokémon in the original Red & Blue, but certainly a lot. Dozens maybe.
The four specific examples that Dr. Lava has for us are Golem, Raticate, Haunter, and Poliwhirl. Each of these Pokémon were redesigned after their original debut. While most Pokémon just saw refinements to their overall shape (note Pikachu’s crash diet after gen 1), these four Pokémon lost whole digits. Some more than one.
You can tell in the posted images that Golem went from having four fingers back in the mid-’90s to having just three fingers today. Ditto Hautner and Raticate. Poliwhirl lost three fingers on each hand with the entire limb ending in boxing-style gloves following its redesign.
It’s pretty awful to think of poor Poliwhirl waking up one day without the manual dexterity to even use the gaming system that he was originally created on, but them’s the breaks when you’re a first-gen ‘Mon.
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