In the mid-2000s, passionate gamers began to want to play through one of the most popular games from the previous millennium as quickly as possible: Speedruns of the Blue and Red editions, the first Pokémon generation, rapidly increased in popularity.
While speedrunners could initially be proud of play-through times of just under 2:30 hours, in the years that followed, a real race for ever new optimizations began. Although new editions were always released, especially speedruns of the first edition were still very popular.
The focus was mainly on glitchless speedruns, those that did not exploit any bugs in the game. In 2011, the 2-hour mark was cracked for the first time, around which time the phenomenon took on almost professional traits. Speedrunners were looking for the most effective strategy - anyone looking for one still benefits from the results today.
It turned out that the water Pokémon Squirtle was the most suitable starter, also because Brock was the first gym leader to have stone Pokémon. In addition to Squirtle, which was used in all battles, only Pokémon that were absolutely necessary for the game were initially captured. In order to use Cut, speedrunners who relied on the Blastoise strategy caught Sandshrew and used the Blue Edition instead of the Red Edition for this reason.
Later on, another strategy turned out to be superior: Squirtle still acts as a starter, but after that you catch a male Nidoran to finally let it become Nidoking after two evolutions. Nidoking has strong stats and hardly any weaknesses - the ideal Speedrun Pokémon. To be able to catch a male Nidoran with a higher probability, the Red Edition has been the game of choice ever since.
In addition, all Pokémon are renamed as part of Speedruns: Each name now contains only one letter, so that the written-out texts remain as short as possible. In addition, it's important to take a look at the randomly assigned attributes of the starter Pokémon: If Squirtle's output is weak, the game simply starts over.
From then on, RNG manipulations were added. Before critical points, the game can be saved and reloaded to influence supposedly random circumstances in the game by entering various key commands. The probability of immediately encountering a male Nidoran or the location of the switches in Lt. Surge's Arena - bad luck can now no longer stop speedrunners in the context of such situations.
The race for the world record for the fastest playthrough of the first Pokémon generation still continues. For many years, it seems that the Nidoking strategy is the most effective way to play through the first generation. Currently, the fastest glitchless speedrunners play through the red edition in about 1:45 hours.