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The Truth About Pokemon Yellow's Companion Game

Fans already knew that there were many characters cut from the Pokemon games, but that was really just the tip of the iceberg. Over the years, the Pokemon games have gone through many different iterations during development, which has resulted in lots of content being left on the cutting room floor. However, it now appears that there was an entire Pokemon spin-off that was canceled during the Gen One years of the franchise. 

Dr. Lava is the screen name of a video game historian who specializes in collecting lost and rare Pokemon content. He runs the website Lava's Cut Content, which shows off the tons of lost material from the Pokemon series. While poking around in the source code for Pokemon Yellow and Blue, Dr. Lava found several bits of interesting information regarding scrapped content. There were maps for areas that ended up being dropped or altered, one of which looks like an early version of Viridian City.

Even more interesting, Dr. Lava found references to another game entirely, one titled Pokemon Pink. This is the first hint that we've ever seen that there might have been another title released alongside Pokemon Yellow.

Considering how closely tied the color pink is with the Fairy Pokemon type, this has led to speculation from Dr. Lava that the character's starter Pokemon might have been a Clefairy or a Jigglypuff. Either one would be an interesting option. After all, the Clefairys in Gen One are mainly found in Mt. Moon, which is a rather sizable chunk of the first generation's journey and was featured in the Pokemon anime. Clefairy also had a featured role in the original Pokemon manga, which may have made for some interesting tie-in appeal. 

Then again, Jigglypuff has been a recurring character in the Pokemon anime, often showing up to knock Ash and his friends out with a well-delivered ballad. Considering how much inspiration Pokemon Yellow took from the anime series (including having Pikachu as a traveling companion), it would make sense to likewise shine a spotlight on the anime's biggest diva.

If Pokemon Yellow and Pink were meant to be released side by side, it would have set an interesting precedent for a couple more recent entries in the franchise: Let's Go, Eevee! and Let's Go, Pikachu! These were two games that didn't feature the traditional choice of three starters and sort of sat outside of the mainline Pokemon series, with one starring the adorable little electric mouse itself. Some fans on Twitter have made this connection as well, with one user saying that they felt like Clefairy had been "shafted" by those later games.

For the most part, fans in the comments on Dr. Lava's original post seem to be very intrigued by the possibilities presented by this abandoned game. One user even shared a fan remake they had made themselves. Their version of Pokemon Pink stars the infamous Porygon as the starter Pokemon, which leads one to think about the alternate universe where that was the Pokemon everyone got to begin their journey.

There's another theory regarding the original intentions behind Pokemon Pink: that it was the original planned title for the third Pokemon game, but it was later changed to becoming Pokemon Yellow. The reasoning here is due to a bit of trivia that many people don't know. While Pikachu has gone on to become more or less the adorable fuzzy face of the Pokemon franchise, the original concept was for Clefairy to be the series mascot. It has been alleged that the developers eventually decided that Pikachu had more mass appeal and that the cutesy pink fairy Pokemon just didn't have the same star power.

We may never know the truth behind the references to Pokemon Pink or even how long the game was in development before Game Freak decided to go a different way. As Dr. Lava points out, Nintendo doesn't tend to comment on the authenticity of leaked demos like this, so the odds of us ever getting any kind of official word are slim. 

Dr. Lava writes, "Nintendo and Game Freak will never confirm it. But if Gold & Silver's 1997 demo is real, this is real. And Gold & Silver's 1997 demo is real."

Dr. Lava is referring to a demo that was discovered a few years ago that featured gameplay mechanics and Pokemon that were removed from the final version of Pokemon Gold and Silver. Game Freak has never officially commented on the demo, but it's clear evidence of a game we almost had. Hopefully the search for more Pokemon Pink material will continue, because this is a fascinating look at how differently the franchise could have gotten its start.