In our Google Trends Deep Dives series, we will be looking at popular VS arguments and seeing what the free data analytics website can tell us about the search trends for each opposing topic over time. Perhaps the one argument I’ve never gotten around to actually writing about is figuring out which of Pokemon Red and Blue, the first non-Japan releases of Pokemon, are actually the most popular. Rather than just write another Pokemon Red VS Blue article, I decided instead to bring you along for the ride in this preliminary SEO research.
When you search this topic, Red seems to take the lead among popular opinion. After all, Pokemon Red and Blue version exclusives tend to be overwhelmingly in favor of Red, thanks to Arcanine being a much stronger Pokemon in terms of base stats to Ninetales. I’ve always preferred Vileplume to Victreebel, and it seems most fans agree on that basis. Arbok is significantly more powerful than Sandslash, although the latter would gain more favor over time. The same is almost true with Scyther and Pinsir, although Scyther has become more popular than its Blue Bug-type counterpart over time. The only Blue exclusive I feel is vastly better, and the Google Search Trends illustrate this beautifully, is Persian over Primeape. Magmar and Electabuzz are a wash.
So, judging by just the strength of each version’s exclusives, one would assume that Pokemon Red would be more popular. Considering that it was my first Pokemon version, that would make sense to me. Therefore, we expect when we do a deep dive into the search trends for these two Pokemon versions, we have a good idea of which will come out on top.
But, when you actually take a look at Google Trends, and compare Pokemon Blue to Pokemon Red, the search traffic trends are staggeringly different over just 12 months.
Now, let’s take a look at going back to 2004, which is far back as Google Trends goes.
The gap isn’t quite as crazy, but look at those massive spikes! The July 2016 spike is easily explained; that’s when Pokemon GO came out on mobile, and it featured only Pokemon from Red and Blue. September 2004 makes lots of sense because that’s when the Fire Red and Leaf Green remakes for Game Boy Advanced were released.
Now, when it comes to June 2007, Diamond and Pearl had been out for a few months. What I can find for that month is that the Pokemon Diamond and Pearl anime episodes came to Cartoon Network. That same network was also airing Pokemon Indigo League, the first season of the Pokemon anime, as well. So, this spike in traffic I can’t as easily explain. Also, March 2014 brought Pokemon Battle Trozei, but I can’t see how that would explain another spike for Red and Blue.
In any case, it’s interesting to see that while Pokemon Red definitely has been more popular in search than Pokemon Blue, the jump of the Red version during search volume spikes is incredibly fascinating. One possible explanation is that many people were searching “Pokemon Red and Blue” which would immediately translate to giving “Pokemon Red” the advantage.
The reason I love delving into this free, public data from Google Trends is that you can actually tell a story with it. These spikes mean that there was some appreciable new nostalgia for the original Pokemon games. This kind of makes sense, as every time a new Pokemon version was released, I was all over it, only holding off with Generation 8 due to financial reasons until 2020.
Perhaps the one thing I truly have to give to Pokemon Red and Blue are that the Legendaries: Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos, Mewtwo, and Mew, are not version-exclusives. Granted, Mew you really can only get through a glitch, but the glitches of Red and Blue are part of their charm; they don’t detract from the enjoyment of the game.
So, yes, in Pokemon Red VS Blue, Red wins by a landslide. I plan on delving into some VS series for these Pokemon series exclusives at a later date as a part of my Pokemon Analysis content series.
What Google Trends Deep Dives would you like to see us do in the future?