Pokémon Diploma of Diplomas

Strategies: Generation I

In Generation I, receiving the Diploma requires owning 150 species of Pokémon. For the purpose of the Pokémon Diploma of Diplomas project, Generation I includes only Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow, and playing all three games in order to obtain the Diploma in all three requires a little bit of planning.

In this post, I will lay out my plan for getting the Diploma in the three Generation I games.

Version exclusives

Red and Blue are “paired versions”, meaning that each version contains exclusive Pokémon, but all the Pokémon required to complete the Pokédex are available in the two games.

Yellow is the “upper version” or the “third version” and contains no exclusive Pokémon. However, it will still be very useful for assembling a Pokédex, particularly when it comes to evolutions and mutual exclusives (detailed in the next section).

There are 3 Pokémon obtainable only in Red:

There are 8 Pokémon obtainable in Red and Yellow but not Blue:

There are 3 Pokémon obtainable only in Blue:

There are 8 Pokémon obtainable in Blue and Yellow but not Red:

There are 7 Pokémon obtainable in Red and Blue but not Yellow:

Mutual exclusives

Mutually-exclusive Pokémon refer to sets of Pokémon that are each obtainable in a single version of the Pokémon games, but where obtaining one of the Pokémon in the set precludes obtaining the others.

That sounds more complicated than it really is. The easiest way to understand this is to think about the Starter Pokémon: you can only choose one Starter Pokémon. Once you’ve chosen your starter, the other two Starter Pokémon become unobtainable without trading. This means that I will have to plan which mutually exclusive Pokémon to pick up at various stages of each game, in order to ensure that I have full coverage of the Generation I Pokédex.

In Red and Blue, there are four types of mutually exclusive Pokémon:

I’ll go over each of these categories separately.

Starter Pokémon

In Red, I chose to start with Charmander. Red was the version I played as a kid and Charmander was the Pokémon I chose, so it’s a no-brainer. That means that I will need some way to get the Squirtle and Bulbasaur families into the Red game.

In Blue, I plan to start with Squirtle. Because Squirtle is blue. (And also because Blastoise is the version mascot for Pokémon Blue, which I’m sure has nothing to do with the fact that Blastoise is blue.) That means I will need to get the Charmander and Bulbasaur families into the Blue game.

While I could transfer Squirtle into my Red game and Charmander into my Blue game, there’s a bit of logistics involved in making sure the trades happen at each evolutionary stage. I plan to focus on one game at a time, and I also plan to keep Charizard and Blastoise in my main party for these two games, so it’s a bit distracting if I have to switch games just before the starter Pokémon are about to evolve. It also doesn’t solve the problem of getting the Bulbasaur family.

Fortunately, there’s a solution in the form of Pokémon Yellow. In Yellow, Charmander, Bulbasaur and Squirtle are all available as Gift Pokémon. I do plan to keep all three Pokémon in my main party, though, so the Pokémon still have to be traded back and forth. When I get each of the following Pokémon in Pokémon Yellow, I’ll trade them into Pokémon Red and/or Blue, and back:


In each of the Generation I games, there is only one Eevee obtainable. However, there are three Eeveelutions in Generation I.

I typically evolve Eevee into Jolteon and use Jolteon in my main party. I will continue to do that for Red. In Blue, I plan to evolve Eevee into Flareon, but probably will not use it in my party (if I keep a Fire Pokémon in my party, it will be Vulpix/Ninetales). That leaves Vaporeon for Pokémon Yellow.

Fossil Pokémon

There are two mutually-exclusive Fossil Pokémon families: Omanyte/Omastar and Kabuto/Kabutops, obtained through reviving the Helix Fossil and the Dome Fossil respectively.

In Red, I pick up the Helix Fossil (praise Helix), and in Blue, I will pick up the Dome Fossil.

Fighting Dojo Pokémon

In Saffron City, there is a Fighting Dojo where the Karate Master will give the player character either a Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan.

I habitually pick up the Hitmonchan in Pokémon Red, so I’ll be picking up Hitmonlee in Pokémon Blue.

Trade evolutions

There are four other Pokémon in Generation I that do not fall into the above categories, but that nonetheless require trading to obtain:

These Pokémon only evolve from their prior forms when traded. Machamp is available in Pokémon Yellow when a NPC trades you their Machoke, but the others are simply not available in a single game without trading to another cartridge.

When to trade?

Initially I thought I should aim for all obtainable Pokémon in each game before trading, but this is not really possible because some lower evolutions are permanently missable (e.g. mutually exclusive Pokémon need to be traded at each evolutionary stage).

At the same time, I want to impose some basic guidelines for when to trade, so that I’m not cheesing Pokémon Blue or Yellow by trading stronger Pokémon in too early. Additionally, at some point or another, I will need to have more than one game running in parallel, which could divide my attention and make the logistics of trading quite messy.

Here’s the plan: I’ll play Pokémon Red and Blue through to the credits, then do the Red/Blue trades. That should allow me to fill out my Pokédex in both games except for the Bulbasaur family and Vaporeon. When I play Pokémon Yellow, I’ll trade Bulbasaur/Ivysaur just before and just after it evolves, then finish playing Yellow to the credits, and complete the remaining trades.

This way, I’ll retain the single-player experience up to the Pokémon League, but with a post-game where I can have some fun with Pokémon I never got to use as a kid, such as Alakazam and Gengar.


That’s all the planning I’ve done for Generation I. If you’re interested in following along with the Pokémon Diploma of Diplomas journey, you can check the YouTube channel or follow my Twitch stream to get notified when I’m trying to catch’em all.