What's The Best Starter Pokemon? - GameSpot Q&A

Let the debate begin.

Welcome back to GameSpot Q&A, a section where we ask our staff and readers an interesting discussion question about video games or entertainment. Look at this as a forum where you and others can discuss and compare your opinions of this beloved hobby of ours.

This round's question is:

What's the best starter Pokemon?

In the lead up to Pokemon's 20th anniversary, we found ourselves in rigorous office debates over what starter Pokemon reigns supreme. Is it Chikorita? Is it Bulbasaur? Or maybe it's Piplup? It's clear from our answers below that our opinions on the matter were mixed. But which starter Pokemon is the best to you? Come and discuss it with us in the comments below!

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Charmander | Scott Butterworth, Editor

Pokemon Red was the first game I ever played for more than 100 hours, and the only monster that never left regular rotation was the evolved form of my starter: Charmander. Both adorable and fierce, Charmander was nonetheless an exercise in perseverance. The first two gym leaders in Red/Blue use rock- and water-type Pokemon respectively, which obviously puts a fire-type like Charmander at a huge disadvantage. Starting the game with two uphill battles eventually pays off, though, as Charmander evolves into the nearly unstoppable Charizard. If true Pokemasters train with their favorites, I feel fortunate my favorite has always been Charmander.

Froakie | Gajan Kulasingham, Data Quality Assurance Producer

Greninja and its awesome tongue scarf.
Greninja and its awesome tongue scarf.

Water Pokemon have always been my favorite. So while I’m tempted to pick Squirtle since he was my favorite in Generation 1, I’ve decided to go with my boy Froakie. He might start off as a simple, innocent frog, but that little dude eventually turns into one badass Ninja, a badass ninja that wraps his tongue around his neck like a scarf because why the heck not? Plus, Greninja is in Smash Bros. Major bonus points.

Charmander | Eddie Makuch, News Editor

According to Science, Squirtle is the best starter Pokemon. But nevermind that; Charmander gets my vote. Sure, he only has Scratch and Growl to start out with, but stick with him long enough and you'll be rewarded with the mighty and badass Charizard. #TeamCharmander

Bulbasaur | Derek Koehler, Social Media Producer

The best starter Pokemon is Bulbasaur. Though he may not be the strongest starter initially, he provides the best type diversity for your team and is a worthwhile time investment. Not only can Bulbasaur easily plow through the first three gyms, he also evolves into Venusaur: the strongest grass-type Pokemon in Generation 1. If you catch and train a Gyarados as your water-type and an Arcanine as your fire-type, you can have all your bases covered and smash the Elite Four and embarrass Gary for the arrogant chump he is.

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Chikorita | Kate Gray, Video Producer

I have never been as attached to a starter Pokemon as I was to my dear darling Chicky (I'm...not creative with names). From the moment I first looked into its huge anime eyes, I knew it was the starter Pokemon for me. Even if it did look like a messed-up green worm-horse. I know people don't really trust in grass Pokemon--which is stupid because grass is obviously the best--but Chikorita was an adorable badass that evolved into a cool, flowery, Solar Beam-firing friend. Frankly, you can stuff your Pikachu. Viva Chikorita!

Squirtle | Edmond Tran, Senior Director/Editor

After all these years, the best starting Pokemon is still Squirtle. Look, I don't want to hear anything else--let's be practical for a minute. Put aside your subjective opinions about "cuteness" and "elemental weaknesses" or whatever and take a minute to remind yourself of two facts:

Sick shades.
Sick shades.

Number 1--Squirtle is the only Pokemon who has ever been able to pull off sunglasses, so he is objectively the coolest.

Number 2--Squirtle eventually evolves into Blastoise and Mega Blastoise, and I don't think I necessarily need to explain the science behind Blastoise's evolutionary military superiority, but here we go: He grows ****ing cannons. This monstrosity has a rock-hard shell and bazookas coming out of every orifice. Do you fully comprehend what this means? It means that inside every little Squirtle, is a skeleton made out of GUNS. Do you want to mess with a Pokemon whose BONES are made of GUNS? The answer is no. No, you do not.

Tie: Squirtle/Charmander | Tony Wilson, Video Producer

This one's going to get a lot of you riled up, so don't say I didn't warn you. When it comes to Pokemon starters, I have never chosen the grass-type. Not once. Something about that type always seemed weak to me. Instead, I alternated between Water and Fire types as I played through each new release (except for Black & White, which I skipped). Then on replays, I chose the other. So with apologies to Bulbasaur, Chikorita, Treecko, and Turtwig, I have to give props to the original power couple, Squirtle and Charmander. But choosing between those two? Can't do it.

It's difficult to deny how adorable Charmander is. Just look at that face.
It's difficult to deny how adorable Charmander is. Just look at that face.

Charmander | Alexa Ray Corriea, Editor

Charmander. Get the @#$% out of my face if you even think about choosing Bulbasaur. You never go full Bulbasaur on your first go. Also Squirtle is overrated. I said it.

Bulbasaur | Zorine Te, Associate Editor

I'll always have a soft spot for the leaf throwing, vine wielding, little green Bulbasaur. This adorable quadruped Pokemon produces plants from its body! It can pretty much photosynthesize, making it one of the few Pokemon to be able to do so. Isn't it amazing that this Pokemon possesses an ability that is normally restricted to plants? Who can say that they are powered by the SUN ITSELF? Bulbasaur evolves into the huge Venusaur, sporting a flower-tree thing on its back which seems super chill. Just looking at it makes me feel like I'm on a tropical holiday. And let's not forget the amazing lead-up to solar beam. The loyal Bulbasaur earns my vote for best starter. Bulba forever!

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Pokemon Red / Blue / Yellow / Green Version

Pokemon Red / Blue / Yellow / Green Version