Ken Sugimori's iconic Pokemon art has been rescanned and looks totally different, and my world is turned upside down

Pokemon Red and Blue
(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

For the first time, "authentic" rescans of Ken Sugimori's iconic Pokemon art reveal the true, original vision for the Kanto and Johto-region Pokemon, and I'm shook.

As YouTuber and Pokemon archivist Lewtwo explains on Twitter, the artwork we're all familiar with depicting the Red, Blue, Gold and Silver Pokemon actually isn't representative of the original work done by Sugimori. Poor-quality scans led to inaccurate or simply blown out colors, misshapen designs, and a generally low quality image. Thankfully for us, the original art has been rescanned for the first time by a software developer going by ExcaliburZero.

I've long wondered why the Pokemon art from those old manuals and game boxes doesn't look like the models we've come to know and love from the anime and games, and now we know: shitty old scans, simple as that. To be fair to whoever was responsible, these were the Game Boy days were talking about, so presumably scanning tech has evolved (pun not intended) considerably since then.

The archivists at Lewtwo plan on uploading each image individually so that sites like Bulbapedia, which as you might have guessed are like encyclopedias for Pokemon, can swap out the old images with the new. But preservationists needn't worry, Lewtwo assures "the existing low-quality scans of the RB/GS artwork aren't being 'deleted from history' or becoming 'lost media,' as Bulbapedia lets you see revisions for images going back to the creation of the site. Plus, you know, the internet isn't going to just delete every copy of the old artwork.

Find out where your favorite ranks on our list of the best Pokemon games ever made.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.