It’s the agonising choice and never-ending debate of a generation: Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle? Picking one of the Kanto starter Pokémon is usually a gut choice, based on past experience or which one looks cooler. But what if there was a way to know, objectively, the best one? Well, now we do, thanks to science.
As mentioned earlier, the WolframAlpha database just added all of the data of more than 600 Pokémon (Generations I through V). Scientific American‘s Kyle Hill decided to comb that database and match up the starter Pokémon against the gym leaders in Pokémon Red/Blue to determine the overall best choice — if by “best” we’re talking about the Pokémon who allows you to beat the game the quickest.
Spoiler alert: It’s Squirtle.
This despite Bulbasaur’s initial statistical advantage (and Charmander, too.) “Bulbasaur might do great at the beginning of the game, it also will have the hardest time of all the Pokémon against the rest of the leaders,” Hill writes. “Squirtle, on the other hand, has simultaneously the most advantages and the least amount of disadvantages against the leaders. Once again, Squirtle comes out on top.”
Here’s the matrix Hill compiled of the three Pokémon (and their evolved forms) and how they rate next to the Pokémon of gym leaders. Hill also decides to ask if Magikarp really is the worst of all the Pokémon. “The short answer is no.” The long answer is at the link.
Squirtle, I (Should) Choose You! Settling a Great Pokémon Debate with Science [Scientific American]