Capsule Monsters – Sprite sheet

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These sprite sheets were printed in the 1990 Capsule Monsters pitch. The first one features the first 17 Pokémon sprites ever designed (and possibly also the first to be coded into the game), and they line up with the internal index order… give or take the first two slots, while the second one follows the ID list up to ID 30, revealing a total of 31 Capsule Monsters, most of which later became official Pokémon. One of the glaring differences compared to the final Gen 1 sprites is that they probably had a fourth 64×64 sprite template along with the three final ones. We also have a taste of what a backsprite might’ve looked in the early stages of development – a far more detailed appearance than what we got, that’s for sure. 

  • 0 Rhydon Same pose, but lacks a drill, and the stomach pattern is slightly different. ID 0 is occupied by a null value in the final game and isn’t actual data.
  • 1 (Gyarth?) Has Rhydon’s ID number. The only truly deleted Pokemon here; might’ve been reworked into Gyaaon, hence we suppose its name was Gyaaon’s earlier name visible in the Tajiri manga sheet. We speculatively restored its cry, base 0x0F with default values, a high pitched Godzilla-esque roar.  
  • 2 Kangaskhan Identical.
  • 3 Nidoran M Bigger sprite, less thorns on its ears. The poll sprite is identical with more thorns, and the final one was scaled down from the poll sprite.
  • 4 “Clefairy”  The Sugimori design from 1990 might also be the little white monster in this Capumon illustration. The poll sprite was traced over this one, and the final one was scaled down. We think its original cry might have been default 0x0E, which in the final game is used by Pidgey and other small Pokémon.
  • 5 “Spearow” This design was replaced with 17 Omuomu from the poll. Elements from this may have inspired Pidgey and even Fearow and Farfetch’d.
  • 6 Voltorb Bigger sprite; its eyes are slightly bigger, and it doesn’t have a lowered brow over one eye yet.
  • 7 Nidoking Sports a completely different sprite facing backwards, the sprite is 62×62, bigger than the maximum allowed in the final games (56×56). They probably had a fourth 64×64 template along with the three final ones.
  • 8 Slowbro Similar sprite, the final was traced over or edited directly from this one. Its arm is down instead of up, the tail has less shading, and its lower jaw isn’t as round.
  • 9 “Ivysaur” Ivysaur with Venusaur’s concept, as their placement in the final game tells us. The top of its flower and the stalk share some pixels with the final Venusaur green sprite.  You can listen to its original cry, assuming that “Ivysaur” had default 0x08 base cry parameters.
  • 10 Exeggutor Almost identical sprite, its eyes are bigger and the shading is a little different.
  • 11 Lickitung This sprite was reworked into the final one. Forked tongue, no thumbs, no markings on its body, slightly thinner tail, and different arm positions.
  • 12 Exeggcute Another sprite at 64×64 instead of 56×56. Bigger eyes; it was scaled down and retraced for the final.
  • 13 Grimer Bigger than the final one; the mouth is closed. The poll sprite is identical to this one, but with an open mouth and some fingers, like the modern design.
  • 14 Gengar Identical except for the lack of ear spikes, rounder eyes, and a smaller grin only showing its two vampire-like fangs.
  • 15 Nidoran F Bigger sprite.
  • 16 Nidoqueen Bigger sprite (surprisingly), 64×64 template, which is again over the final 56×56 maximum; was scaled down and traced for the final.