In Red and Blue before players leave their home town they are given the iconic choice, starting their Pokemon journey with either Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle. The third game version Yellow has a different path in mind for players.
Instead of choosing between the three traditional Kanto starters the story is changed so that you begin your adventure instead with a special Pikachu, who follows you around and becomes an interactive friend and companion, mirroring Ash's Pikachu in the anime. However, Pikachu becoming your starter doesn't mean that Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle aren't available to the player in the game. Oh no, you not only can choose one, you are blessed with the gift all all three of them through different npcs, making your playthrough resemble Ash in the Indigo League even more.
A Bulbasaur can be unlocked by interacting with a female npc who caretakes injured and abandoned pokemon inside a Cerulean City house. If you have Pikachu in your party with a high level of friendship, then she will ask you to raise Bulbasaur. This is a nod to the episode Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village.
Charmander is given away no strings attached by a trainer wandering around near Nugget Bridge, who was ready to release their Charmander back into the wild, but offers it to you if you talk to him. This event is a kind of anime reference too- Charmander, the Stray Pokemon.
Squirtle you can get in Vermillion City from the police officer woman, after you have proven yourself strong by obtaining the thunder badge from Lt Surge. She will ask you to adopt a mischievous Squirtle that always seems to be getting into trouble. You guessed it, the dialogue also is inspired by the anime, the episode Here Comes the Squirtle Squad.
Did you know about and get the Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle tucked away in the Yellow game? If yes, did you use any of them much on your team?
I was surprised and excited to see that Pokemon Yellow did this, and absolutely loved finding all the original starters. While the first time I played this game I used them all some early game, I don't remember using them a lot after mid to late game. On my last replay of Yellow I decided to try to keep at least one of the Kanto starters on my team through the end, and I ended up training Bulbasaur, and Venusaur became one of my ace pokemon, and was there at the Elite Four with me. I've started a new Yellow file though and am going to use all of the starters all the time for this quest, in an attempt to recreate Ash's team. So far so good, I got Pikachu in tow, I ran into Pidgeotto in the Virdian Forest, raised Caterpie to Butterfree, have received Bulbasaur and Charmander and will be picking up Squirtle in a bit. I'm still just outside of Cerulean City.
I got all of them, but didn't actually use most longterm that I remember, since I wasn't too fond of their evolutions. Plus I'd already used them in RB before that. But getting them was a great addition - really made me want to do an Ash-only mons run! Except he didn't evolve many of his catches which made it difficult to pursue for the whole game lol.
My first experience with Yellow was when it came out on the 3DS Virtual Console and by then I already knew that you can get all three starters in this game so on my first playthrough I obtained all three but I didn't know about the Pikachu's friendship requirement for Bulbasaur so I had to struggle and raise friendship with Pikachu asap because I boxed him at the start as soon as I caught Nidoran (M) because I didn't plan on using a Pikachu on my team. I did get the Bulbasaur after raising Pikachu's friendship enough and I used Venusaur alongside Blastoise on my team in that playthrough, however Pikachu and Charmander were boxed and never used on the team.
I did my second Yellow playthrough last year and I used the starter Pikachu on my team this time around but I didn't use any of the Kanto starters despite obtaining all three once again.
Pokemon Yellow is the only game where you can get all 3 starters just from playing through the story. It was always like a ritual to get all 3 and use them. Me personally, I never liked Venusaur because it's just boots cheeks in the early gens. But I still used it in all my yellow playthroughs since I don't play gen 1 very much anymore.