The Pokémon, or Pocket Monsters, series began in Japan in March 21,1996 on the original Game Boy with Pokémon Red and Green, with versions Red and Blue arriving in North America on September 30th, 1998. Installments of this role-playing game are usually released in pairs, with minor difference between the two iterations, so that 100% completion can only be achieved by linking to a friend with the game and swapping the missing creatures. A third game would later be released with some alterations and improvements over the previous 2 versions. Published by Nintendo, this series became a sensation spawning toys, card games, shirts, spin-offs, and an animated television show that has gone on for thirteen seasons. The original cast of actual Pokémon has grown from 151 to 649.
See Pokémon (Concept) for list of all 649 Pokémon.
Pokémon are special critters that appear throughout the game that the player can battle and capture to use. There are currently 649 different Pokémon in the series, and not all can be captured in a single game. Players can use a Pokédex to keep track of all Pokémon seen and captured.
Each Pokémon has 1 or 2 Types (out of a total of 17), and can learn up to 4 different moves at a time. Each Pokémon has a base stat point distribution, spread between 6 stats: Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, Speed, and HP. Pokémon earn experience every time they make an opponent faint, and will increase their stats automatically every time they level up. From the 3rd Generation onwards, Pokémon also have a nature, which will increase or decrease certain stats, and a ability, which is a special attribute that might help (or hinder) it in battle. Players can affect their Pokémon stat point gain through Effort Value (EV) and Individual Value (IV) manipulation, which can boost a Pokémon's stat points significantly.
Many Pokémon can evolve (i.e. change to a better form) when they hit a certain prerequisite, normally by reaching a set level. The Pokémon will keep the moves, nature, EVs, and IVs of the original, but will gain (or sometimes lose) stat points. Some evolutions will also change the Pokémon's types or ability, and gain access to new skills that might not have been available in their previous form. Some Pokémon have branching evolutions, where the Pokémon can evolve into a different Pokémon based on their evolution method.
Pokémon are captured using special capsule-like devices known as Poké Balls. These balls can be bought or found, and only be used against wild Pokémon. There are many different types of balls, from the basic red-and-white Poké Ball to the Master Ball, which will capture any Pokémon without fail. Players can also trade their Pokémon, either through local connections, or via a global trading system first introduced in the 4th Generation.
The main series of games in Pokémon is divided into 5 different generations. Each generation features a new region, with new Pokémon to catch and new places to explore. The main games and their spin-offs, the anime, the manga, and the trading card game are all updated with the new Pokémon properties each time a new generation begins. There were originally a total of 151 Pokémon (beginning with Bulbasaur and ending with Mew), but it has increased to 649 in Black/White Version 2.
First Generation (Kanto)
The 1st games in the series were Pokémon Red/Blue (Red/Green in Japan), released September 1998 in America for the Game Boy. After the success of the first games and the animated series, Pokémon Yellow was released October 1999, with a plot inspired by the anime. These games started off the Pokémon craze around the world, and sets many of the gameplay mechanics still seen in current games, like Pokémon Types and battle mechanics.
Second Generation (Johto)
The 2nd Generation of Pokémon began in 2000 with the release of Pokémon Gold/Silver for Game Boy Color. Like the previous generation, an enhanced remake titled Pokémon Crystal was later released. The second generation introduced 100 new species of Pokémon (starting with Chikorita and ending with Celebi), for a total of 251 Pokémon to collect, train, and battle. The second generation was a particularly well acclaimed one, thanks to it's large amount of new features and it's overall appeal. Many fan remakes have been made in the attempt to recreate the feel Gold/Silver had and Nintendo officially announced remakes of both the games in 2009, HeartGold/SoulSilver.
Third Generation (Hoenn)
The 3rd Generation began with the 2003 release of Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire for Game Boy Advance and continued with the Game Boy Advance remakes of Pokémon Red/Blue, Pokémon FireRed/LeafGreen, and an enhanced version of Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire: Pokémon Emerald. The third generation introduced 135 new Pokémon (starting with Treecko and ending with Deoxys) for a new total of 386 species. However, this generation also garnered some criticism for leaving out several gameplay features, including the day-and-night system introduced in the previous generation, and it was also the first installment that encouraged the player to collect merely a selected assortment of the total number of Pokémon rather than every existing species (202 out of 386 species are catchable in the Ruby and Sapphire versions).
Fourth Generation (Sinnoh)
In 2007, the franchise entered its 4th Generation with the release of Pokémon Diamond/Pearl for Nintendo DS. The fourth generation introduces another 107 new species of Pokémon (starting with Turtwig and ending with Arceus), bringing the total of Pokémon species to 493. New gameplay concepts include a restructured move-classification system, online multiplayer trading and battling via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, the return (and expansion) of the second generation's day-and-night system, and the expansion of the third generation's Pokémon Contests into Super Contests. The new region of Sinnoh also has an underground component for multiplayer gameplay in addition to the main overworld. Pokémon Platinum - the enhanced version of Diamond/Pearl much like Yellow, Crystal and Emerald - was later released to western countries in 2009.
Later on March 14, 2010, Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver was released, a remake of the Johto adventures Gold/Silver/Crystal. It implements many features from Diamond/Pearl/Platinum, such as the Global Trading Station (GTS), due to the use of the same engine. It also showed the lead Pokémon following the Trainer, a concept not reused in the later games.
Fifth Generation (Unova)
The 5th Generation of games was first announced in 2010, with Pokemon Black/White for the Nintendo DS arriving in America in March 6, 2011. This generation added another 156 Pokémon to the series, and featured more dynamic camera angles and fully animated Pokémon sprites, last seen in Crystal. It is the first game in the series to not use any of the older Pokémon within the main story arc, only appearing after beating the Elite Four. It also introduced the Pokémon Global Link, the successor to the GTS, and allowed access to the Dream World, a special website that allowed players to find Pokémon with special abilities not usually found in game.
In October 7, 2012, a direct sequel to Black/White, Black/White Version 2, was released again for the DS. It is the first time a Pokémon game had a direct sequel set in the same region, being set 2 years after the first games. Many of the older characters return in this game, but the player plays a new character starting out in a new town. All the features of Black/White returned, with no major changes to the formula.
The 6th Generation of games was announced on January 8, 2013 during a Pokémon Direct press event, the first of its kind. Pokémon X/Y for the Nintendo 3DS will be the first generation of main Pokémon games to see a simultaneous worldwide release, which will take place on October 18th 2013. These games will introduce new Pokémon, a fully 3D world, a lower camera angle, and a new battle system, which will be more like a mix of the old system and the stadium games.
Pokémon Stadium | Pokémon Mystery Dungeon | Pokémon Ranger
Pokémate is a cellphone application developed by Square-Enix released only in Japan. It allows you to play a number of minigames and perform useful functions like sending and receiving messages. The application is free to download for one month, after which you are required to pay a small subscription fee. Pokémate came pre-installed on all FOMA P902iS phones. Currently, the service costs 210 yen per month in Japan.
From Your Room you can access your Pokémon Box to view your Pokémon, visit the Chatroom, send text-message style mail to your friends, and invite people to visit your game world.
The chatroom function of Pokémate allows you to enter a small chatroom with your Pokémon and chat with other users. It works like a traditional forum, with each message marke by your username and including an avatar of your Pokémon.
When you install the game, you are assigned a random Pokémon and ten free Pokéballs to catch new Pokémon. In the game world, anytime you encounter a Pokémon, you can throw a Pokéball and try to capture it. Initially there are only three Pokémon in your game world that are available for capture, all also randomly assigned. When you sign up for the subscription service, more Pokémon begin to appear in the world. You can purchase more Pokéballs for 105 Yen.
Just like in the Gameboy Advance Pokémon games, you are given a Box to store captured Pokémon. From here you can select which character to use as your chatroom avatar as well as view a short Pokédex entry for each Pokémon. The Box can be accessed from the PC in Your Room.
Anime and Movies
The Pokémon anime series began in 1997 and now has spread all across the world in the animated series produced by Nintendo, TV Tokyo and Pokémon USA. The series stars Ash Ketchum and Pikachu in various locations throughout the Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova regions during the series. Here are the seasons in the series in English:
- Pokémon: Indigo League
- Pokémon: Adventures on the Orange Islands
- Pokémon: The Johto Journeys
- Pokémon: Johto League Champions
- Pokémon: Master Quest
- Pokémon: Advanced
- Pokémon: Advanced Challenge
- Pokémon: Advanced Battle
- Pokémon: Battle Frontier
- Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl
- Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl: Battle Dimension
- Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl: Galactic Battles
- Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl: Sinnoh League Victors
- Pokémon: Black and White
- Pokémon: Black and White: Rival Destinies
The anime has also spawned many movies, each dealing with Ash and his encounter with, often, a Legendary Pokémon. There are currently 15 movies produced:
- Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back
- Pokémon the Movie 2000: The Power of One
- Pokémon 3: The Movie: Spell of the Unown
- Pokémon 4Ever: Celebi: Voice of the Forest
- Pokémon Heroes
- Jirachi: Wish Maker
- Destiny Deoxys
- Lucario and the Mystery of Mew
- Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea
- The Rise of Darkrai
- Giratina and the Sky Warrior
- Arceus and the Jewel of Life
- Zoroark: Master of Illusions
- White: Victini and Zekrom / Black: Victini and Reshiram
- Kyurem VS. the Sword of Justice
- Extreme Speed Genesect (Japanese Title)