Pokémon (video game series)

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English Pokémon logo.svg
The logo for the Pokémon series
Genres Role-playing, adventure, strategy, puzzle
Developers Game Freak, Creatures Inc., Genius Sonority, Ambrella, Hudson Soft, Intelligent Systems, Chunsoft, HAL Laboratory, Tecmo Koei
Publishers Nintendo
Creators Satoshi Tajiri
Original release February 27, 1996
Official website pokemon.com

Pokémon is a series of games developed by Game Freak and Creatures Inc. and published by Nintendo as part of the Pokémon media franchise. First released in 1996 in Japan for the Game Boy, the main series of role-playing video games (RPG) has continued on each generation of Nintendo's handhelds. Games are commonly released in pairs—each with slight variations—and then an enhanced remake of the games is released a few years from the original release. While the main series consists of role-playing games, spinoffs encompass other genres such as action role-playing, puzzle, and digital pet games. It is the second best-selling video game franchise worldwide, next to Nintendo's own Mario franchise.[1]


Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Pokémon X and Y Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 Pokémon Black and White Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver Pokémon Platinum Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Pokémon Emerald Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Pokémon Crystal Pokémon Gold and Silver Pokémon Red and Blue Pokémon Yellow Pokémon Blue Pokémon Red and Blue

All of the licensed Pokémon properties overseen by The Pokémon Company are divided roughly by generation. These generations are roughly chronological divisions by release; when an official sequel in the main RPG series is released that features new Pokémon, characters, and gameplay concepts, that sequel is considered the start of a new generation of the franchise. The main games and their spin-offs, the anime, manga and trading card game are all updated with the new Pokémon properties each time a new generation begins. The franchise began its sixth generation with Pokémon X and Y, which were released worldwide on October 12, 2013.[2]


The original Pokémon games are Japanese role-playing video games (RPGs) with an element of strategy, and were created by Satoshi Tajiri for the Game Boy. These role-playing games, and their sequels, remakes, and English language translations, are still considered the "main" 'Pokémon' games, and the games with which most fans of the series are familiar.

The Pokémon series began with the release of Pocket Monsters Red and Green for the Game Boy in Japan. When these games proved extremely popular, an enhanced Blue version was released sometime after, and the Blue version was reprogrammed as Pokémon Red and Blue for international release. The original Red and Green versions were never released outside Japan.[3] Afterwards, a second enhanced remake, Pokémon Yellow, was released to use the color palette of the Game Boy Color and more of a stylistic resemblance to the popular Pokémon anime. This first generation of games introduced the original 151 species of Pokémon (in National Pokédex order, encompassing all Pokémon from Bulbasaur to Mew), as well as the basic game concepts of capturing, training, battling and trading Pokémon with both computer and human players. These versions of the games take place within the fictional Kanto region, though the name "Kanto" was not used until the second generation. Spin-off first-generation titles include Pokémon Pinball; an adaptation of the Pokémon Trading Card Game for Game Boy Color; an on-rails photography simulator for Nintendo 64 titled Pokémon Snap; a Nintendo 64 Pokémon-themed adaptation of Tetris Attack, Pokémon Puzzle League. A 3D Nintendo 64 incarnation of the handheld RPGs' battle system, Pokémon Stadium; and a co-starring role for several species in the Nintendo 64 fighting game Super Smash Bros..[4] At the Nintendo Space World in 2000, a game was revealed briefly with Meowth and Team Rocket singing a song. This was one of the earliest introductions of the Pokémon Togepi and Bellossom. This game was called Meowth's Party, but was never turned into a playable game. Instead, the song/video was played at the end of one Pokémon episode, and a CD was made for retail in Japan for a limited time.


The second generation of Pokémon video games began in 1999 with the Japanese release of Pokémon Gold and Silver for the Game Boy Color, with Australia and North America getting the game in October 2000 and European release date of April 2001. Like the previous generation, an enhanced remake titled Pokémon Crystal was later released.

This 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. New gameplay features include a day-and-night system (reflecting the time of the day in the real world) which influences events in the game; full use of the Game Boy Color's color palette; an improved interface and upgraded inventory system; better balance in the collection of Pokémon and their moves, statistics and equippable items (a new addition); the addition of two new Pokémon types (Dark and Steel) to better balance the strengths and weaknesses of each Pokémon; Pokémon breeding; a new region named Johto and the ability to select the protagonist's gender. Unique to the second generation games is the fact that, after exploring Johto, the player can enter and explore the original Kanto region, which lies to the east of Johto.

Spin-off second-generation games include the Game Boy Color adaptation of Pokémon Puzzle League a puzzle game created by Zoppf industries made specifically for the game boy color, Pokémon Puzzle Challenge; a Nintendo 64 pet simulator, Hey You, Pikachu!; the Pokémon Stadium sequel, Pokémon Stadium 2, for Nintendo 64; several Pokémon mini-games for the e-Reader and a co-starring role for several Pokémon species in the Super Smash Bros. sequel Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo GameCube.[5] The Pokémon mini was a handheld game console released in December 2001 in Japan and 2002 in Europe and North America.


A screenshot of Pokémon Emerald featuring an enemy Pupitar and Solrock fighting in a double battle against a player's Aggron and Smeargle

Pokémon entered its third generation with the 2002 release of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire for Game Boy Advance and continued with the Game Boy Advance remakes of Pokémon Red and Green, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen (Red and Green representing the original Japanese first generation games; territories outside of Japan instead saw releases of Red and Blue). An enhanced remake of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire titled Pokémon Emerald followed after.

The third generation introduced 135 new Pokémon (starting with Treecko and ending with Deoxys) for a total of 386 species. It also features a more visually detailed environment compared to previous games, "natures" which affect Pokémon stats, a new 2-on-2 Pokémon battling mechanic, a special ability system applying to each Pokémon in battle, the Pokémon Contest sub-game, and the new region of Hoenn. However, this generation also garnered some criticism for leaving out several gameplay features, including the day-and-night system introduced in the previous generation (which was removed due to internal-battery save problems), 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).

Third-generation spin-off titles include Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire for Game Boy Advance; Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team for Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS; Pokémon Dash, Pokémon Trozei! and Pokémon Ranger for Nintendo DS; Pokémon Channel and Pokémon Box: Ruby & Sapphire for Nintendo GameCube; and two RPGs for the Nintendo GameCube, consisting of the games Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness.


In 2006, Japan began the fourth generation of the franchise with the release of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl for Nintendo DS. The games were subsequently released in North America on April 22, 2007 and in Australia on June 21, 2007. The game was then later released in the UK and Europe on July 27, 2007.[6] Other main series games in the fourth generation include Pokémon Platinum, a director's cut version of Diamond and Pearl in the same vein as Pokémon Yellow, Crystal, and Emerald.[7][8] It was released for the Nintendo DS in Japan on September 13, 2008,[9] in North America on March 22, 2009,[10][11] and in Australia and Europe on May 14, 2009[12] and May 22, 2009[13] respectively. It was also announced that the Generation II games Pokémon Gold and Silver would be remade for the Nintendo DS as Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver.[14] First released in Japan on September 12, 2009, the games were later released to North America, Australia, and Europe during March 2010.[15][16][17]

The fourth generation introduces another 107 new species of Pokémon (starting with Turtwig and ending with Arceus), bringing the number of Pokémon species to 493. This generation is the first to have 3D graphics in a main series game, although it is still a mixture of both 3D graphics and sprites. 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, the expansion of the third generation's Pokémon Contests into "Super Contests", and the new region of Sinnoh, which has an underground component for multiplayer gameplay in addition to the main overworld. HeartGold and SoulSilver also introduced the Pokeathelon to the Johto region, which consists of many Pokémon based sporting events making use of the stylus.

Spin-off games in the fourth generation include the Pokémon Stadium follow-up Pokémon Battle Revolution for Wii (which has Wi-Fi connectivity as well[18]), Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia and Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs for Nintendo DS, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness and their sister game, Explorers of Sky all for the Nintendo DS, and a co-starring role for Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Lucario, and a Pokémon Trainer (who uses Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard for fighting) in the 2008 Wii fighter Super Smash Bros. Brawl.


On January 29, 2010, the Pokémon Company announced that a new game was in development for the Nintendo DS to be released later that year.[19][20] A silhouette of a new Pokémon was shown by Junichi Masuda on February 7, 2010, episode of Pokémon Sunday, stated to be in the upcoming film for the summer and to be identified in a future episode on February 21.[21] This new character would also be featured in the March 2010 issue of CoroCoro Comic available on February 15, and is the start of the fifth generation of the Pokémon Franchise.[22] Since then, the character has been named "Zoroark" (ゾロアーク Zoroāku?), and its pre-evolution was also revealed to be named "Zorua" (ゾロア Zoroa?). Both were featured in Zoroark: Master of Illusions.[23][24] On April 9, 2010, the Japanese website updated with the titles of the versions as Black and White, and announced a Fall[when?] 2010 release date.[25] The May 9, 2010 episode of Pokémon Sunday displayed silhouettes of the three Pokémon that are available for the player to choose from at the beginning of the game.[26] These three Pokémon were later revealed to be the Grass Snake Pokémon "Tsutarja" (ツタージャ Tsutāja?, "Snivy" in English), the Fire Pig Pokémon "Pokabu" (ポカブ?, "Tepig" in English) and the Sea Otter Pokémon "Mijumaru" (ミジュマル?, "Oshawott" in English).[27] Other information revealed is that the game takes place in the Isshu Region (イッシュ地方 Isshu-chihō?, Unova Region in English), which was based on the New York City metropolitan area.[28] Unlike other regions in the main series, Unova region's name is different in all languages the games are released in; for example, the German name is Einall,[29] while the Italian name is Unima.[30] On February 25, 2012, Junichi Masuda appeared on the Pokémon Smash! variety show to reveal the next titles in the main series of Pokémon RPGs: Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2, which were ultimately released in Japan on June 23, 2012. The games serve as direct sequels to Black and White, featuring returning characters and several new characters and locations, with the legendary Pokémon Kyurem in its new alternate forms serving as the games' mascot.[31][32] These two games were launched in Japan on September 18, 2010.

This Generation added a total of 156 Pokémon to the games (starting with Victini and ending with Genesect). The North American and European versions of the game were released on March 6 and 4, 2011, respectively.[33] Pokémon Rumble Blast, released in Japan on August 11, 2011, is a spin-off and sequel to Pokémon Rumble, a generation four spin-off game. It was released in North America and Europe on October 24 and December 2, 2011, respectively.

At the December 17, 2011, Jump Festa event held by Shueisha, the crossover spin-off game Pokémon + Nobunaga's Ambition (titled internationally as Pokémon Conquest) was announced for a March 17, 2012, release. The game uses the mechanics of the Nobunaga's Ambition series while utilizing the Pokémon instead of human combatants in the turn-based combat game.[34]

At E3 2012, it was revealed that a fifth generation Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game, Gates to Infinity, would be released in Japan on November 23, 2012, and to the wider world by mid-2013.


On December 24, 2012, Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream posted a greetings card sent out by Game Freak. In the card, Junichi Masuda exclaimed that during 2013, they intend to further evolve the world of Pokémon. On December 29, 2012, a new Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 commercial aired in Japan, and ending with a message, informing Pokémon fans that the latest news would be announced on January 8, 2013. On January 4, 2013, both the Japanese and English official Pokémon website confirmed that an announcement would be made on January 8. On January 7, 2013, the official Japanese website explained that the Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata will hold a 10-minute "Pokémon Direct" video conference to announce the big Pokémon news. On January 8, 2013, Satoru Iwata announced the sixth generation of Pokémon, with the new paired games, Pokémon X and Y, which were released on the Nintendo 3DS on October 12, 2013 worldwide.[2] The X and Y games are rendered in full 3D;[35] however, only select parts of the game can be displayed in stereoscopic 3D.[36] The video introduced the player characters, the starter Pokémon; Grass-type Chespin (Japanese: Harimaron (ハリマロン?)), the Fire-type Fennekin (Japanese: Fokko (フォッコ?)), and the Water-type Froakie (Japanese: Keromatsu (ケロマツ?)), and two other Pokémon, not named until later; a bird-like Pokémon called Yveltal (イベルタル Iberutaru?) having a shape similar to the letter Y and a deer-like Pokémon called Xerneas (ゼルネアス Zeruneasu?) with X-shapes in its eyes. A month later, Sylveon (Japanese: Nymphia (ニンフィア Ninfia?)), a new evolved form of Eevee belonging to the games' new Fairy Type was revealed.[37][38]

On May 7, 2014, Nintendo revealed the games Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire in a teaser trailer, remakes of the third generation games Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. They were released worldwide in November 21, 2014.[39]

On August 26, 2014, Pokkén Tournament was announced for a 2015 release in Japanese arcades. It is being developed by Bandai Namco Entertainment.[40]

Summary of core series titles[edit]


Main article: Gameplay of Pokémon

One of the consistent aspects of most "Pokémon" games—spanning from Pokémon Red and Blue on the Game Boy to the Nintendo 3DS games Pokémon X and Y—is the choice of one of three different Pokémon at the start of the player's adventures; these three are often labeled "starter Pokémon." Players can choose a Grass-type, a Fire-type, or a Water-type, Pokémon indigenous to that particular region.[41] For example, in Pokémon Red and Blue, the player has the choice of starting with Bulbasaur, Squirtle, or Charmander. The exception to this rule is Pokémon Yellow, where players are given a Pikachu, an Electric-type mouse Pokémon, famous for being the mascot of the Pokémon media franchise; unique to Pokémon Yellow, the three starter Pokémon from Red and Blue can be obtained during the quest by a single player.[42]

Another consistent aspect is that the player's rival will always choose the type that has a type advantage over the player's chosen Pokémon as his or her starter Pokémon. For instance, if the player picks the Fire-type Charmander, the rival will always pick the Water-type Squirtle. This does not affect the first battle between the rivals, as they can only use Normal-type attacks at this point, meaning that they cannot exploit weaknesses. The exception to this is again Pokémon Yellow, in which the rival picks Eevee, a Normal-type Pokémon with multiple evolutions.

However, in Pokémon Black and White, there are two rivals; one picks the Pokémon with a type advantage over the player's chosen Pokémon, while the other chooses the Pokémon with the type disadvantage. In Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum, another Trainer chooses the Pokémon with a type disadvantage to the player's chosen Pokémon, but never battles the player; instead, this character battles alongside the player as a tag partner in certain situations.

The situation is similar in Pokémon X and Y, but there are four rivals. Two of them receive the starter Pokémon in an arrangement similar to Pokémon Black and White, but the other two have completely different Pokémon.

List of main Pokémon games[edit]

Handheld games[edit]

Console games[edit]

Arcade games[edit]

Appearances in other games[edit]

In the Super Smash Bros. series, Pikachu, Ivysaur, Squirtle, Charizard, Jigglypuff, Pichu, Mewtwo, Lucario and Greninja are playable characters. Pikachu and Jigglypuff are introduced in Super Smash Bros., and are also featured in Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo GameCube, alongside Pichu and Mewtwo. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mewtwo and Pichu are not featured as playable characters, although Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard make their first playable appearances as part of the Pokémon Trainer character, while Lucario appears as a separate character. Greninja made its first appearance in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Charizard is for the first time a standalone character, and Mewtwo returns as DLC. Rayquaza is also featured as a boss enemy. The series also features Poké Balls as items, which, when used by a player, make a random Pokémon appear including Piplup, Bonsly, and Munchlax, with various effects on the game. Furthermore, several Pokémon computer games were released for Windows and Macintosh.

Pokémon were also in Mario Artist paint studio for Nintendo 64DD as pasteable stickers.

Reception and legacy[edit]

Main article: Pokémon

The series has sold over 270 million units as of May 2015, giving it the distinction of being one of the best-selling video game series in history.[43] Guinness World Records awarded the Pokémon series eight records in Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008, including "Most Successful RPG Series of All Time", "Game Series With the Most Spin-Off Movies" and "Most Photosensitive Epileptic Seizures Caused by a TV Show."[44]

IGN ranked Pokémon as the 17th greatest desired game series: "the basic gameplay premise boasts solid, addictive play mechanics, and several of the handheld RPGs deserve to be in every gamer's collection.[45] GamesRadar listed Pokémon as the No. 1 Nintendo game not made by Nintendo, stating that having to catch them all made the games addictive.[46]


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