Pokemon Through the Years: The History of Pokemon

pokemon trading cards

Pokemon Through the Years: The History of Pokemon

The term Pokemon stands for “Pocket Monsters.” This game series follows a protagonist as they traverse the world of Pokemon. In the world of Pokemon, it’s typical for people to capture, train, care for, and battle with their Pokemon. They may battle wild Pokemon or other trainers’ Pokemon.

Pokemon is an early Nintendo intellectual property developed by Game Freak. Since its debut in 1996, Pokemon has amassed a massive following and has released eight more generations of games since its initial release.

Pokemon typically releases games as two separate versions, including version-exclusive Pokemon and characters. For instance, the most recent iterations of Pokemon, Scarlet and Violet, feature two different Pokemon Professors that you can meet, depending on what version you purchased.

Let’s break down more about Pokemon and its history below!

5 Facts About Pokemon

  • The two Fighting-Type Pokemon, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan, are named after Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.
  • The Psychic-Type’s weaknesses are based on common human fears: bugs, the dark, and ghosts.
  • James Turner was the first western designer to design a Pokemon. He designed several Pokemon for generations five, six, and seven, including Guzzlord, Trevenant, and Buzzwole.
  • The first Pokemon ever designed was Rhydon.
  • You can fish at the Rhydon statue in any Pokemon Red and Blue Gym. You’ll even encounter a Magikarp sometimes! You can also fish in the water sections of the Cerulean City Gym. You won’t find anything rare, but there’s a novelty to having a Pokemon caught inside a Gym!

How to Play Pokemon Games

Pokemon games are relatively simple at their core. The player moves around an overworld dotted with cities, trainers, and spawn zones. Spawn zones for Pokemon include tall grass, water, and other unique terrains based on the version of Pokemon you’re playing. More recent games show the wild Pokemon you can encounter on the overworld rather than relying on a system of random encounters like the older games.

When you encounter a Pokemon, you start a battle with that Pokemon. During this battle, you can weaken the Pokemon to increase its capture chance if you want to add it to your team or Pokedex. In modern games, you’ll receive Experience Points whether you knock the Pokemon out or capture it. Still, older games will only give you Experience Points if you knock the Pokemon out.

Pokemon come with unique stats and moves drawn from a static move pool. You can train them to increase their level to make them more powerful. By manipulating Effort Values, you can also influence your Pokemon’s overall stat spreads. This hidden value passively increases your Pokemon’s stats based on what Pokemon it has defeated.

Some games do not include the Effort Value system. For example, in Pokemon Legends Arceus, the game uses a separate effort system using “Grit,” which increases your Pokemon’s stats like Effort Values but uses Grit items instead of defeating wild Pokemon.

Pokemon each come with a static move pool that determines what moves your Pokemon can use on its turn. Your Pokemon’s stats determine the moves’ damage. So, it’s advisable to choose moves that synergize well with your Pokemon’s stat pool. For instance, a Pokemon with a high Attack would deal more damage if it exclusively used physical moves.

Pokemon may also appear as trainer Pokemon. This interaction is the primary way players “see” rare Pokemon to add them to their Pokedex. However, older games required players to actually catch all the Pokemon to qualify them in their Pokedex.

How to Learn Pokemon

Learning Pokemon starts by learning all the different Pokemon species. Unfortunately, there are currently 1,008 species of Pokemon. So, you’ve definitely got your work cut out for you. But once you know all the Pokemon — or at least most of them — you’re well on your way to becoming a Pokemon Master.

Next, you’ll want to learn and understand the stat pools. Understanding how the stats influence your Pokemon’s damage output can make the game much more manageable. For example, special training for Effort Values can improve your Pokemon’s damage to bring it to the maximum you can be dealing.

Next, you’ll want to study up on Type advantages. This will give you the best possible shot at knocking out your opponents before they can fight back. It will also allow you to outfit your Pokemon with moves that will cover up their type weaknesses.

Once you’ve got all that down, you’ll want to start studying moves. Not all moves are created equal; sometimes, even the most useless seeming moves can be crucially important for a strategy. For instance, Baton Pass passes a Pokemon’s stat changes to the Pokemon it switches with. Suppose you plan on running a Baton Pass strategy. In that case, you’ll need a lot of beefy Pokemon with stat-boosting moves that can Baton Pass their stat changes to your heavy hitters.

The Difference Between Pokemon and Digimon

Pokemon and Digimon are often considered at odds with each other as they’re similar properties. They’re both monster-collecting role-playing games in which monster trainers battle with their captured monsters.

However, these properties are also quite different. For instance, while both properties feature an evolution system where monsters with enough experience change form, Digimon are known to regress to an earlier state if weakened significantly.

Pokemon also takes place in a world more connected to ours. For instance, Mew was discovered in Guyana, and Lieutenant Surge is listed as American. Conversely, Digimon exists in the Digital World, a world parallel to ours with different rules and natural laws. While Digimon trainers may come from our world, they typically travel to the Digital World or bring their Digimon back to the real world.

fidough pokemon
Pokemon has become ubiquitous within gaming, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon!

Pokemon Release History

Pokemon is released in Generations which include mainline games and then several lines of spin-off games, such as the Mystery Dungeon series, Pokken — a crossover between Pokemon and Tekken, and Pokemon Snap — a game where you take pictures of Pokemon in the wild.

Generation 1

Generation 1 of Pokemon includes Pokemon Red and Green, the initial Japanese releases, and Pokemon Red and Blue, the Western releases. It also includes Pokemon Yellow, a third release that combines the aspects of Red and Blue but retains its own identity and doesn’t include all 151 original Pokemon.

Generation 2

Generation 2 of Pokemon included Pokemon Gold and Silver, and the third iteration of the Johto games, Crystal. Pokemon Crystal was the first Pokemon game to have the option for a female protagonist.

Generation 2 games are often hailed as a pinnacle of Pokemon as these games included many features which would later be removed from the game. Such as visiting more than one region and moving Pokemon battle sprites.

Generation 3

Generation 3 of the Pokemon games started with Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, which take place in the Hoenn region. Additionally, Generation 3 includes Fire Red and Leaf Green, the Pokemon Red and Green remakes for the GameBoy Advance.

Generation 4

Generation 4 of the Pokemon games included Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver — the remakes of Pokemon Gold, Silver, and Crystal, and Pokemon Platinum, the third iteration of the Diamond and Pearl series.

Generation 5

Generation 5 of the Pokemon games is when Pokemon really started to expand its scope to become a more mature game series. The game featured a more in-depth storyline with more fleshed-out characters starting with Pokemon Black and White. The games’ storylines were expanded upon in Pokemon Black 2 and Pokemon White 2.

Generation 6

Generation 6 includes Pokemon X and Pokemon Y as its mainline games. It also includes Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire remakes for the Nintendo 3DS. In addition, it featured expanded storytelling and more fleshed-out NPCs than the original games.

Generation 7

Generation 7 of Pokemon included Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon and their remakes, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon. In addition, Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee and Let’s Go Pikachu are also part of Generation 7.

Generation 8

Generation 8 of Pokemon starts with Pokemon Sword and Shield, then includes the additional DLC for Pokemon Sword and Shield, The Isle of Armor, and The Crown Tundra. It also includes Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, the remakes of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl for the Nintendo Switch.

Generation 9

Generation 9 of the Pokemon series is the current generation when writing this article. It includes Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, the most recent Pokemon games. In addition, we will likely see a remake of an older game, probably the Kanto games, again.

Final Thoughts

Pokemon is a prolific game series that isn’t going anywhere. It’s become a pillar of the gaming industry and is one of the best-selling game series of all time. While Pokemon Scarlet and Violet launched with notable controversy about the game’s stability, it still managed to sell millions of copies. So, it’s safe to say that we’ll see Pokemon games for years.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many Pokemon are there?

As of 2022, there are 1,008 Pokemon species.

Are there real-life Pokemon tournaments?

Yes. Nintendo and other companies run sanctioned Pokemon tournaments.

When was Pokemon first released?

Pokemon had its first release in Japan in 1996.

Who develops Pokemon?

Pokemon is developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo.

What is Pokemon?

The word Pokemon stands for “Pocket Monsters” and refers to a media franchise surrounding protagonists who travel the world collecting, befriending, and battling Pokemon.

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