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English Pokémon logo.svg
The logo for the Pokémon series, except in Japan
Genre(s) Role-playing video game
Developer(s) Game Freak, Creatures Inc.
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Creator(s) Satoshi Tajiri
Original release February 27, 1996
Official website Poké

Pokémon is a series of role-playing video 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 series has continued with at least two new games for each Game Boy generation. 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.



The original Pokémon games were 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.

All of the licensed Pokémon properties overseen by The Pokémon Company are divided roughly by generation. These generations are roughly chronological divisions by release; every several years, 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 is currently in its fourth generation.

The Pokémon series began with the release of Pocket Monsters Aka and Midori for the Game Boy in Japan. When these games proved extremely popular, an enhanced Aoi version was released sometime after, and the Aoi version was reprogrammed as Pokémon Red and Blue for international release. The games launched in the United States on September 30, 1998. The original Red and Green versions were never released outside Japan.[1] 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..[2]

The second generation of Pokémon video games began in 2000 with the release of Pokémon Gold and Silver for Game Boy Color. Like the previous generation, an enhanced remake titled Pokémon Crystal was later released. It 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); 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, 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.[3] 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 2003 release of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire for Game Boy Advance and continued with the Game Boy Advance remakes of Pokémon Red and Blue, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, and an enhanced remake of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire titled Pokémon Emerald. The third generation introduced 135 new Pokémon (starting with Treecko and ending with Deoxys) for a total of 386 species. It also features a much more visually detailed environment compared to previous games, 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 (it had to be 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 and 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 a separate RPG series for 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.[4] 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, the current total. 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. Also, a new entry to the Diamond/Pearl generation, called Pokémon Platinum, was announced in May 2008's CoroCoro.[5] It was also recently announced that the Generation II games Pokémon Gold and Silver would be remade for the Nintendo DS as Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver.

On January 29, 2010, the Pokémon Company announced that a new game was in development for the DS to be released later that year.[6][7] A silhouette of a new Pokémon was shown by Junichi Masuda on the 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.[8] 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.[9] 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 are to be featured in Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl The Movie: Phantom Ruler: Zoroark.[10][11]

Currently, 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[12]), Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia for Nintendo DS, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness and their sister game, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: 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.[13]


One of the consistent aspects of most Pokémon games—spanning from Pokémon Red and Blue on the Game Boy to the Nintendo DS game, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl—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.[14] 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.[15]

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. For instance, if the player picks Fire-type Charmander, the rival will always pick 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 with multiple evolutions.

List of main Pokémon games


Handheld games

Console games

Appearances in other games

In the Super Smash Bros. series, Pikachu, Ivysaur, Squirtle, Charizard, Jigglypuff, Pichu, Mewtwo and Lucario are playable characters. Pikachu and Jigglypuff are introduced in Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64, 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, although Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard make their first playable appearances as part of the Pokémon Trainer character, while Lucario appears as a separate character. 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, with various effects on the game. Further, several Pokémon games are available on PC and Macintosh, see Pokémon games for PC.

Unobtainable Pokémon

Mew, one of the unobtainable Pokémon

Four Pokémon—Mew, Celebi, Jirachi and Deoxys—are impossible to obtain without cheat devices, exploiting glitches, or Nintendo promotional events. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl added three new extremely rare Pokémon: Darkrai, Shaymin and Arceus. They are obtained by using the Mystery Gift function; in some cases, exploiting a glitch in the game itself; or directly from Nintendo at promotional events. These Pokémon can be obtained by using a GameShark or similar cheating device like Action Replay. Players are not required to own these Pokémon, among others, in order to have a complete Pokédex.

  • Mew can be found in the Red, Blue, and Yellow versions using the "Mew glitch." In addition, it is possible to get an Old Sea Chart in Pokémon Emerald at one of Nintendo's promotional events and use this to travel to Faraway Island (known as World's Edge Island in Japan), where Mew can be caught. On September 30, 2006, Mew was also given out at Toys "R" Us stores throughout the United States[17] in recognition of the release of the new movie, Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew. A similar event at Toys "R" Us stores across Britain took place in August 2007. Several of these promotional events also took place in major shopping malls in Australia and the United States. It has also been discovered that Mew is also obtainable in the WiiWare title, My Pokémon Ranch. If 999 Pokémon are sent to the Ranch, Hayley will bring a Mew to the Ranch and is able to be traded in return for an egg from the Wii to a Pokémon Diamond or Pokémon Pearl game.
  • Celebi can be found through the use of the GS ball (only obtainable in the Japanese version of Pokémon Crystal ), which can be placed in a shrine in Ilex Forest to summon it, by manipulating a glitch, or by using a cheating device. It is also available in the Japanese Pokémon Colosseum bonus disc, which was available with pre-orders. For the Gold, Silver and Crystal games, Celebi has been provided as a promotional Pokémon at special events, but it was not obtainable outside of Japan for the Game Boy Advance generation with the exception of a promotional 10th Pokémon Journey Across America.
  • Jirachi can only be obtained legitimately with the Pokémon Colosseum bonus disc (which was available with pre-orders) in North America, which allows a player to trade this Pokémon to the Ruby and Sapphire games. PAL region gamers can get it by finishing Pokémon Channel, after which Jirachi can be downloaded to the GBA games; it holds a Ganlon berry. During Feb. 27, 2010 to March 13, 2010, Jirachi was obtainable at select Gamestop stores.
  • Deoxys can be caught on Birth Island to the south of Kanto in the FireRed, LeafGreen and Emerald versions, provided the player has an Aurora Ticket, which was a bonus for pre-ordering a ticket to see the 7th movie in Japan. In America, the ticket was given at Pokémon Rocks America 2004 and on Halloween 2004 at the former Pokémon Center. Europeans were able to find it by a promotion called "The Hunt for Deoxys." Nintendo of Europe gave out tickets to those who mailed their games in. Due to the universal encoding of a Game Boy Advance, American cartridges can receive Deoxys too. An event took place at Space Center Houston that gave out Deoxys on March 10 through 19 of 2006. Deoxys was also given away to owners of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl as a bonus for pre-ordering a ticket to see the tenth Pokémon movie. This Deoxys came in the exclusive Cherish Ball and had a unique moveset. Deoxys was also given away to Pokémon Diamond and Pearl owners on the weekends of June 20–22, and June 27–29, 2008 at local GameStops in America.
  • Manaphy can be obtained in Diamond and Pearl with use of the games Pokémon Ranger and Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia. After each game is completed, a special mission may be offered to maintain a Manaphy egg which the player can then transfer to Diamond or Pearl to hatch there. Additionally, on Saturday, September 29, 2007, Toys 'R' Us held another event to distribute Manaphy, in promotion of the film Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea. This particular Manaphy had a special moveset and was caught in a Cherish Ball. It also held the item Red Scarf.
  • Darkrai can be obtained in Diamond and Pearl with the use of the event item Membership Pass. This takes the player to Newmoon Island, where Darkrai can be found. Darkrai was also distributed at movie theatres in Japan to promote the movie Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai. Keeping in trend with previous promotions, the Pokémon Darkrai was distributed at Toys 'R' Us stores in the United States on May 31 and June 1, 2008, also in promotion of Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai. Darkrai was also obtained by completing a downloadable mission in Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia but Nintendo has removed the mission. Darkrai was given away in the summer of 2008 at the now defunct Woolworths stores across the UK; it is in a Cherish ball, holds an Enigma berry, and knows the special moves of Spacial Rend and Roar of Time—Palkia's and Dialga's exclusive moves. Using cheats you can move from the island where is cresselia and go eastwards, where you will find the island which contains darkai.
  • Shaymin was only obtainable in Japan on July 6 (premiere) and July 19 (official date). Anyone with a Nintendo DS and Diamond or Pearl were able to receive Shaymin in the film hall. In North America, Shaymin was available from February 8 to the 14 at Toys 'R' Us. In 2009, for the release of Pokémon Platinum, players in Britain where given the opportunity to download a Shaymin from a GAME retailer via Mysterygift. It knew the move Seed Flare at level 50, rather than at level 100 (the level the move is obtained at).
  • Arceus is available for download for North America owners of Diamond, Pearl and Platinum from November 7 to November 15. In Japan, Diamond and Pearl owners who preordered a ticket to the 12th movie received the Pokémon. The item needed for in game capture hasn't been released to the public, and, as of now, is only available via hacking.

Other promotions

Nintendo has produced modified versions of other, not so rare Pokémon to serve as promotional icons. One of these was a surfing Pikachu, which was originally available only through a Nintendo Power contest. However, it was later provided as an unlockable secret in Pokémon Stadium, Pokémon Box and Pokémon Battle Revolution. Similarly, for a short time in Japan, there was a giveaway providing diving Pikachu. Flying Pikachu were also given away at Journey Across America in New York City stop.

  • On November 8–9, 2008, Nintendo ran a level 50 Dragonite promotion. The reason backing this release was because Dragonite was unable to be used in tournaments, therefore Nintendo decided to give tournament-legal Dragonites for future tournaments.
  • From March 8–22, 2009, a Level 100 Regigigas was available at Toys "R" Us, which would, when traded into Pokémon Platinum, unlock the related Pokémon, Regice, Regirock, and Registeel. In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, the reverse was true, where the three Regi- Pokémon would be traded in from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire via the Nintendo DS's Game Boy Advance port, and unlock Regigigas. This would be impossible for players on the Nintendo DSi, which was released soon after Platinum, and has no Game Boy Advance port.
  • From February 27-March 13, Nintendo ran a promotion for Jirachi, a very rare legendary Pokémon that still has this event going on. If the user is at a GameStop, they can turn on their Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum and get onto a special wireless connection only available there, and follow the instructions on the free instruction paper you can get. When traded to the game Pokémon HeartGold or SoulSilver, Jirachi opens a special new route inside the Pokewalker that is called the Night Sky's Edge that can only be accessed this way.

Codes and glitches

Many glitches can be triggered in the Pokémon games, especially in Red, Blue, and Yellow.[18] These glitches allow players to duplicate Pokémon or items, catch unobtainable Pokémon, and accomplish otherwise impossible feats.

Additionally, many fake glitches and codes in the Pokémon video games (again, especially Red and Blue) exist. The creation of such codes is often used to trick credulous players into deleting their save file, releasing their Pokémon, or performing other supposed requirements. Many of these glitches involve the catching of unobtainable (entirely fake) Pokémon; in many cases, the credibility of such codes was increased by falsified screenshots from the in-game Pokédex.

"MissingNo." is a glitch in Pokémon Red and Blue composed of junk data holding the 000 position in the Pokédex. It is a "placeholder", created so that, should the game try to access an invalid Pokémon through error, it would produce "Missingno." instead of crashing. Its type is listed as "Bird/Normal". When caught, it knows the moves Water Gun (occupying two move slots) and Sky Attack. It is accessed with a glitch that involves undergoing a tutorial in Viridian City (which temporarily places the player's name into the RAM space that is accessed to determine which Pokémon can be caught in an area), then immediately flying to Cinnabar Island, and surfing along the coast. Cinnabar Island's coast has no data on which Pokémon can be caught, and thus whatever is presently in the RAM (in this case, the player's name) is used. As most names in the English language will not resolve into a Pokémon's ID, Missingno. is created.

Glitches that allow the duplication of caught Pokémon have been discovered in several games, via exploitation of errors in transferring Pokémon data. Due to the benefits of such glitches, most forms are highly documented. In Pokémon Crystal, cloning involves using the "save delay" caused by changing PC boxes. The possibility of corrupting or erasing the game file is always present when using cloning glitches, with no way to restore it. Most glitches are banned from tournaments.[citation needed] However, a trick found in Pokémon Emerald can clone Pokémon with no ill side effects if the player follows the right steps.[citation needed] There is also a cloning glitch with no side effects in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum using the Global Trade Station,a place where players can access trade using Wi-Fi Connection.[citation needed] A player may also duplicate Pokémon in the Red and Blue series of Gameboy games through enabling the trade function and removing the connector cable and one player turning off their gameboy with precision timing. This will result in one of the players experiencing a successful trade and the other experiencing a cancelled trade. Hence, one Pokémon is duplicated onto an additional game cartridge and the other Pokémon is lost.

Impact and legacy

A subculture exists which is devoted to the study of Pokémon battling and strategy, usually on research centers around Internet bulletin boards. As well, multiple methods of online Pokémon battling exist, such as linkable Game Boy emulators, an IRC channel based programs: GSBot and RSBot, as well as the independent program Pokémon NetBattle [19], and another program called Shoddy Battle.

The series has sold over 175 million units as of April 23, 2008,[20] making it one of the best-selling of all time. 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".[21]


  1. ^ "Pokémon Green Info on GameFAQs" URL Accessed February 23, 2007
  2. ^ Super Smash Bros. Product Information .ASIN B00000J2W7 . Accessed April 19, 2006.
  3. ^ Super Smash Bros. Melee Unlockable character guide URL Accessed April 19, 2006.
  4. ^ "New Pokémon to Make Diamond-and-Pearl-Studded Debut". Accessed February 7, 2007.
  5. ^ It was released in Japan on 13th September 2008. New Generation IV game to be announced next month Bulbapedia. URL Accessed April 17, 2008.
  6. ^ "『ポケットモンスター』シリーズ完全新作 2010年内発売に向けて開発中! | ゲーム関連 | ニュース | ポケットモンスターオフィシャルサイト". January 29, 2010. Retrieved January 29, 2010.  (Japanese)
  7. ^ Brian Ashcraft (Jan 28, 2010). ""Entirely New" Pokemon Series Coming This Year - Japan - Kotaku". Kotaku. Retrieved 1-29-2010. 
  8. ^ "ポケモン☆サンデー | アニメ | ポケットモンスターオフィシャルサイト". Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  9. ^ "コロコロ公式サイト|2010年ポケットモンスター最新作発売決定!!". Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  10. ^ "新ポケモン「ゾロア」「ゾロアーク」の姿が判明!2010年ポケモン映画にも登場! | ゲーム関連 | ニュース | ポケットモンスターオフィシャルサイト". 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  11. ^ "◆ポケモン映画公式サイト「幻影の覇者 ゾロアーク」◆". Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  12. ^ "Cubed3 Pokémon Battle Revolution Confirmed for Wii" URL Accessed June 7, 2006.
  13. ^ Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshot gallery IGN. Accessed May 11, 2006.
  14. ^ Pokémon Ruby review (page 1) Accessed May 30, 2006.
  15. ^ Pokémon Yellow Critical Review URL accessed on March 27, 2006.
  16. ^ "『ポケットモンスター』シリーズ最新作 2009年秋 ニンテンドーDSで発売決定!USA April 1, 2010" (in Japanese). Nintendo. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  17. ^ Mailbag: The Mystery of Mew!, Poké URL last accessed March 4, 2007.
  18. ^ MissingNo. and Glitch Pokémon articles, retrieved on November 16, 2007
  19. ^ Pokémon Netbattle
  20. ^ Nintendo (2008-04-23). "Fans Can Actually Become a Pokémon with Two New Nintendo DS Games". Press release. Retrieved 2008-04-25. 
  21. ^ Clodfelter, Tim (April 17, 2008). "Record Book Focused on the Gamers". Winston-Salem Journal. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 

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