Pre-Game History

The history of Pokémon actually started much earlier than most people think. In his childhood, Satoshi Tajiri, the developer of Pokémon, liked catching insects and tadpoles near his home in Tokyo. With help from Ken Sugimori and other friends, he developed Game Freak. When Satoshi found the Game Boy and the Game Boy's link cable it gave him the idea of insects traveling along the wire. He was also fond of the Ultra Man tv show in which the protagonist used giant monsters contained in capsules to help him. These two sources gave him the idea for "Capsule Monsters". There were many failed attempts to pitch this new idea to Nintendo, but, with the help of Shigeru Miyamoto Nintendo funded the project. Due to trademarking issues the name was changed from "Capsule Monsters" to "Pocket Monsters" and it spent 6 years in development. After debugging was completed, Shigeki Morimoto programmed Mew into the game. However, Game Freak planned to keep the 151st Pokémon hidden from the unless it was needed for a post-launch event. Pokémon nearly drove Game Freak to bankruptcy. Five employees quit due to the financial conditions, and Satoshi worked many unpaid hours.

Generation 1

The very first games, Pokémon Red version and Blue version, were released in Japan on February 27, 1996. Originally, the games had modest sales, but, then players discovered Mew. The magazine CoroCoro announced that they would distribute mew to twenty entrants. 78,000 people entered the contest and game sales boomed. Because the sales were so high the games were soon followed by Pokemon Blue which had improved graphics and sound. After the games Media Factory released the first set of Pokemon Cards on October 20, 1996 and they soon became very popular.

Due to the success of Pokémon an anime series was created based on the games, premiering in Japan on April 1st 1997. The series was about a trainer named Satoshi (Renamed Ash in English) going on a Pokémon journey. Another character introduced into the series was Shigeru (Renamed Gary Oak in English). The anime quickly became very popular.

World Domination

Due to Pokémon's major success in Japan, the series was released overseas. North America received Pokémon Red and Blue along with the anime in September 1998, and soon everywhere else began to play the games under the slogan Gotta Catch 'em All! The trading card game was also introduced to North America on January 9th 1999. In Japan 1998 the spin off game Pokémon Stadium was released for Nintendo 64. This game included only 42 of the 151 Pokémon and was horribly unsuccessful, though its sequel received international release.

Pokemon Anime

Pokemon Anime

The anime, on the other hand, pushed the franchise to new heights. On July 18, 1998, Mewtwo Strikes Back debuted in Japanese theaters, featuring the rare Mew and Mewtwo. In the United States, where it was released on November 10, 1999, the movie briefly held the record for highest-grossing opening for an animated film.

Plans soon started for a game based on the popular anime and Pokémon Yellow was released on September 12, 1998 in Japan, and on October 25, 1999 in North America and Europe. Pokémon Yellow allowed Trainers to take on the role of Ash and travel through Kanto with anime-style graphics for each Pokémon and a Pikachu by their side, following the anime's course of events.

Expanding to spin-offs

On December 18, 1998 a game for the Game Boy based on the TCG was released, later arriving in North America on April 10, 2000. It was followed, only in Japan, a year later by a sequel titled Pokémon Card GB2: Here Comes Team GR!.

The anime, as well as Pokémon Yellow, marked Pikachu as on of the most popular and recognized creatures in Pokémon history, turning it into the Pokémon's mascot. A small spin-off game called Hey You, Pikachu!, was released in Japan on December 12, 1998, and in North America on November 6, 2000. This was a virtual-pet game, utilizing the Nintendo 64's Voice Recognition Unit to let the players interact verbally with Pikachu.

When the anime finished following the games' story with Ash's defeat in the Pokémon League in January 1999, it started a new season in a new region called the Orange Archipelago. During this season's time, a second movie, The Power of One, was produced. It was first in Japanese theaters on July 17, 1999, and in North American theaters on July 21, 2000.

A non-traditional spin-off game for Nintendo 64, Pokémon Snap, was released in Japan on March 21, 1999, inviting the player to a Pokémon photographing mission in a place called Pokemon Island.

In September 2000, the anime-based puzzle game Pokémon Puzzle League was released for Nintendo 64. This game was the only Pokémon game to be made specifically for western audiences and not be released in Japan.

However, this was not the only American-made original Pokémon material. From 2000 to 2002, an anime-based musical called Pokemon Live! was shown on stages around the world. The musical isn't considered canon, but it sparked endless theories among fans regarding the identity of Ash's father. 

Generation II

Winds of new beginnings

Almost since the very beginning of the series, it had been apparent that the first 151 Pokémon would not be the last. Ho-Oh was seen as early as the first episode of the anime, Togepi was owned by a main character, and others like Marill, Snubbull and Donphan were seen in the first movie. Later, when the second generation of Pokémon was drawing nearer, others like Lugia, Slowking and Elekid made their way to the second movie.

On November 21, 1999, Nintendo released Gold and Silver Versions for the then-new Game Boy Color. This time, Trainers were invited to the land of Johto, where 100 more Pokémon were waiting to be captured. The new games enhanced the Pokémon gaming experience by adding many new features, the most famous likely


Covers for Pokemon Gold and Silver

being the ability for Pokémon to have different genders, in turn allowing them to breed. A time system was also introduced, with a real-time clock allowing different events to happen during the day, at night, and in the morning, as well as on certain days of the week. Another important addition was the friendship system. Shiny Pokémon also first appeared, most notably a Red Gyarados at the Lake of Rage. Trainers could also return to Kanto and face the Gym Leaders that were present in the original games. Pokémon Gold and Silver made its way to North America on October 11, 2000.

The anime followed, of course, and Ash and his friends also arrived at Johto in an episode that aired in Japan on October 14, 1999 and in the US on October 14, 2000. Spell of the Unown: Entei was then released to theaters on July 8, 2000 in Japan and on April 6, 2001 in North America, featuring the Legendary Entei.

A new trading card set called Neo Genesis featured the first Generation II Pokémon to the Trading Card Game. It was released in Japan on December 10, 1999 and in the United States on December 16, 2000.


Pokemon Crystal Game Cover

Like Pokémon Yellow, a third version was made called Pokémon Crystal, which was released in Japan on December 14, 2000 and in North America on July 21, 2001. Pokémon Crystal had several notable changes from Gold and Silver. Suicune was the game mascot and the focus of the plot. Crystal was also the first portable Pokémon game to feature animations for every Pokémon. Trainers in Japan received the added bonus of being able to trade, battle, and even obtain the Legendary Pokémon Celebi wirelessly by using a cell phone to connect to the Pokémon Mobile System GB. Trainers were also, for the first time, allowed to choose their character's gender.

Anime in GS

On December 30, 2000, the first feature-length special of the Pokémon anime was released in Japan as a sequel to Mewtwo Strikes Back, titled Mewtwo Returns. It was later released on DVD in the United States on December 5, 2001.

Another anime movie, Celebi: Voice of the Forest, debuted in theaters in Japan on July 7, 2001, and in North America on October 25, 2002. It featured two Legendary Pokémon prominent in Pokémon Crystal: Celebi and Suicune.


Pokemon Heroes Movie Poster

Raikou, the only member of the Legendary beasts yet to be featured in an anime movie at the time, received its own made-for-TV special, The Legend of Thunder!, on December 30, 2001. This special didn't feature Ash and his friends, but rather new characters based on the player characters of the second generation.

On July 13, 2002, the fifth and final movie of the original series, Pokémon Heroes: Latios & Latias, was released in Japanese theaters. Distributed on limited release by Miramax Films, it opened in select American theaters on May 16, 2003. 

Generation III

Advancing to a new age

In July 2001 an episode of the anime aired in Japan featuring a Pokémon never previously seen - Kecleon. Soon, Kecleon and others like Wynaut, Azurill, Duskull and Volbeat showed up in theaters in two Pikachu shorts while Wailmer, Latias and Latios were featured in the fifth Pokémon movie. During the Silver Conference Ash battled Harrison, a Trainer from Littleroot Town in Hoenn. Professor Birch, along with other Pokémon, made a cameo in Johto Photo Finish. Through this, it became known that the next generation of Pokémon was just around the corner.

Pokémon Ruby-title

Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire

Indeed, a major overhaul of the main game series occurred when Pokémon arrived on the Game Boy Advance on November 21, 2002 when Ruby and Sapphire Versions were released in Japan. Trainers found themselves in the southern land called Hoenn where 135 new Pokémon were waiting to be discovered. The games reached North America on March 18, 2003 and had many new features, the most prominent being Pokémon Contests, Double Battles, Pokémon Abilities and Natures for each Pokémon, along with the reform of effort values and individual values. Also introduced in these versions were more types of weather and two new villainous teams, Team Magma and Team Aqua. Due to the extensive changes to the system, however, this generation was not compatible with earlier generations.

The anime began a new series, Advanced Generation series, which started in Japan on the same day as the release of the games and reached North America almost a year later. A great deal was changed in this series, including the introduction of a new main character, May, based on her game counterpart. Two new movies were produced during the time in Hoenn: Jirachi: Wish Maker and Destiny Deoxys.

Around the same time of the Advanced Generation series, a show called Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station began to air weekly in Japan, focusing not on Ash, but on other characters of the anime, such as Misty, Brock, Tracey, Gary, Ritchie, Casey and Sakura. The English dubbed version, Pokémon Chronicles, first aired in the United Kingdom in May 2005, finally dubbing The Legend of Thunder! special to English along the way, three and a half years after its original Japanese airing.

Nintendo transferred the Trading Card Game license from Wizards of the Coast to itself in 2003, and released its first set on January 31, introducing new game mechanics and a new card design. This set was released in North America on June 18, 2003.

More spin-offs

To solve the problem of limited Pokémon storage in the continuously growing Pokémon world, Pokémon Box Ruby & Sapphire was released May 30, 2003 in Japan, July 11, 2004 in North America, allowing Trainers to store up to 1,500 Pokémon from their Generation III games.


A sequel to Pokémon Pinball met the third generation in Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire for Game Boy Advance on August 1, 2003 in Japan and on August 23, 2003 in North America.

The 3D version of Generation III came in the form of Pokémon Colosseum on November 21, 2003 in Japan and March 22nd, 2004 in North America on the GameCube. Unlike the Pokémon Stadium series, this game also featured an RPG taking place in the desolate region of Orre. The game's main addition to the growing Pokémon universe was Shadow Pokémon.

Back to Kanto and onward to the Battle Frontier

On January 29, 2004, two new games were released in Japan: Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. They arrived in North America on September 9, 2004, and were remakes of Pokémon Red and Green which brought the games up to Generation III standards, as well as adding wireless connectivity and a new region — the Sevii Islands. These games also gave the event Pokémon Deoxys two additional forms, which could only be obtained by moving Deoxys to a FireRed or LeafGreen cartridge.

Not yet finished with the Hoenn story, Game Freak developed a third version to complement Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, Pokémon Emerald. This game was released in Japan on September 16, 2004, and in North America on May 1, 2005. Emerald featured the same wireless connectivity as FireRed and LeafGreen, as well as an updated version of Hoenn with many new features, including the Hoenn Battle Frontier, the ability to re-battle Gym Leaders, an altered plot, and animations for all Pokémon, as in Crystal.

The anime caught up with both the Generation I remakes and Emerald by having the group travel back to Kanto and face the Kanto Battle Frontier there. During this season's time two more movies were produced: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew and Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea.

Original new concepts

A spin-off racing game called Pokémon Dash was released in Japan on December 2, 2004 and in North America on March 14, 2005. It was the first of many Pokémon games made for the Nintendo DS.

Pokemon XD Gale of Darkness (NA)

On August 4, 2005, Trainers were invited back to Orre in Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness for the Nintendo GameCube, a sequel to Pokémon Colosseum taking place about five years later. This game found its way to North America on October 3, 2005.

A spin-off puzzle game, Pokémon Trozei!, was released on October 20, 2005 in Japan and on March 6, 2006 in North America. The game had a story mode, which followed Lucy Fleetfoot as she attempted to take down the Phobos Battalion.

Starting with the TCG expansion EX Delta Species, which was released on October 28, 2005 in Japan and only three days later in the United States, a new special kind of Pokémon called δ Delta Species was introduced. δ Delta Species Pokémon were found only in a few TCG expansions, and were given a backstory involving a new region called Holon.

A new style of play saw light on November 17, 2005, with Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team — a pair of games, one for Game Boy Advance and one for Nintendo DS — in which the player is a Pokémon. The games, released in North America on September 18, 2006, received adaptations in the anime episode SS019 and the manga series Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Ginji's Rescue Team.

Another new twist on Pokémon came in the spin-off Nintendo DS game Pokémon Ranger on March 23, 2006. This time, players didn't play as regular Pokémon Trainers, but as Pokémon Rangers traveling the land of Fiore with a device called the Capture Styler instead of Poké Balls. It was released in North America on October 30, 2006. The game was also promoted in the anime through the appearance of Pokémon Rangers in the main series, a special episode and the ninth movie, and in a short manga series.

Ten years of Pokémon

2006 was marked officially as Pokémon's tenth anniversary, and was celebrated as such in many ways, such as Journey Across America. Among other things, an English CD was released titled Pokémon X - 10 Years of Pokémon.

On April 29, 2006, a special episode of the anime called The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon was broadcast in the United States. This was the first episode to useThe Pokémon Company International's new voice actors (Pokémon USA at the time), causing big controversy among the Pokémon fan community. The special was eventually broadcast in Japan as streaming video from the TV Tokyo Anitele web site from October 13 to October 31, 2006.

In fall 2006, another section of the Pokémon franchise was created in the form of the Pokémon Trading Figure Game in Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia, made by Kaiyodo. The figures reached North America and Japan in 2007. 

Generation IV

Diamond and Pearl

Just like with Kecleon in Generation III, the public learned of Generation IV through a new Pokémon — Munchlax — in May 2004. Munchlax was soon featured in Pokémon Dash, as well as the seventh movie and later the main anime. Others such as Lucario, Bonsly, Mime Jr., and Weavile then made their way


Pokemon Diamond and Pearl Anime Poster

to the eighth movie, and Mantyke, Buizel, and Chatot appeared in the ninth, which featured Manaphy — a new Legendary Pokémon that even became obtainable in Pokémon Ranger.

Diamond and Pearl Versions were eventually released for Nintendo DS in Japan on September 28, 2006, and in North America on April 22, 2007. Along with 107 new Pokémon in the new huge land of Sinnoh, these games offered a pseudo-3D rendering of the overworld, the return of the time system, visible gender differences between Pokémon, a split between physical and special moves, a new villainous team, known as Team Galactic and Pokémon Super Contests.

The anime Diamond & Pearl series started in Japan and in the US in synchronization with the release of the games. Like the previous series, it introduced a new female character, Dawn, based on her game counterpart.

The three movies of this series form a continuous trilogy. The first part of the trilogy, The Rise of Darkrai, premiered on July 14, 2007 in Japanese theaters, and aired on February 24, 2008 on North American televisions. The second part, Giratina and the Sky Warrior premiered in Japan on July 19, 2008, and aired on February 13, 2009 on North American televisions. The third and final movie of the trilogy, Arceus and the Jewel of Life, premiered on July 18, 2009 in Japan, has aired on Cartoon Network in the United States on November 20, 2009.

A new TCG set was released in Japan on November 30, 2006 and in the United States on May 23, 2007, featuring the new Pokémon from Sinnoh.

New sequels

On December 14, 2006, two weeks after the launch of Nintendo's Wii console, Generation IV Pokémon turned 3D in the form of Pokémon Battle Revolution. It was released in the United States on June 25, 2007.

The paired sequels for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon for Nintendo DS were released in Japan on September 13, 2007 and in North America on April 20, 2008. Just like before, an anime adaptation was also produced and a manga series was published.

Pokémon Rangers were also brought into the fourth generation in a sequel called Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, set in the new land of Almia. It was released in Japan on March 20, 2008 and in North America on November 10, 2008. An Anime special was also produced and aired on the same day as the Japanese release, and ashort manga was posted as a webcomic on the Japanese Pokémon website. In March 6, 2010, another Ranger game, Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs was released in Japan. The new game set in the region of Oblivia was followed by several anime specials.

Like with Pokémon Box: Ruby and Sapphire in Generation III, a storage game titled My Pokémon Ranch was released on March 25, 2008 in Japan and on June 9, 2008 in North America, featuring the character of Hayley.

250px-Platinum EN boxart

The third version of Generation IV, Platinum Version, was released on September 13, 2008 in Japan and on March 22, 2009 in North America, bringing new Pokémon forms into the ring for Giratina, Shaymin, and Rotom, as well as updates similar to those found in Pokémon Emerald.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness was followed by a third version, Explorers of Sky, which was released in Japan on April 18, 2009. Just like the third versions of the core series, Explorers of Sky had additional content. Another anime adaptation was produced as well. Another set of games of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series was also produced for WiiWare, released in Japan on August 4, 2009.

Johto's Heart and Soul

Ever since the Generation III remakes for the incompatible Generation I Red and Green games, Pokémon fans have widely speculated that remakes of the Generation II Pokémon games, Gold and Silver, would be made for Nintendo DS. Indeed, the paired remakes, titled HeartGold and SoulSilver, were eventually released in Japan on September 12, 2009, and were released in the United States on March 14, 2010. The games were referred to in the anime in an episode that featured the counterpart of the new player character and the three starter Pokémon of Johto, one of whom even joined the regular cast. A new expansion set for the TCG was also released to celebrate the new games.

A new game for the Wii: PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure, was released on December 5, 2009. The game was released in North America and Europe in the spring of 2010. 

Generation V

A fresh start

On February 7, 2010, Pokémon Sunday revealed a new Pokémon: Zoroark. Generation V was dawning, and it quickly became clear that even though the new games,Pokémon Black and White, would again be on the Nintendo DS platform, everything about them would be quite new. In an unexpected move, Nintendo revealed that no old Pokémon would be available in the games until the main storyline had been completed, effectively giving both new and old Trainers in Unova, a region based on the New York City metropolitan area, rather than Japan, a completely fresh experience. On September 18, 2010, when the games were released in Japan, 156 new Pokémon were introduced, making this the biggest Pokémon generation yet.


A tripple Battle

Maintaining the innovations of Generation IV, Black and White added further to the time system that had been introduced more than ten years prior, now having the seasons change, and with them, Pokémon distribution and the time of day, with days being longer during summer and shorter during winter. The sprite animation system introduced in Generation III with Emerald was also done away with, returning Pokémon sprites to a

system more like that of Crystal in Generation II - though now Pokémon move throughout the battle. Pokémon Contests have


Opelucid City in Black (Top) and White (Bottom)

disappeared completely, with Pokémon Musical taking their place, though moves and conditions have no purpose in these competitions. Triple Battles, an expansion on the Double Battle concept introduced two generations prior, made position, as well as team cohesiveness, an important part of battle.

Unlike previous paired games, which generally differed only in Pokémon distribution, and ultimately, the availability of the Pokémon on the boxart at the conclusion of the main storyline, Black and White feature greater differences between the worlds of the opposite versions on level with those between paired and third version of earlier generations - Opelucid City in Black is highly technological, while in White it is laid-back and traditional, whereas two version-exclusive locations, Black City and White Forest, appear in the same location in their same-name version.

The anime was quick to follow with a new series, Best Wishes. Unlike previous generations, no Pokémon from Generation V were shown in the closing episodes of the Diamond & Pearl series, although the thirteenth movie, Zoroark Master of Illusions, featured Zorua and Zoroark as major characters, the only Generation V Pokémon featured prior to Best Wishes.

Similar to the original series, Ash's companions this time around are two Gym Leaders: Cilan and Iris. Like the games, the new series was also given a facelift. No Pokémon from previous generations (apart from Ash's Pikachu and Meowth) are shown in the episodes. Longtime anime characters, including the protagonist Ash Ketchum receive an upgraded appearance, most notably in regards to their eyes.

In an unprecedented move, two movies, rather than one, were released together as the fourteenth Pokémon movie, though the differences between the two are much alike the differences between Black Version and White Version.


It's a second step into Unova

It was always anticipated that Black and White would eventually get a third version, as past generations have. Many assumed it would be called "Pokémon Grey Version". However, this time there would be sequels, and with a different plot altogether.

Sequels to Black and White, Pokémon Black and White Versions 2, were released to Japan in June 2012 and came to North America, Europe and Australia in October 2012. The games feature two new forms of Kyurem, called Black Kyurem and White Kyurem , as well as new forms of the Forces of Nature and Keldeo. The games take place two years after Black and White, and many things have changed in the Unova region.

Generation VI

The next evolution


Pokemon XY Anime Posters

On January 8, 2013, Nintendo simultaneously announced to the world that a new generation of Pokémon will be coming to the world through a special edition of Nintendo Direct, called Pokémon Direct. Pokémon X and Y, the first games in Generation VI, were revealed and were released worldwide on October 12, 2013. These two games introduced several new Pokémon, and the Pokémon series took a new leap into the 3D world on the Nintendo 3DS. The concept of Mega Evolution was also introduced. During the unveiling of the new versions, three new Starter Pokémon were introduced: Grass Type Chespin, Fire Type Fennekin and Water Type Froakie. The games take place in a new region called Kalos, based off of real-world France.

The anime was quick to follow with a new series, XY. As with the previous three series, the XY series began with Ash Ketchum, headed off to the new region with his Pikachu. His previous companions, Iris and Cilan,

have left the series. Ash began his journey in Lumiose City. Clemont, Bonnie and Serena having joined him in the series as companions.

Welcome back to Hoenn

Just like the Generation III remakes for the incompatible Generation I Red and Green games and the Generation IV remakes for the incompatible Generation II Gold and Silver games, Pokémon fans have widely speculated that remakes of the Generation III Pokémon games, Ruby and Sapphire, would be made for Nintendo 3DS. Indeed, the paired remakes, titled Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, were revealed in a worldwide announcement on the official Pokémon websites on May 7, 2014 and were eventually released in Worldwide on November 21, 2014. 

Twenty years of Pokémon

2016 officially marked the 20th anniversary of Pokémon, and it was celebrated with a re-release of the original Generation I core series games on the Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console worldwide. These games were released on February 27, 2016, coinciding with Red and Green's original release date in Japan in 1996. In addition, there will be further celebrations of the occasion throughout the year.

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Pokemon Sun and Moon Poster

Generation VII

Seven's a lucky number

The seventh generation of Pokémon was announced on February 27, 2016, the franchise's 20th anniversary  

with the new games Pokémon Sun and Moon and made a release on November 18, 2016. 

       This is an edited and slightly shortened version of an article from Bulbapedia. The original article is located here: