One of my first loves in gaming was a little blue creature with a bulb on its back. This year that little creature and 700 plus friends are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their franchise; Pokemon. That’s right, Pokemon is almost old enough to drink in most countries and has a ton of games under its belt. I want to take time in this special article to look back at some of the games that made this franchise amazing, history of the franchise and some things that we’d love to see more of!
Pokemon started off in the 1990’s and released Pokemon Red and Green in Japan on February 27, 1996. The games are about catching and befriending monsters in pocket sized balls (Pocket Monsters!) and has so far spawned 721 different creatures for you to collect. The basis of Pokemon was made by creator Satoshi Tajiri and his love of bug collecting that he wanted to re-create through gaming. There are currently 6 generations of Pokemon games that all take place in different regions resembling different parts of the real world. The franchise is imbeded into the pop culture of many countries in the world and the mascot Pikachu is well known by people of all ages.
There have been many mainline and spin off titles in the Pokemon set. Pokemon Colosseum and its sequel, XD: Gale of Darkness, are fan favorites and well received console releases of the series. The games have a more mature story and no Pokemon are caught in the wild. Instead of just searching for Pokemon you have to use a snag machine to take back Shadow Pokemon that have been unpurified from the villainous team, Snagem. The games persuade you to use all the Pokemon you catch in order to purify these Shadow Pokemon and eventually trade them in to the mainline games – Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. These games were the only time anything similar to a mainline game has appeared on consoles. The games have now become GameCube classics and keep a steady price of around 25-30 USD in secondhand shops and online.
We also have the N64 Pokemon Stadium games. These games let you battle Pokemon in a 3D environment and even came with a device to transfer your Pokemon team from Gold, Silver, and Crystal into the game. Pokemon Stadium 1 and 2 had a short story mode of sorts where you chose a team and battled through the gyms and fought the Elite four of the region. The games also hosted much loved mini games you could play with up to four friends on the side, including a Lickitung sushi eating contest, a Chansey egg catch competition, and an Ekans ring toss game. There was even a mystery gift function added into the second one to give you decoration for your room in Gold, Silver, and Crystal. They where made to be side companions to the 2D RPGs that were released before them and did a great job converting the Pokemon to a 3D battle. The games are now priced around 20 USD for Stadium and upwards of 45 USD for Stadium 2.
Pokemon Battle Revolution was the last 3D fighter-styled game on a system and it was launched for the Wii. It was based around an amusement park and had a lot of neon colors and different battle arenas. It was also the first time in franchise history that you could customize your trainer with clothes and hairstyles. The game also had a basic story where you fought through a series of gyms and each battle you completed earned you BP. BP or Battle Points are what you used to buy new unlocks and style your character in the way you liked. As with Stadium 2, you could connect Diamond and Pearl to import your Pokemon team to fight for you. There where a lot of tournaments and in-person events centered around the release of Battle Revolution and it now can be obtained for around 20 USD in most online shops.
Fans hope to see a third entry to the Colosseum series and for another console Stadium-type game. What about you, though? Which of these would you like to see make a comeback?