From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
The history of Pokémon spans nearly a decade from when work began officially on first game to now. It started simply enough as a hobby of Satoshi Tajiri, who as a child had a fondness for catching insects and tadpoles near his home in suburban Tokyo. Over time, Tajiri decided to put his idea of catching creatures into practice because it would give children the same thrill as he had.
With the help of Ken Sugimori and other friends, Tajiri formed Game Freak and much later the design studio known as Creatures. In 1991, Tajiri discovered the Game Boy and the Game Boy Link Cable gave him the image of insects traveling along the wire. Nintendo began to fund his project and spent six years developing the games that would become a worldwide sensation.
The first Pokémon games, Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green came onto the Game Boy scene in Japan on February 27, 1996, which was the fulfillment of Satoshi Tajiri's dream and allowed people of all ages to catch, train and trade 151 creatures and become a Pokémon Master. Due to high sales, Pokémon Green swiftly became Pokémon Blue, which had improved graphics and sounds.
North America received Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue on September 30th, 1998, and soon everywhere else began to play the games on the Game Boy. Plans soon started for a game based on the popular anime and Pokémon Yellow was released September 12th, 1998 in Japan, October 25th, 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. The game followed the anime's course of events and Pokémon soared to new heights of popularity as the 20th century came to a close.
On November 21st 1999, Nintendo of Japan released Pokémon Gold and Silver for the then-new Game Boy Color. This time, Pokémon 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 creating:
- Genders for most pokémon, which allowed for breeding
- A clock, which allowed for day, night, and morning
- Money storage with your mother
- New paths of evolution
- The happiness system
Many other features made the games different than their predecessors. Trainers could also return to Kanto and face the Gym Leaders that existed in the original games. Pokémon Gold and Silver made its way to North America on October 11th, 2000.
Like Pokémon Yellow, a third version was made in Japan called Pokémon Crystal and was released December 14th, 2000 in Japan and July 21st, 2001 in North America. Pokémon Crystal had several changes made. Many Pokémon changed locations and the pokémon known as Suicune was the title character and the focus of the plot. This was also the first portable Pokémon game that featured animations for every Pokémon. Trainers in Japan received an added bonus of receiving the Pokémon known as Celebi through a wireless link, and also being able to trade wirelessly using a cellphone and the Mobile Adapter. Trainers on both sides of the Pacific Ocean were, for the first time, allowed to choose their character's gender.
A major overhaul of the game series occurred when Pokémon arrived on the Game Boy Advance on November 21st, 2002 when Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire came onto the scene. 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 18th 2003 and had many new features.
Not finished with the Hoenn story, Game Freak developed a third version to go with Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, called Pokémon Emerald. This game was released in North America in early 2005, and in Japan on September 16th, 2004. Emerald version game features the same wireless connection as in FireRed and LeafGreen, as well as a return to Hoenn with many new features, including:
- Rebattling gym leaders
- Battle Frontier
- Non-alignment with Team Magma & Team Aqua
- Both Kyogre & Groudon catchable
- Animations for all Pokémon, like Pokémon Crystal
Generation III remake of RBY
This generation also saw the return of Kanto in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, where trainers could once again travel through Kanto with enhanced graphics and gameplay. The games also featured a wireless connection and a new area, the Sevii Islands. Many of these were home to Johto Pokémon unavailable in other games of this generation. This game was released January 29th, 2004 in Japan and September 9th, 2004 in North America.
With a fourth generation in the works for the Nintendo DS, Pokémon is appearing to be stronger than ever. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl are slated to come out in Japan soon. No one is sure what new things the new generation will bring to the ever changing world of Pokémon.
Along the way, Pokémon has had many spin off titles for the Nintendo 64 and the Nintendo GameCube. The list includes:
Nintendo Game Boy
Pokémon will have a new game for the GameCube some time in 2005. Pokémon has secured its place in gaming history, but who can say what the future will bring? All that is known is that the world of Pokémon is and always will be an ever-evolving place for years to come.