Thursday, March 17, 2011

Back and Catching 'em All!!!

Yeah, you read that right. It's Catching season ya'all - Pokemon Gen V season that is. And I'm unashamedly a Pokemon Fan - I mean, you saw my Pikachu right?

Well since Pokemon Black and White were released last week I thought it would be a good time to talk about how this global phenomenon came to be.

Go back to the 1990s. Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Capsule Monsters (as it was called then), was at a loss. He had pitched his game several times to Nintendo and failed, and without further funding the game would have died without ever being born.  Enter Shigeru Miyamoto. This titan of video games, creator of Mario, stepped in and pitched the game again to Nintendo. Thanks to this Satoshi Tajiri's company, Game Freak, received the funding from Nintendo and work on the games began.

It took six years before the first games were published. And those years were not all sunshine and daisies. Game Freak nearly went under, Tajiri worked many long unpaid hours, and people quit due to financial problems. But all was not lost.

On February 27th 1996 Pokemon Red and Pokemon Green were released to the Japanese public. By this time the original name Capsule Monsters had been changed to Pocket Monsters, which eventually was shortened to the name as it is known now - Pokemon.

Generation I had 151 Pokemon, you were able to trade between Nintendo Game Boys, and once people discovered Mew (and a contest from CoroCoro, a popular magazine) sales soared. Mew, after all, was the first Pokemon that had to be specially downloaded in order to be obtained. Unless you had a really, really nice friend who would trade it with you.
Red and Green were soon followed by Blue which had better graphics and improved sound. The Trading Card Game was also released, which soon found a dedicated following.  Several manga (Japanese graphic novels) were released, some with slapstick humor, and one that would eventually serve as the basis for the popular anime starring  a young Pokemon trainer named Satoshi (renamed Ash Ketchum in America) and his very determined Pikachu.
In September of 1998 Pokemon came to America. The video games and the anime were well received (and saying that is an understatement) and the Trading Card Game was released in 1999.

 Pokemon Yellow was released (1998 Japan, 1999 America) which allowed the trainer to play as the star of the manga and win over the trust of their very special Pikachu that followed them around. You could even turn and 'talk' to your Pikachu and the game would show you how it was feeling.
Movies, merchandise, spin off games, and a dedicated world-wide following launched Pokemon into stardom. Pikachu soon joined Mario in the ranks of 'most recognized video game characters'.

Generation II was released with Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver in 1999J and 2000A. It brought 100 new Pokemon, a new land to travel in, and Pokemon now had genders and could breed in the Daycare as well as other new features, like Shiny Pokemon and a clock/calendar system.

Pokemon Crystal (like Pokemon Yellow) was released later and brought movement to the Pokemon. The legendary Celebi was released like Mew - only via special downloads - and for the first time you could choose the gender of your trainer! (This was very exciting to girls like me.)
Generation III debuted on the Game Boy Advance with Ruby and Sapphire in 2002J and 2003A. These games were not compatible with those that had come before so the 'Gotta Catch 'em All' quest started over. This game added in 135 new Pokemon, now with different natures and attitudes. Jirachi followed Mew and Celebi as an event only special release.
In order to allow collectors to obtain Generations I and II in their new games, FireRed and LeafGreen (remakes of the original Red and Green) were released in 2004.

Following in the 3 game set tradition (Red, Green/Blue, Yellow) (Gold, Silver, Crystal), Pokemon Emerald came out in 2004J and 2005A. It was set in the Ruby, Sapphire world.
2006 officially marked the 10th Anniversary of Pokemon. (I actually participated in the national video game competition, got beaten soundly, but got a special Celebi and had a good time. ^_^)

Generation IV came out 2006J and 2007A with Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl. These were the first games for the new Gameboy the Nintendo DS. 107 new Pokemon. These games could have the Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, FireRed, and LeafGreen Pokemon uploaded to the Pal Park, so none of your hard work was lost.
With these games also came the GTS or Global Trading System. You could upload a Pokemon, state what you wanted to trade it with, and anyone in the world could trade with you. You also had a globe in the game that you could register your position on. When you traded via the GTS if the other person had put in their position too, when they traded with you their location was uploaded on to your globe. (I ended up with trades from every continent.)
The third game of the Diamond Pearl series was Platinum released in 2008J 2009A. (Personally I would like to state that with extensive playing, trading, and a bit of luck, I was able to obtain a then-complete Pokedex of the 493 Pokemon that had been released. O.o)

Generation V

And at last we have come to Generation V. A new land, a new story, new bad guys (Rocket is SO over with), and the biggest Generation yet, 156 new Pokemon introduced. Your character is a teenager now too, so it seems that trainers are growing up with the fanbase.
What Comes Next?

Is the story over yet? Fans don't think so. Have I told the whole story? Oh heck no. This is only a rough outline of the core games. But it is plain to see that 'Catching Them All' fever is alive and doing well.
^_^ Long Live Pokemon!! ^_^

1 comment:

  1. I want the new game and I am in my mid-20's. I still play Pokemon Diamond from time to time. I am hoping the new game will be fun for me too :)