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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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!! ^_^