Charming Monsters: The Story of the Pokemon Series

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Pokemon is one of the most famous Japanese RPG lines, along with Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. At the same time, she is completely different from her competitors and, at first glance, has nothing to do with role-playing games. For the release of the new part, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, we have prepared the history of the series. We examined the evolution of video games – from the 2D era to modern parts in 3D, talked about their features, compared them with anime and did not lose sight of the main thing – Pikachu. If you were not familiar with Pokemon before, then the article will smoothly introduce you to this universe, immediately after reading you can safely take on any of the games!

Biography and features
The Japanese studio Game Freak is responsible for the creation of Pokemon. Its leader, Satoshi Tajiri, had a passion for collecting insects as a child and made this idea central to the game. Only instead of bugs there are Pokemon, “pocket monsters” (from the English pocket monsters). Tajiri was closely involved in the development of the first releases, but then stepped back from the games and concentrated on the duties of the president of Game Freak.

The Pokemon brand is owned by Game Freak itself, major Japanese publisher Nintendo, and related company Creatures. Together they formed The Pokemon Company. Parts of the series are being released on Nintendo platforms. In terms of sales, they are only inferior to Mario and Tetris.

The world of Pokemon is fictional. It is reminiscent of modernity. However, children here travel through the forests and meadows in search of Pokemon, catch them with the help of a Pokeball (a ball-dwelling for an animal), fill out a Pokedex (an encyclopedia of all Pokemon), arrange battles. Pokémon fight, and the children-trainers give them commands. There are two goals: to collect all the creatures (this is the advertising slogan of the series) and win the Pokelig, the main championship of the region. On the way to the championship, it is necessary to defeat the leaders of the so-called “gyms” (halls), experienced coaches.

The action in each game of the main line takes place in a new region – minus Black and White and its sequel. Before the same Black and White, the developers copied all the regions from their country, and then set a course for foreign countries, which they still adhere to. So, Sun and Moon is inspired by the Hawaiian Islands, Sword and Shield is inspired by Great Britain. By the way, here is a list of the main releases (we indicate the release year for Europe):

Pokemon Red and Blue (1999)
Pokemon Gold and Silver (2001)
Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire (2003)
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl (2007)
Pokemon Black and White (2011)
Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 (2012)
Pokemon X and Y (2013)
Pokemon Sun and Moon (2016)
Pokemon Sword and Shield (2019)

With other JRPGsPokemon share a strictly linear plot and “random encounters” (from the English. Random encounters) – you stumble upon an invisible enemy, and the game, without asking you, starts the battle. In role-playing games, “chance encounters” serve to gain “experience”, but because of their frequency, they are annoying. An important difference between Pokemon and JRPGs is that monsters don’t die in duels – they lose consciousness. The plot is kind and extremely naive, it is purposely adapted for young children. Finally, Pokemon encourages you to interact with your friends. Have you noticed the double names of the games? In fact, there are always two versions on the shelves: Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue, Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver, and so on. There are almost no differences between them. Nuance – both contain a basic (general) set of Pokémon plus a few exclusive ones. To fill the Pokédex by 100%, you need to exchange animals.

The secret of Pokemon’s success is precisely in the craving for gathering. It is inherent in everyone – both children and adults. For one, it’s beating out “achievements” in video games, for the second, it’s fulfilling the plan outlined in Todoist. In general, a universal human trait. Developers are well aware of it, which we discussed in a separate article , and use it if possible.

However, it is wrong to explain the Pokemon phenomenon solely by the craving for gathering. For example, turn-based combat is good. Pokémon belong to certain types (elements), which must be taken into account: water monsters confidently oppose fire and stone ones, grass ones give in to fire ones, and the like. There are plenty of types, so battles turn into intense memory training.

Pokemon Sword Game (Switch)
[6+, Adventure, RPG, Release Date: 11/15/2019, Voice Language: English, Standard Edition]
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Initially, the games in the series landed on portable consoles, which justified the unpretentious two-dimensional graphics. Adding 3D objects to sprites began in the era of Black and White. X and Y showed the world polygonal 3D graphics, Sun and Moon – characters with more or less realistic proportions. Yes, at Game Freak, we are passionate about tradition. From release to release, Pokemon changes little. Most often, new transformations are introduced for monsters – the Pokemon temporarily switches to a mode with especially powerful attacks. In this sense, I was pleasantly surprised by Sword and Shield with locations in the spirit of the open world, where you see Pokemon in advance (random encounters be damned!). Against the background of her predecessors, she looked fresh.

Walk with Pikachu
The most recognizable Pokemon is, of course, Pikachu. Yellow cutie, he relentlessly follows the main character of the anime adaptation – Ash. In games, he is also in the foreground. Game Freak believed that the audience’s sympathy would be divided between Pikachu and the pink ball of Clefairy. The audience chose Pikachu.

In Pokemon games, gamers are initially offered a choice of three animals. They are also called “starters”. For example, in Pokemon Red and Blue, these are Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle. For Pikachu, the developers decided on an exception: in Yellow (2000), an improved version of Red and Blue, the hero is entrusted with Pikachu. No alternative.

The yellow “rabbit” (actually a mouse), beating with electric discharges, became famous far beyond the main series. So, he constantly shines in the fighting game Super Smash Bros. There are also “solo” video games about Pikachu, take the adventure Detective Pikachu (2018), where the baby portrays Sherlock Holmes. The plot of the game formed the basis of the film “Detective Pikachu” (2019) – the pokemon was voiced by Ryan Reynolds, the star of “Deadpool”

Notable offshoots
Detective Pikachu isn’t the only original offshoot of the series. We have selected a few more interesting spin-offs.

Pokemon Snap (2000). The only thing we do the whole game is take pictures of Pokémon. The sequel, New Pokemon Snap (2021), is available on Switch.


Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team / Red Rescue Team (2006). Your character here is not a coach, but a monster. You need to walk through procedurally generated dungeons and fight in turn-based skirmishes. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX was recently released on Switch.Pokemon Go (2016). Pokemon is doing great in terms of sales, but the augmented reality game Pokemon Go has breathed new life into the franchise. In it, you are looking for virtual Pokemon in the real world. The game has become about the same industry phenomenon as Fortnite. Developers maintain interest in it by introducing new animals from the official bestiary.
Pokken Tournament (2016). A surprisingly smart Pokemon fighting game with a subtle touch of Tekken. Switch also sells an improved version – Pokken Tournament DX.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus (2022). Here are just a few differences from the main line: a player (not Pokemon!) is hiding in the bushes, there is no competitive multiplayer, a wild Pokemon is able to attack your character in real time, as if it were an action / RPG.

Game Pokemon Legends: Arceus (Switch)

Millions of people got acquainted with pocket monsters thanks to the Japanese animated series. Sometimes you even meet the erroneous opinion that the games grew out of the series. Everything, of course, is the other way around.

The anime began airing in April 1997, a year after the debut pair of games premiered. The series is still on the air. The main character is the same everywhere – Ash Ketchum. Ash is a name in Western localization, originally called Satoshi, as the creator of the franchise.

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