They were on the shelves for the first time exactly 25 years: Pokémon Red in Green Pokémon. A modest Japanese version that would become the second most successful game series of all time, just behind Mario.
Pokémon seems to be forever tied to Nintendo, but the series owes its life to game makers Satoshi Tajiri and Ken Sugimori. Their company Game Freak has worked for years on various games for SEGA and Nintendo, among others.
Tajiri and Sugimori have presented their own idea for a game to Nintendo on several occasions, based on Tajiri’s childhood. He liked to catch bugs back then. The project was called first Monster Capsule, thereafter Pocket monsters, but the abbreviation remained: Pokemon.
In 1990 Nintendo was thank you MarioCreator Shigeru Miyamoto has finally recovered and Game Freak has gotten to work.
Pokémon Red in Green
We know the first one in the Netherlands Pokemongames on the Game Boy like red in Blue, but on February 27, 1996 in Japan, the second half was still called Green. At first, Game Freak had no idea how successful the game was because it contained almost no information.
In the meantime, the company decided to improve the game and give it an extra coat of blue paint. Pokémon Red in Blue crossed the ocean and reached the United States in 1998 and Europe the following year.
The games were a huge success, selling 31 million copies worldwide.
The magic formula was simple. As a trainer of little monsters, you travel through the land of Kanto. The task: catch all 151 critters in the iconic red and white “Pokéball” and defeat all the Pokémon Grandmasters in the region.
The trick: In each of the two games, you could only catch a portion of all the Pokémon. So you had to connect your Game Boy to someone else via the link cable in order to trade Pokémon.
Image from “Pokemon Red”.
Cartoon cards and series
With the huge success of the games, a cartoon series could not be delayed. In Japan he was already on the hit in 1997, in the Netherlands it was not until 1999 for the first episode of the animated series.
The series around Pokémon trainer Ash Ketchum and his friends has been as successful in the world as the games. Ash’s sidekick Pikachu became the symbol of the world Pokemon. In Japan, Ash is called “Satoshi” – as in Satoshi Tajiri.
Of theme song It stuck so well that it made its way to the Top 2000 in 2015, and its playing cards became the biggest childhood hype of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
To keep the expanding empire a bit more manageable, Nintendo created a separate publishing house: The Pokémon Company. He oversees the brand worldwide for the companies involved – Nintendo, Game Freak and Creatures.
A new Nintendo, a new Pokemon
The color scheme of the new Game Boy Color made games colorful in 1999 Pokémon Gold in Silver possible. They have flown over the counter 23 million times. A step aside, the photo game Pokémon Snap, was less successful, but still loved.
Sure red in Blue any new Nintendo handheld would be one PokemonGameplay. The gameplay has changed subtly with each new edition, but the series has never denied its roots.
Of Ruby in Sapphire the Gameboy Advance has sold sixteen million copies. Nintendo DS games diamond in pearl did a little better in 2006.
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl have been sold 17 million times.
Remakes and the Internet
Meet Black in White (2010) and his successors have made leaps forward both visually and technically. The games have seen seasonal changes, with the outside world looking different each time. The successors Pokémon X in Yes (2013) made the leap to fully three-dimensional graphics on the 3DS.
More and more fans were still hungry for the old games. Nintendo and Game Freak have decided to make remakes for new platforms, starting with Red fire in Leaf green for Game Boy Advance, in 2004.
Van remakes diamond in pearl are planned for this year.
Pokemon X & Y were the first 3D games in the series.
Take to the streets with Pokémon GO
The most successful modern Pokemon was not from Game Freak’s stable. That honor goes to mobile game creator Niantic, with the walking game Pokémon GO (2016).
This augmented reality game puts the player in the role of a Pokémon trainer who must catch critters in his own environment. With the GPS function and the smartphone camera, the game places Pokémon in the world around you.
Within a week, the game was downloaded ten million times. The whole summer of 2016 was full of stories of Pokémon GOplayers who have taken to the streets in droves to catch new Pokémon.
In the first year, Niantic made around $ 950 million (roughly $ 770 million) from the game. Nintendo then capitalized on the recognition of TO GO with the simplified Pokémon Let’s Gogames, in which you can use a “real” Pokeball.
The future of Pokemon
Since the mobile gaming hype of 2016, there are two more mainstream gaming sets Pokemongames released: Sun in Moon, in Sword in Shield. The latter, a game for the Switch, was the first game since Gold in Silver the limit of 20 million copies sold.
Nintendo announced three new ones on Friday Pokemontitles in: the remakes Shiny Diamond Pokémon in Shiny pearland the open world game Pokémon Legends Arceus. With the latter, the series seems to take another step forward, with a world completely free to explore.
Nintendo and Game Freak celebrate all year round. For the anniversary itself, they’ve planned a special party: Rapper Post Malone will give a special Pokémon digital concert at 2:00 a.m. (Dutch time).