20 YEARS OF Pokémon


Pojo breaks out the Wayback Machine and has a look back at 
the most important releases in Pokémon history over the last 
20 years.

1996 

FEBRUARY, 1996 

POCKET MONSTERS RED & GREEN IN JAPAN 


In February 1996, the Pocket Monsters Red & Green video games were re- 
leased in Japan. They introduced the concept of collecting, trading and bat- 
tling with Pocket Monsters. Thousands of people lined up in Japan to buy 
the games, which instantly sold out. These games eventually sold more 
than 10 million copies in Japan. Pokémon Blue was released in the summer 
of 1996 and that game was mail-order only. The games appear to be simple 
children’s games, but they are actually very deep Role-Playing Games 
(RPG’s). The games feature a ton of strategy and a dynamic storyline. 


OCTOBER 1996 

POKÉMON TCG DEBUTS IN JAPAN 




Eight months later, thanks to the success of the Game Boy games, the 
Pocket Monsters Trading Card Game (TCG) was released. The Pocket Mon- 
sters TCG turned into a craze in Japan. TCGs were still a relatively new phe- 
nomenon in the world. Magic the Gathering debuted in 1993 and was easily 
the most popular TCG at the time. Magic the Gathering had a pretty strong 
teenager/young adult following. But common folk didn’t even know that 
TCGs existed. Pocket Monsters / Pokemon really changed that. 
 
The Japanese “Pocket Monsters” franchise name was changed to “Poké- 
mon” in the United States due to copyright/trademark laws. There was al- 
ready a media franchise in the U.S. named “Monsters in My Pocket”.  


APRIL 1997 







POKÉMON TCG DEBUTS IN JAPAN 




POKÉMON ANIME DEBUTS IN JAPAN

There have been many successful anime over the years, including: Dragon 
Ball Z; Naruto; Fullmetal Alchemist; Attack on Titan; Inuyasha; Yu Yu 
Hakusho; Yu-Gi-Oh!; Sailor Moon; and even Speed Racer! Pokémon is right 
up there with the most successful of all time. At the time we wrote this 
book, Pokémon was entering its 19th Season, and there are no signs of 
Pokémon slowing down. 
North America, Satoshi is called Ash Ketchum, and Pocket Monsters are 
called Pokémon. 
 
There have been over 900 episodes, 19 movies and dozens of TV specials 
based on the original game series. 
 
The writers try to tie the anime in with the video games as much as pos- 
sible. Ash will visit new Pokémon Regions (countries) at about the same 
time they are introduced in the new video games. The stories progress very 
much like a soap opera, with each episode building off previous episodes. 
JULY 18, 1998 
POCKET MONSTERS MOVIE – MEWTWO STRIKES BACK 
DEBUTS IN JAPAN 



This first Pokemon movie introduces Mew and Mewtwo in the Anime fran- 
chise for the first time. All movies in Japan get a theatrical release. Only a 
few of the films were released into theaters in the U.S., most debut on cable 
television or go directly to DVD. 

SEPTEMBER 5, 1998 
POKÉMON ANIME DEBUTS IN NORTH AMERICA 



North America is introduced to Ash Ketchum and Pikachu for the first time. 
The show essentially takes the base plot of the video games and converts it 
into 83 half-hour episodes. The first season sees Ash getting Pikachu, be- 
friending Brock and Misty and defeating the Eight Gym Leaders from the In- 
digo League. Team Rocket (Jesse, James and Meowth) are introduced as 
evildoers who Ash has to contend with for many years to come. 



SEPTEMBER 28, 1998
POKÉMON RED AND POKÉMON BLUE 





The Pokémon Red and Blue Role Playing Games (RPGs) were released si- 
multaneously in North America. These are essentially the English remakes 
of the Pokémon Red and Green video that were released in Japan in 1996. 
You are a trainer trying to catch the variety of pocket monsters (Pokémon) 
that appear in the game. Once caught, Pokémon can be added to your party 
and trained to assist you. The longer you train Pokémon, the more attacks 
they learn, and the stronger they become. There are a total of 150 Pokémon 
to catch, but only 139 are available on Red, and 139 are available on Blue. In 
order to “Catch ‘Em All” you need to use a Game Link Cable and exchange 
captured Pokémon with friends. Traded Pokémon actually level up faster, so 
it’s beneficial to trade your Pokémon. 
These games have sold more than 11 million copies in the U.S., and more 
than 31 million copies worldwide. New, factory-sealed, unopened boxes of 
these games currently sell for over $400 on eBay. 

NOVEMBER, 1998 


The Pokémon Pikachu was also known as The Pocket Pikachu. It was an up- 
scale step counter! Pocket Pikachu was a digital virtual pet that you kept on 
your belt or in your pocket. 

JANUARY, 1999 
POKÉMON TCG DEBUTS IN NORTH AMERICA 


The Pokémon Trading Card Game hit North America in January and it took 
the U.S. by storm! Many kids simply collected the cards like baseball cards 
because they liked the video games or loved the anime. But soon, people 
realized that a beautifully designed beast of a game lived inside. The game 
is still going strong 20 years later. There have been over 70 expansions 
since the first base set. 

APRIL 26, 1999 
SUPER SMASH BROS. 


One of the best fighting games for the N64. The game features Pikachu and 
Jigglypuff as playable characters. New, sealed, unopened boxes of SSB 
games currently sell for over $300 on eBay. 
JUNE 16, 1999 
JUNGLE 




The 2nd Pokémon TCG expansion is released. Introduced strong cards like 
Scyther, Mr. Mime and Wigglytuff. 


JUNE 28, 1999 
POKÉMON PINBALL



Pokémon Pinball is a Pokémon based Pinball game. Besides playing a typ- 
ical pinball game, another goal is to “Catch ‘em All”. The original 150 Poké- 
mon are available for capture during gameplay. This was one of the first 
games available for the new Game Boy Color at the time. 

JUNE 30, 1999 
POKÉMON SNAP



The premise of this game is that you roll through various Pokémon environ- 
ments in a cart on a track, and take photographs of Pokémon for Professor 
Oak. We know it sounds lame, but this game is a ton of fun and extremely 
addictive. 
to be continued



 

 








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