what is pokemon?
Pokemon is a multimedia franchise owned by Creatures Inc. and Nintendo. The series is known for the titular creatures, Pokemon. With these Pokemon, humans can battle, trade, and play with them! Originally concepted as an RPG for Nintendo's handheld, the Gameboy, the series found massive success, turning to animated series, manga, cards, toys, and anything else you can think of! Pokemon now reigns as the world's best selling multimedia franchise of all time.
Pokemon is split into different 'generations' starting with Generation 1, set in the region of Kanto. As another mainline game releases in a new region to explore, a new generation is created, currently up to Generation 9 as of 2023. Each generation comes with it's own story and promotions. While Generations 1-4 were based on areas of Japan, starting with Generation 5, regions are now based on various international countries and areas. A Generation will also include remakes of older games, if introduced within the same time period. As of Generation 9, there have been remakes of the first 4 Generations.
The primary focus of Pokemon is the battling mechanics (https://pokemonshowdown.com/) . Pokemon can be trained and leveled up to become stronger, using their movesets and typing to their advantage. Each Pokemon can have up to 2 of 18 typings, an element that determines what powers they have, and what other types are either effective or not effective on them. In addition, moves have typings as well, attacking using moves of the same type of Pokemon provides a small bonus (STAB - Same Type Attack Bonus). Creating a competitive Pokemon can be hard work, being sure to train them in certain ways, breeding to get a certain move, ensuring their nature benefits to the right stats.
what makes it special?
In universe, however, there are many more ways to interact with Pokemon. Pokemon Contests are commonly featured as a minigame, a type of pagent meant to show off your Pokemon in an aesthetic category. These are commonly featured in material as a career choice. Other professions with Pokemon exist as well, such as a Pokemon Ranger, a Pokemon Breeder , a Pokemon Professor, the world revolves around these creatures.
I started my Pokemon journey when I was very young. As a toddler, before I could read, I would watch my brother play the games on the TV. I understood the basics, certain type match ups, but I did'nt see the point of any status moves. The game I remember the most was Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness for Gamecube. The double battle features of the game interested me. I eventually would watch the show too. My mother likes to tell the story that I knew how to sing the Pokerap before I could properly speak.
Eventually, on my 5th birthday, I got my own copy of Pokemon Diamond and a pink DS Lite. This is one of my first memories, actually. Unfortunately, being freshly 5, I didn't know how to read on my own. While trying to look for the Pokemon summary of my starter Piplup, I accidentally released it. My brother was kind enough to trade in some trained Pokemon from his Leafgreen file though. I believe he either beat Diamond for me with them or I got help. Probably the former. I don't remember anything of playing the story mode, but I did spend hundreds of hours in the post game, just exploring and training and battling and being in the Underground and Contests.
The first mainline game I properly got and beat on my own was Soulsilver. Choosing Chikorita, I completed the entire game, Johto to Kanto and finally Red, all on my own. This is probably my most nostalgic game, and the one I spent the most hours on. I appreciate how many extra features there are, even after the game, I hunted down as many Gym Leaders as I could for rematches and did Pokeathelons.
Around the age of 10, I was gifted a copy of Pokemon Adventures: Best of Yellow. This was a loose compelation of chapters from the Yellow arc of Pokemon Adventures, or Pokemon Special as I came to know it. After that, I hunted down the copies of the RGB and Yellow arc for myself, and got the box set for GSC. I was actually collecting the RSE and DPPt arcs as they released, and continued to do so until middle of XY arc. I consider this manga in particular very special to me, Yellow was my first character I truly looked up to and wanted to be like. I started drawing because of her, grew my hair out because of her...
pokemon and the futureAs I grew, Pokemon was no longer the only series on my mind 24/7, but it still is important to me. Even if my knowledge slips little by little on each new Gen, I still play all the games and get attached to each character and Pokemon I come across. I only occasionally keep up with Special, and not much on Journeys (the current anime season) either. But the passion I still feel when I see art or revisit the music is there. The world itself is full of fun and fantastic ideas I just can't let go.
The mainline games have become a bit of a mixed bag, espically in public opinion. The more recent games have come out with bugs and glitches, generally don't have as good graphics as other games on the system, and make odd minor choices... I had hope with Generation 9's Scarlet and Violet, with their innovation of more open world, something fans have wanted for a long time, but the traversing was alright, some parts were kind of frustrating. I found some of the Pokemon designs to be lacking. But I still had fun while I was playing, just didn't think of it after, like I did the other games.
I did, however, meet some of my closest friends because of Pokemon. And the creativity and ideas the series gave me hasn't been replicated yet. My original Pokemon characters I cherish very very deeply, and still hold on to them to this day. The beautiful part of Pokemon, I think, is that it isn't just a game. Its a transmedia experience, culminating trading cards, plush toys, multiple different manga, figures, many seasons of anime, live action movies, stage plays, cartoons, amusement parks, radio shows..... jets?!?! Its everywhere. And somewhere, even if you don't like the mainline games, you'll find something to captivate you. Maybe you love the sound design of the Mystery Dungeon games , think the locations are relaxing but pokemon is with is forever.