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Pokémon needs no introduction; first released nearly three decades ago in February 1996, produced and created by Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures. With a fanbase of nearly 380 million (and that's just based on the number of copies sold since its first release), Pokémon became a worldwide phenomenon that has to this day stood the test of time and is the second most successful game franchise in the world, only second to Mario bros. 

It may be surprising, but there have been 122 Pokémon games since its first release, which are split into nine generations. These generations are split by a new core release that features a brand new set of Pokémon in its Pokedex. Each core game also comes with some spin-offs that add to the roster. 

What does Pokémon mean?

Pokémon was originally called “Pocket Monsters” and are essentially cartoon creatures that Trainers (the players) can capture, train and use to fight other teams of Pokémon to become the best there ever was. Pokémon are caught and contained inside Pokeballs; capsule-like devices that can only work on wild Pokémon when weakened in battle. 

Once Pokémon are caught, they will return to the Pokeball with no issue as they are essentially tamed and are a part of your team. Pokémon was based on this concept and built upon further to involve adventures; the player will go on to discover new Pokémon, challenge other trainers and get involved in the conflicts and friendships the world of Pokémon has to offer. 

The Pokémon are cartoon-like monsters with unique abilities and personalities and can evolve as they become more powerful or face adverse challenges. Pokémon have abilities depending on their types, ranging from elemental like fire, water, earth, etc., to more supernatural types like Psychic and Dark. 

Players are tasked to balance their team of Pokémon and all their abilities to create the most powerful team they can and fight other trainers, but in addition, each of the main games has the player take on Gym Leaders. These trainers have mastered their Pokémon training and fighting techniques and have extremely powerful Pokémon on their side. 

The Pokémon games also feature rivals for the player to keep up with as the game continues and to challenge them as they set out on their journey to be the best. Each game also usually culminates in a grand competition to become the region's Pokémon Champion by defeating the Elite Four, the region's most powerful trainers and the current champion of the region. 

The games also usually involve antagonists to the world at large such as the iconic Team Rocket from generation one to four and generation seven. And newer teams such as team Aqua, Magma, and in the most recent generations, team Yell. 

Lastly, the games have been adapted into anime and multiple movies over the years since their release. The anime has been released over multiple seasons and reboots totaling roughly 1,115 episodes, and there will be more to come. There are also currently 23 animated films to watch, and it features the older and newer generations of Pokémon. 

Who is the first Pokémon?

The first Pokémon ever created was Bulbasaur, and it is listed as 001 in the first-gen games Pokedex. The total for the first gen is 151 total Pokémon, and this total takes into account legendary Pokémon, the more powerful and mythical monsters that are often considered myths and legends. While they are not easily caught, they can be if you know how to do so.

It's most definitely worth mentioning that Pikachu, number 25 in the Pokedex of generation one, is the undisputed icon and mascot of the series. Pikachu first stood out in Season 1 Episode 1 of the original animated series and immediately hooked fans with its quirky nature, shocking personality, and refusal to get inside a Pokeball. It has continued to this day to be a mascot for the series, even receiving its own spin-off games and holding down its partnership with Ash Ketchum, the main character of the animated series. 

The new generations that follow sought to add more Pokémon to the Pokedex with each entry into the franchise. Currently, we are in the eighth generation of Pokémon, and the total number of Pokémon from gen one until now comes up to 905 Pokémon, and with gen nine on the way, we already have three starters announced, bringing the total to 908 adorable and terrifying monsters to use in your adventures. 

Pokémon games: Names and release dates?

Below are the titles for the video games and release dates for the mainline Pokémon games that were released first in Japan and then in the West. As we mentioned before, there are quite a few more games on the roster, so feel free to check out the entire Pokémon video game list for all consoles here. 

  • Pocket Monsters Red and Green Release Date (February 27, 1996 - Japan Exclusive)

  • Pocket Monsters Blue Release Date (October 10, 1996 - Japan Exclusive)

  • Pokémon Red and Blue Release Date (September 28, 1998)

  • Pokémon Yellow Release Date (September 12, 1998)

  • Pokémon Gold and Silver Release Date (November 21, 1999 )

  • Pokémon Crystal Release Date (December 14, 2000) 

  • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Release Date (November 21, 2002)

  • Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen Release Date (January 29, 2004)

  • Pokémon Emerald Release Date (September 16, 2004)

  • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Release Date (September 28, 2006)

  • Pokémon Platinum Release Date (September 13, 2008)

  • Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver Release Date (September 12, 2009)

  • Pokémon Black and White Release Date (September 18, 2010)

  • Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 Release Date (June 23, 2012)

  • Pokémon X and Y Release Date (October 12, 2013)

  • Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Release Date (November 21, 2014)

  • Pokémon Sun and Moon Release Date (November 18, 2016)

  • Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Release Date (November 17, 2017)

  • Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! Release Date (November 16, 2018)

  • Pokémon Sword and Shield Release Date (November 15, 2019)

  • Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Release Date (November 19, 2021)

  • Pokémon Legends: Arceus Release Date (January 28, 2022)

  • Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Release Date (Late 2022)

Pokémon is arguably one of the most entertaining and popular franchises in the world currently, and for a good reason. With tons of adventures to go on, hundreds of unique Pokémon to find, and engaging stories and relationships to explore, you'll be able to lose yourself in the amazing world that Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures have created. 

Pokémon is going to continue to be a massive part of our culture, both in gaming and in society. So if you haven't given it a try or just haven't played in a while, we urge you to get back into the world of Pokémon and as cliche as it might sound, go catch 'em all.