Pokemon, the globally-renowned franchise, has taken the world by storm since its inception in the 1990s. But have you ever wondered which Pokemon was the first? This question has sparked curiosity and debate among fans who are curious about the origins of the series.
In this article, we will explore the history of the first Pokemon, its creation, and the cultural phenomenon that it has become. Let’s delve into the roots of this iconic franchise and find out what started it all.
A Brief History of Pokemon
Pokemon, short for “Pocket Monsters,” is a Japanese media franchise owned by The Pokemon Company, created by Satoshi Tajiri and Ken Sugimori, and managed by Nintendo. The franchise was officially launched in Japan in 1996 with the release of the video games Pokemon Red and Green.
The franchise quickly gained popularity, leading to the creation of a trading card game, an animated television series, and a plethora of merchandise. Pokemon was introduced to the United States in 1998 and quickly became a cultural phenomenon worldwide.
The Early Years
The Pokemon franchise started with the concept of catching and collecting creatures called “Pokemon” in the video game. The gameplay involved players exploring the game world, battling other trainers, and catching Pokemon to add to their collection.
Due to the success of the first game, Pokemon Gold and Silver were released in 1999, followed by Pokemon Crystal in 2000. These games expanded on the gameplay mechanics of the first game and introduced new features, such as breeding and time-based events.
In the years that followed, the Pokemon franchise continued to grow, with new games, trading cards, and merchandise being released. The anime series, which first aired in 1997 in Japan, was also dubbed and released in other countries, further increasing the franchise’s popularity.
The Game Boy Advance was released in 2001, and the first Pokemon game for the console, Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, was released in 2002. These games introduced new Pokemon, a new region to explore, and new features such as double battles.
The Modern Era
The franchise continues to expand, with new Pokemon games being released for handheld and console systems. The latest games, Pokemon Sword and Shield, were released in 2019 for the Nintendo Switch console.
The Pokemon franchise has also found success in other media, such as the Detective Pikachu movie released in 2019 and various collaborations with other franchises, such as the Pokemon Go mobile game.
Overall, the Pokemon franchise has had a significant cultural impact and continues to attract new fans with each generation of games and media releases.
The Creation of Pokemon
Pokemon was created by Satoshi Tajiri, a Japanese video game designer and businessman. Tajiri was an avid collector of insects in his youth, which inspired him to create a video game that involved capturing and collecting creatures.
Tajiri, along with Ken Sugimori and their company Game Freak, began work on the concept of Pokemon in the early 1990s. They took inspiration from the Game Boy’s link cable feature, which allowed players to connect two Game Boys and play the same game together. They envisioned a game where players could trade and battle creatures with friends.
The first Pokemon designs were created by Sugimori, who drew inspiration from various sources including his own pet, a rabbit. The first Pokemon ever designed was Rhydon, a rhinoceros-like creature that is still popular today.
Development of the first Pokemon game, Pokemon Red and Green (Blue in international releases), took six years. The game was released in Japan in 1996 and was an immediate success. It wasn’t until 1998 that the game was released in North America, where it also became a massive success.
The creation of Pokemon wasn’t without its challenges. Tajiri struggled to convince Nintendo to publish the game, and the team faced many obstacles during development. However, their hard work and dedication paid off, and Pokemon became an international sensation.
The First Generation Pokemon
The first generation of Pokemon, which includes the original 151 species, was a major part of the success of the franchise. Each Pokemon had unique characteristics, including type, abilities and movesets that made them stand out from one another. This made the game highly engaging for players, who wanted to catch and train every Pokemon to become the very best!
The three starter Pokemon, Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle, became iconic figures of the franchise and paved the way for the concept of starter Pokemon in later iterations of the game.
Players could choose to evolve their Pokemon into stronger forms as they leveled up, which added a new layer of strategy to the game.
The Design of the First Generation Pokemon
The first generation Pokemon were designed by Ken Sugimori with input from Satoshi Tajiri. The designs featured simple shapes and bright colors, making the Pokemon easy to recognize and child-friendly.
Each Pokemon was unique, based on an animal or item in the real world, such as Pikachu being based on a mouse and Ekans being based on a snake.
The Legacy of the First Generation Pokemon
The first generation Pokemon have had a lasting impact on the franchise, inspiring future generations of Pokemon and paving the way for the success of the franchise. Many of the first generation Pokemon continue to be popular today, with Pikachu remaining as the face of the franchise.
The first generation Pokemon are still celebrated through merchandise, video games, and the ongoing animated series.
Pikachu – The Face of Pokemon
If there’s one Pokemon that’s instantly recognizable to anyone, it’s Pikachu. With its bright orange fur and cute features, Pikachu has become the iconic face of the franchise, and a symbol of the series’ enduring popularity.
Pikachu was created by Game Freak designer Atsuko Nishida, who was inspired by her pet hamster. The character was first introduced in the original Pokemon Red and Green games, where it served as the mascot for the fictional Pokemon world.
However, it wasn’t until the release of the animated series that Pikachu truly became a cultural phenomenon. In the show, Pikachu is the beloved sidekick of protagonist Ash Ketchum, and the two share many memorable adventures together. Pikachu’s cute and playful personality, combined with its powerful electric attacks, made it an instant fan favorite.
Pikachu in the Animated Series
Pikachu’s popularity in the animated series led to it becoming the star of its own movie, “Pokemon: The First Movie”, which was a box office success. The character has also appeared in multiple other films, including “Detective Pikachu”, a live-action adaptation of the franchise released in 2019.
In addition to its appearances in movies, Pikachu remains a central character in the animated series. The character is often featured in merchandise, such as plush toys and trading cards, and is a staple of the franchise’s marketing efforts.
Pikachu’s Role in the Games
Pikachu’s popularity in the animated series has also translated to the games, where it has appeared in nearly every Pokemon title to date. In the first generation of games, Pikachu was a rare find in the wild, and could only be obtained by catching a Pikachu in Viridian Forest or by evolving a Pichu. In more recent games, Pikachu has been given a more prominent role, being featured on the cover of “Pokemon Yellow” and even having its own spin-off games.
Today, Pikachu remains the most recognizable and beloved Pokemon, and continues to be a symbol of the franchise’s enduring popularity and cultural impact.
The First Pokemon Game
The very first Pokemon game, Pokemon Red and Green (later released as Pokemon Blue outside of Japan) was released in Japan on February 27, 1996 for the Game Boy.
In this game, players take on the role of a Pokemon trainer in the fictitious region of Kanto. They set out on a journey to catch, train, and battle Pokemon, with the ultimate goal of becoming the Pokemon League Champion.
The game was a massive success, selling over 10 million copies in Japan alone. It was praised for its innovative gameplay mechanics, such as the ability to trade Pokemon and battle with friends using a link cable.
|Catching Pokemon||Players could encounter and catch over 150 different species of Pokemon as they journeyed through the game|
|Pokemon Battles||Players could battle Pokemon trainers and Gym Leaders to earn badges and advance through the game’s storyline.|
|Pokemon Trading||By connecting two Game Boys with a link cable, players could trade Pokemon with each other, allowing them to complete their Pokedexes.|
As a result of the game’s success, Pokemon Red and Blue were eventually released in North America and Europe in 1998. The games were localized for different regions, with some Pokemon being exclusive to specific versions of the game. This encouraged players to trade with each other in order to collect all of the Pokemon.
The debut of the first Pokemon game marked the beginning of a cultural phenomenon. The game’s success led to the creation of an entire franchise of video games, trading cards, animated series, merchandise, and even a live-action movie.
The Reception and Legacy
Pokemon Red and Green were released in Japan in 1996, with the updated version, Blue, following in 1998. The first generation of Pokemon games was met with massive success, selling millions of copies worldwide and captivating gamers with its addictive gameplay and innovative concept.
While some critics initially dismissed the game as a passing fad, its staying power and cultural impact cannot be denied. Pokemon Red and Green laid the foundation for a multi-billion dollar franchise that has spanned over two decades and multiple media platforms.
The Reception of First Pokemon
The initial reception of Pokemon Red and Green was overwhelmingly positive. Critics praised the game’s addicting gameplay, interesting creatures, and memorable soundtrack. The game’s multiplayer feature, which allowed players to link their Game Boy systems via cable to battle and trade Pokemon, was also a hit.
The game’s success was not limited to Japan, as international releases of Pokemon Red and Blue (a combination of the original two games) became a best-selling phenomenon. The game’s accessible mechanics and social aspect made it a hit with gamers of all ages and backgrounds.
The Legacy of First Pokemon
Pokemon Red and Green set the standard for what a successful Pokemon game and media product should look like. The game’s mix of adventure, strategy, and social interaction created a formula that would continue to captivate audiences for years to come.
The first generation of Pokemon also introduced the franchise’s most iconic creatures and characters, including Pikachu, Charizard, and Mewtwo. These characters would go on to become household names and cultural touchstones.
Today, Pokemon remains one of the most beloved and recognizable media franchises in the world, with numerous video games, movies, TV shows, and merchandise continuing to captivate audiences of all ages. Its legacy can be traced back to the success of the original games, and the impact they had on the gaming industry and popular culture as a whole.
The Cultural Phenomenon
Pokemon became a cultural phenomenon in the late 1990s and early 2000s, captivating audiences around the world with its charming creatures and addictive gameplay. The franchise inspired a trading card game, animated series, movies, merchandise, and a devoted fan community. Let’s explore the impact of Pokemon on popular culture and its enduring influence.
The Trading Card Game
The Pokemon Trading Card Game was first released in Japan in 1996 and made its way to the United States in 1999. It quickly became a sensation among fans, with players collecting and trading cards featuring their favorite Pokemon characters. The trading card game continues to be popular today, with new sets being released regularly.
The Animated Series
The Pokemon animated series premiered in Japan in 1997, followed by international releases in 1998. The series follows the adventures of Ash Ketchum as he travels through various regions, capturing and training Pokemon. The show has since become a beloved classic, with over 1,000 episodes aired and several movies released. Its iconic theme song and catchphrases, such as “Gotta catch ’em all!” have become ingrained in popular culture.
Pokemon merchandise has been a staple of the franchise since its inception. From plush toys to apparel to video games, there is no shortage of Pokemon-themed products on the market. The popularity of the franchise has also led to collaborations with major brands, including McDonald’s and Levi’s.
The Fan Community
The Pokemon fan community is a tight-knit and passionate group, with fans of all ages sharing their love for the franchise online and at events such as Comic-Con. The community has created fan art, cosplay, and even their own Pokemon-inspired games.
The Enduring Influence
Pokemon’s impact on popular culture cannot be overstated. The franchise has inspired countless imitators and has influenced the gaming industry as a whole. Its enduring popularity has led to new generations of fans, ensuring that Pokemon will continue to be a beloved cultural icon for years to come.
The Evolution of Pokemon
Since the debut of the first Pokemon game in 1996, the franchise has continued to evolve and expand, introducing new generations of Pokemon and gameplay mechanics.
With each new game release, the world of Pokemon has grown more complex and immersive, with new regions to explore, new characters to meet, and new challenges to overcome. The graphics have also improved significantly, with more detailed and visually appealing designs for both Pokemon and their environments.
One of the biggest changes in the franchise has been the introduction of online play, allowing players from around the world to battle and trade with each other. The mobile game Pokemon Go also revolutionized the way players interact with the franchise, introducing augmented reality gameplay and encouraging players to explore their surroundings in search of Pokemon.
Despite the evolution of the franchise, some aspects have remained consistent, such as the core concept of catching and training Pokemon to battle against other trainers. The popularity of the franchise also shows no signs of slowing down, with each new game release drawing in new and loyal fans alike.
The First Pokemon Today
The first Pokemon, while over two decades old, remains an important part of the franchise today. In fact, the original 151 species introduced in the first generation still hold a special place in the hearts of many fans.
Each new Pokemon game release includes nods to the original generation, such as including original Pokemon in the game’s storyline or allowing players to transfer their original Pokemon to newer games. Furthermore, various events and celebrations throughout the year highlight the significance of the first Pokemon. For example, the annual Pokemon Day, celebrated on February 27th, honors the anniversary of the original Japanese release of Pokemon Red and Green.
The First Pokemon in Pop Culture
The first Pokemon has had a significant impact on pop culture since its debut in 1996. The beloved franchise has become a household name, influencing everything from movies to music.
Pokemon in Movies
Pokemon has been featured in several movies over the years, including the first film, “Pokemon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back.” The movie follows the story of Ash, Pikachu, and their friends as they battle against the evil Mewtwo. The movie was a commercial success, grossing over $160 million worldwide.
The franchise has since spawned over 20 movies, including the recent live-action film, “Detective Pikachu.” Starring Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu, the movie was a box office hit, earning over $433 million worldwide.
Pokemon in TV Shows
The Pokemon animated series has been a staple of children’s television since its debut in 1997. The show follows the adventures of Ash and Pikachu as they travel through various regions, catching and battling new Pokemon along the way.
The series has been a huge success, spanning over 23 seasons and 1,100 episodes. The show has also inspired various spin-offs, including “Pokemon Chronicles” and “Pokemon: Twilight Wings.”
Pokemon in Music
Pokemon has also had an influence on music, with several songs inspired by the franchise. The most famous of these is undoubtedly “Pokemon Theme,” the opening theme song for the animated series.
The song, which was written by John Loeffler and John Siegler, has become a pop culture icon, with its catchy lyrics and upbeat melody. The song has been covered by various artists over the years, including Bowling for Soup and Billy Crawford.
Pokemon has also been involved in numerous collaborations over the years, teaming up with various brands and franchises. One notable collaboration was between Pokemon and fast-food chain McDonald’s, who released a line of Pokemon-themed Happy Meals.
The franchise has also collaborated with other video game franchises, including “Super Smash Bros.” and “Tekken.”
Overall, the first Pokemon has had a significant impact on popular culture, inspiring movies, TV shows, music, and collaborations. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its lasting appeal and the love people have for the franchise.
FAQ about the First Pokemon
Q: What is the first Pokemon?
A: The first Pokemon is Bulbasaur, the grass/poison-type starter Pokemon introduced in the first generation of the Pokemon franchise.
Q: When was the first Pokemon game released?
A: The first Pokemon game, Pokemon Red and Green (Blue in international releases), was released in Japan in February 1996.
Q: Who created Pokemon?
A: Pokemon was created by Satoshi Tajiri, with artwork by Ken Sugimori. Game Freak, a video game development company founded by Tajiri, developed the game.
Q: How many first-generation Pokemon are there?
A: There are 151 first-generation Pokemon, including the iconic starter Pokemon Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle.
The First Pokemon in the Pokemon Go Mobile Game
Q: Can I catch Bulbasaur in Pokemon Go?
A: Yes, Bulbasaur and its evolutions, Ivysaur and Venusaur, can be caught in Pokemon Go. They are typically found in grassy areas or during certain events.
Q: How can I get Pikachu as my starter Pokemon in Pokemon Go?
A: To get Pikachu as your starter Pokemon in Pokemon Go, you need to ignore the initial three starter options (Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle) four times. After ignoring them three times, Pikachu will appear as an option for you to select.
The First Pokemon in Pop Culture Collaborations
Q: Has Bulbasaur appeared in any movies?
A: Yes, Bulbasaur has appeared in several Pokemon movies and spin-off animated series.
Q: Has Pokemon collaborated with any other franchises?
A: Yes, Pokemon has collaborated with various franchises over the years, including Hello Kitty, McDonald’s, and the Japanese rock band Bump of Chicken.
Q: Is Bulbasaur included in any merchandise or products?
A: Yes, Bulbasaur and other first-generation Pokemon are featured in a wide range of merchandise and products, including plush toys, clothing, and trading cards.