The old craze with the fictional creatures called Pokemon is now at large again on an international scale with their latest augmented reality game, Pokemon GO. Besides the latest fad however, Pokemon has long been in the heart of many people who grew up playing the video games on the Nintendo Game Boy. Read more here.

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Pokemon, the pocket monsters!

What is Pokemon, exactly?

Pokemon, or Pokémon, is actually a media franchise that is managed by the Pokemon Company, a consortium that comprises of three Japanese companies: Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures. This makes the Pokemon franchise copyright being shared by the three companies, but with Nintendo being the sole owner of the trademark. The name Pokemon is actually the shortened version for the original title Pocket Monsters.

This long term craze for the fictional creatures was first invented by Satoshi Tajiri in 1995. The whole Pokemon franchise mainly revolves around the titular fictional creatures and the humans which are called thePokemon trainers; the Pokemon trainers catch and train the creatures to battle one another as a sport.

The main part of the Pokemon franchise has always been its role-playing video games that are only exclusively released on Nintendo's handheld consoles, from the Game Boy to the current Nintendo 3DS XL. Also, in a rather unique way, each generation of Pokemon video games are released in pairs, each one having a slight variation over the other. Over 279 million units of Pokemon games have been sold thus far, putting it as the second best-selling video game franchise (the first being Nintendo's Mario franchise).

Let the Pokemon craze begin

The whole Pokemon craze started as a couple of role-playing video games (RPGs) that was developed by Game Freak for the first original Nintendo Game Boy. The first two original names are aptly named Pocket Monsters Red and Pocket Monsters Green for the Game Boy in Japan. Many other media soon thereafter spawned from the video games, turning into various spin-offs, manga, anime, and even the trading card game.

The Pokemon franchise also has over 6 generations with 2016 onwards marking the seventh generation. Each generation of Pokemon updates the franchise as a whole by introducing new features and properties such as a new type of Pokemon creatures and characters.

The latest iteration of Pokemon, as well as the latest catalyst for the restart of the Pokemon craze, is none other than game developer Niantic's instant hit Pokemon Go mobileapplication. This augmented reality mobile game has captured the hearts of many Pokemon fans once again – as well as creating new Pokemon fans.

The Pokemon video games

Pokemon games have always been released exclusively for Nintendo handheld gaming consoles since its first release of Red and Green on the original Game Boy in 1996. Since then, all of the games released were typically in pairs for each generation and handheld game console, with enhanced and slightly derivative games released under different names such as the director's cut for the first generation being called Yellow.

The Pokemon games on Nintendo's handheld consoles typically all play out in a very similar manner. This is most especially with the consistent way each game starts: The player is always able to choose one of three different Pokemon at the start of a game (Grass-type, Fire-type, or Water-type); this Pokemon is often called a "starter Pokemon". The first game gave players the three options of Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. The only Pokemon game to not offer options is PokemonYellow, where the player has to start off with the Electric-type Pokemon mascot, Pikachu.

Throughout the game, the player trains their Pokemon to be more powerful to battle others and to win gym badges, while also capturing extra Pokemon and indexing them with the Pokedex. The Pokedex is an index of sorts (Pokemon and Index go together to create Pokedex) that lets players fill up with details of the various Pokemon that can be found. Here are some Pokemon game titles:

  • Pokemon X
  • Pokemon Y
  • Pokemon Black
  • Pokemon White
  • Pokemon Fire Red
  • PokemonEmerald
  • Pokemon Gold

Pokemon Go

The current craze with Pokemon takes shape in Niantic's augmented reality Pokemon Go mobile game. It is a free-to-play mobile game that is location-based. What makes Pokemon Go such an attractive game over the many other more traditional Pokemon games is how it lets people live the video game in real life! It is also more readily available to download on smartphones, rather than having to purchase another handheld device to play Pokemon.

As with the traditional video games on the consoles, Pokemon Go lets players literally walk around in real life to discover Pokemons and gyms that they can capture. Players will have to walk around a location until a Pokemon appears, which they then can capture by flicking an on-screen Pokeball to capture the virtual Pokemon. An interesting concept is that the geography of a location is taken into consideration when capturing Pokemon. For example, Water-type Pokemon is commonly found at locations which have or are nearby a body of water.

If you want to get on with the Pokemon fans, you will have no problems as there are countless different types of merchandises – of which particularly are popular are the many Pokemon toys.