Pokémon is a series that has stayed near and dear to me since early on in its inception and as we lead up to the company celebrating its 25th anniversary, I thought I would delve back into the world of Pokémon. Pokémon Red & Green released in Japan 27th February 1996 and the date is celebrated as ‘Pokémon Day’ every year, usually with some kind of announcement. There was a period in the late 90s/early 00’s that you couldn’t escape Pokémon and it was plastered everywhere. A company that has been going as long as Pokémon is sure to have plenty of facts right? Well here are 100 facts and theories for you covering the games, anime, history, cards and behind the scenes content. Hope you enjoy and here’s to another 25 years.
Number 1: Who is the real number 1?
Whilst Bulbasaur is the first Pokémon entry in the Pokédex, the first Pokémon designed by original art designer, Ken Sugimori was Rhydon.
2. Gotta eat ’em all!
At the height of its popularity in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, you could find Pokémon advertisements on a variety of food. This included pop tarts, cereal, Eggo’s, tinned pasta shapes and macaroni. This was largely outsourced in the US, but the cereal was available in the UK for a time.
3. Surf’s up
When playing Pokémon Stadium, if Pikachu is selected for each battle of the Master Ball division in the Prime Cup and you are victorious, you are given the opportunity to teach Pikachu the move ‘Surf’. This Pikachu can then be used to access a mini-game in Pokémon Yellow.
4. You can fish in the Pokémon Red & Blue gyms
Now whilst you can surf and fish in the water areas of Cerulean City gym, an interesting glitch is that when using an old rod on the Rhydon statues, it enables you to fish and face a Magikarp. Why you’d want to do that I don’t know, but it’s a fun little glitch from those classics games.
5. Pokémon Snap’s unused content
In early beta videos of Pokémon Snap there are shots of an unused desert area which would have fitted nicely with other landmarks. The snake Pokémon, Ekans is also seen in shots but was never used in the final game that only features 63 of the original 151 Pokédex. Bringing the number up to 64 would had made more sense with the game being on the Nintendo 64.
6. Ruby & Sapphire had DLC
Back in the days of the Game Boy Advance, there was a device created called the ‘E-Reader’ where you could scan barcodes and unlock old games. It was a lot more popular in Japan, but in the third generation of the Pokémon games you could get an ‘Eon Ticket’. This ticket meant you could travel to new locations, battle unique trainers and also catch legendary Pokémon: Latios and Latias.
7. Miror B. mirrors another
The antagonist from the Pokémon XD Gale of Darkness games ‘Miror B’ is styled after pop star Michael Jackson, which includes wearing only one glove. He even has disco style theme songs and can be seen moonwalking in the game.
8. Diamond & Pearl reveal humans and Pokémon used to marry each other
In the Canclave City library there are lots of folk stories about the history of Sinnoh. One that’s titled “Sinnoh Folk Story 3” talks of how Pokémon and humans were quite similar and lived as equals. The English version merely talks about how humans and Pokémon ate together, but the Japanese version says that the two were so similar that they married as they shared genetics. This highlights the idea of evolution in the Pokémon world.
9. Aerodactyl used rock slide: Error 404
In Silver & Gold, Lance who is the leader of the elite four and a tough foe has an Aerodactyl on his team. It’s a dragon type so everything would seem normal, however it knows the move “rock slide” which in the games’ lore and programming isn’t a move an Aerodactyl can learn until the third generation of games.
10. Wrap your head around this one
In Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee, Underground Path’s Onix Master Jim has an Onix that can use the move “wrap.” Onix can’t actually learn that move and looks like it was supposed to be “bind” which has been an Onix move since the first games.
11. Happy Birthday, Pikachu!
Released in Japan in 1998 and later in the West as part of a Wizard’s of the Coast mail-in campaign in 2000, the much sought after ‘____’s Pikachu’ card (traditionally dubbed ‘Happy Birthday Pikachu’) was banned immediately from tournaments. The trading card was problematic as the card’s attack stated if it was your birthday when playing, you would gain a potential extra 50 damage on your card. This meant that players could say it’s their birthday and no one could really stop them and it would cause too many issues. As a result it was not allowed to be used at any Pokémon TCG tournament.
12. Mewtwo strikes bucks
Upon its release, Pokemon The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back made $163,644,622 worldwide, which at the time made it the highest grossing anime film in the United States.
13. Making a meal of it
As Pokémon was one of the biggest franchises of the late 90’s/early 2000’s, large corporations wanted to get hold of and sell whatever they could that was Pokémon related. Burger King sold a variety of toys, cards, plushies and gold coins around the release of the first movie, but their $22 million investment was met with problems due to restaurants in the West running out of toys. Much to the distaste of angry parents.
14. Lost in translation
4Kids Entertainment, who were in charge of translating Pokémon to English for the show’s first eight seasons removed certain content due to Western censorship. One of the most popular instances of this is the banning of an entire episode based around a swimsuit competition and includes James having breasts.
15. The Masuda Method
One of the most popular means of playing Pokémon games in recent years is to catch or hatch shiny variants of Pokémon. From the 4th generation of games, there was a process called ‘The Masuda Method’ which is named after the games’ creator Junichi Masuda: By having two of the same Pokémon caught in different countries and then placed in the day care centre, the rate in which a shiny Pokémon hatches is increased by a factor of five. This means you have a 1/1638 chance of hatching a shiny Pokémon.
16. The ghosts of the Old Chateau
In Diamond & Pearl, two ghostly figures appear at the Old Chateau in the Eterna Forest. However, these events can only be triggered by following specific steps. When you enter a specific bedroom in the hallway, a girl will appear in the adjacent room. If you leave the dining room and then re-enter, you will see a figure floating to the kitchen. There is no explanation as to why these events occur.
17. A ‘Big’ reference
In Ruby & Sapphire, if you interact with your TV at the beginning of the game, text will appear that describes a classic 80’s movie. The text will say: “Two men are dancing on a piano keyboard…”
18. More TV trivia
In Leaf Green & Fire Red, depending on whether you choose to play as a boy or girl, when interacting with the TV in your home you will read text describing two different movies. If you chose a boy, you will receive a description of four boys walking down railroad tracks (Stand By Me) and if you picked a girl, you will read about a girl walking down a yellow brick road (The Wizard of Oz).
19. Pokémon ‘X‘
Even though Lugia is the legendary mascot for the game Pokémon Silver, that was never the original intention as Lugia was created for the second Pokémon movie – The Power Of One. Writer and creator, Takeshi Shudo was surprised to see his creation used in the games, where before the unannounced legendary was simply known as ‘Pokémon X’ and was even rumoured to be one of the legendary dogs by default. However, Lugia was chosen and in the anime and Pokémon XD: Gale Of Darkness, Lugia was still referred to as ‘X’.
20. The many deaths of Ash Ketchum
Ash Ketchum who is the well-known protagonist in the Pokémon anime is remembered in the iconic ‘death’ scene from the first movie where he is turned to stone after running into the path of Mew and Mewtwo’s attacks. In the grand scheme of things Ash has died at least five more times throughout the series. This includes: crushed and electrocuted by a chandelier (Tower of Terror EP023), killed by tree antibodies designed to remove humans (Lucario And The Mystery Of Mew), drowns when trying to restore the sea-crown (Manaphy And The Prince Of The Sea), freezes to death in space (Victini movies) and finally dies after attacks from the Pokémon, Marshadow (Pokémon: I Choose You). Fortunately, by some kind of miracle Ash has been resurrected every time, usually by a legendary Pokémon.