Pokémon at 25: 100 facts throughout the company’s history

21. Radical and tubular

Whilst the bicycle has continued to be the quicker method of traversing through the routes of Pokémon games and we’ve even seen rollerskating introduced in later games, there was a plan to use a skateboard. The beta for Silver & Gold promised that there would be a skateboard which was additional to the bicycle that would allow trainers to travel to “unusual places.” Ultimately this was scrapped. The games have produced ‘Surfing Pikachu’, so why not skateboarding Pikachu?

22. The ending that never was

After defeating the Elite Four in Red & Blue there was a plan where you would be able to battle Professor Oak, however this was scrapped. Oak’s team would have consisted of: Tauros, Exeggutor, Arcanine, Gyarados and the Pokémon that wasn’t chosen at the start of the game. When the first generation of games are no doubt re-released once again in the future, I think this should be included as nothing can beat one last big battle with a classic character like Professor Oak.

23. For crying out loud

Due to obvious hardware limitations, Pokémon didn’t say their names in the games unlike in the anime. On top of that, out of the roster of the original 150 Pokémon, there are only 37 ‘cries’ (the sound the Pokemon make). A lot of those were lengthened to give the sprites individual sounds, but Charizard and Rhydon shared the same cry along with Poliwag and Ditto.

24. Spend your money, win a prize

Pokémon Crystal was the first game to introduce the ‘Move Tutor’. After entering the Hall of Fame, you can visit the game corner in Goldenrod City where a man will let you teach a Pokemon a special move for 4000 coins. This is only on Wednesdays and Saturdays and the moves are Flamethrower, Thunderbolt and Ice Beam.

25. Mew who?

To gain more interest into the already released Pokémon Green & Red, Pokémon creator, Satoshi Tajiri said a Pokémon called Mew was hidden in the games. Mew was added to the games in the development stages as a prank by Shigeki Morimoto, but there was never any aim to reveal this to consumers. In 2003, a glitch was revealed that enabled players to exploit the game and obtain Mew.

26. Feeling blue?

After the successful release of Red & Green in Japan, Blue was released in October 1996 which included updated in-game artwork and new dialogue. The game was released as mail-order-only in the CoroCoro comic and later released to the general public in October 1999.

27. A Pokemon multiverse? A ‘PCU’

Every popular franchise seems to have a ‘multiverse’ these days and the world of Pokémon may not be exclusive to just one world. In Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, Zinnia suggests that there is another Hoenn region. In Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, Giovanni forms ‘Rainbow Rocket’ which is full of villainous leaders from universes where they succeeded as no one was there to stop them.

28. Black and white are not always the same?

The fifth generation of Pokémon games introduced a lot of new content and gameplay with one factor being an area that was exclusive to each game. Although in the same location on the map, respectively there was ‘Black City’ and ‘White Forest’.

29. Something in the air?

The classic poison-type gas ball Pokémon, Koffing and Weezing were originally going to be called ‘NY’ (New York) and ‘LA’ (Los Angeles) respectively in relation to the high pollution levels in the American cities.

30. The Lavender Town rumour

Lavender Town is known for its creepy theme, unsettling atmosphere and morbid cemetery. However, a rumour arose saying the eerie music that played when in the town was causing children to kill themselves. This was completely false, but added another layer of horror and folklore to Lavender Town.

31. I want to be paid the best, like no one ever was

The opening theme song from the first two seasons of Pokémon will no doubt be remembered as one of the most iconic TV themes of the 90’s. However, Jason Paige who was the singer of that memorable track ended up in a litigation battle for what he considered unfair compensation. Pokémon’s first year in the West saw at least 40 license deals and a revenue of $200 million in North America. An album titled 2 B A Master was released with an extended version of the opening theme and became a platinum selling album. Despite Pokémon earning this huge profit and music producers becoming rich, Paige was paid a three-figure sum for his work on the track. The contract had no royalties for voice work and were buyout contracts. After a lengthy court battle that lasted for over a year, Paige received a 5-figure payout as a settlement. It’s a grey area on who is right.

32. Got, got, need!

I’m sure most of us in our time have either owned or known someone that collected Pokémon cards. A staple for being banned from schools and the original sets are treated like relics, but some are ever so rare and valuable. A card titled “Pikachu illustrator” is considered one of the most valuable where 39 copies (later found out to be 41) were officially awarded to winners of promo contests held by CoroCoro Comic between 1997 and 1998. About half of the cards are known to still exist and is the only one to say ‘illustrator’ and not trainer at the top of the card. At an auction in 2019, a mint 9 graded “Pikachu illustrator” card sold for $195,000 and made it the most expensive card at the time. In 2020, a shadowless (rare error card that does not depict a shadow) holographic Charizard sold for a whopping $369,000 to an anonymous bidder and makes it the most expensive card sold to date.

33. Feebas where are you?

If you don’t consider legendary Pokémon, the fish Pokémon Feebas is the rarest to catch in the games. In Ruby & Sapphire, Feebas would only appear in six tiles of the Route 119 river. This was random for each copy of the game and there are hundreds of tiles on Route 119. Any rod would work, but you might be there a while and a Shiny Feebas would be even rarer!

34. More than you thought?

There are currently 122 ‘game’ releases from the Pokémon franchise and this includes the eight generations and remasters, spin offs, inclusion in other games, internet promos, cabinets and pedometers. If it’s virtual or electronic and has Pokémon on it, then it counts! There’s plenty that were never released outside of Japan.

35. Paving the way for connectivity.

Whilst Pokémon: Battle Revolution isn’t as well revered as the Stadium games, it still featured beautiful graphics for its time and a full roster. What’s most important, is that it was the first Wii game that linked up to the DS. If one individual didn’t own Diamond/Pearl, they were able to use rental passes and connect their DS to the game.

36. The Western puns

This is one of the funniest Pikachu moments from “Showdown At Dark City” (EP042).

This is so funny and I can’t believe I’ve never noticed this, so Ash Ketchum who is the protagonist of the anime is called Satoshi in Japan after the original creator of the games. However, it is believed his name in the Western anime comes from a play on the slogan ‘Gotta catch ’em all’. ‘Catch em’ and ‘Ketchum’ are all too similar.

37. GO and make your mark

Pokémon GO was an instant hit when it was released in July 2016 and helped promote exercise, but still faced controversy from technical issues, accidents and general nuisance. However, since then it has come a long way with a multitude of updates and currently features six generations of Pokémon. It is still after nearly five years a very popular game and was one of the top five highest-grossing games of 2020. It accumulated an annual revenue of $1.92 billion which makes its current lifetime revenue up to $6.46 billion!

38. A seventh of the population!

As of February 2019, Pokémon GO was the most downloaded video game app with a billion player count. That’s basically half the people who play video games on their phones.

39. Cultural differences

In the N64 game Hey You, Pikachu! the shoes that are seen outside the player’s door in the Japanese version of the game are missing in the English one. This is because it is customary to remove your shoes before entering a house in Japan, whereas in places like the UK and US, most people enter houses with their shoes still on.

40. Unlikely firsts

The Togepi egg can be seen in the Abra shop.

Hey You, Pikachu! is also the first Pokémon game to feature a Pokémon from a future generation. This makes sense with the game releasing in 1998 in Japan and features Togepi who would have been seen in the anime episode: “Who Gets To Keep Togepi?” (EP050).

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