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

61. A sound that isn’t so sweet

Chatot was banned from the Pokémon Global Battle Union (a global link for recording battles) due to its move ‘Chatter’. The reason for this, was when using the move, the player could utter whatever they wanted which ended up being vulgar or swears.

62. Not so innocent artwork

There have been multiple occasions in the history of the Pokémon trading card game where the original Japanese card has had to be altered slightly to meet Western censorship standards. Such examples of these are ‘Team Rocket’s Grimer’ where the original Grimer who was coming out of a sewer drain looked like it was staring up a women’s skirt. The eye placement was changed on the English version. ‘Moo-Moo-Milk’ from the Neo Genesis set had to see a complete artwork change as the Japanese version depicted a Sentret suckling on an artificial cow. This was altered to show a barn full of the milk and a Cleffa in the corner. ‘Misty’s Tears’ might just be the most popular alteration, as the character is presented is an underage girl and the card in Japan showed a naked Misty holding a Staryu. This was changed to show a crying Misty having her tear’s wiped away by a Squirtle in the English gym leader set.

63. Alternate openings

Every Pokémon game has traditionally begun with the game’s professor talking to you and explaining the world of Pokémon in an introductory cutscene. Each professor demonstrates what a Pokémon is by releasing one from a Pokéball and with shiny Pokémon becoming popular, the introduction in Black & White with Professor Juniper has a 1/8192 chance that the Minccino shown could be a shiny variant.

64. You are what you eat

Pokémon game designer, Ken Sugimori said that when Pokémon were being designed, a lot of thought went into what that Pokémon would eat. This highlights how some Pokémon are based off of animals and others from inanimate objects. Sugimori said they wanted the aspect of the Pokémon to be believable, especially if the creature didn’t have a mouth – what would it feed on and how? One example given was if a Pokémon was based on something like a car, as a car uses gasoline, but a Pokémon is a living creature so where is it getting its energy from?

65. Creating the vibes

In the development of the original games, Junichi Masuda who composed a lot of the classic tracks, said a lot of what went into the compositions were feelings, such as cave tracks being made to feel eerie. Masuda also said finding the balance in music was important and this reflects on how wild Pokémon and trainer battle music are different to distinguish the different relationship the two have with you. One for catching new friends, one for battling.

66. Breaking the fourth wall

Pokémon has a long history of breaking the fourth wall in both its anime and video games. In the original games, you can visit the Game Freak office in Celadon City where characters will announce their roles in the game’s creation such as: “I’m the game designer.”

In the first series of the anime, there are highlights such as the narrator telling Ash to name his new Pokémon (EP013), Misty ordering the narrator to congratulate her for catching Psyduck (EP027) and then there are the endless comedic fourth wall breaks from Team Rocket with one example being: “Drat! We wasted the episode cheering the good guys!” (EP014).

67. Further censorship

As I previously mentioned that Pokémon cards have seen their fair share of censorship, the Pokémon anime saw a lot of altered lines in the original series to meet Western standards. Two examples are:

The opening Japanese theme has the line: “In fire, in water, in grass, in forests, in earth, in clouds, in that girl’s skirt (eek!)”

In the episode ‘The School Of Hard Knocks’ (EP009), after seeing a picture of Giselle, Brock says in the original Japanese dub: “I’ll look forward to her in eight years.” This was changed to: “She can violate me any time” and was then once again altered for younger audiences.

68. Is he allowed to say that?

As many fans of the anime would love to see continuing adventures of Ash, Brock and Misty, one of the show’s directors, Masamitsu Hidaka stated that Misty would never return as one of Ash’s companions, because “Misty’s presence would prevent the team from continually producing new female characters to the show.” He also said “Switching out girls provides new eye candy for males audiences.” That just sounds so wrong because most of the female companions Ash has are around ten years old. So wrong.

69. A sneaky preview

Mewtwo is no doubt one of the most iconic legendary Pokémon from the games with an even greater popularity from its movies and features in other video games like Super Smash Bros Melee. However, gamers in the West would first see Mewtwo on the Game Boy Camera that released around four months before Red & Blue. The camera had mini games including a Pokémon one that included pictures of Charizard, Blastoise, Venusaur and Mewtwo.

70. Choose your fighter

Pokémon have been a part of Super Smash Bros since the beginning, with Pikachu and Jigglypuff being fighters in the first game. Whether they’ve been fighters, trophies, stickers or assists, so far 234 Pokémon have featured in Smash games which will be the biggest franchise of characters in the game.

71. A childhood obsession

One of the main origins of Pokémon stem from creator, Satoshi Tajiri’s childhood where he and his friends would go out bug collecting and see how many bugs each of them could collect. This is just like catching Pokémon, and bug collectors were added to the game as trainers you would face in forestry settings. Another influence for Pokémon came from 60’s TV show Ultraman which was popular in Japan. The protagonist would use capsules that contained monsters who would fight for him, just like a Pokéball.

72. Earthbound Similarities

One of the companies credited in the early Pokémon games is ‘Creatures inc.’ who were called ‘Ape inc.’ prior to that. This company was responsible for making the RPG’s Mother and Earthbound and there’s no doubt in seeing a lot of resemblance between these games and Pokémon. Whether it’s riding bikes, walking through towns, having similar looking enemies or even similar music themes, Earthbound left its mark on the creation of Pokémon. ‘Creatures’ would go on to co-develop, illustrate and model a lot of Pokémon spin-off games such as Snap.

73. Dragon Quest inspiration

Tajiri and Sugimori both played the Dragon Quest games prior to the development of Pokémon and the fifth DQ installment featured catching creatures. The second game had rare item drops after defeating characters and the fact that some people could have multiple of these items and others have none became a major influence for the trading system in Pokémon. This also highlights why certain Pokémon are exclusive to Red and others to Blue, so that players could be encouraged to link up and trade with each other.

74. The Blockbuster craze

With the new Pokémon Snap game, players were able to take high quality pictures of Pokémon which would be graded by Professor Oak in the game. However, kids were then able to print off their favourite pictures after a deal was made with Blockbuster Video Store who set up Pokémon Snap printing stations. At these kiosks which featured a hidden N64 and printer, players could bring their own cartridge or rental copy and print off their pictures onto sticker sheets. The kiosk would contain a demo of the game allowing players who didn’t own Snap to print off some stickers and each sheet would contain 16 stickers. Images from the Virtual Console version of Snap could be posted to the Wii message board making it one of the first VC games to receive enhanced content. No doubt with the New Pokémon Snap game on the horizon, people will be posting all of their pictures online.

75. The Dragon’s Gate

In Pokémon Snap, you can force a Magikarp into a waterfall where it will evolve into a Gyarados. This is inspired by Chinese folklore and the Yellow River at Hunan Province. The ‘Dragon’s Gate’ is located at the top of the waterfall and it is said if a carp can swim to the top and successfully jump over the waterfall, it will be turned into a powerful dragon.

76. Pokémon Stadium and technical difficulties

The Pokémon Stadium game that we all know from 1999/2000 was not the first game in the series. In 1998, Pocket Monster’s Stadium released for the N64 in Japan and was once intended to be compatible with the N64DD. The game only had 42 playable Pokémon with the rest seen in an encyclopedia. Others can be seen in the stadium in the credits, but were not playable. Former Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata read and ported the Game Boy games’ battling system and programming to the N64 allowing the three Japanese games to be connected and played with the Stadium game.

77. Pre-dating the Alolan form?

One of the most talked about Pokémon to come out of Sun & Moon was the Alolan form of Exeggutor with its largely exaggerated neck. Previous Pokédex entries have claimed Exeggutor originate from a tropical climate and it doesn’t get more tropical than Alola. One hilarious idea that has been noted is that on the Japanese booster box for the Jungle card series, an elongated Exeggutor can be seen and looks very similar to the one from Alola. Maybe it’s just coincidence and some crazy art, but I’d love for there to be this connection. If anything Exeggutor looks like a coconut tree or palm tree and so a long neck sounds more accurate.

78. A new look makes for a big impact

At the time of its announcement and in the build up to its release, Pokémon Sun & Moon were the most pre-ordered video games in Nintendo’s history in 2016. The demo for the games caught a lot of attention and many video game stores ran promotions with different bonus content for pre-ordering the games.

79. Keeping up with traditions

The Johto region is heavily inspired by the Kansai region of Japan and furthermore the historical Ecruteak City is based off of Kyoto and its traditional Japanese look. The Buddhist temples, Ginkaku-Ji and Kinkaku-Ji both feature a bird on top of their ancient buildings, one silver and one bronze. Kinkaku-Ji was burned down by a novice monk in the 50’s and then rebuilt and this plays into the video games as well with there being the ‘Burned Tower’.

80. Further childhood influnce

Whilst Tajiri’s childhood had a huge impact on the early Pokémon games, Masuda’s would have an influence on Ruby & Sapphire. The Hoenn region is based off of Kyushu which is the most Southwestern and third largest of Japan’s main five islands. Masuda’s grandparents lived there and he wanted recapture many childhood experiences.

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