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

81. Finding the perfect balance

Ruby & Sapphire only contain 202 of the 386 available Pokémon and this was due to the ability to let the player complete the Pokédex. When developing new Pokémon, especially powerful ones, there would need to be another to match it and prevent players sticking to small teams. There was also balancing out new Pokémon with old favourites in order to keep fans’ interests alive.

82. A Birthday surprise

In X & Y, if you visit the Pokémon Center on your birthday, a message will appear on screen saying “Happy Birthday (insert name of your character)” and above Nurse Joy on the screen, there will be a birthday cake that remains there all day.

83. Pokémon and racism?

This is an old one but Jynx whose facial complexion is purple, used to be black. Its first TV appearance was in ‘Holiday Hi-Jynx’ (EP038/39 – Porygon episode caused problems with this) and the altered version has never been dubbed, as it is banned in the US for being accused of depicting blackface. Jynx since then has been purple. I definitely feel like I saw this episode in English as a child, so that must have been in a small window of broadcasting the original episode.

84. The Episode 38 controversy

A BBC News report on the seizure incident (17/12/1997). I wonder if this was one of the first times Pokémon was mentioned on British TV, as they are referred to as “Pocket Monsters.”

This is an historical moment in the Pokémon anime. On the 16th December 1997, a new Pokémon episode titled ‘Electric Soldier Porygon’ aired for the first time. During the episode, Pikachu uses an electric move on some missiles which explode and cause fast blue and red flashing and took up a large majority of the screen. The result from this flashing imagery caused around 700 Japanese people, mainly children, to experience seizures and the episode was never aired commercially again and immediately banned overseas.

85. An early shiny or colouring mistake?

In the episode ‘The Ultimate test’ (EP056), there is a scene where Ash and the gang are talking to Nurse Joy. In the same scene behind them, Todd Snap is taking a picture of what looks to be a green Weedle. Is this supposed to be a shiny Weedle? A miscolouring? Maybe it’s a Caterpie? Shiny Weedle in the video games have a faint yellow tint, but its evolutions Kakuna and Beedrill are green. Shiny Pokémon were not known of at this time.

86. Pikachu as an icon

If you could name one Pokémon even if you’ve not watched the show or played the games, I’m sure high up on that list would be Pikachu.The electric mouse has gotten itself around over the years featuring on money, planes, trains, cars, a Macy’s Day parade balloon and was the Japananese football team’s mascot at the 2014 World Cup. It’s safe to say Pikachu is one of the most heavily recognised video game characters of all time.

87. Reverse the intro?

The Pokémon anime intro is well remembered for starting with Mewtwo and Mew who actually appear at the end of the original Japanese intro. Instead, Charizard is the first Pokémon we see from a montage that is one of the last parts of the English intro. The scenes taken from the Japense intro for the English dub are basically reversed and a lot of alterations were made due to the fact the anime had already been long-running in Japan. For the English version, scenes from the episodes were added because there was a lot of content to play around with.

88. In-game references

In X & Y, if you visit the Lumiose Museum, you will see artwork that references actual Pokémon cards, cities from previous games and promotional artwork.

89. Salamanders aren’t fireproof

The idea for Charmander came from a common misconception that some salamanders are born from fire. For centuries no research was done to actually look into the fact this wasn’t true and like other lizards, salamanders aren’t impervious to fire.

90. TV influencing the games

In Red & Blue, despite having wings and being a part flying-type, Charizard couldn’t learn the move ‘Fly’. This was rectified in Yellow which took a big influence from the TV show that had both Ash riding his Charizard and Pikachu following the trainer around.

91. Pokémon’s impact on the real creatures

Stephen K. Monckton who discovered eight new bee species as part of his master’s degree named one of them ‘stem-nesting Charizard bee’. They are said to be endemic to Chile.

92. Embracing the future of technology

A screenshot of the trading menu.

One striking difference about Crystal in Japan as compared to releases in the West, is that in the Goldenrod City Pokémon Center had a communications center. If players bought a ‘mobile adapter GB’ and connected it to their mobile phones, they could battle and trade over the internet believe it or not! The battles and trades would cost around ten cents, so in video gaming history you have Pokémon being one of the first games to use the internet for connecting gameplay and having microtransactions.

93. Early DLC

The connectivity to the internet gave Crystal endless possibilities such as exclusive DLC to Japanese players like the mirage mail. Probably the biggest DLC was the ‘GS ball’ which enabled trainers to catch legendary Pokémon, Celebi in a special event.

94. Inconsistencies in designs

When designing the Pokémon for Silver & Gold, the in-game sprites would be designed first and would then see their true artwork designed by Sugimoi.These early sprites were never revised to match Sugimori’s designs and so there were a lot of inconsistency between how the Pokémon looked in Gen two.

95. Cultural TV references

As Pokémon is one of the biggest gaming franchises around, there’s no doubt it was likely to be mentioned elsewhere. Pokémon has been referenced in such TV shows as: Robot Chicken, The Simpsons, South Park, Doctor Who and Black Books.

96. Cultural video game references

Lost Dwemer in Morrowind with the skeleton of “Peke Utchoo”

Pokémon is that big it has infiltrated into other video games such as items in The Binding Of Isaac: Afterbirth, names of tools, buildings and characters in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and in celebration of Pokémon’s 20th anniversary in 2016, a Splatfest in Splatoon was themed after Red & Blue along with a course titled “I Choose You!” being uploaded to Super Mario Maker that let players unlock a Bulbasaur, Squirtle or Charmander costume upon finishing the level.

97. Referencing movies

There have been a few occasions in Pokémon games that have made nods to classic movies. Here are three examples:

OR/AS: An old man in Pacifidlog Town says: “One does not siply walk into a Mirage spot.” which is a reference to “One does not simply walk into Mordor.” from The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring.

Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee: There are two master scientists who have the Pokémon Zubat and Golbat. The scientists are called West and Keaton which look to be nods to actors who have previously portrayed Batman.

X & Y: After defeating Psychic Robert, he will say: “You and your Pokémon were far more powerful than I could have imagined…” This is a reference to a line said by Obi-Wan Kenobi to Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.

98. The British touch

James Turner, who works for Game Freak, was the first Western person to design a new Pokémon in 2010 which was for Black & White. He has since designed 22 Pokémon and was the designer of the Shadow Lugia design for XD: Gale Of Darkness.

99. Something so small can be something so heavy

The psychic-type Pokémon, Cosmoeom is one of the smallest creatures in the Pokémon universe at a height on 0.1 metres. However, it is also the heaviest Pokémon on record weighing at 999.9 kilograms. This is because it is based on a protostar which are very dense have have a lot of mass in such a small area. Characters in the anime are seen carrying Cosmoeom, but it’s best not to think too much about it.

100. The End!

The tattoo when it was first finished in 2016. Hope you all enjoy looking at my thigh.

My final fact I will leave you with is: the first tattoo I ever got was a Pokémon tattoo on my right thigh featuring Charizard, Espeon, Typhlosion, Nidoqueen, Ampharos and Blastoise inside the outline of a Pikachu. They’re Pokémon I have loved from my childhood and here’s a bonus fact for you all: Generation two are my favourite Pokémon games, with Soul Silver being my favourite release.

However and wherever you’re celebrating Pokémon’s 25th anniversary, I hope to hear of some of your fond Pokémon memories and facts not featured here!

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