Pokémon is a media franchise spawned from a role-playing video game series developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo beginning in 1996. The title is a portmanteau formed by combining the Japanese words "Poketto Monsutā" (ポケットモンスター), "Pocket Monsters" in English. The games and other media surrounding it revolve around the capturing different types of these creatures, the titular Pokémon, and using them in battle. Outside of the original games, Pokémon has been used in anime, manga, trading cards, toys, films and books among other things. Online, Pokémon has a large fan community, spawning fan art, fiction and memetic content.
The Pokémon franchise began with a video game created by designer Satoshi Tajiri, who was inspired by his childhood insect collecting hobby. The first Pokémon video games were released on February 27th, 1996 in Japan for the Nintendo Gameboy titled Pocket Monsters Red and Pocket Monsters Green. The game proved to be radically popular, and a third Japanese edition known as Blue Version was released on October 15th, 1996. Blue Version was repackaged and translated for international release as Red and Blue, reaching the United States on September 30th, 1998. Pokémon Yellow was later developed specifically for the Game Boy Color the next year, in order to take advantage of the handheld's improved graphics to make the game appear closer to the anime.
Outside of hand-held games, Pokémon has appeared in console games for Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii and Wii U. There also have been several spin-off games from the standard RPG, including turn-based navigation game Pokémon Mystery Dungeon and action RPG Pokémon Ranger. As of November 2016, there have been seven generations of Pokémon released for various Nintendo platforms.
Since 1998, many additional Pokémon titles have been released, including the portable games Pokémon Trading Card Game (1998) and Pokémon Pinball (1999) for Game Boy Color, Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire (2003) and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team (2005) for Game Boy Advance and several additional Pokémon Mystery Dungeon (2005 – 2012) and Pokémon Ranger (2006 – 2010) titles for the Nintendo DS. On the Nintendo 64, the games Pocket Monsters Stadium (1998), Hey You, Pikachu! (1998), Pokémon Stadium (1999), Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Stadium 2 (2000), Pokémon Puzzle League (2000) were released. The GameCube saw the release of Pokémon Colosseum (2003), Pokémon Channel (2003), Pokémon Box: Ruby and Sapphire (2003), Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness (2005) and Pokémon Battle Revolution (2006). On the Wii, the games My Pokémon Ranch (2008), Pokémon Rumble (2009) and PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure (2009) were released.
In August 2013, a teaser for the game Pokkén Tournament was first shown during a Pokémon Game Show event held in Japan. The concept combines mechanics from games in the Pokémon franchise with those in the Tekken fighting game series. On August 26th, the game was officially announced and a trailer was released on YouTube (shown below).
Pokken Tournament DX
On June 6th, 2017, the official Pokemon YouTube Channel uploaded a trailer for Pokkén Tournament DX for the Nintendo Switch as well as Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon for the 3DS. Pokkén Tournament DX will mark the first game in the franchise for the new console. It adds Darkrai, Scizor, Empoleon, Croagunk, and Decidueye to the roster, making for a total of 21 playable Pokémon. The game will also feature 3 vs. 3 battle mode. It is set for release September 22nd.
Pokémon Let's Go / Pokémon Quest
On May 29th, 2018, Nintendo revealed the trailer for upcoming Pokémon games for the Nintendo Switch called Pokémon Let's Go: Pikachu and Pokémon Let's Go: Eevee to be released November 16th, 2018. The games will take place in the Kanto region and feature the original 151 Pokémon. The games will be similar to those in the core series, but with some additions that will make it more accessible to younger players. For example, players will be able to see wild Pokémon on a map and choose their encounters. The games will also have co-op capability that will allow two players to play and battle at once. They'll also feature cross compatibility with Pokémon GO, allowing players to transfer Pokémon caught in GO to the games, though it is currently unclear in what capacity the Let's Go games will incorporate them. Additionally, the game will be compatible with a controller called the PokéBall Plus, which players can pretend to toss at the screen to catch a wild Pokémon in the game. The caught Pokémon will then be "in" the ball, and can then be taken outside to incorporate some additional features.
The day of the announcement, Nintendo also released a free game called Pokémon Quest on the Switch. The game is unique in the Pokémon series, featuring cube-like artistic renditions of Pokémon who roam levels and get into friendly fights with other Pokémon in the stage. The player controls three Pokémon who move freely, but players can control their actions in battles that happen in real-time and not like the traditional turn-based attacks that are the norm in Pokémon games. Polygon described the game as Minecraft meets Pokémon Rumble.
Nintendo carefully translates the names of the various Pokémon creatures to retain nuances that reflect the different languages in which the game is translated. Each Pokémon's name is meant to represent their properties. For example, Charizard has the word "char" in its name to indicate it is a Fire type. The characters' names have become so well known by Pokémon players that a study conducted in Britain in 2002 found that children were able to identify Pokémon creatures better than local wildlife.
As of November 2016, there are 802 known species of Pokémon. Probably the most well known of these is Pikachu, an Electric type creature drawn to look like a mouse, who is regarded as the mascot of the franchise.
On January 10th, 2007, eleven years after its initial release, British news site The Independent listed Pokémon as the 2nd best selling game franchise of all time after the Mario franchise. According to a Nintendo press release, the game series had sold over 200 million units by May 28th, 2010. Pokémon has also appeared in many real life places: Between 2005 and 2006 a traveling Pokémon theme park was open in Japan and Taiwan, Nippon Airways has ten jets painted with Pokémon designs, and the Nintendo World shop in New York City has an entire floor dedicated to Pokémon, including an area where people can play together and receive special items. Additionally, various television shows and movies including South Park, The Simpsons, Austin Powers: Goldmember and Robot Chicken have parodied or mentioned Pokémon.
Official Pokémon online presence is limited. Their official Twitter page has over 30,000 followers as of January 2013. While the official Facebook fan page for the franchise only has 1.5 million likes, a static interest page for the Pokémon anime has over 3 million.
Due to its wide fanbase, Pokémon has numerous fansites dedicated to it. Some of the most popular include Serebii, a news, information and forum site; Smogon University, with articles and calculators on how to improve one's competitive battling skills; Bulbapedia, a wiki-style information site with more than 21,900 articles; Marriland, which hosts news and guides; PokéBeach, which contains information specifically for the Pokémon trading card game, and is known to leak information about upcoming games; and a dedicated image board on 4chan, /vp/.
As of September 2012, there are more than 4,500 submissions in the Pokémon category on Fanfiction.net, with more than 2500 of those crossovers into other fandoms. The stories cover a range of subgenres in fanfiction, including Badfic examples like Pokémon: Attack of Mewtwo, and creepypasta stories such as the Lavender Town Syndrome, Pokémon Creepy Black and Pokémon Lost Silver among others.
Pokémon also has a variety of shippers, people who favor relationships between certain characters, within it. One of the first Pokémon ships created was between the characters Jessie and James (shown below, left), which became known as Rocketshipping. This term was coined on the Team Rocket Headquarters forum as early as 2007. Later, the theorized relationship between main characters Ash and Misty (shown below, right) was given the name Pokéshipping. Bulbagarden keeps a list of coined terms for hundreds of ships within the franchise, between people, Pokémon or both.
"Pokémon Uranium" is a fan-made game made by developer JV (João Pedro Reis) and designer Involuntary Twitch. Released on August 6th, 2016, it features 150 fan-created Pokémon and allows players to explore the fan-made Tandor Region.
After one week, 1.5 million downloads, and multiple takedown notices from Nintendo, the download links were removed from the game's official site on August 13th, 2016. However, the developers have claimed the game is "more alive then ever" and that they'll continue to release patches to fix bugs for those who already downloaded the game or acquire it through other means.
Pokémon has spawned a huge number of memes, some of which are among the most well-known memes on the Internet. It would be impossible to list every single Pokémon-related meme, but the major ones are included here.
I Herd U Liek Mudkips
"I Herd U Liek Mudkips" is a catchphrase associated with the water-type Pokémon Mudkip. It was first used on deviantArt as early as February 2005 as a way to invite users of the site to join a Pokémon fan art community called MudKipClub. It later was incorporated into a copypasta story that was shared on 4chan, where the phrase evolved into use as a way for 4chan users to identify themselves outside of the imageboard.
Fuck Yeah Seaking
Fuck Yeah Seaking is a photoshop meme which superimposes water-type Pokémon Seaking into pictures of natural disasters or horrific scenes, implying that the creature caused the destruction. Though it has been criticized as a largely forced meme, it eventually gained a solid fanbase and spawned a number of rhyming derivatives.
Slowpoke is a Water/Psychic-type Pokémon, often used as a reaction image to a post containing old or oversaturated information. It can also be seen as an advice animal-style image macro series with captions that often start out "Hey guys, did you hear…" followed by old news.
A Wild X Appeared! / Fake Pokemon Battles
"A Wild X Appears!" is a snowclone used to indicate the unexpected arrival of a character or object, in a similar style to what is used in the games. Similar to this are Fake Pokémon Battles , which are a series of video and GIF animations parodying the opening cutscene sequence of a Pokémon battle, typically involve substituting Pokémon characters with custom sprites of non-Pokémon characters, such as celebrities or politicians, and altering the in-game messages to fit the battle into context.
It's Super Effective!
"It’s Super Effective!" is a catchphrase taken from a phrase that appears during in-game battles when a skill results in additional damage. Outside of the context of the game, the phrase is used to denote an action that works exceptionally well.
Professor Oak is a recurring character who is well known for his knowledge about the creatures and is widely considered to be the best Pokémon expert in his field. Online, he is the subject of an image macro series which is used to point out the various illogical details about the video game’s world and the alleged mean behaviour of the character.
Gary Oak is based on the rival character from the first two games. Throughout the series, he is always one step ahead of the player, appearing at the most inopportune moments to point out the player's shortcomings. On 4chan's /vp/ (Pokémon), Gary is also used to spam threads that are considered pointless or that break the rules. This act of spamming pictures of Gary is called "Garybombing."
Ash Pedreiro, also known as "Dat Ash", is an advice animal image macro featuring an alternate universe artwork of Pokémon trainer Ash Catchum and lewd puns that are derived from the character names of Pokémon creatures. The nickname "Ash Pedreiro" originated from the Brazilian web, "pedreiro" being a Brazilian-Portugese slang term for construction workers who would often throw cheesy pick-up lines to strangers on the street.
Tentaquil is a Fakémon that originated from a /vp/ thread on 4chan. The name Tentaquil seems to come from the combination of the already existing Pokémon Tentacool / Tentacruel and Cyndaquil, although its appearance is more similar in design to Politoed. A ROM hack of the game Pokémon FireRed Version called Pokémon: Tentaquil Edition was created in which Tentaquil was the starter Pokémon. Shortly after this was released, a hack of Pokémon Emerald Version featured Tentaquil as well.
Longchu (also named Pikaman) was inspired by a hacking method where people could change movesets of the characters in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. Brawl. When the movement set of Ganondorf is transferred to Pikachu, the result creates a Pikachu with long limbs.
MissingNo. is a Pokémon species found in the video games Pokémon Red and Blue. An abbreviation for “Missing Number”, these Pokémon are used as error handlers by game developer Game Freak. There are five forms of the glitch character, which only appears when the game attempts to access data for a nonexistent Pokémon species.
"Top Percentage" originates from Pokémon Gold Version and Pokémon Silver Version, released in North America in 2000. After meeting a Non-Playable Character (NPC) named Youngster Joey, he may contact the player at random through a personal phone device in the game known as the Pokégear. During one of these calls, he will say “Remember my super cool Rattata? My Rattata is different from regular Rattata. It’s like my Rattata is in the top percentage of Rattata.” Online, the phrase has turned into a trolling technique, often used to mock someone who is considered the best at something.
Fakemon are non-canonical Pokémon character sprites and artwork created by fans of the franchise. Since Pokémon sprites are relatively small in size, modification of canonical Pokémon can be easily done. The techniques can range from simple re-colorings, “splicing” new sprites by combining parts of older sprites, or creating new ones altogether from scratch.
"Hoenn Confirmed" is a phrase used to sarcastically imply that the games Pokémon Ruby, Pokémon Sapphire, and/or Pokémon Emerald, which all take place in the Hoenn region, will be remade. The belief originally stemmed from the fact that the Generation I and II games were remade in Generations III and IV respectively, so many believed that the Hoenn region games, which were Generation III, would be given remakes in Generation V. People began looking for minuscule details in the Generation V games that could be evidence for a remake, like Half-Life 3 Confirmed.
Pokémon Abs Guy
On January 7th, 2014, Tumblr blogger butt-berry created the blog Handstand Abs Guy to showcase a series of photoshopped GIFs in which characters from popular anime and cartoon series are shown molesting the muscular torso of a man in a handstand position against a wall, including numerous instances of Pokémon characters interacting with his chiseled abs in suggestive manners.
Throughout the month, Butt-berry continued to update the blog with GIFs featuring various characters from Pokémon, as well as Spongebob Squarepants and Adventure Time, which drew positive feedback from Tumblr's fandom community. Almost every post garnered in the range of a few thousand notes to more than 36,000 notes.
Search queries for "pokemon" have remained somewhat consistent over the years with increases in volume during spring and summer months, and dips during winter months. Some of these increases coincide with the release of new games.
 The Independent – Children better at recognising Pokemon characters than British wildlife
 The Independent – How Eidos plans to stay ahead of the video game market