2016 is the year that Pokémon turns 20, with February 27th marking the 20th anniversary since the first games in the series were released in Japan. Celebrate the franchise’s milestone anniversary with these 20 facts. The question is – have you caught them all?
With around 280 million video game units sold worldwide, Pokémon is the world’s second largest video game franchise after the Mario franchise.
2. Clefairy was intended to be the franchise’s mascot, but was replaced with Pikachu, who was thought to have a more universal appeal.
3. The 18 Pokémon films released so far have earned a combined $932 million worldwide, making the Pokémon film franchise the 12th largest animated film franchise in the world.
4. The second generation games Pokémon Gold and Silver were originally planned to be the final games in the series, until they did really well and the developers decided to make more games.
5. Speaking of Pokémon Gold and Silver, they were made by a team of only four developers, which is ridiculously small for such large and complex games.
6. Including different forms and Mega Evolutions, Ice and Ghost are the rarest Pokémon types, whereas Water-types are the most common.
7. The most traded Pokémon is Eevee, which is no surprise given it can evolve into eight different Pokémon.
8. In the original games, Pokémon Red and Blue, data exists for a post-Elite Four battle with none other than Professor Oak.
9. Around 190 Pokémon were created for Pokémon Red and Blue, though only 151 ended up being used.
10. There’s a real-life Pokémon gym in Osaka, Japan, where you can eat in a Pokémon-themed café and pick up some useful tips for playing the games.
11. Rhydon was the first Pokémon created, while the legendary Mew was the first to be trademarked.
12. The most expensive Pokémon trading card is the ultra-rare Pikachu Illustrator Card, which is apparently worth over $100,000 because fewer than a dozen copies were ever distributed.
13. Brock was written out of the anime for one season because the writers thought he would be perceived as a racist stereotype because of his eyes, though he was eventually written back into the series.
14. After the first Japanese games came out, a contest was held to give 20 lucky players the super-rare Mew – 78,000 people applied.
15. The Poison-type Pokémon Koffing and Weezing were originally going to be named NY and LA as a reference to the cities’ pollution.
16. Pokémon was the very first video game franchise to make an appearance on the front cover of TIME magazine.
17. There have been over 919 episodes of the Pokémon anime, making it one of the longest anime series still in production today.
18. The series’ original motto was ‘gotta catch ‘em all’, though anime protagonist Ash hasn’t done that well, having caught only 80 out of 721 different Pokémon species.
19. Pokémon gyms have specialized in every type except the Dark type, though three Elite Four members have so far had Dark-type teams.
20. If a Pokémon was a combination of all 18 types, it wouldn’t have any resistances and Rock-type moves would be super effective against it.
I'm a Classics graduate and have been writing for over three years. Hopefully going to go into novel writing some day. I'm mostly interested in theme parks and roller coasters - I've been on 300 coasters and plan on going on lots more!