Pokémon-20This year, one of the best known games in history turns 20. Do you know which game I’m talking about? That’s right, Pokémon, the game in which you catch and train creatures called Pokémon and pit them against each other in battles with other trainers. In this article I’ll take a look at this series and inform you of some new developments you can expect to see this year.

Pokémon, more than a game

The first Pokémon game, Pocket Monsters: Red & Green, was released in Japan on 27 February 1996. These games, which came to Europe three years later, marked a turning point in the world of videogames. The creation of the game was not an easy task, and despite the fact that the games were basic and in black and white, they took 6 years to develop.

More than just a game, Pokémon was a craze which began in the 90s and continues to this day. It took over consoles and toy stores and marked an entire generation.

However, it also faced criticism—commentators accused it of promoting cockfighting, materialism and Zionism. The most infamous event was when 685 children were hospitalised after suffering epileptic seizures when watching an episode of Pokémon. In case you’re wondering, this is the video in question (be careful as it contains flashing images). This story made such an impact that it was parodied in both The Simpsons and South Park.

Episode 226 of The Simpsons. Source: Giphy.

Episode 226 of The Simpsons. Source: Giphy.

Pokémon undoubtedly brought together Japanese and Western culture and left its mark on popular culture. You can now see Pokémon everywhere, from parades to aeroplanes.

Pokémon Games

I suppose you’ll already know how the game works, but if you’re one of the few people in the world that don’t, I’ll explain. In almost all of the Pokémon games, you play as a Pokémon trainer. Your aim is to capture all of the Pokémon existing in certain fictitious areas and save their information in your Pokédex, and then battle against other trainers.

At first there were 151 Pokémon, but this number has grown to 720. All of these Pokémon were released over the course of six generations. If you want to see them all, take a look at the Pokédex on the official Pokémon page.

Pikachu as seen in the online Pokédex

Pikachu as seen in the online Pokédex

An Android app called Pokémon TV, released in 2013, connects you to the world of Pokémon with all of the episodes from the show, special events, films and much more.

The app was not found in the store. :-( #wpappbox

Links: → Visit Store → Search Google

 

And that’s not the only Pokémon app you can install on your smartphone. You’ll soon be able to capture Pokémon with your BQ using a new app which will be released this year: Pokémon GO.

Pokémon GO

This augmented reality lets you catch Pokémon in the real world. The app uses your smartphone’s GPs to locate you and lets you know whether there are any Pokémon nearby. It works a bit like Ingress, the augmented reality game created by Niantic.

The Pokémon you see will vary depending on the environment: woods, rivers, mountains, caves, and so on. Can you imagine venturing into a wood to catch a Bulbasaur, or going up a mountain to catch a Charizard? What’s more, some legendary Pokémon are only available in certain parts of the world, so you’ll have to travel around the world if you want to catch them all.

And that’s not all. There will be Pokémon Gums where you will be able to train your Pokémon and meet other trainers.

Nintendo has also confirmed a new wearable, Pokémon Go Plus, which will let you know if there are any Pokémon nearby by vibrating and lighting up. Truth be told, it’s not very attractive, but if it makes me a better Pokémon trainer I won’t hesitate to wear it.

Pokémon is one of the videogames which has most influenced today’s culture, and will surely continue to do so. I hope that in 10 years’ time we’ll be able to see Pokémon in situ thanks to virtual reality glasses, as shown in the Pokémon GO video. Until then, I’ll just have to dream and wait for the release of the game in a few months.

Domingo Gomes (@mingogomes on Twitter) is an app, new technology and video game lover. Currently working at BQ Channel, he's a BQ forum mediator in Portuguese and content editor.