This year sees the 20th anniversary of one of the most influential and multi-million dollar franchises of all time; Pokémon.
Developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo, two role-playing video games were created for the Game Boy, entitled Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version. The games were originally released in Japan as Pocket Monsters: Red & Green, before eventually being released in a special edition the same year entitled Red and Green with Blue.
The games were subsequently released in North America, Europe and Australia over the following three years, leading to the release of a special edition entitled Pokémon Yellow. Red and Green were subsequently remade for the Game Boy Advance in 2004 as Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen.
Pokémon Red and Blue introduced players to the fictional region of Kanto, where they have the power to control the main character from an overhead perspective in a quest to become the ultimate Pokémon master. Players navigate the fictional world through three basic screens: an overworld where the overhead perspective is utilized, a side-view battle screen and a menu interface.
There are two main objectives of the game. The first is to become the champion of the Pokémon league, by defeating the eight Pokémon Gym Leaders, and then the Elite Four. This is achieved by capturing and training Pokémon throughout the game, ensuring that the player has a team of six Pokémon enabling them to battle with trainers throughout the land, including the antagonistic Team Rocket.
The second objective is to obtain all 150 available Pokémon in Kanto, which is no easy feat. The majority of Pokémon are easy to come by through encounters throughout the game’s situations and landscapes, but many are deemed legendary and are extremely hard to find or only able to obtain through the evolution of a certain Pokémon. This is achieved through the Game Link Cable, which allows players to not only trade, but also battle each other.
The game was originally conceptualized by game designer Satoshi Tarijiri, in light of his fascination with insect collecting as a child. While he was growing up, he observed how urbanization caused the insect population to decline and how kids began to play indoors rather than outside. He then came up with the idea of Pokémon – a video game consisting of creatures that resembled insects. He believed that Pokémon would enable kids to relate with their Pokémon by having the ability to name and care for them. Pokémon never die or bleed when in battle, as Tarijiri wanted to ensure that no further ‘pointless violence’ was added to the gaming world.
On 12th November 2015, Nintendo announced that Red, Blue, and Yellow will be released on Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console on 27th February 2016, in celebration of the games’ 20th anniversary.