Since it’s only 3 days before the official launch of the new Pokémon game – Sun and Moon – I think it’s just right that I’d share some Pokémon facts that you may or may not know about the franchise. Thanks to my friends from Gadget Match for inviting me to do a collab-article for this Pokémon trivia. Let’s start!
- Pokémon is short for pocket monsters or Pokétto Monsutā in Japanese. In Katakana, it is written ポケットモンスタ, which literally means, “monsters in our pocket” – because, as we all know, you catch and store Pokémon in pocket-sized containers called pokéballs.
- The first Pokémon games were Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green (Pokémon Red and Blue in the U.S.). They came out in 1996 on the Nintendo Game Boy. Despite their colorful names, the games were played in black and white. Pokémon Go brings gameplay to the real world, sorta. Using your smartphone’s camera, you can track down and catch Pokémon as if they were right in front of you. How crazy exciting is that?
- Pokemon Sun and Moon will be showcasing changes to some of our known and favorite Pokemon – these are called Alolan Pokemon. Due to weather differences, appearance of some Pokemon changed and they’ve adapted their characteristics based on these factors. My personal favorite would be the Alolan Exeggutor – the design is very interesting.
- The Pokémon franchise includes over 70 games (including spinoffs), 19 movies, a long-running TV series, and a trading card game.
- There were only 151 original Pokémon. But hundreds more were introduced (discovered) with every new generation. There are 721 Pokémon today. Bulbasaur is Pokémon number 1, Volcanion is number 721. Expect a few hundred more to be added to the list when Pokémon Sun and Moon are released this Friday, November 18.
- While the original theme song for the Pokémon TV show is “Gotta Catch ‘Em All,” you can’t catch all Pokémon – well some already did though online trades or some (which is not recommended) though a Pokemon Generator. There are a handful of mythical Pokémon that are only available via special events; some require being at a certain place during a specific time period. In celebration of Pokémon’s 20th anniversary, mythical Pokémon are distributed every month (of 2016) via the internet and in-store cards.
- Speaking of catching them all, while the popular phrase (and song lyric) appears to describe the objective of all Pokémon games, there’s more to the games than just collecting. As the song goes, “To catch them is my real test; to train them is my cause.” The best Pokémon trainers know that to defeat other trainers, it is important to know your Pokémon and how best to train them.
- Now, let’s say you’ve started collecting Pokémon. How do you identify and keep track of them? With the Pokédex of course. Given to players at the start of every game, the Pokédex is a digital almanac of sorts, which serves as a database of all Pokémon you’ve caught. Similar to smartphones, we’ve seen an evolution of Pokédex design. The design is based on the time it was released, references from the region was taken to account as well – for example – Pokemon Black and White’s inspiration was from the US therefor the design of the Pokédex was patterned on how an iPod looks like. Interesting right?
- Pokémon names differ in countries like Japan, Germany, and France. Jigglypuff, for example, is called Purin in Japan, which is literally a custard pudding dessert that’s wobbly, just like the character.
- The most iconic of all the Pokémon has to be Pikachu, the cuddly yellow creature with pointy ears. While there has been plenty of speculation as to what kind of creature Pikachu is, overwhelming evidence suggests Pikachu is actually a mouse, not a cat, as some assume.
- Some Pokémon take several forms. In the games, Pikachu evolves into the more powerful Raichu if you give it a Thunder Stone. Pikachu also has a pre-evolution form called Pichu, which evolves into Pikachu only when it has reached a certain level of friendship with its trainer.
- One Pokémon in particular, Eevee, can evolve into eight different Pokémon, depending on a variety of factors: the type of evolution stone used; the time of day; its surroundings and more. Eevee can become Flareon (fire), Vaporeon (water), Jolteon (electric), Espeon (psychic), Umbreon (dark), Leafeon (grass), Glaceon (ice), or Sylveon (fairy). Will the upcoming games introduce a new Eevee type? We hope so!
- You heal worn out Pokémon at Poké Centers, buy items at Poké Marts, and battle opponents at Poké Gyms. There’s a real-life Poké Gym in Osaka, Japan.
- Most Pokémon have a gender, either male or female, and can be bred. Female Pokémon lay eggs, which eventually hatch when you carry them around long enough. If you don’t have two Pokémon of opposite genders, the genderless Ditto can step in and breed with most (not all, as some Pokémon don’t breed).
- Ash is the protagonist in the Pokémon anime. In Japan, fans know him as Satoshi, a clear reference to Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri. There’s a theory that everything currently happening in the Pokémon TV show (now over 800 episodes strong, and still airing) is only taking place in Ash’s dream. In the very first episode, which aired in 1997, Ash was electrocuted by Pikachu. Some believe this placed him into a coma, hence the super-long dream, and thus explaining why Ash hasn’t aged one bit even after 19 years. AND in the new series, Ash would look even younger than the XYZ version.
- In the early episodes of the Pokémon TV anime, there was an earthworm. Non-pokémon creatures appear very rarely in the show.
- The Pokémon regions in the game are actually based on real locations. Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh are all places in Japan. There’s also Unova in the U.S., Kalos in France, and the new region, Alola in Hawaii.
- Here’s how some of your favorite Pokémon got their names: Ekans and Arbok are Snake and Kobra spelled backwards; Koffing and Weezing’s were originally going to be called NY and LA because of the heavy pollution in those U.S. states; Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee are named after Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee; Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam’s U.S. names are based on the magic chant “abracadabra”; Alakazam’s Japanese translation is Foodin, likely a homage to the great magician, Harry Houdini.
- Filipino singer and actor Billy Crawford sang the theme song for the first Pokémon movie released in 1998. The movie’s soundtrack includes songs from Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, N*SYNC, M2M, and 98º Degrees. #PinoyPride
- Meowth is the only Pokémon that can talk (we’re not including legendary Pokémon that communicate with humans using telepathy). He taught himself how to talk to impress a female Meowth. Smooth.
This article was first published in Gadgets Match and in Philippine Star.
This is a collaborative work together with Michael Josh Villanueva and Chay Lazaro of the same publication group – thanks for letting me write an article with you guys! Some changes were made – mostly I’ve added PKMN Sun and Moon references.
I hope everyone is as excited as me for the new game release. I can’t wait to play the new game this week! Here’s a preview of the game, enjoy!