A CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF POKÉMON GAMES

A timeline of Pokémon’s most memorable releases over the last 20 years

The Pokémon franchise has grown from pocket-sized to monstrously huge since its 1996 debut.

Twenty years after the first pair of Game Boy games launched, Pokémon has graced consoles and handhelds alike with a variety of role-playing games and other titles big and small. It’s hard to keep track of all 122 Pokémon releases, but we did our best in cataloguing each of the franchise’s most notable games. Check out the fruits of our labor below as we present to you our Pokémon game timeline.

  • 1996
    Pokémon Red and Green (Game Boy)

    On Feb. 26, 1996, Nintendo releases the first two Pocket Monster, or Pokémon, games in Japan, introducing the classic gameplay and first generation of collectible monsters. (The Green version remains Japan-only.)

  • 1998
    Pokémon Red and Blue (Game Boy)

    Nintendo debuts its Pokémon franchise in the U.S. with the slightly revamped Red and Blue versions. They quickly become a cultural phenomenon as people of all ages team up to try to catch ‘em all.

  • 1998
    Pokémon Stadium (Japan-only) (N64)

    1998 sees the release of the first in what becomes a long line of Pokémon spinoffs. This original Pokémon Stadium come pretty limited, however, and stays put in Japan.

  • 1999
    Pokémon Pinbéll (GBC)

    The first Pokémon side game released in the U.S. It’s pinball, but with Pokémon — simple but effective.

  • 1999
    Pokémon Snap (N64)

    U.S. gamers get their first look at Pokémon in 3D. The coolest part of this one-of-a-kind Pokémon game is that players can bring in their cartridges to Blockbuster to print out real copies of their Pokémon photos.

  • 1999
    Pokémon Yellow (GB)

    Nintendo adds a twist to Pokémon Red and Blue in this “third version” of the mainline RPG series: Trainers travel across the Kanto region with a Pikachu following along behind them on-screen. The popular Pokémon anime is an obvious influence over this game.

  • 2000
    Pokémon Trading Card Game (GBC)

    Pokémon has established itself among three major pillars: cartoon, games and trading cards. This release combines those latter two categories for a more portable experience of the best-selling card game.

  • 2000
    Pokémon Stadium (N64)

    A beefier version of Stadium makes its way stateside and is a commercial hit. Players come for the 3D Pokémon battles — using their own collected monsters — but stay for the party-style minigames.

  • 2000
    Pokémon Gold and Silver (GBC)

    Nintendo launches the second generation of Pokémon characters with Gold and Silver. These games have an increased color palette, even more collectibles and the most gyms of any other Pokémon game. The original eight gyms are unlocked after clearing Gold and Silver’s set of eight new ones, nearly doubling the playtime.

  • 2000
    Hey You, Pikachu! (N64)

    Pokémonfans get their first chance to talk directly to the popular Pokémon in this console game, which shipped with a microphone. At least, they get to talk to Pikachu when the game recognizes their commands, which it rarely does.

  • 2000
    Pokémon Puzzle League (N64)

    Nintendo releases this Pokémon-style Tetris Attack in the fall of 2000. It launches first in the U.S. and uses characters directly from the popular cartoon.

  • 2000
    Pokémon Puzzle Challenge (GBC)

    The Game Boy Color companion to Puzzle League takes a more typical approach, using Pokémon and gym leaders from the recent Gold and Silver games.

  • 2001
    PokémonStadium 2 (N64)

    The sequel to Pokémon Stadium has even more Pokémon to battle, even better minigames to play and even lets you play your Game Boy games on your TV with the N64’s Transfer Pack.

  • 2001
    Pokémon Crystal (GBC)

    For the first time ever, a Pokémon RPG offers players a choice of selectable character: a boy or a girl. This option won’t return in a mainline game for another three years.

  • 2003
    Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire (GBA)

    The Game Boy Advance’s improved graphics makes for a brighter, bolder Pokémon game. Some fans, however, decry these third generation games’ insistence on water-related quests, despite all of the other added features.

  • 2003
    Pokémon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire (GBA)

    Pinball and Pokémon make for a great pairing, especially in this third generation take for the GBA. Too bad this is the second and last time the two games mix.

  • 2003
    Pokémon Channel (GC)

    The Pokémon Company realizes that, if fans like watching Pokémon and playing Pokémon, why not combine the two? Thus this TV watching simulator is born, quickly earning its place as one of the stranger games in the canon.

  • 2004
    Pokémon Colosseum (GC)

    This darkly tinged console RPG introduces Shadow Pokémon, which players can steal from other trainers and restore back to normal. This marks the first game by the studio Genius Sonority, which will go on to develop other Pokémon titles. Many buyers pick up the game to grab the included legendary Pokémon Jirachi download.

  • 2004
    Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen (GBA)

    The original games are remade for the current generation. Nostalgic players appreciate the return of the original Pokémon while newer ones are into the graphics and new modes, like the Vs. Seeker. These games see the return of a female playable character, too.

  • 2005
    Pokémon Dash (DS)

    The first Pokémon DS game is a top-down racing game starring Pikachu. It’s more of an early showcase for the touchscreen than an in-depth, entertaining game in its own right.

  • 2005
    Pokémon Emerald (GBA)

    Pokémon Emerald arrives two years after its predecessors. This third generation game adds the Battle Frontier to the game, throwing in tons of extra battles for players to take part in.

  • 2005
    Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness (GC)

    Genius Sonority crafts a follow-up to Pokémon Colosseum, bringing back the Shadow Pokémon and snagging mechanic of the earlier game.

  • 2006
    Pokémon Trozei! (DS)

    Genius Sonority’s next Pokémon release is this stylish puzzler, in which players must match up lines of Pokémon heads to clear the game board. It’s an addicting model that won’t see a sequel for several years.

  • 2006
    Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team (GBA) / Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team (DS)

    The Pokémon franchise meets the Japanese Mystery Dungeon series for a pair of dungeon crawlers. This time, the playable characters are a selection of Pokémon themselves. Which Pokémon you’ll play as is decided by an in-game quiz.

  • 2006
    Pokémon Ranger (DS)

    In 2006, Pokémon Ranger iterates on the classic Pokémon collecting model: The game employs the DS stylus to capture Pokémon. Instead of Pokeballs, players must draw circles around the monsters to collect them.

  • 2007
    Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (DS)

    The Pokémon Company brings the RPGs to the DS with this fourth generation pair of games. The wait of four years between generations is the longest fans have ever had to sit through.

  • 2007
    Pokémon Battle Revolution (Wii)

    The Wii receives this battle-centric spinoff in 2007. It’s like Pokémon Stadium without the charming bonus features.

  • 2008
    Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia (DS)

    Pokémon Ranger gets an update starring a new cast of characters but keeping the unique gameplay.

  • 2008
    Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time / Explorers of Darkness (DS) New generation of Pokémon, new Mystery Dungeon.

    New generation of Pokémon, new Mystery Dungeon.

  • 2009
    Pokémon Platinum (DS)

    Pokémon Platinum takes trainers back to the world of Pearl and Diamond — and, in a unique twist, to an alternate dimension, too. Certain legendary Pokémon also receive new forms for their Platinum appearance too.

  • 2009
    Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky (DS)

    Explorers of Sky is a slight tweak on Explorers of Time and Darkness, bringing the added “third version” concept to the Mystery Dungeon series.

  • 2009
    Pokémon Rumble (Wii)

    In this WiiWare exclusive, Pokémon are transformed into tiny toy-like characters. It’s a simplistic, button mashing-heavy game that sees later iterations, including a free-to-start version on 3DS.

  • 2010
    Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver (DS)

    The Pokémon Company remade its biggest pair of games for the DS and added even more new great stuff, like the option to let any Pokémon follow behind its trainer. The amount of content available in these games is staggering, especially thanks to the DS’ modern online capabilities.

  • 2010
    PokePark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure (Wii)

    Pikachu goes on one of its lighthearted solo adventures, although there are other Pokémon accompanying it along the way.

  • 2010
    Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs (DS)

    The DS gets its last Ranger game — and the latest release of that spinoff series, which hasn’t been heard from since.

  • 2011
    Pokémon Black and White (DS)

    Generation five adds more Pokémon, of course, but also new battle styles: Rotation and Triple battles. These are quickly abandoned. The Pokémon Global Link, allowing players to interact with their Pokémon on their computers, is an interesting online feature, at least.

  • 2011
    Pokémon Rumble Blast (3DS)

    Pokémon Rumble brings its toy-like monsters to Nintendo’s handheld.

  • 2012
    PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond (Wii)

    Pikachu returns to the PokéPark, this time with friends from the fifth generation of monsters.

  • 2012
    Pokémon Conquest (DS)

    Tecmo Koei develops 2012’s most curious Pokémon release, which is a crossover with historical strategy RPG series Nobunaga’s Ambition.

  • 2012
    Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 (DS)

    The Pokémon Company eschews the traditional third version to instead give Black and White full sequels. These games offer a totally new story set in the earlier games’ region.

  • 2013
    Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity (3DS)

    Mystery Dungeon’s 3DS debut.

  • 2013
    Pokémon Rumble U (Wii U)

    Wii U eShop gets a downloadable Pokémon game with a new iteration of Rumble.

  • 2013
    Pokémon X and Y (3DS)

    The 3DS finally receives its mainline games in 2013. Generation six has a deeper online component than ever before, as well as a bevy of trainer customization options from haircut to skin color.

  • 2014
    Pokémon Battle Trozei (3DS)

    Genius Sonority brings Trozei back after an eight-year break.

  • 2014
    Pokémon Art Academy (3DS)

    Pokémon fanart comes to the 3DS.

  • 2014
    Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (3DS)

    Eleven years after their initial release, Ruby and Sapphire get a new coat of paint plus X and Y’s modern amenities.

  • 2015
    Pokémon Shuffle (3DS/Android/iOS)

    The Pokémon Company sends the franchise to mobile with this free-to-play take on Pokémon Battle Trozei. It still receives frequent updates in the form of new legendaries to hunt down for a limited time.

  • 2015
    Pokémon Rumble World (3DS)

    The 3DS gets another version of Rumble — this time with microtransactions.

  • 2015
    Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon (3DS)

    This newest Mystery Dungeon features all 720 currently available Pokémon. Only 20 of them are available to play as, however.

  • 2015
    Pokémon Picross (3DS)

    At the tail end of 2015, the franchise gets another free-to-start title with this remixed version of unique puzzle game Picross.

  • 2016
    Great Detective Pikachu: Birth of a New Duo (3DS)

    Japan gets the first new Pokémon game of 2016 as a 3DS eShop exclusive. It’s got a talking Pikachu, quick-time events and a lot of quirky charm — but no Western release date as of yet.

  • 2016
    Pokkén Tournament (Wii U)

    Bandai Namco first sends this game out to arcades in 2015, but launches it worldwide this spring. It’s a Tekken-inspired fighting game, the first arcade fighter the franchise has ever starred in.

  • 2016
    Pokémon Go (Android/iOS)

    Niantic, the developers of augmented reality game Ingress, team up with Nintendo for a new take on its popular real world exploration app. This is as close as Pokémon has come to being a reality — for now, anyway.

  • 2016
    Pokémon Sun and Moon

    In its most recent Nintendo Direct, the company announces that the next games in the franchise are Sun and Moon. Are they the first titles in generation seven? More will be revealed before their holiday release.

[SOURCE:-polygon]

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