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Pokémon through the Ages: A Blast from the Past

By Sydney Russ in Arts & Culture


On February 27th, 2016, the renowned Pokémon franchise celebrated its 20th anniversary with the international re-release of “Pokémon Red”, “Pokémon Blue”, and “Pokémon Yellow” as well as two new games for the new 7th generation, “Pokémon Sun” and “Pokémon Moon”. Another big release for them this year will be Pokémon Go, an app for Android and iPhone.

Pokémon has been  a favorite of people of all ages since the beginning. Satoshi Tajiri, creator of the Pokémon franchise, has created a masterful series that will continue to last through the years. Here’s a look back on the fantastic Pokémon franchise over the years.

Pokémon Red, Green and Blue (1998): The two most renowned Pokémon games released internationally in 1998. Though they shared the same starter Pokémon as the original two, they also boasted an additional 25 catchable Pokémon. The Champion was referred to as either Red, Green or Blue, corresponding with whichever version of the game the player bought, which added a sense of individuality for each of the games. These games also introduced a new trio of villains named Team Rocket, a criminal organization headed by the evil Giovanni who desperately wanted all pokémon to do his bidding. Giovanni was an additional boss along with the original 12 masters and the Champion. The awesome battles coupled with the catchy soundtrack are enough to make anyone fall in love. The variety in the Pokémon also provide the player with an experience unique to them, an important aspect in keeping the gaming world fresh. Team Rocket are some of the most loveable antagonists, especially with their constant failures. They provide a hilarious counterpart to their sinister master Giovanni which is one of the best villain relationships in gaming. The new take on traditional monster battling games was one of the best qualities that the original Pokémon games offered.

Pokémon: The First Movie (1998): Mewtwo, an evil copy of the original legendary pokémon Mew, was born in a lab to scientists who intended to use his powers to run a series of experiments. However, what the scientists didn't count on was the self-actualization of Mewtwo. As he struggles to come to terms with his existence, he begins a reign of tyranny based in his hatred of the human race. Mew, sensing his evil twin’s awakening, seeks out Mewtwo to battle. The clones of the original Pokémon and Mewtwo face off in an epic battle with Mew and the original Pokémon. ”Pokémon: The First Movie” is a surprisingly existential monster movie that features not only a terrifying antagonist but also plenty of lovable side characters as well, including a cameo by Team Rocket. For a movie marketed to primarily children, it provides a surprisingly dark story. Most notably, for any fans of the anime series, or even the games, “Pokémon: The First Movie” provides plenty of references to other parts of the franchise. It’s entertaining and humorous with a dark twist, and a great overall watch, especially for fans of the games and anime.

Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire (2003):  These games introduced some of the best legendaries to the game franchise. Ruby presented Groudon, a ground Pokémon. Sapphire on the other hand gave the player Kyogre, a water type Pokémon designed to look similar to a giant whale. Kyogre is not only a powerful legendary, but also has some of the best lore in the games. In order to get the legendaries, the player must complete a series of quests, which adds a puzzle feel a lá “Legend of Zelda”. Fans of the original Pokémon games are sure to love these mirrors of the first two. Ruby and Sapphire stay true to the Pokémon franchise while adding a fresh twist on the old games. Though they share similar battles, characters, and even colors with the first games, they are unique and definitely worth a play.

Pokémon Emerald (2005): This game was released for the Gameboy Advance. Though it wasn’t released with a sister game like many of the other pokémon games, its ability to stand alone made it unique in the series. It presents as a follow-up to Ruby and Sapphire as the player tries to maintain balance between Kyogre and Groudon and a third legendary pokémon, Rayquaza. Team Magma and Team Aqua are the villains of Emerald. They are the ones attempting to disturb the balance between the two massive legendaries. They eventually succeed, leading the player to a series of exciting battles to re-establish the equilibrium. Emerald presented a lot of new features, including re-battling gym leaders in exciting Double Battles which presented new pokémon not normally found on their teams. Emerald was the first game since “Pokémon Crystal” to bring back the animated pokémon sprites, as well as being the first Pokémon game to bring animated back sprites. Emerald is surprisingly story-based, which makes the game feel more adventure and exploration geared as the player is given more information about the antagonists and the battle between these three legendary pokémon. The storytelling is done neatly and with enough mystery to keep players of all ages engaged.

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (2014): These two advanced reboots of the older Generation III Ruby and Sapphire games, which came out in 2014, improve in a few fields. Though they share similar storylines and legendary pokémon, Omega and Alpha introduce new characters including a special Cosplay Pikachu, a special female Pikachu that is able to switch its abilities based on which costume the player dresses it in. Along with the amazing new take on one of the original pokémon, Omega and Alpha also presents two new classes of trainer that battle the trainer underwater. The underwater levels are always the hardest. Kyogre and Groudon are also given Primal Reversion forms which the player can activate using their respective color orbs. Omega and Sapphire offer a fresh experience despite being based on the original Ruby and Sapphire. They are wonderful remakes with exciting new features for both the nostalgic player and the new one to enjoy.

Looking to the Future: Pokémon has an exciting future. With the upcoming release of the “Pokémon Sun” and “Pokémon Moon” games, they will continue a legacy of sister pokémon games that promise to be just as good as their predecessors. But the most exciting news is with “Pokémon Go”. The app, which will be downloadable for iPhone and Android phones, promises trainers an experience that interacts with real-world places. The player will be able to find, capture, and battle pokémon in real time with others. The release of the app also comes with the release of a series of legendaries from the previous games to celebrate the 20th anniversary.

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