Pokémon is not a particularly difficult series to follow. For the most part, what you see is what you get. Themes are made explicit, arcs are as clear as day, and the Pokédex tends to fill in any minor details that might be missed along the way. This is a franchise meant for all ages, after all, so why would Game Freak try to alienate younger players by deliberately hiding information? Because that’s what kids want. From Day 1, Pokémon has been a rumor mill and Game Freak knows that. While these games are easy to follow, that’s only one side of the coin. Pokémon generally tucks away quite a bit of information.
Whether it be in-game or just production based, there’s a lot you can glean from digging into the inner workings of Pokémon. In fact, even if you’re a long time fan, there’s a high chance you missed a solid chunk of these details, These are games riddled with glitches, last minute changes, and genuinely bizarre development cycles at times. This leads to details that may not see the light of day as far as the public is concerned, but necessarily can’t be erased. There’s a lot more going on underneath the surface than you might initially think.
30 Generation I And III Take Place At The Same Time
While Generation II is a direct sequel to Generation I, it’s likely nobody expected Generation III to be a prequel to Gen II. Not just that, the reveal Gen III took place at the exact same time as Gen I effectively changed the landscape of the Pokémon timeline.
While Red was thwarting Team Rocket, Ruby was literally saving the world.
Although there are no explicit references to the Generations taking place at the same time, the fact RSE and FRLG released in the same generation, without the need of Gen II’s time capsule to justify trading, is enough to link the games together. Later titles would solidify the timeline a bit clearer, but it’s Gen III that made the timeline all the more unique.
29 Glitch City
Chaos incarnate, Glitch City is the result of manipulating steps in the Safari Zone in order to utterly break the state of the game and create a realm where life turns to data and data turns to life. Glitch City is a rare reminder that games are, indeed, just games. In general, there’s really no benefit in accessing Glitch City, but it does have some weird side effects.
Specifically, Glitch City in Pokémon Yellow actually causes Pikachu to run away from the player. In a game where Pikachu never leaves your side, it’s a bit morbid to find a glitch that causes your partner to flee to and from random locations. It’s absolutely devoid of greater meaning, but it’s exemplary of how chaotic glitches could be in previous generations of gaming.
28 The Canonicity Of Yellow
The general consensus seems to be that the third version of each Generation tends to be what’s considered canon. Crystal superseded Gold and Silver before HGSS took precedence over all three; Emerald was canon before ORAS; and Platinum is currently canon over Diamond and Pearl. Only one version is explicitly hinted at being canon in-game, however, and that’s Yellow.
It ain't easy being Green. Or Red. Or Blue.
All of Red’s major appearances outside of Generation I strongly imply that he’s the protagonist from Yellow, even in a post FRLG world. His team is composed of all the Kanto starters while featuring a rather powerful Pikachu as his trademark Pokémon. This is only possible if he’s the protagonist of Yellow.
27 The Stadium Game You Never Knew Existed
“There are three games in the Stadium series” is the kind of statement is simultaneously correct and incorrect. If Battle Revolution is considered in the count, the statement is false. If the actual, original Stadium for the Nintendo 64 is considered, it’s true. That in itself may be an odd comment to some. Isn’t the first Stadium the original? Not quite.
Released exclusively in Japan, the original Stadium only featured 42 playable Pokémon, had a severely neutered battle mode, and featured limited compatibility with the Generation I titles. As a game, Japanese Stadium leaves a lot to be desired and has absolutely no advantages over its international counterpart. That said, it’s still very much a part of the series.
26 The Mew-Ditto Connection
There’s a theory within the Pokémon fandom that claims Ditto is a failed attempt at cloning Mew. It’s a rather popular theory, one that frequently makes the rounds in conversation, but it’s not exactly a theory. Rather, it’s basically fact given all the evidence.
Pay attention to your Pokemon lore, kids.
Mew and Ditto are the same color; Mew and Ditto share the same weight; Mew and Ditto are the same height; and Mew and Ditto can theoretically learn every move. Ditto’s even caught in the lab that worked on cloning Mew in Generation I. Coincidence? Not in the slightest.
25 A Constricted Kanto
As amazing as it is visiting Kanto in Generation II, it’s quite clear that it’s not the same as it once was. Whether it be due to the passage of time or Kanto somehow finding itself in a rut after Red left, Generation II’s Kanto is a cruel reminder of the reality of nostalgia. It also has a solid justification for its relatively neutered content.
As legend has it, Game Freak’s original code was so messy they couldn’t even fit all of Johto into the game. After Satoru Iwata steeped in to help out, they were left with enough space to finish the game and add most of Kanto. Rather than leaving Kanto incomplete, Game Freak cut corners to ensures the spirit of the region was intact.
24 Gold And Silver Aren’t Game Boy Color Games
Considered two of the greatest Game Boy Color games ever made, Gold and Silver play a vital role in the handheld’s history. If nothing else, they’re the most popular titles on the system, arguably propelling the GBC to legendary status. There’s only one caveat: they’re not Game Boy Color games.
The greatest plot twist of our time.
Although Gold and Silver are fully compatible with the Game Boy Color, they’re actually Game Boy Pocket games at heart. You can plop those games into your original Game Boy and revel in Johto’s black and white aesthetic. Crystal is the only Gen II game actually designed for the Game Boy Color. Its predecessors are in the same camp as Red and Blue.
23 The Curious Inclusion Of Steel And Dark
Psychic types in Generation I were simply too powerful for their own good. What’s a parent to do when it takes everything they have to take out an Alakazam? Game Freak recognizes this issue and decided to add in Steel and Dark types. While fine types on their own, these types necessitated an overhaul for the entire type pool.
In doing so, Psychic types could be nerfed while other types gained added bonuses. Of course, not all types are created equal and some fared better than others, but Steel and Dark were ultimately good, needed additions to the metagame. Otherwise, we’d all still be suffering at the spoons of Alakazam.
22 Staryu And Starmie Were Meant To Have Genders
The addition of breeding in Generation II brought with it a need to gender Pokémon for making purposes. For most, this meant just attributing random genders in the wild, typically 50/50 split, so trainers could build up a respectable roster. The more abstract Pokémon, however, lacks genders, instead of being explicitly genderless.
If every Pokemon had a gender, Ditto would have no real purpose in the breeding department.
Staryu and Starmie are good examples of this, but, interestingly, it seems they did have genders at one point. By looking at pre-release footage and screenshots, it’s possible to see a Starmie set up at the daycare for breeding purposes. It’s likely that all Pokémon were meant to have genders at some point, but Game Freak backpedaled for the sake of variety.
21 Gold And Silver Were Intended To End The Series
Pokémon Gold and Silver have a feeling of finality to them, don’t they? Team Rocket is defeated for good; the rival has an actual character arc; Kanto comes back as a major part of the story; the player character is acknowledged as Champion; and the final battle involves Gold facing off against Red on top of Mt. Moon. It’s a fitting finale, but it obviously isn’t.
Right? It turns out that Game Freak had actually designed GSC as the final set of games all along. They struck gold and didn’t want to test their luck. Of course, the rest is history as Pokémon took off like wildfire, but it’s interesting to think of a time where the franchise may very well have ended two generations in. That’s the power of merchandising.
20 Team Aqua’s Motives Make No Sense
For as unfashionably stupid as Maxie’s desire for more land is, it does make a little bit of sense when taking into consideration the kind of region Hoenn is. “Too much water” isn’t just a meme, it’s a fact. There’s a town that’s basically just planks on water. Hoenn could definitely use some more land. More water, though? What’s Team Aqua drinking?
Giving Hoenn more water would mean literally flooding the entire region. More land could actually benefit Hoenn in some sense, but more water would utterly destroy the ecosystem, simply expanding Hoenn’s most defining feature. There’s just no need for more water.
19 Making Sense Of My Pokémon Ranch
My Pokemon Ranch seems kind of pointless, doesn’t it? It’s a Wii game without the whole “game” part, but it does actually serve quite the important role. Albeit an archaic and outdated one given how far technology has advanced.
Don't even get us started on Pokemon Box.
In the age of Generation IV, My Pokemon Ranch served as a means of storing all your Pokémon across all your games into one compact location. You could dip in and out of it as you pleased while never needing to worry about a failed DS cartridge battery. Nowadays we have Poké Bank, but we didn’t have it so good back in the day.
18 Generation II And IV Take Place At The Same Time
Although the connection between Generations I and II is little more than just a cute reference that can very easily be missed, Generation IV makes explicit mention of the fact that it takes place during the same time of Generation II. At the beginning of Platinum specifically, the player is welcomed to a message of someone encountering a Red Gyarados in Johto. From there, several Gen II characters end up cameoing in the games, further pushing the notion that Gen II and Gen IV are coinciding with one another.
17 Generation IV Has A Game Breaking Oversight
Believe it or not, it’s actually possible to get permanently stuck in Pokémon Platinum. Should you find an island on Route 226, be wary of the NPC offering to trade a Finneon for a Magikarp. If you don’t have any Pokémon that knows Fly or Surf in your party after the trade, you’ll be absolutely trapped on his abode. But wait, Magikarp is a Water Type! That’s right, a Water Type who can’t learn Surf. The only way to get out of this scenario would be to fight wild Pokémon with a rod, but rods are totally missable. It’s an incredibly unlikely scenario to find yourself in, but it’s one that’s nonetheless possible.
16 There Are Two Main Timelines
Believe it or not, The Legend of Zelda isn’t the only Nintendo franchise with a fairly in-depth timeline. Starting with Generation III, and later solidified with Generation IV, Pokémon branched itself off into two main timelines. The first timeline followed RBY and GSC while the latter focused on RSE onwards.
Nintendo hopes you're excited for the inevitable Mario timeline.
Interestingly, the creation of ORAS renders RSE moot, transitioning it into the first timeline. When it comes time for Game Freak to remake Gens IV onwards, because we all know they will, it’s likely the Pokémon series will have to branch off into yet another timeline to justify all these games existing at the same time.
15 Generation V Is A Reboot
Pokémon Black and White get a lot of flak for not including any old Pokémon in Unova until after the player defeats the Elite Four, but there’s a very good reason for that: Generation V started out as a soft reboot. At its core, Gen V is designed to bring the series back to its roots and iron out all the kinks the franchise had adopted over the years. This idea is dropped immediately in B2W2 which centers itself on fanservice first and foremost, but it’s still nice to see Game Freak try to freshen up the franchise every now and again.
14 Conquest Prevented A Major Crossover
Pokémon Conquest is that Nintendo DS strategy spin-off you never played. Which is a shame considering it’s actually a pretty decent game. That’s not the point, though. Rather, the point is that, despite Conquest being a fairly unique and enjoyable break from the typical Pokémon format, it actually prevented a major crossover within the series.
To think we could have had Tokyo Mirage Sessions #PM.
Originally, Nintendo had intended a crossover between Fire Emblem and Pokémon to take place, likely for the Wii U. Since Conquest was developed as a strategy game in mind, however, Nintendo decided not to release two Pokémon centric strategy games back to back, causing them to replace Pokémon with Shin Megami Tensei.
13 Black 2 And White 2 Feature The Most Major Characters In The Series
If Black and White were reboots, Black 2 and White 2 are love letters to longtime fans. While the base game tends to keep to itself, progressing BW’s plot in a rather straightforward manner, the post game goes all out to give fans what they want. Players can fight every single Gym Leader and Champion up to that point, giving B2W2 five regions of opposition to battle through. No game prior has come close to featuring as much content as B2W2’s post game, and no game has come close since.
12 Why Game Freak Removes Quality Of Life Features
Time and time again, Game Freak adds meaningful features to new games only to rip them out from the next title with no mercy. Heart Gold and Soul Silver’s auto-run has not been seen since; Kalos’ trainer customization very nearly almost stayed in Kalos; and Generation V’s massive post game has yet to be replicated. There is a reason for all this, though, but you’re doubtful to like it.
Don't bother getting used to new features. They'll just break your heart.
In an interview with USgamer back in 2014, Junichi Masuda confirmed that regions tend to have their own exclusive features to keep previous generations unique. It’s a fine idea in theory, and one that gives each region their own flavor, but is it worth losing quality of life enhancements every Generation? Probably not.
11 X And Y Take to Place During Black2/White2
Although X and Y take place at the same time of Black 2 and White 2, this is more of a Gen I-Gen III scenario than it is a Gen II-Gen IV one. While both games are confirmed to take place at the same time, there’s very little actually connecting them. It’s more a reminder of the fact that events are pretty much always happening in the Pokémon world. Just because one game is happening doesn’t mean it’s the only game happening. It adds little to the actual “timeline,” but it does allow for the world to feel alive in a more meaningful way.
10 The Curious Inclusion Of Fairy
After multiple Generations and years of virtually no major metagame changes, Game Freak suddenly adding a brand new type, one called Fairy at that, seems so counterproductive to the style of design they’d fallen so comfortably deep into. At the same time, it’s not random in the slightest. Fairy types, for as silly as they may be, were included with quite a bit of thought.
For years, Dragon types stood out as one of the better types in the game. What could reliably stand a chance against Dragon? Ice? They’re one of the worst types in the game. This prompted the creation of Fairies, a type designed to counter Dragons and offer players some added variety to their roster.
9 The Kukui-Oak Connection
It’s really no surprise at this point that Kukui serves as the de facto final boss for Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, and Ultra Moon, but what may be a surprise is that his role as a last challenge comes directly from Game Freak’s intentions for Professor Oak all the way back in Generation I.
I think we can all agree that battling Oak would have been way cooler.
By data mining Red, Green, and Blue; it’s possible to find evidence that Oak would have served as a postgame challenge not too dissimilar to Red’s role in Generation II. He would have had a team of five featuring the highest leveled Pokémon players could challenge in the base game. Kukui’s role is a direct reference to this cut content, albeit more fleshed out.
8 There Hasn’t Been A Third Version In Nearly Ten Years
The franchise gets a lot of flak for pumping out third versions clockwork style, but when was the last time a Pokemon game actually had a third version? Black and White had sequels, X and Y were standalone, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were remakes, and Sun and Moon had reimaginings. The last third version was Platinum in 2008, nearly an entire decade ago. The age of the Third Version is long gone. Long live same Gen sequels.
7 You Don’t Need The Silph Scope
A Key Item which allows trainers to decipher Ghost type Pokémon, the Silph Scope is just one of the many items players need in order to progress during RBY and FRLG. Or is it? At least in the case of the former, it’s actually totally possible to ignore the Silph Scope altogether. Thanks to a design oversight, it isn’t necessary in order to complete the Pokémon Tower.
Should the player confront Ghost Marowak without the Silph Scope, they can simply use a Poké Doll to trigger the end of the fight. Rather than keeping Ghost Marowak active, however, the game registers the Poké Doll’s usage as the player defeating Ghost Marowak as intended.
6 Baby’s First Magikarp
Have you ever wondered why a salesman tries to pawn a Magikarp onto you for 500 Poké Dollars in RBY and FRLG only for it to be Level 5 and know absolutely no offensive techniques? Probably considering it’s one of the cruelest beginner’s traps in all of Pokémon. Or is it? While it certainly seems devious at first, this Magikarp is actually a genuine gift.
Should you take the time to train this Magikarp to Level 20, a feat that honestly shouldn’t be all that difficult and can be reliably accomplished before the player fights Lt. Surge, Magikarp will evolve into Gyarados, giving players a rather powerful and unique Water type quite early in the game.
5 Saying Goodbye To The Game Corner
In a world where both ESRB and PEGI have been cracking down heavily on gambling within games, you’ve probably noticed how each subsequent Pokémon game has made an effort to symmetrically remove the Game Corner, the franchise’s central hub for gambling shenanigans.
Even remakes have removed Game Corners, using unique means to justify their exclusion. It’s a bit disappointing, but their inclusion nowadays would require each game to take on a higher rating. Pokémon games in the States would need to be rated T to include Game Corners. Needless to say, that’s just not going to happen.
4 Let’s Go Is A Remake Of Yellow… Kind Of
Not exactly a main game and not exactly a Pokémon Go game, Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee exist in an awkward in-between of the two styles. If one had to pick which one it lifts most from, however, it’d have to be the former. At its core, Let’s Go is more of a remake of Pokémon Yellow than it is an extension of Go.
Mind you, it uses Go’s mechanics primarily, but the actual design of the game relies heavily on Generation I’s third version. From the progression of the narrative, to the game’s major set pieces, Let’s Go may as well have been called Pokemon YeGo. It’ll be interesting to see if it deviates at all from its source material, but all signs point to that being rather unlikely.
3 Battle Revolution Single Handedly Ended The Stadium Series
Fans perhaps remember the Stadium sub-series far fonder than they should. Glorified battle simulators, the Stadium games expected you to import your Pokémon from Generations I and II in order to make full use of the game’s content. It’s misguided design in a sense, but it’s nonetheless novel and made for a unique experience.
The Stadium game none of us wanted.
When Battle Revolution on the Nintendo Wii tried to relight that fire, however, it ended up burning the Stadium games to ashes. Featuring far less content and nowhere near as many upsides to importing Pokémon from Generation IV, there was little reason to actually play Battle Revolution. On top of that, the DS already had an online component, making BR’s one saving grace totally redundant.
2 Making Sense Of Omega Ruby And Alpha Sapphire’s Lack Of Content
As a remake of Generation III, it’s only natural to expect Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire remake all of Generation III’s content. Given Heart Gold and Soul Silver remade just about everything included in Crystal while only adding new content, it only made sense for ORAS to do the same. Of course, when the games didn’t, fans were upset.
In a warped, almost illogical way, however, this decision does make sense. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are remakes of Ruby and Sapphire, not Emerald. The former two games sold far more than the latter meaning most fans going in for the nostalgia kick wouldn’t be familiar with Emerald’s content anyways. Is it dumb? Absolutely, but that’s the logic.
1 Pikachu Wasn’t The Original Mascot
Pikachu’s image is just about synonymous with Pokémon. It’s impossible to discuss the series without the electric rat in mind. Pikachu’s basically the star of the anime alongside Ash, was the mascot character for Pokémon Yellow, and has found themselves shoved into a major role in just about every spin-off and crossover in the series.
It's a Clefairy's world. Pikachu's just living in it.
This makes it all the more surprising when you realize that Pikachu wasn’t the original mascot. Game Freak actually intended Clefairy to be the face of the franchise, but ended up swapping her out for Pikachu before the anime hit the airwaves. This could explain why Pikachu isn’t all that present in Red or Blue, and why Clefairy feels so unique when compared to other Pokémon.
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