The History of the Pokémon Phenomenom and a New Release: ‘Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet’

The history behind the bestselling franchise.


Marley Kang

Here is the logo for the new Pokémon games ‘Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet’ which were released on November 18th, 2022.

Have you ever heard of Pokémon

What is Pokémon?

Pokémon is a popular game series (later adapted into an animated series) that the Nintendo company introduced in 1996 and was later introduced to the U.S. in 1998. Pokémon has the title of one of the most popular series in the world with millions of sales and many additions to the series being added yearly. It is also known as one of the most profitable games, only being behind Tetris and Mario which are both owned by Nintendo.

Pokémon, or also officially known as Pocket Monster, was originally created by the company Game Freak and published by Nintendo. The company that would later become The Pokémon Company was founded by Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures. Satoshi Tajiri created Pokémon, which takes place in a fictional world where creatures called “Pokémon” live. Pokémon are creatures with many different abilities with many abilities and types. This world has been expanded to the point where there are 905 different Pokémon species with more coming every year. The story follows a 10 year old boy named Ash Ketchum and his trusty sidekick Pikachu. The mascot of Pokémon is Pikachu, an electric rat with yellow fur and red blushes. Pikachu is also the sidekick of the main character in the Pokémon animated series, making it immensely popular.

The franchise began with Pocket Monsters: Red and Green (which was later released as Pokémon Red and Blue for places outside of Japan). These were a pair of games made for the original Game Boy system that was developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo. The games were a hit in the United States and countries around the world. The Pokémon video game series is the third best-selling video game franchise of all time with more than 440 million copies sold, and 1 billion mobile downloads. It has 122 games, with 23 being on consoles like the Gameboy or the Nintendo Switch. The Nintendo Switch is the only console that will be getting games as Nintendo won’t focus on making games for any other console. Kareem Malik ’23 said, “Pokémon was one of the first open-world games I have played, and I found the series very enjoyable.”

The franchise expanded when the series was adapted into an animated television series that has become the most successful video game adaptation of all time, with over 20 seasons and 1,000 episodes in 192 countries. Adapted by Studio OLM, Pokémon has 27 animated movies and 1 live action movie starring Ryan Reynolds as Pokémon’s most iconic character Pikachu. Pokémon has earned $1.85 billion from box office revenue, $27.125 billion from video games, and $91.305 billion from licensed merchandise. The Pokémon television series is one of the most well known television series with a 19.3× greater demand in the U.S. compared to other U.S.television shows. The Pokémon animated series still continues to this day and is likely to continue for a long time. 

Here is a photograph of a rare Charizard Pokémon card that can be sold for up to $80 and is one of the more expensive cards. (Steven Cordes / Unsplash)

Pokémon Trading Cards

Pokémon trading cards are an incredibly popular element of the brand’s franchise. The Pokémon Trading Card Game, also known as PTCG or Pokémon TCG, is a collectible card game based on the Pokémon franchise. The card series is one of the most popular trading card series in the world, having sold 43.2 billion cards worldwide, with new cards being added for every addition to the series. Pokémon, with the help of Wizards of the Coast (Wizards of the Coast is an American publisher of games which is also known for publishing Magic the Gathering which is also a popular card game series), published the game in October 1996. The Pokémon Trading Cards are very popular – many cards go for upwards of $5.275 million dollars for a single card. It is estimated that approximately 13,589 different Pokémon Trading Cards have been released in the English language. 

Evolution of Pokémon Games 

The Pokémon series started with the addition of Pokémon Red, Blue, and Green, with Pokémon Yellow arriving soon after. These games were the stepping stones the series took to become one of the most popular merchandised series of all time. Pokémon Yellow was the first addition to the series with color and earned many sales. This is considered First generation; ‘generation’ is a term used when a new region is added to the series. Generation 2 added a day-and-night system that correlated with real life time. The next few generations had new functions added and graphics changes until Generation 8, which unlike the previous generations that had a 2d to semi 3d graphics, fully incorporated the 3d graphics with a big area that you were able to traverse. Generation 8 also included Pokémon Legends: Arceus. This had a world that was completely open and allowed players to traverse the whole map without any cut scenes in between.

Pokémon Go

Out of the 76 titles, Pokémon Go was a game that was very unique when it was released July 6th, 2016. Pokémon Go is a mobile game that utilizes AR, or Augmented Reality. To play the game, you walk around new areas to catch Pokémon and explore places to get materials needed to catch the Pokémon. Pokémon Go has over 700 Pokémons with over 500 million downloads and 71 million users annually active (2021 standard). Pokémon Go has made a yearly revenue of 1 billion dollars and made over 6 billion dollars by 2020. When the game was released, Nintendo’s stock value skyrocketed by 9 billion dollars within 5 days. 

Here is a photograph of the Pokémon Go game in action. You can see the gyms and Pokéstops. (Mika Baumeister / Unsplash)

Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet

Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, released on November 18th, 2022, are the 24th addition to the beloved series, with a completely different region with new Pokémon and characters. Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet are first ever open-world RPG (also known as Role Playing Game) in the Pokémon series where you travel the region, meet new characters and team up with, battle with, train with, and trade with Pokémon along the way. This game includes a new feature called the “Terastal Phenomenon” which will change the Pokémon’s type. This game includes new items that will change up battles and allow you to create items that you could not before. From the information given by the official Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet website, The Paldea region is a humongous region with tall mountains, deep canyons, a vast city, along with many more distinct and interesting characteristics. Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet is the first game where the Pokémon professors change depending on the game. The game’s music was also composed by Toby Fox, an indie game designer known for his creation of Undertale, which earned 26.7 million dollars from Steam sales on PC alone. Toby Fox is a wildly popular developer, as he has worked on his pop game virtually by himself, and the game itself is known for its music, story, and design.

Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, released on November 18th, 2022, are the 24th addition to the beloved series, with a completely different region with new Pokémon and characters.