The Pokédex (ポケモン図鑑 Pokemon Zukan , lit. "Pokémon Encyclopedia"), or just Dex, is an electronic device designed to catalog and provide information of Pokémon throughout the Pokémon franchise. Its name is a portmanteau of "Pokémon" and "index". Each generation introduces another type of Pokédex, which debuts in the first paired games of that generation in the main Pokémon series.
In the video games, whenever a Pokémon is first captured, its data will be added to a player's Pokédex. This information includes height, weight, species type, and a short description of the Pokémon. In the anime the Pokédex is a comprehensive electronic reference encyclopedia, usually referred to in order to deliver exposition.
In addition, the term "Pokédex" has expanded to refer to any comprehensive guide to Pokémon in the video games, more specifically a listing of Pokémon detailing information such as their stats, locations found, moves learned, and Egg Groups.
In the video games
In the video games, the player character is given a blank Pokédex at the start of their journey by that region's professor. At first, their Starter Pokémon is the only entry. A trainer must then attempt to fill the Pokédex by encountering and at least briefly obtaining (by capturing, trading, evolving, hatching from eggs, or receiving one as a gift) each of the various different species of Pokémon. A player will receive the name of a Pokémon after encountering one that was not previously in the Pokédex. More detailed information is typically available after the player character obtains a member of the species, either through capturing Pokémon, evolving them, or through a trade. This detailed information includes height, weight, species type, and a short description of the Pokémon.
Each game has a different style Pokédex, somewhat resembling the handheld it was released for. In Pokémon Red and Blue, it is held vertically, like the Game Boy. The Pokédex in the Generation II games is also held vertically like a Game Boy Color. In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Versions, it is held horizontally, like a Game Boy Advance. The one in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen Versions is horizontal with a fliptop, like a Game Boy Advance SP (although the GBA SP is actually vertical in design), but also resembles an early prototype design of the Nintendo DS. The Pokédex in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Versions resembles a Nintendo DS Lite, with two screens, and a microphone on the hinge. The touch screen feature may be used to scroll up and down the list of Pokémon.
In Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal, there is an Unown Pokédex. This is an extension of the regular Pokédex, which shows the player's progress in catching all of the various Unown Pokémon. Completing the Unown Pokédex allows the player to print messages displayed in the Unown alphabet using a Game Boy Printer.
The National Pokédex was introduced in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Versions, allowing the player to record the data of Pokémon not naturally found in Hoenn (other than trading one from Pokémon Colosseum). In Ruby and Sapphire, the National Dex is obtained simply by trading a Pokémon that is not native to Hoenn, upon which the Pokédex automatically upgrades to the National Dex. In Pokémon Emerald, the National Dex is obtained automatically after defeating the Elite Four for the first time. In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen the National Dex is earned by beating the Elite Four and catching a total of 60 Pokémon. In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Versions, the National Dex is obtained by having seen all Pokémon in the Sinnoh Pokédex, excluding Manaphy and Phione.
With each generation of Pokémon games, the Pokédex has more advanced features compared to previous versions. For example, later versions of the Pokédex are able to sort the list of Pokémon based on alphabetical order, or display the Pokémon's height compared to the player character. However, every version of the Pokédex has the ability to sort the list of Pokémon based on a National Pokédex numbering, as well as the numbering for its own region.
The reward for filling the entire Pokédex is a special diploma from the in-game Game Freak staff, who make a cameo appearance in each of the games. Additionally, in Pokémon Emerald, by obtaining all 200 Pokémon that appear in Hoenn and finishing the Hoenn Pokédex, the player character earns a Totodile, Cyndaquil, or Chikorita from Professor Birch.
In the anime
In the anime, the Pokédex does not start blank and fill after encountering and catching Pokémon. Instead, the Pokédex acts as a portable reference tool, able to give information about a certain species of Pokémon even if a trainer has not seen or caught it. It can also give detailed descriptions of various trainer tools, such as the Poké Flute. The Pokédex also acts as a form of identification, allowing trainers to partake in the various Pokémon League competitions and has the same function as a national identity card (it is used as such by Ash Ketchum when stopped by the police). Unlike the merchandise based on the video games, the Pokédex in the anime has a color screen. In addition, the Pokédex in the anime comes with a scanner that allows trainers to see what moves a Pokémon has, as demonstrated by Paul when he first met Ash and Brock. The first Pokédex also in one episode showed a small camera used to take a photo of the Pokémon to scan the Pokémon to identify it.
A Pokédex in the anime also appears to have either a speech synthesizer or a method to play prerecorded sound. Although the Pokédex is not nicknamed in the original version, the dub refers to the the Kanto, Johto, and second Kanto versions of the Pokédex are nicknamed Dexter and have a male voice, and the Hoenn and Sinnoh versions have a female voice and are nicknamed Dextette. In the Pokémon Live! stage show, "Dextette" was also used as the name of Dexter's various assistants. Dexter is voiced by Eric Stuart (4Kids) and Bill Rogers (Pokémon USA/TAJ Productions dub) in the English adaptation and by Shinichiro Miki (Original series) in the original, while Dextette is voiced by Rachael Lillis (4Kids/Pokémon USA dub) and Michelle Knotz (Pokémon USA/Duart dub) in the English adaptation and Megumi Hayashibara (Advanced Generation) and Tomoko Kawakami (Diamond & Pearl) in the original.
In the anime, the Pokédex comes in more than one color as May gets a yellow one when she gets to Kanto. Dawn, introduced in the Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl season, gets a pink Pokédex when starting her Sinnoh journey while Paul, another new trainer and rival of Ash Ketchum in Sinnoh, acquires a black one. Red remains the standard color however.
In the Pokémon continuity, the Pokédex was invented by Professor Oak, a respected professor in the science of Pokémon. However, in one episode it was mentioned that the Pokédex was created by Professor Westwood of the Seafoam Islands. This origin story does not continue within the canon of the series, as the movie Pokémon 4Ever shows how Professor Oak travels into the future when he is a small child and Ash gives him the idea to create the Pokédex.
Because of the popularity of Pokémon, the first real-life model of Pokédex, corresponding to the Generation I Pokédex, was manufactured by Hasbro in 1999. It is a correct scale device which includes a small black and white LCD screen information on the first 150 Pokémon. A slight error in the original version is that Pidgeot would not be identified by the 'Dex and could only be found via the Manual Search function. The device allows for password protection and featured a small keyboard to allow users to input information about their favorites or species they captured. It also has a digital calendar, clock, and a basic calcular.
The second version, the Johto Pokedex, was manufactured in a gold color for the USA and European markets. The Japanese Version looks just like the one from the show.
In 2004, Hasbro offered an updated Pokédex which featured the 386 species of Pokémon that exist in the third generation. This device features multiple advancements, including a four-color greyscale screen with a higher resolution.
In 2006, Jakks Pacific released the first talking Pokédex to speak the full names and types of all 386 Pokémon from the National Pokédex. This Pokédex is larger than the Hasbro model and features a blinking light to go with the speech.
In 2007, Jakks Pacific released its second talking Pokédex, this time featuring the 151 Pokémon from the Sinnoh region from Diamond and Pearl. This new Pokédex features two larger screens, a female voice, new speech, and more games.
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