- Not to be confused with Pokémon (franchise), which covers the overall franchise.
Pokémon (ポケモン Pokemon ) is a series of role-playing video games developed by Game Freak and published both by Nintendo and The Pokémon Company. Commonly referred to as the "core series" by the developers, Pokémon is the first, titular, and main sub-series of the overall Pokémon franchise. The series began with the release of the Game Boy game Pocket Monsters Red and Green Versions in Japan in 1996, followed by an international debut with Pokémon Red and Blue Versions in 1998. Every core series game has been released for a handheld system up until Pokémon Sword and Shield for the Nintendo Switch, which is primarily a home console but with a handheld mode.
The core games are released in generations, each introducing different Pokémon, storylines, and characters. New game mechanics are also often introduced. Every generation starts with the release of two simultaneously released games. These paired games are nearly identical, but the main difference is the Pokémon encountered. Since the third generation, with the release of Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen Versions in 2004, paired games from two generations prior—i.e., about a decade earlier—are given a remake.
The core games are all centered around the strategic manipulation of creatures called Pokémon, from which the series' name is derived from. In the games, the player is represented by a player character, who is a male in the earliest installments, but since Pokémon Crystal Version, before starting a new game, the player can decide whether to make their character a male or a female.
The games start with the player character having received a license to become a Pokémon Trainer, which is a person who catches, trains, and sends Pokémon into battle against other Pokémon. The player character usually receives their first Pokémon, called a Starter Pokémon, from the local Pokémon Lab. In most cases, the player can choose one of three Starter Pokémon, which are Fire-type, Water-type and Grass-type, respectively. Their rival, who has also begun their journey as a Pokémon Trainer, always chooses the Pokémon of the superior type (e.g. Water Pokémon can learn Water-type moves, which deal twice as much damage to a Fire-type Pokémon).
With their Starter Pokémon, the player character begins their journey. Their two primary objectives are to catch every Pokémon and to become the Pokémon Champion. Whenever the player character catches a new Pokémon, a data entry of them is added to a high-tech encyclopedia called the Pokédex. Some Pokémon can only be obtained by trading with other players, especially from different core games of the same generation. On their journey to become a Pokémon Champion, the player character must win a Pokémon battle against each of the eight Gym Leaders, and for each battle won, the player character earns a badge. Once the player character has all eight badges, they can battle the Elite Four; four representatives of the Pokémon League that are considered the best Pokémon Trainers in their own region.
Most towns have a Pokémon Center, where Pokémon Trainers can take to fully restore their Pokémon's health (statistically known as HP), and a Poké Mart, where Trainers can buy various goods, such as health or status healing items.
Pokémon are caught and stored in spherical devices known as Poké Balls, which can also be found at Poké Marts. Before a Pokémon can be caught, it must first take damage, so Pokémon with lower HP have a higher chance of being caught. In a Pokémon battle, the first Pokémon to faint, meaning to lose all of their health, loses the battle. However, a Pokémon Trainer can have several Pokémon and carry up to six at a time, so during a Pokémon battle, if a Trainer's Pokémon faints, they can send out the next Pokémon in their party. If a Pokémon Trainer acquires a new Pokémon but has a full party, that Pokémon is automatically transferred to a PC. Pokémon can learn and use up to four attacks at a time, although there are several more attacks that they are capable of learning. When all of a Trainer's Pokémon have fainted, they must give Pokédollars to their winning opponent. If this occurs to the player character, they rush to the nearest Pokémon Center to have their Pokémon healed.
- "Iwata Asks". Nintendo.com.
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