What Is Pokémon?

What Is Pokémon?

Gotta catch ‘em all…

The legendary world of Pokémon first reached Australian and New Zealand shores in 1998 with Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version for Game Boy, becoming an instant sensation that transcended fans of all ages and backgrounds.

Since the 1996 debut of Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green for Game Boy in Japan, this iconic series has sold more than 279 million video games globally, with avid Aussie and Kiwi Pokémon fans continuing to grow their Pokémon collections.

What are Pokémon?

Pokémon are creatures of all shapes and sizes who live in the wild or alongside humans. For the most part, Pokémon do not speak except to utter their names. There are currently more than 700 creatures that inhabit the Pokémon universe.

Pokémon are raised and commanded by their owners (called “Trainers”). During their adventures, Pokémon grow, level up and become more experienced and even, on occasion, evolve into stronger Pokémon.

There are over a dozen different types of Pokémon, such as Fire type, Psychic type, and Dragon type. Every Pokémon type comes with both advantages as well as disadvantages when battling different Pokémon types.

For instance, a Fire type Pokémon has the edge against Grass type Pokémon, but will be at a disadvantage against Water type Pokémon. This makes strategic thinking, positioning and use of the Pokémon in your team a crucial part of battles.

Here are some examples of Pokémon, highlighting how different Pokémon can look from each other:


Choose your Pokémon wisely in battles!

Basic gameplay (video games)

The first Pokémon video games were released in Australia and New Zealand for the Game Boy in 1998, and the series has driven the popularity of Pokémon ever since. Pokémon games have appeared on Nintendo systems including Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.

In most games, players play as Trainers to undertake adventures with their Pokémon in search of new types of Pokémon to add to their collection, participate in battles with other Trainers and Gym Leaders to obtain Gym Badges and to explore mystical new lands.

Pokémon Trainers in Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon…

An additional goal is to catch and catalogue all of the many Pokémon within the game's world. Despite this battling aspect of the games, the Pokémon games avoid explicit violence; Pokémon never die during the course of the game.

Trainers are invited to take part in many peripheral activities when playing, including talent and beauty contests, tournaments, and fishing (for Pokémon, of course!).

Players can battle and trade Pokémon with other players as well, encouraging children to appreciate the merits of sharing and sportsmanship. With newer video game systems, players can even play and trade online with other Trainers around the world.

A word from the developer about the series’ success

Junichi Masuda is the director of Pokémon at Japanese game developer, Game Freak.

“When we set out I would say that we completely believed in what we were doing, and we wanted to bring the joys discovering special creatures – Pokémon – and then collecting, battling and trading to kids: that was our dream. But at the time we could only hope that people would like our vision as much as we did! It was a happy surprise… or a dream come true when the game became successful.”

“I think a lot of the success lays in the Pokémon themselves and the bond that fans create between themselves and the creatures they discover whilst playing. Fans love choosing and battling their favourite Pokémon. With each new generation there are new Pokémon for people to discover and enjoy. This, and the rich communication features of the games that bring people from all over the world together.”

Key Pokémon video games over the years

Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version


AUS release: 1998

Platform: Game Boy

The very first games in the Pokémon series launched in Japan in 1996, and arrived in Australia and New Zealand in 1998.

Pokémon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition


AUS release: 1999

Platform: Game Boy Color

Unique to this game, Pikachu followed players around throughout their journey.

Pokémon Gold Version and Pokémon Silver Version


AUS release: 2000

Platform: Game Boy Color

100 newly discovered Pokémon were introduced, as well as a “night and day” cycle that meant players could find different Pokémon depending on the time of day.

Pokémon Crystal Version

AUS release: 2001

Platform: Game Boy Color

The first game to allow players to choose between a male and female Trainer.

Pokémon Ruby Version and Pokémon Sapphire Version

AUS release: 2003

Platform: Game Boy Advance

These titles for Game Boy Advance introduced 2-on-2 battles, allowing four Trainers to play at once.

Pokémon FireRed Version and Pokémon LeafGreen Version


AUS release: 2004

Platform: Game Boy Advance

Enhanced versions of the original titles, these titles were the first game to allow players to trade and battle without wires, using the Game Boy Advance Wireless Adapter.

Pokémon Emerald Version


AUS release: 2005

Platform: Game Boy Advance

A third adventure set in the Hoenn region introduced in Pokémon Ruby Version and Pokémon Sapphire Version, with a new Battle Frontier mode for powerful Trainers to battle each other.

Pokémon Diamond Version and Pokémon Pearl Version


AUS release: 2007

Platform: Nintendo DS

For the first time, players could battle and trade with others around the world via the internet.

Pokémon Platinum Version

AUS release: 2009

Platform: Nintendo DS

A third adventure in the Sinnoh region is introduced in Pokémon Diamond Version and Pokémon Pearl Version.

Pokémon HeartGold Version and Pokémon SoulSilver Version

AUS release: 2010

Platform: Nintendo DS

With the included Pokéwalker accessory, players could train their Pokémon just by walking in the real world.

Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version

AUS release: 2011

Platform: Nintendo DS

This adventure, set in the new Unova region, added the Triple Battle feature, where six Pokémon – three on each team – could battle it out.

Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2


AUS release: 2012

Platform: Nintendo DS

Set two years after its predecessor, these titles featured new stories and more Pokémon to discover.

Pokémon X and Pokémon Y

Worldwide release: 2013

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Pokémon were displayed in 3D for the very first time, bringing a new dimension to the adventure, while Mega Evolutions let some Pokémon take on different forms.

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire


Worldwide release: 2014

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

These titles were enhanced remakes of Pokémon Ruby Version and Pokémon Sapphire Version, with new Mega Evolutions and secrets to uncover.

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon

AUS/NZ release: 18/11/2016

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

The next era of Pokémon adventures is set in the Hawaii-inspired Alola region, featuring new Pokémon and gameplay features.

Discover more at the official Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon website…


With Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon (sold separately, SRP AU$59.95 each) OUT NOW, and Pokémon GO available on iPhone and Android devices down under, there's never been a better time to embark on your own epic Pokémon adventure!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane, reminiscing 20 years of Pokémon with us… and learning more about the legacy of the Pokémon series.

See you out there, Trainers!



Go Back