Love it or hate it, after 15 years, it’s gone beyond just a fad, it’s integrated itself into cultures worldwide.

15 years? Has it really been that long? Why, yes! February 27th marked the 15th anniversary of when the mosnter capturing role playing game’s Pokemon Red and Green were released in Japan. It became a hit amongst Elementary schoolers, as one would expect, as trading things is a common hobby amongst school children (trading cards, Pogs -remember those?-, Pokemon, germs…).

October 15th, 1996 marked the initial release of Blue as a special magazine offer (and became publically available on October 10th, 1999). And September 12th, 1998 was the release of the Pikachu (Yellow) version, which followed the anime storyline a little.

Here’s a fun commercial for the original Red & Green.

After Red & Green were so successful, new versions of the game came out. Each generation of new games came with new Pokemon, new lands to explore, and new game features

Then on November 21st, 1999 came the next generation of Pokemon, Gold and Silver, which changed the game a little. Now there were 100 more monsters to capture, a completely new region to explore, and new features to the game…such as gender, the concept of time, and new ways to train and evolve one’s Pokemon, and even breeding!

(Crystal was released on December 14th, 2000)

Then came the 3rd generation, Ruby & Sapphire on November 21, 2002. Emerald on September 16, 2004. Remakes of Red & Green called “Fire Red & Leaf Green” were released January 29, 2004. 4th Generation, Diamond & Pearl came out September 28, 2006. Platinum released September 13th, 2008. Soul Silver & Heart Gold were released September 12, 2009.

This brings us to the most current generation…the 5th Generation
Pokemon Black and White.

Released September 18th, 2010 in Japan, Black and White had a different feel. As usual, one chooses their character, male or female, and then is thrown into the new region called Isshu (Unova in the upcoming English version). You get to choose one of three starter Pokemon, however, one will find they have two friends/rivals…and they get the other two starters that you left behind.

There is a lot of differences in these new versions, such as 153 new local Pokemon, as you’re cut off from the rest of the Pokemon world. There’s a lot of new features based around the Wi-Fi abilities of the DS, as well as new time-based features such as seasons which will allow access to new areas and new Pokemon. There is also new battle systems, such as Triple Battle, and the Battle Subway.

Pokemon Black and White will be available in Europe om March 4th, 2011. On March 6th, 2011 in North America. And on March 10th, 2011 in Australia.

Here’s the Japanese commercial for Black and White

Aside from the hand-held games, there’s an insane amount of games developed for the Nintendo 64, and Gamecube. There is also the Trading Card Game, anime, manga, and a huge amount of other toys and gimmicks around the world.

Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata, stated that they are developing Pokemon games for the Wii and 3DS at their January third quarter briefing.

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