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Pockets and monsters - The history of Pokemon games

2006 Pokmon Trozei!

Pokmon is no stranger to the world of puzzle games, but if you ask fans about Pokmon Trozei!, youre likely to get some blank stares. For whatever reason, this strange puzzler just didnt make a mark. The games title (and core mechanic) is a rather unusually styled romanization of the Japanese title, Pokmon Torou Ze! (Lets Catch Pokmon!). The game plays similarly to Yoshis Cookie: players shift rows of stacked Pokmon faces vertically and horizontally to line up four or more matches. From there, the player can initiate trozei, or combos, with slightly less stringent restrictions, including fewer matches needed and allowing unusually shaped match formations to be cleared, until a time window expires.

Pokmon Trozei also features an interesting story mode involving secret agent Lucy Lightfoot going up against an evil organization called the Phobos Battalion. The art style of Trozei is wildly different from any other Pokmon game out there, looking very similar to the aesthetic of the Mr. Driller puzzle games. Its not too hard to find, either, so depending on your interest in the franchise, Trozei might be worth tracking down just for its unusual aesthetic alone.

2006~2009 - Pokmon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum

The first entry made for Nintendos dual screen handheld, Generation IV took advantage of the many tools the DS offered. You explored the Sinnoh region, a world bursting with 107 new Pokemon to capture while battling the dastardly Team Galactic. Most likely the most important change, Pokmon Diamond/Pearl used the DSs native Wi-Fi to help players share and battle easier than ever, and it was also one of the very few DS games that could interact with the Wii.

2008 My Pokmon Ranch

WiiWare seems like a dumping ground for a lot of boring, half-formed junk (which is quite unfortunate for all of the good titles on the service), and My Pokmon Ranch doesnt really do much to alleviate that perception. Costing 1000 Nintendo Points, My Pokmon Ranch allows your Mii to interact on a cozy little farm with several zoos worth of transferred Pokmon youve caught in the Diamond/Pearl games. You can play and do simple interactions with the Pokmon, as well as potentially earn some new critters and visit other players ranches. But with no ability to train or otherwise level up your transferred Pokmon, the novelty wears off incredibly quickly. To top it off, Japan got an update to increase the titles Pokmon capacity and make it compatible with Pokmon Platinum an update other territories never saw.

2009~2011 Pokmon Rumble

Another WiiWare exclusive, Pokmon Rumble goes the Smash Bros route of representing the in-game Pokmon as toys very, very strange looking toys that the developers literally re-used from My Pokmon Ranch.

But beyond the adorably polygonal visuals, the game is a multiplayer action title played with a sideways-held Wii Remote or a Classic Controller. As you run through overhead-view levels, waves of enemy Poke-toys assault you, and you use your mechanical monsters abilities to take on both the tiny toys and the big bosses. At the end, everyone participates in a no-holds-barred arena battle to see who will emerge the victor. Its a rather decent--if extremely repetitive--effort, but most players wont find it to be worth the 1500 Wii Points it runs. A sequel, Pokmon Rumble Blast, came to 3DS last year, the first Pokmon game for the new handheld that added virtually every Pokmon in the five generations to the game.

2010 - Pokmon HeartGold/SoulSilver

After the original Game Boy entries had been remade on GBA, it was only a matter of time before the team at Game Freak return to the Second Generation of Pokemon. Retelling the same story and remade to take advantage of all the changes that happened up to Gen IV, Pokmon HeartGold/SoulSilver also added tons of minigames, Easter Eggs, and uses for the DSs second screen. Updated with new ways to catch previously hard to find Pokemon from older generations, HG/SS was a fitting tribute to the series history, and it set the stage for the big changes that would come in Gen V.

2010~2012 PokPark

Does Game for Wii automatically translate into minigame collection? We wish it usually didnt, but PokPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure is yet another entry into this unexpectedly crowded genre. Fourteen pieces of the Sky Prism are missing, and theyre scattered about PokePark. Pikachu needs to befriend and use the assistance of other Pokmon to find the pieces, and said befriending involves, you guessed it, minigames! At least the games are mercifully short, but theres really nothing terribly interesting or exciting about this day at the park, or its sequel from 2012, which added multiple Generation V Pokmon, including starters Tepig, Oshawott, and Snivy.

2010~2012 - Pokmon Black/White 1 and 2

When the Fifth Generation rolled around, the franchise was in need of some renewal, and thats just what Pokmon Black/White had in store for players. The graphics got a complete overhaul, the Wi-Fi capabilities of the DS were taken advantage of in interesting new ways, and most importantly, it introduced 156 new Pokmon, and they were the only Pokmon you encountered until you beat the game. It gave a sense of renewal that many fans had felt was overdue, while also making the series even friendlier to new players than it was already.

B/W also had the best story in franchise history, placing your mild-mannered trainer against a massive, ancient conspiracy to separate people all over the world from their Pokmon. The stakes were higher than ever, and the plot asked questions about the general legitimacy of Pokmon ownership, a difficult topic the developers had previously shied away from. The engrossing narrative continues in Pokmon Black/White 2, the first ever direct sequel in the history of the main series.

2011 Learn with Pokmon: Typing Adventure

Around the late 90s and early 00s, there were several edutainment PC games that utilized the Pokmon license, though none of them had even the slightest bit of involvement from Nintendo. Strangely enough, not a single one of them was a typing tutor. Flash forward to 2011, and a new Pokmon-themed typing tutor has been announced not for the PC, but the DS. Released in Japan and Europe, but not the US, the game is bundled with a Bluetooth keyboard that is used to play the various minigames contained on the card.

2012 Pokmon Conquest

One of the most bizarre crossovers of all time, recently Pokmon fans were treated to the strange combination of pocket monsters with Japanese history. Combining Pokmon with the long-running (but little known internationally) Nobunagas Ambition, Pokmon Conquests turn-based, strategy gameplay fit well within the world of Pokmon. Despite inheriting some of the more esoteric economy systems and rules of Nobunaga, it still works as a great introduction to the realm of strategy games for Pokmon fans.

Did you catch all that?

That's are wide-ranging overview of the series history. We'd love to see your more specific memories of the franchise, so let us know in the comments!

And if you've still got Pok Fever, check out our Pokmon Black / White 2 review and our list of the most disturbing Pokmon of all time.