20 years. It’s been 20 years to the day that Pokémon Red & Pokémon Blue released for the Game Boy. 1996 was a very different time to 2016, and some of the closer-to-home gaming-related differences could well be attributed to the events of that year. Not only did 1996 welcome Pokémon to the world, but it birthed phenomenally iconic and influential characters and brands like Crash Bandicoot, Tomb Raider and Diablo and saw the release of one of the most loved games consoles in history – the Nintendo 64. It’s also the year of my birth, but let’s keep keep major global catastrophes out of this.
I don’t need to tell you how much success the Pokémon brand has seen in the last 20 years, but the statistics are truly astounding. In 2014, Polygon obtained these unbelievable numbers from The Pokémon Company, accounting for almost every major Pokémon release aside from Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire, Super Mystery Dungeon and a handful of smaller events within the franchise’s timeline.
As of March 2014:
- The Pokémon video game franchise has sold more than 260 million games worldwide
- The Pokémon trading card game has shipped more than 21.5 billion cards to over 70 countries in multiple languages
- There are more than 800 episodes in the Pokémon animated series (now more than 900)
- There have been 17 full-length Pokémon feature films (now 18)
Not too shabby for a franchise which reportedly had some troubles getting off the ground, right? It’s believed that Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon and Game Freak, initially had his early pitches turned down by Nintendo multiple times before it was successful, and that Game Freak almost went bankrupt in its development of the first Pokémon titles. However, those times are long gone, and Pokémon is now one of the most recognized franchise names in gaming.
In celebration of 20 years of Pokémon, the first titles in the series, Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow have today been re-released on 3DS Virtual Console, just as you knew them on Game Boy (with added wireless functionality). As one of many who have picked up one of the aforementioned titles today (Red, in my case), my mind has been cast back to the great and challenging times I had building my dream Pokémon team out of what was then a simple and easy-to-memorise 150 Pokémon. Once again, I’m starting on that nostalgic journey, and so I’d like to share the dream team I hope to build this time around, and would love to see what yours are!
For somebody with a serious phobia of bees, wasps and other similar relatives, it’s always been a source of confusion to me as to why Beedrill has always been one of my favourite Pokémon. This confusion is so great that I genuinely cannot explain here why he makes the list, so we’ll move on.
Arbok makes the list simply for being one of the most sinister-looking Pokémon in the history of the series. It also pays to have a healthy dose of Poison-type moves to hand so you can be that guy who goes around afflicting his opponents with irritating repeat damages.
This little guy needs no explanation. As a child, a good helping of my spare time was spent watching the anime series on TV, and having grown such an attachment to the icon that is Pikachu, it would be a crime for me to not have one at my side.
Possibly one the most fun Pokémon I’ve ever used both in ability and looks, Ditto is easily another of my favourite Pokémon ever. With both a haunting and comedic face, and the ability to become an exact copy of its opponent, there’s no way I can’t have a Ditto on my dream team.
Prior to Shedinja coming onto the scene, Eevee had always been my absolute non-legendary favourite Pokémon. Was it the fact that Eevee is undeniably adorable? Highly likely. Was it also the fact that Eevee had the unique ability to evolve into multiple different Pokémon depending on the type of stone you used? Possibly. I never evolved Eevee, ensuring my favourite Pokémon never changed. I formed a connection to this Pokémon early on akin to Ash & Pikachu, and that’s the simple reason behind this choice.
This list wouldn’t be complete without the most predictable choice, right? As somebody who’s always preferred legendary Pokémon, and with Mewtwo being potentially the coolest Pokémon ever (depends who you ask), there’s no way I could have a dream team without it. Enough said.
So, there you have it, my dream team built from the original 150 Pokémon! (Yes, 150. I’m not counting Mew because I don’t need a reason, that’s why.) I hope you’ve enjoyed this short trip back to the start of Pokémon history, and I look forward to seeing what your dream teams are!
What’s your most memorable Pokémon moment? What’s your “Original 150” dream team?
Let us know in the comments or on our Subreddit!