Which gaming franchise got its name from the phrase, "Pocket Monsters?"

And the answer: Pokémon.

Photo courtesy: Pokémon Fandom. 

In 1996, the first Pokémon game was launched in Japan on the recently introduced Nintendo Game Boy. The Pokémon creatures, such as Pikachu, became a sensation around the world, and eventually expanded into video games, trading cards, mobile apps, stuffed animals, and more.

Pokémon began as a role-playing game, in which the player set out to collect the most intimidating collection of monsters to fight with other trainers and, eventually, become the best. As the player continues to engage their ever-growing repertoire of Pokémon, the monsters grow in strength and ability, eventually "evolving" into a new, more powerful form.

Pokémon are organized by a number of traits such as their type, color, weight, and height. Some Pokémon come with regional differences, based on where they are found in the environment. Most Pokémon also come with an association with a particular element: there are fire, ice, water, electric, ghost, and grass types, to name a few. Using these qualities in battle is not unlike a game of chess – the player must strategically engage qualities against his or her opponent (for example: if a character has a weakness to fire, a player might substitute a water-based Pokémon to attack).

Pokémon is one of the most successful video game franchises in the world, second only to Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. The release of Pokémon Go 2016 amassed some 147 million users in two years, while the 1996 version of the game (and the 122 versions thereafter) continue to be played and loved around the world.

For a look inside the classic game, check out the intro to Pokémon Diamond below.

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