Here's Looking at 'Chu!By: Andrew Joy
I’m about to pose a question to you that could be the subject of a raging debate: Who is better known throughout the world, Mario or Pikachu? Now, I’m willing to guess that many of you are going to go with Mario. After all, he has been around longer, he’s starred in more games, and he is even considered to be Nintendo’s “official” mascot. Surely that has to be enough to trump some electric rat, right? Well, if you ask me, the answer is most definitely no. Outside of video games, Pokémon has managed to infiltrate the world of cartoons, movies, comics, trading cards, action figures, apparel and so much more. Now, I’m not saying everyone’s favorite Italian plumber hasn’t done any of those things, but I would be willing to bet that Pokémon merchandise far outnumbers Mario’s, and is far more recognizable as well. Pikachu and his friends are known by the kids who play their games, the parents that end up shelling out the money for all their products, and the adults who’ve grown up with it and do a little bit of both. Over the years, Pokémon has certainly proven itself to be more than just a fad, and - love it or hate it – it’s here to stay.
At this point, one of two very different questions has likely popped into your head, depending on who you are. If you are a fan of the series, you probably want to know where Pokémon is headed, and if you despise it, you are perhaps trying to understand how it ever got this far in the first place. Well, the two questions are not unrelated, and the answers to each can be found in the games themselves. To plot a course, you have to have at least two points: a starting point and a destination. While we might not know where the series will finally end up years from now, we do know that the next leg of its journey starts tomorrow, April 22nd, when the first proper entry hits the Nintendo DS.
However, for the phenomenon that is Pokémon, thes first chapter of this story was written almost a decade ago with a couple of Game Boy games. Now, at first glance, the Pokémon games may not seem to have changed all that much – I mean, we’re still running around in a 2D world trying to capture hundreds of little monsters to pit in battle against one another. But, in fact, each new iteration in the series is quite different from the last, with changes that have gone on to affect the way the entire game is played, and some die-hard fans may not even have noticed. To help you appreciate the full scope of just how much the handheld games in the franchise have evolved over the years, we’ve broken down each of the major entries in the series for you. From Red and Blue to Diamond and Pearl…Pokémon, this is your life.