Just shy of 15 years after the debut of the first Pokemon games, Pokemon Black and White debuted in 2010. By this time, Pokemon was a well-established franchise, making waves with the anime, manga, trading card games, toys, and steady release of new games. Black and White is another example of this trend of solid Pokemon games that follow the same structure that built the franchise without being afraid to try new things.
Pokemon Black and White dropped from developer Game Freak and publishers Nintendo and The Pokemon Company for the Nintendo DS. The pair are the first titles in Generation V of the main series of games. Despite being a new title, the game was released on the same platform as the previous Pokemon titles released a year before, HeartGold and SoulSilver. The game follows the pattern of previous Pokemon games but adds a set of 156 new Pokemon.
Black Version Exclusive Pokemon
White Version Exclusive Pokemon
Black and White was very well received and earned high scores from critics and fans. It is so successful that it is the first Pokemon game to have a direct pair of sequels, Pokemon Black 2 and White 2. So, what made this game stand out so much? It’s been thirteen years since it debuted, so it’s easy to forget all the incredible features of the game. Here are 10 incredible facts about Pokemon Black and White to inspire nostalgia and your memory.
Pokemon is synonymous with Team Rocket. In the first few game titles and nearly every early episode of the anime, Team Rocket appears, delights with their theme song, and then embarrasses themselves. So when a Pokemon game comes along that is missing Team Rocket, it’s sure to raise some questions. Enter Team Plasma to shake things up and replace Team Rocket without actually doing so.
Team Plasma doesn’t seem like an evil or world-dominating organization at first. The player meets them in Accumula Town, giving a speech about freeing Pokemon. Though this is a new angle, and the group seems strangely organized, it’s still no reason for concern. When they do turn, it becomes clear that the new antagonists in town may not be as bumbling as Team Rocket.
The mystery continues with a kid named N serving as the King of Team Plasma. Later, they deliver another twist as their true leader, Ghetsis, comes forward to confront the player. Finally, unlike other games, players can’t encounter Pokemon from any previous generations until after they defeat Team Plasma. This chance for many more Pokemon gives the player a real incentive to defeat the group. Team Plasma offers a nice change from Team Rockets’ antics and cements their place well enough to return in future games.
The Unova Region
Black and White clarified that the game deviates from the previous titles when it announced it takes place in the Unova Region. The region is described as being far away from all the previously visited areas, with Pokemon much different from those players have seen before. In a single sentence, players realize why and how this game is a stand-out and something to be eager about even before its release. Once they obtained the game and met the starters for the region, Snivy, Tepig, and Oshawott, they knew the hype was legitimate.
This new region is the largest by population the franchise has ever seen up to this point and is still the third largest today. Unova’s design is based on New York City, so it is heavily populated and a mixture of rural and urban habitation. Some of the major buildings in the cities are replicas of real-world buildings. Black and White is the first game that attempts to clearly take place outside of Japan.
It’s already been stated here that Pokemon Black and White is a huge success and did a lot to push the franchise forward. That said, they made a mind-boggling move that no one could have guessed and likely still can’t explain. One of the most important aspects of Pokemon that progressed the franchise forward is the deeper connection between a trainer and a Pokemon. In the first games, the Pokemon were fascinating but more like collectibles or tools.
Pokemon Yellow, released in 1998, serves as a companion game that emulates the popular Pokemon animated series that was well underway. While trying to please fans of the show, the game added a whole new dimension to the Pokemon and their relationship with a trainer. Part of this was adding Pokemon following the trainer outside their Pokeball like a companion. This aspect is a prevalent element of the franchise to this day.
Shockingly, for some reason, Pokemon Black and White did not include the option for walking Pokemon despite the previous three titles doing the opposite. Gamers seemingly let the exclusion pass, but the developers quickly returned to their senses. The walking Pokemon option returns in Pokemon Black 2 and White 2, released two years later.
The Entralink is a new feature debuting in Black and White for players to connect in a new way. Players must use the new C-Gear feature to access the Entralink, which is a connector between consoles and an online world.
The Entree Forest is where Pokemon will appear that the player meets in the Dream World, who otherwise may not appear in the game. Here in the Entree Forest, they are caught without fail using any Pokeball.
Using Entralink, players can visit another player in their world. One player must be inside the Entralink while another is at a specific location in their world. Once the player joins the other in their world, they can keep track of where the other player is, meet up, and interact with the wild Pokemon there.
Locations for players to be in to bring someone into their world through Entralink:
- Nimbasa City
- Driftveil City
- Mistralton City
- Icirrus City
- Opelucid City
- Lacunosa Town
- Undella Town
- Black City/White Forest
- Marvelous Bridge
- Village Bridge
- Driftveil Drawbridge
- Tubeline Bridge
- Routes 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16
Entralink Missions require the players to perform an object, usually within a required time limit. After completing one of these six missions, players receive a reward and grow their Entree, which starts as a small tree. Mission types include Item missions, Support missions, Battle missions, Funfest missions, and Rescue Missions. Each type’s goal varies slightly, but most involve meeting up with or avoiding the other player for one reason or another.
Why fight when your Pokemon can compete in a dance battle? Black and White took the option for an alternative to battling and pushed it to another level. In previous games, players were presented with Pokemon Contests and a Pokeathalon to compete in as another offering besides battling. Pokemon Contests are like Dog Shows where the Pokemon compete and are judged on their condition and moves. The Pokeathalon, in contrast, is a series of physical competitions such as Hurdle Dash, Disc Catch, and Pennant Capture.
The new mode in Black and White is called Pokemon Musical, and it has the Pokemon compete in a flashy Musical Hall. The player must dress up their Pokemon and provide them with Props. There are four categories of music that the Props coincide with and will appeal to different audience members. The Pokemon will be judged on holding appropriate Props to match the theme and their timing while dancing.
After the musical, players will receive accessories. After winning multiple times and hitting milestones such as five wins, players can visit the owner, who will give them repeat-win accessories. The Pokemon can also gain fans by competing in multiple Musicals and can earn accessories from them. There’s also a chance to have your dressed-up Pokemon’s picture on the podium displayed in the theater.
Elite Four Options
Every Pokemon game besides Pokemon Sword and Shield has an Elite Four. The Elite Four are the best trainers in the region and serve as the final level regarding the game’s story and battling. Players must build up their Pokemon and defeat all other Gym Leaders before facing the powerful final foursome. The Elite Four must be faced in the game’s set order, with each trainer becoming slightly more challenging.
Once a player initiates a battle with a member of the Elite Four, they must face all four trainers in a row. In the case of a loss to one of these trainers, the whole process of facing the Four restarts. After beating the Elite Four, the game’s Final battle unlocks, where the player can prove they are the greatest Pokemon trainer in the region against its single Champion.
In Black and White, players face an extremely tough Elite Four. They use Pokemon and Moves of complex types to battle: Ghost, Fighting Dark, and Psychic. Players can choose which order to face them in, unlike any previous Pokemon games. While this sounds like an advantage, after facing the Unova Elite Four, this option is likely provided because each provides a decent challenge.
Black and White Elite Four
Caitlin – Psychic
Marshal – Fighting
Grimsley – Dark
Shauntal – Ghost
The Paleozoic Pokemon
Every Pokemon game has a really cool Pokemon, or at least one that stands out more than the others. In Black and White, that Pokemon is Genesect. The Paleozoic Pokemon is not only strange looking but also has a wild backstory and an unusual multi-form feature. Genesect is a Bug/Steel dual-type Pokemon. It’s also a Mythical Pokemon with no evolutions, so it’s rare. It’s so rare that it’s only obtainable through an event that ended, making it extremely rare.
Genesect is an ancient Bug that has been technologically enhanced due to experimentation by Team Plasma. Part of this attempt at making Genesect more powerful included adding a cannon to its back. In the animated series Pokemon Black and White, which ran concurrently with the game’s release, the Genesect escape Team Plasma led by a Red Genesect.
Unlike any other Pokemon in existence, Gensect has four changeable forms. The current form coincides with inserting a different Drive into Gensect’s cannon. Each form has a different color light on its cannon and a different-type move for its Techno Blast based on the Drive chosen.
The games’ Pokedex entries on Gensect:
“Over 300 million years ago, it was feared as the strongest of hunters. It has been modified by Team Plasma.” – Pokemon Black
“This ancient bug Pokémon was altered by Team Plasma. They upgraded the cannon on its back.” – Pokemon White
|Cannon Light Color
Black and White added Seasons to the game to include another dimension to the world of Pokemon and the Unova Region. Like in the real world, Seasons are different times of the year that affect the climate and the animals or Pokemon that appear. Previously, in Gold and Silver, time is introduced and affects events and gameplay. While time still exists in Black and White, every month, the season in the game impacts the experience, including the length of daylight and darkness.
This addition helps add more variety to an already massive game. Players can return to the game and visit areas during different seasons to see the region change visually. They can also find exciting new Pokemon only available during certain seasons to keep them playing. Two Pokemon in the game, Sawsbuck and Deerling, each have a different form for every season.
When Black and White debuted, players expected to see some familiar Pokemon from previous games, as is common in the franchise. Players also look forward to expansions on pre-existing Pokemon, such as adding an evolution. For the first time, though, there are no familiar Pokemon from previous games through most of the story in Black and White. Once the player defeats Team Plasma towards the end of the game, then the other Pokemon become available.
With other games, new Pokemon commonly receive sneak peeks and background info through the animated series. The only new Pokemon featured in the animated series beforehand are Zoroark and Zorua in the movie Zoroark: Master of Illusions, released the same year.
The total number of Pokemon in the game’s Pokedex is 649, all the Pokemon essentially in existence up to the game’s release. The new Pokemon make up 156 of those, none of which are related to any previous Pokemon or their evolutions. While the choice to go with all-new Pokemon may have seemed like a bold risk, it worked out by adding more diverse Pokemon and the opportunity for more in the future.
Black and White introduced an exciting and strategy-heavy new Battle type with Rotation Battles. Previous games include Double Battles, where two Pokemon are sent to the battlefield from the same team and can each attack either of the other two Pokemon on a turn. While this Battle type requires some strategy, it is more of a free-for-all where powerful Pokemon would likely dominate.
Rotation Battles allow three Pokemon from a single team to be on the battlefield together. Both players can rotate and attack each turn. Only one Pokemon can attack per turn, but the player can choose who attacks with the ability to rotate them for free. It’s up to the player to anticipate who the opponent will use, rotate their attacker accordingly, and stay one step ahead. This Battle mode adds strategy and spontaneity to the standard Battle.
Rotation Battles make players think differently about their Pokemon and increase the importance of knowing them and the rest of the Pokedex as well as possible. This extra knowledge requirement only helps increase the fandom behind the Pokemon and games. Rotation Battles are a hit and appear in multiple games after Black and White.
Rotation Battles are in the following games:
- Black 2
- White 2
- Omega Ruby
- Alpha Sapphire