By Amanda L. Kondolojy
It all started in 1998 when Pokémon Red and Blue came out for the original Game Boy. These games took a traditional RPG approach and blended it with an incredible roster of 151 Pokémon between the two titles.
Although Japanese fans had their hands on these two games a full two years prior to the 1998 American release, there were few ways to import these titles back then, and the Pokémon series did not fully take off until after these games were released in the United States.
The original Pokémon games sold just under 10 million copies, and were able to spark an international phenomenon. Soon after the two game releases, the American version of the Pokémon anime debuted. Because of the games' early success, the anime fared quite well, focusing on the adventures of Ash Ketchum, a Pokémon trainer.
But Pokémon's early success as a franchise was not only due to the two-fold effects of the game and anime. Pokémon also crossed over very successfully into the world of Trading Card Games. The Pokémon TCG achieved a very high amount of success early on in its history, and soon rivaled Trading Card Game champion Magic: The Gathering as the card game of choice.
In addition to the traditional RPG-style Game Boy games, a Nintendo 64 title was also released: Pokémon Stadium. This title allowed friends to battle using all 150 pre-loaded Pokémon (unlike modern console brawlers, which require you to upload your own.) The original Pokémon Stadium also included several party-type mini-games and was one of the first real "party" games-it even pre-dates the original Mario Party!