Throughout the decades since its inception, Pokémon has somehow only grown to become more and more popular. At important points, it had great catalysts for growth and boosts in fans, like Pokémon GO a few years ago and the increase of interest in Pokémon cards and their value during the height of the pandemic.
It’s no surprise that of all the most valuable media franchises in the world, including Harry Potter, Mickey Mouse, Star Wars, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Pokémon has generated the most revenue, with an estimated $100 billion.
Of course, as the brand proves its longevity and new fans arrive annually, some of the older generations can be forgotten and the history can get lost over time. If you’re a newer fan and have questions about how many Pokémon there are in totality, how many generations there are, or who the most powerful Pokémon of all time are, look no further.
At the time of writing, there are close to 1,000 Pokémon. 901, to be exact. If you’ve done your research and have seen the number 898 floating around, let us explain. In footage of the upcoming Pokémon Legends: Arceus game, three new Pokémon (Wyrdeer, Basculegion, and Kleavor) were shown, which is where the extra 3 come from. Some aren’t counting them yet until the game releases, but technically we know they exist.
Pokémon are generally broken up into species, of which there are 6.
The 6 kinds of Pokémon species are Starter Pokémon, Fossil Pokémon, Baby Pokémon, Legendary Pokémon, Mythical Pokémon, and Ultra Beasts.
A Starter Pokémon is the first Pokémon that is available to players in main series games. As a general rule, there are 3 per generation, with the only exception being Generation I which had 2 extra. There are 26 Starter Pokémon.
A Fossil Pokémon is an ancient Pokémon that is only obtained by resurrecting fossils and their evolutions. There are 26 Fossil Pokémon.
A Baby Pokémon is, as the name suggests, an infant Pokémon that can only be obtained by breeding their evolved forms. There are 19 Baby Pokémon.
A Legendary Pokémon is associated with the legends and lore of Pokémon. There are 59 Legendary Pokémon.
A Mythical Pokémon is a Pokémon that can only be obtained through distribution events. There are 22 Mythical Pokémon.
Finally, an Ultra Beast is a Pokémon from another dimension. It is the rarest species of Pokémon, with only 11 in total.
As simple of a question as this may seem, there’s some debate about this within the community. It’s largely because of misinformation and different interpretations of the word “first”.
The first Pokémon in the Pokédex is Bulbasaur. The first Pokémon ever designed and put into game data was Rhydon. In terms of lore, Arceus is of course the creator of the entire Pokéverse, so there’s an argument there too. Mew though is considered to be the ancestor of all Pokémon.
Just like there are many ways to interpret who the first Pokémon ever was, there are also multiple ways to measure who the most powerful Pokémon is. The aforementioned Arceus is certainly in the conversation by default, being the creator of all Pokémon and having the ability to stop time, change shape and type, and the full extent of his powers has never been revealed.
Also in the conversation is Mewtwo, an artificial Pokémon initially created to be a weapon before he became self-aware and indescribably powerful.
To see a list our list of the 20 most powerful Pokémon of all time, click here.
- Release date: 1996
- Number of Pokémon: 151
- Notable Pokémon: Pikachu, Charizard, Jigglypuff, Mewtwo, Snorlax, Bulbasaur, Squirtle
- Main games: Red, Green, Blue, Yellow
Arguably the most iconic generation of Pokémon, easily featuring the most prominent Pokémon in the franchise, Generation I set the formula for every single one of its successors. Despite this, these days it often gets shunned. Fans think that it gets remembered fondly only for being the original.
- Release date: 1999
- Number of Pokémon: 100
- Notable Pokémon: Cyndaquill, Typhlosion, Scizor, Togepi, Lugia
- Main games: Gold, Silver, Crystal
The main argument against Pokémon Gold, Pokémon Silver, and Pokémon Crystal is that they haven’t aged well in terms of visuals and mechanics. Story-wise however, they’re appreciated for being some of the best Pokémon games, and great and necessary improvements were made upon the first-gen.
- Release date: 2002
- Number of Pokémon: 135
- Notable Pokémon: Rayquaza, Groudon, Kyogre, Regirock
- Main games: Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald
Fans seem to be split down the middle for Hoenn, with some hailing it as the best generation of Pokémon and others thinking it falls somewhere along the middle. Perhaps nostalgia plays a part, but objectively, it included many fan-favorite Pokémon and introduced players to Kanto, which they’ll be forever grateful for.
- Release date: 2006
- Number of Pokémon: 107
- Notable Pokémon: Giratina, Lucario, Infernape, Arceus
- Main games: Diamond, Pearl, Platinum
Generation IV features some of the most beloved regions in franchise history, but in terms of its impact on the franchise, nothing is more notable than the Physical/Special split, which many credit with saving the series entirely.
- Release date: 2010
- Number of Pokémon: 156
- Notable Pokémon: Zoroark, Hydregion, Mienshao, Zekrom, Kyurem
- Main games: Black, White, Black 2, White 2
Unova houses an incredible collection of Pokémon and to date, is the generation that introduced fans to the newest Pokémon, with only Generation I coming close. Many herald Black and White with having the best storylines in any Pokémon game ever and largely for that reason, it is a large portion of the fan base’s favorite generation of all time.
- Release date: 2013
- Number of Pokémon: 72
- Notable Pokémon: Zygarde, Greninja, Xerneas, Talonflame
- Main games: X, Y
It is of course debatable, but the general consensus around Generation VI is that it has some of the weaker games from the entire series. This is because they’re a little too easy with less emphasis on the storyline. Where you fall on this generation might also be down to what you think of Mega Evolutions, because this is where those came into play.
- Release date: 2016
- Number of Pokémon: 88
- Notable Pokémon: Lycanroc, Necrozoma, Lunala
- Main Games: Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, Ultra Moon
Another highly debated generation amongst fans, but even those who love the game agree that the hand-holding in it was a little much.
- Release date: 2019
- Number of Pokémon: 92
- Notable Pokémon: Zacian, Rillaboom, Dragapult
- Main games: Sword, Shield, Legends: Arceus
It’s no surprise that Galar is easily the most polarising generation of Pokémon, seeing as though it’s the newest. There tends to be a general resentment for newer things in any long-lasting franchises, but even controlling for that, many fans aren’t happy with the direction of the generation so far. Of course, Pokémon Legends: Arceus could still sway things.