Leitmotif: In all games, a different tune plays in each city, changing for battles, Poké Marts, Pokémon Centers, and even while Surfing. Some cities recycle tunes, though (RBY and GSC being the worst offenders due to lack of data storage space).
There are also several different songs that play when you meet trainers. In Gen IV and V, they're surprisingly long.
In the Black and White versions, every city finally has its own unique music.
Later, in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, you can face every Gym Leader and Champion from preceding games. Most of them are fought in the World Tournament, but some, like the retired Gym leaders from Black And White and N, are fought in different areas, and only one Gym Leader (Koga) is excluded.
Wobbuffet. Despite its limited moveset and comical appearance (and actually being partially based on a Japanese comedian), it has high HP reserves and knows how to Counter Attack (Counter and Mirror Coat return double the damage inflicted against the user). From the third generation onwards, its baby version Wynaut learns Encore, which can force the opponent to repeat one attack multiple times (making them easier to counter), and comes with an ability that prevents the opponent from switching out. Ghost- or Dark- type Pokémon can take advantage of their elemental immunity to Counter and Mirror Coat (respectively), but other types are on their own.
Early in the games, you get an Old Rod. Most first-timers are excited about fishing for Pokémon, but are disappointed to see that the Old Rod yields little more than Magikarp◊, which are one of the weakest species in the game. Most first-timers don't have the patience to level one up until the Magikarp Power kicks in (at Level 20).
In the fifth generation, most Pokémon have a different ability if you catch them through the Dream World, and some of these abilities make them significantly more useful. The most notable would have to be Dream World Ditto receiving the ability Impostor, which causes it to Transform automatically upon switching in. A small change, but it makes it potentially the best revenge killer in the game.
Of special note is the new Ability Prankster (adds more priority to Status/Indirect moves like Taunt, Thunder Wave, Substitute, Recover, Will O' Wisp, Confuse Ray, Baton Pass, Swords Dance, Trick, Switcheroo, and so on). It basically turns most of the lower-powered pokemon that acquire it into deceptively dangerous trickster pokemon that can completely mess up your opponent's tempo and swing the offensive initiative in your favour. Search "prankster whimsicott" or "prankster sableye" on YouTube and watch the carnage unfold on the match replays you will find.
Anything with the hidden ability Moody is this. To elaborate, Moody randomly lowers a stat by one step and raises another by two steps at the end of each turn. Clever players can create stall movesets with Substitute and Protect to rack up boosts, and once they have enough, proceed to demolish the opponent's team. Oh, and one of those stats happens to be evasion.
With the right set up and some luck, even Rattata and Magikarp can become this.
Let's Get Dangerous: Looker in Platinum is almost totally useless until the very end of the game, at which point he successfully ambushes one of the remaining big bads.
Lie to the Beholder: The fifth-generation species Zorua (and its evolved form, Zoroark) feature an ability called Illusion, which makes it appear as a different Pokémon until hit by an opponent's attack in battle. This means that, since it's Dark-type, a Psychic-type attack won't dispel the illusion. Of course, a human opponent will get a little suspicious after the following exchange: "Mewtwo used Psychic!" "It doesn't affect Emboar..." (Emboar should be weak to Psychic-type attacks.)
Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition: there are two pairs like this. The Electabuzz and Magmar evolutionary lines, who are respectively Electric and Fire type, and Zekrom and Reshiram, two Olympus Mons who represent the two elements as power sources. Zekrom represents Ideals using a lightning/electric tech robotic theme, while Reshiram represents truth through an organic fire combustion theme. This Ideals vs Truth dichotomy is based on ying-yang taoistic themes. With ice, neutral, apathetic, undead(?) Kyurem, it becomes Fire, Ice, Lightning.
Living Gasbag: Drifloon and Drifblim are living floating balloons, and despite having a largely nonthreatening appearance, the former are known to abduct children. Drifblim is mostly peaceful, however. The Jigglypuff line is a subversion; though gasbags, they don't fly.
There are currently over to 700 different species of Pokémon, although only a handful serve plot-related functions in each game.
Not to mention the 46 Gym Leaders in the games, the 19 Elite Four members, six Champions (including some overlap between the three in Generations I through III), the countless NPC classes, the player characters...
Lost Forever: The event-only Pokémon, which is especially infuriating as there is nothing you can do ever to get them back - unlike most examples of the trope, you can't even restart your game for them.
For a while, the GTS had some of the event Pokémon on it, but later event Pokémon have been contained in a special Poké Ball and have had Ribbons applied to them that prevent them from being traded, respectively being the Cherish Ball, the Classic Ribbon, and the Premier Ribbon (Mew-exclusive, aside from fake GTS usage).
If you release a Pokémon, you cannot get it back, even if it is a one-time-only legendary Pokémon. Minor exceptions include Pokémon that know certain HM moves (to prevent players from becoming stuck in certain areas), Pokémon with high happiness levels, and whenever the Pokémon being released is the only Pokémon in the player's current party.
The Dream World from Gen V provides a dual example with its shutdown after the release of Gen VI; not only are you no longer able to get anything that was exclusive to it, but as compensation for the effort players put in, you'll get special medals in Gen VI based on the number of items you bought in the Dream World, that players who didn't use the Dream World enough can't get.
As more of a meta example, Gen III and onward are incompatible with the first two generations, thus forcing everyone who played those games to start their collections from scratch — the old Pokemon aren't gone entirely, but they are inaccessible to later games. Similarly, held items cannot be carried over from one generation to the next, except from Gen III to Gen IV.
Pokémon can only be renamed by their original trainer. Thus, if the original trainer restarts their game or otherwise loses access to that game file, or if the Pokémon is transferred to a later generation, that Pokémon is stuck with whatever it was named last. (The only exception to this comes with the Poké Transporter that moves Gen V Pokémon to the Pokémon Bank; non-nicknamed Pokémon from generations III and IV, that have their names in all caps, will have their names automatically changed to have only an initial capital when transferred. Similarly, Pokémon that have inappropriate nicknames will have them removed.)
The move Curse, which sacrifices HP to place a highly damaging curse on the enemy when used by a Ghost type, but lowers the user's Speed in exchange for a boost in Attack and Defense otherwise, is a play on the Japanese word noroi, which can mean either "curse" or "dull/slow" depending on the kanji used.
Jirachi, Castform, and Darumaka/Darmanitan fall into this as well, plus Wobbuffet, which was inspired by a Japanese comedian.
The Ultra Ball is called a "Hyper Ball" in the Japanese version, hence why it has an H on it.
Additionally, the Pokémon Contests ranks of Generation III were originally based off of the Japanese names of Generation I's basic Poké Balls, excluding the Safari Ball: Normal ("Monster"), Super, Hyper, and Master. The English naming scheme Pokémon Contest ranks did not catch this, and the original Japanese terms were used instead. Generation IV's Super Contests rectify this, with the "Hyper" rank getting properly translated to "Ultra" rank, referencing the Hyper Ball's English renaming of "Ultra Ball", while "Super" rank is translated to "Great" rank, referencing Super Ball being a Japanese name of Great Ball.
The Dark type doesn't actually mean dark. It is called "evil type" in Japan. Because of this, lots of fans see the dark type as actual darkness rather than using dirty tricks to win and wonder why there isn't a "light" type yet. (Hopefully Gen VI's Fairy type is close enough to shut them up.)
Luck-Based Mission: Capturing wild Pokémon, especially legendaries. (Knocking them out is fairly easy; it's catching them alive that takes forever.)
To explain this, each Pokémon species has a specific "catch rate" that affects the probability of snagging it with a given Poké Ball. Com Mons have a base rate of 100%, making them easy to catch, while most legendaries have a base catch rate of about 1%. There are a variety of modifiers, but even with all the modifiers in your favor, the chances of catching a legendary are still less than 10% per throw. Even when you decide to calculate the odds, it can get downright frustrating.
The Safari Zone cranks this Up to Eleven, with every Pokémon encountered willing to run away at the drop of a hat, and having your strategic options limited to either throwing rocks, or throwing bait note A thrown rock doubles catch rate, as well as doubling flee rate. Throwing bait halves catch rate, but quarters flee rate. It's better to just throw Safari Balls and ignore these entirely. While all three options even out to the same chances in the long run, most Safari mons usually flee between 3 and 5 turns in, so you need every catch attempt you have..
Many of the Battle Frontier challenges, particularly the Battle Pike (where the whole purpose is to test the player's luck) and the Battle Palace (where Pokémon fight on their own, without commands from their Trainers). The Battle Factories of Hoenn and Sinnoh/Johto are also notable, as the selection of Pokémon offered to the player at the start of each challenge is randomized each time.
Factory Head Nolandnote Presides over the aforementioned Battle Factory of Hoenn, Factory Head Thortonnote Presides over the aforementioned Battle Factory of Sinnoh, and Hall Matron Argenta all have randomized party Pokémon each time they are challenged, meaning that essentially any Pokémon (other than thosenote Mewtwo, Mew, Lugia, Ho-Oh, Celebi, Kyogre, Groudon, Rayquaza, Jirachi, Deoxys, Rotom (all Rotom forms except "Normal Rotom", Rotom's default form), Dialga, Palkia, Giratina, Phione, Manaphy, Darkrai, Shaymin, Arceus that are not admissible to the Battle Frontier, and excluding species that debut in subsequent generations) could appear as an opponent Pokémon. So not only is the player's team subject to luck, the opposing teams (and the difficulty of every battle with the aforementioned Frontier Brains) are as well.
Breeding for IVs is a marathon against appalling odds, especially if you are shooting for maximum IVs.
Played straight in the anime, but subverted here. Because the Revival Herb, a purchasable item from that herbal shop where they make bitter-tasting medicine, is the Herbal Expy of a Max Revive, which can't be found in stores. Do you mind your Pokémon thinking of you as a Jerkass?
Mana: Each move's Power Points, or PP, effectively serve as this.
Magic Is Rare Health Is Cheap: Traditionally, Elixirs and Ethers cannot be bought, and are only found lying on the ground. If they can be obtained otherwise, it's only in the Playable Epilogue, and only at the Battle Tower. Thankfully, 3rd, 4th, and 6th gen all have the growable Leppa Berries, who earn their keep despite only restoring 10 PP. Potions, however, are abundant.
Meaningful Name: The majority of the gym leaders in the games have them. Just guess which elements these guys specialize in: Brock, Misty, Lt. Surge, Falkner, Bugsy, Whitney, Pryce, Roxanne, Brawly, Wattson, the list goes on.
Mechanically Unusual Class: In much of competitive play, many Pokémon that focus on the move Baton Pass have a tendency to be this, often using Substitute for endurance purposes and status buffs in hopes of lasting long enough to pass the status buffs on to the next Pokémon. Pokémon given these movesets are often passed up outside competitive play, as it's faster and easier to just mow through the in-game opponents with high-leveled Pokémon and more conventional strategies.
Metamorphosis Monster: Quite a few Pokémon do this while evolving. The most obvious example is Magikarp to Gyarados (small karp to sea serpent), but there are others, such as Vibrava to Flygon (lacewing to dragon) and Feebas to Milotic (fish to elegant-looking sea serpent).
Many of these Pokémon's real-life counterparts undergo a similar transformation. Flygon, for example, is based off of an adult antlion, so it's only natural that its base form, Trapinch, would look so different.
Many Pokémon fit under this category on either the physical and special sides of the spectrum. The most common physical Glaciers are usually Rock/Ground/Steel types and bulkier Fighting types, while quite a few special-based Glaciers are usually bulkier Psychics or Normals. There are a lot of Water and Steel types that are bulky on both ends, leading to the term "bulky Water" and Steel's reputation as one of the best defensive types in the game. Of course, Uber-level legendaries are often classified as such at least partially because of their incredible defenses on both sides.
The legendary Pokémon Regice is a literal glacier. It's a very large chunk of sentient ice that's vaguely human-shaped. It also fits this trope, having pretty good 100 Special attack, a whopping 200 Special Defense, but a low speed of 50.
Ironically, the Ice type is regarded as one of the worst defensive types in the game.
Miss Conception: Somehow the couple running the day care don't know where the eggs keep coming from.
Money for Nothing: Especially in the later games, you can make tens of thousands of dollars just fighting your stock trainers and being conservative with your cash, but there's rarely anything worth spending it on aside from vitamins, which are a bit pricey at 9,800 Pokédollars, but you'll still have plenty of cash to buy them in bulk.
The Generation V games added even moreVendor Trash items with no purpose but to be sold for cash, and added special "item maniac" characters who will pay double the price for particular items. The Abyssal Ruins alone have over a million dollars worth of loot in them.
Generation VI zigzags this. There are facilities that will charge six-figure sums for their services, but once again, the game will be throwing high battle winnings at you, and those facilities that charge six-figure sums pit you against trainers and/or have valuable items as rewards, allowing you to make your money back from them and then some. At higher levels of the Battle Chateau, you can walk in and throw away five hundred thousand dollars at the front door, then wander the mansion battling rich trainers and eventually leave with well over a million in your pocket.
The Amulet Coin and Luck Incense items double the amount of money gained from defeating Trainers.
The move Pay Day also grants Trainers an additional amount of money each time it is used, with the awarded amount of coins being based off of the level of the Pokémon using the move. During Generations 1 and 2, the amount of money scattered was two times the user's level. From Generation 3 onwards, the multiplier was increased, so that the money received per use is now five times the user's level.
In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Versions, there is a glitch where the wrong amount of money will be displayed if the Amulet Coin is held when Pay Day is used, leaving the impression that the Amulet Coin does not affect Pay Day. However, if the player checks his/her Trainer Card, it will be discovered that the money earned from Pay Day has correctly been doubled and added to the player's total savings. This error was fixed in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen Versions, as well as all subsequent games.
Pass Powers, introduced in Generation V, include increasing the reward money from winning Trainer battles.
Moon Logic Puzzle: Some of the Gym puzzles, and the Trick House in the third generation.
Moral Dissonance: In Pokémon Colosseum, a fair amount of Shadow Pokémon are in the possession of ordinary Trainers who don't know what's wrong with their Pokémon. After you snag them, you never explain to them why you did so. While it's understandable for Wes, it's downright bizarre for Rui (and also Michael, from the sequel).
Multiform Balance: A number of Pokemon have various forms with differing distributions of stats, moves, or typing. Some of them can be changed outside battle, in battle, or require a held item. Each form's stats/typings/moves tends to contrast with the others (e.g. Deoxys-N is a Jack of All Stats, A is a Glass Cannon, D is a Mighty Glacier while S is a Fragile Speedster), allowing them to perform their role differently.
Multiple Demographic Appeal: One of the best examples out there. The various Mons appeal to Japan and the Western world, as well as girls and boys. The gameplay appeals to both casual gamers who play simple games and hardcore, competitive gamers who try to understand deeper strategies used to take down the opponent.
Multiple Head Case: Not many Pokémon have multiple heads, but some of those that do fall under this. Dodrio, Zweilous, Binacle, and Exeggutor are all examples (though Exeggutor's heads don't argue between themselves). Barbaracle goes a step further, with a grand total of seven heads (four of which serve as its arms and legs).
Multiple Reference Pun: In Generation I, Tri Attack fired a triangle-shaped projectile. In Gen II it became a Fire, Ice, Lightning tri-elemental attack that could burn, paralyze and freeze. In Gen III and beyond, it now creates a triangular field of elemental energy. And for a third pun, aside from Genesect and the Porygon line, the only Pokémon to learn it now are Dugtrio, Magneton, Doduo, Dodrio, and Hydreigon — namely, Pokémon with three heads.
Multiple-Tailed Beast: Many species have multiple tails, such as Vulpix (six), Ninetales (obvious), and Tauros (three). Espeon has a forked tail with two tips, as do Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf. Buizel and Floatzel have two (they even use them as propellers), as well as Ambipom and Electivire. There are also some ambiguous cases, such as Grovyle (which has branching fern leaves for a tail) and Suicune (which has two ribbons for a tail).
My Nayme Is: Names like "Feraligatr", "Victreebel", and "Cofagrigus" were likely artificially shortened from their natural forms ("Feraligator", "Victreebell", and "Cophagrigus") due to a 10-character limit on names in the games. However, as a result, all official media goes by the constrained names instead of dismissing the shortening as a trick of the game device.
Even in X and Y, which added 2 more letters to the name limit, hasn't affected the names of the aforementioned Pokémon.
Mythology Gag: Some recurring gameplay elements that exist for no particular reason - a Bug-type Pokémon that evolves at a low level, a three-stage Normal/Flying bird Pokémon in starting locations, a regional Normal-type rodent, Pikachu stand-in, etc.
In between the strengthening of the types that were already strong against it, the decreased proliferation of the types that are weak against it, the creation of two advantageous types (Dark and Steel), and the ease of finding Dark-type moves, the formerly game-breaking Psychic type is now much more balanced.
Up through Generation IV, Selfdestruct and Explosion actually inflicted double their stated attack power because they secretly reduced the opponent's Defense by half. This has been changed as of Gen V, likely due in part to the introduction of Triple Battles, where this could be extremely centralizing, even more so than it already was in Double Battles.
invokedWord of God says that the Fairy-type was made specifically to balance the Dragon-types. Dragons were originally meant to be a rare Infinity+1 Element with the best type matchups, but as new dragons were introduced later, they grew so much in power as to be game-breaking juggernauts. To counter this, the Fairy-type was made to have a huge type advantage over dragons, much as the Dark-type had over Psychics in Generation 2. Meanwhile, the Steel-type was defensively nerfed by removing key resistances to Ghost and Dark in exchange for strength against Fairy-types.
A couple of moves were nerfed as of X and Y,
The changes to Nature Power did this to a few Pokémon who could use it effectively in Gen V, where using it in Link Battles would turn it into Earthquake, a godsend for certain Pokémon who normally wouldn't learn it and appreciate the coverage, like Shiftry and Sawsbuck. Gen VI would make it so it would change to Tri Attack instead.
A good deal of Special-oriented moves had their BP reduced. Flamethrower, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, as well as their 120 BP counterparts. Meteor Mash also got hit with this, as while it's shaky accuracy was moved to a more acceptable 90, it's BP got cut down from 100 to 90.
Meet Blaziken, the giant kickboxing fire chicken. Or Garchomp, the dragon jet-plane Land Shark. Or Tropius, the flying dinosaur with palm-leaf wings and bananas growing from its chin. Or Flygon, the antlion dragon. Yup.
Dewott is a samurai otter that evolves into a samurai sea lion.
The three starters of Generation VI. Chesnaught, the chestnut hedgehog knight. Delphox, the flaming oracle fennec fox. Greninja, the water ninja frog.
No Biological Sex: Most Legendary Pokémon and a couple regularly found Pokémon. Most genderless Pokémon seem to be quite powerful, however. And sometimes fan-viewed gender on Pokémon are accepted by the fandom at large to be correct (Meloetta is female, Mewtwo is male, etc.).
No Fair Cheating: Abusing in-game glitches can cause your game to crash or data to get corrupted; using a Game Shark or Action Replay may lock your DS cartridge out from official Nintendo-sanctioned tournaments (Though not everyone cares about this one), and also carries the potential to seriously screw with the data, preventing whole features from being accessed. That said, it is not likely to happen if you know what you are doing.
No Pronunciation Guide: The main series of handheld games isn't voiced, so you generally have to wait until a Pokémon appears in the anime to get the official pronunciation (usually intuitive enough, but not always — Arceus goes against the usual conventions for when a C should be soft and when it should be hard, and logically, Blastoise should be pronounced "blastus"note blast, tortoise and not "blastoyse", though that one depends on your accent). Then there are the console games (the Pokémon Stadium series, etc.), which... don't always follow the official pronunciations faithfully.
Foresight and Odor Sleuth enable Normal- and Fighting-type attacks to strike Ghosts, which are normally immune to those elements. Likewise, Miracle Eye enables Psychic moves to hit Dark types, and Gravity (temporarily) allows Ground attacks to strike Flying types.
The Mold Breaker ability allows attacks to bypass abilities (like Wonder Guard) that would otherwise prevent an attack from inflicting damage (though it cannot override elemental immunities, such as Electric versus Ground).
Unaware makes a Pokémon's attacks ignore changes to the opponent's Defense, Special Defense, or evasiveness.
It also means you ignore changes to the opponent's Attack, Special Attack, and Accuracy. Swords Dance isn't going to be doing your opponent much good against your Bibarel.
There's also Gastro Acid, a move that disables the opposing Pokémon's ability.
Mr. Mime can be female. Again, it's a translation thing: Barrierd is its Japanese name, from 'barrier'. Also, in Gen I, when it was introduced, only the Nidoran line had gender. Game Freak knew the male name would come back to bite them, according to one article, but used it anyway.
Non-Lethal K.O.: Pokémon who have fainted are too weak to battle, but can still perform field moves such as Fly or Surf.
Not Distracted by the Sexy: Pokémon who have the ability appropriately called "Oblivious" are immune to the infatuation status effect and other effects that only work on Pokémon of the opposite gender.
Insult Backfire: As of Gen VI, it also grants immunity to Taunt and Torment.
[Zig-Zagged in Generation VI. While a lot more Pokémon are drawn to scale, exceptionally big Pokémon like Wailord still look smaller than they should be.
Notice This: Sometimes you may find a suspiciously empty spot in middle of tall grass or near it - that means there might be a hidden item there. Sometimes it's subverted when tall grass is on the spot with the hidden item. Also, many hidden items don't have hints like this.
NPC Roadblock: The series even provides the page picture, rightfully so since this pops up all the time, and has not let up with age. All over the world, you'll find people who exist for no purpose but to not let you walk by them until you progress far enough in the plot, often for no good reason. Sometimes this is justified, like a power outage making an area dangerous to travel through, other times the NPC simply says "you should go do this!" (usually challenge a Gym Leader or talk to a plot-critical character) and won't let you by until you obey.
This franchise uses the number 150 to refer to a number of species of Pokemon.
Most notable in the original anime series, where they comonly say that there are 150 Pokemon. The 151th, Mew, was still excluded even after being introduced, most likely being an event and hard to obtain Pokemon.
Pokémon Black and White also has 150 Pokemon in its Unova dex (though excluding event and post-game Pokemon), though the number doubles in its sequels.
Double Subverted in Pokémon X and Y. While its dex has more than 400 Pokemon, it is categorised into Central, Coastal and Mountain Dex, each containing 150 Pokemon! Each of their number do not include post-game Pokemon, though.
The first, and probably most important: Dividing the Special stat into Special Attack and Special Defense in Generation II. In the first generation of games, the fact that Special was one stat meant that a Pokemon intended to be a Glass Cannon, Fragile Speedster, or Stone Wall wound up being a Lightning Bruiser because high Special meant that they could take damage just as well as they could dish it out.
The Psychic type was ridiculously broken back in Gen. 1, on account of nothing being strong against them offensively or defensively. Not even the types that were supposed to be strong against Psychic according to their in-game descriptions (on account of things like unfavorable dual-typing and the few attacks of those types doing fixed damage and thus not actually benefiting from type advantage). Gen 2 did a lot of things to fix this, but the most obvious change by far was the introduction of the Dark and Steel types; Dark attacks were super effective against Psychics, and Dark Pokemon completely nullify Psychic attacks, while Steel types made Psychic moves not very effective.
In Generation IV, moves were divided into Physical and Special based not just on their type, but based on what makes sense. Thus moves like Bite (a Dark-type, which previously were all Special-based) now draws upon a Pokemon's Attack Stat, and not its Special Attack, while a move like Hyper Beam (a Normal attack, which were previously Attack-based) draws on the Special stat. This made the myriad of Pokemon with excellent (Special) Attack stats but with the reverse typing far more effective.
The sixth generation did the same thing to the Dragon type that the second generation did to the Psychic type. The Fairy type was introduced to counter the increasingly overpowered Dragons that were being introduced each generation, particularly those with a secondary type that neutralized the Dragon type's usual weakness to Ice. Fairy types will No Sell any Dragon-type attacks.
Old Save Bonus: The series has offered various ways to transfer Pokémon between different games that aren't direct version counterparts, which is usually the only way to get certain Pokémon:
Gen II had the Time Capsule function, allowing you to link with Gen I cartridges. Unlike later transfer features, this was a two-way trade; thus, not only could you bring Pokémon forward from the previous games to get ones you couldn't get before, you could also send Pokémon back to the old games, even allowing them to have moves they couldn't originally have (at least if those moves existed in the previous games). Also, even though Red and Blue didn't have gender, held items, split Special stats, or Shiny Pokémon, trading Pokémon forward to Gen II would give them those qualities while there.
While Gen III didn't allow trading with the previous games owing to hardware and game system limitations, thanks to it being the first generation to have multiple groups of games taking place in different regions, it introduced the concept of the "Regional" and "National" Pokédexes. At first, the player would only have the Regional dex, cataloging only Pokémon that could be found in that particular region — but eventually, the player would be able to upgrade to the National dex, being able to log every Pokémon. In Ruby and Sapphire, the National Dex was awarded immediately upon trading with FireRed and LeafGreen, while in Emerald it was obtained by beating the game, and in FireRed and LeafGreen it was enabled in a sidequest along with trading with the Hoenn games. Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD allowed trading with the GBA games after beating the game as well.
Gen IV used the Pal Park feature, which utilized the GBA slot of the Nintendo DS to transfer Pokémon one-way from the GBA games; players participated in a Safari Zone-like minigame to recapture their previous Pokémon. In this and future games, it wasn't required to have the National Dex to get Pokémon from outside the region in trades.
Gen V used Poké Transfer, requiring a wireless link between two DS-family systems to transfer Pokémon from Gen IV. Once again, a minigame was used to liven up the transfer process, this time involving shooting Poké Balls out of a bow to hit the Pokémon that run around on the top screen. There was also a simpler transfer method called the Relocator, that only worked with a few specific event-giveaway Pokémon but wasn't limited by having to beat the game first.
Gen VI has promised to provide a new era of simple compatibility; thanks to the "Pokémon Bank" service and its accompanying "Poké Transporter" program, Pokémon can be easily transferred from Gen V to Gen VI, and Nintendo has indicated that the Pokémon Bank will be compatible with future generations of Pokémon as well, greatly simplifying the process- though, you'll have to pay $5 a year to keep using it for more than a month.
Olympus Mons: Arceus is implied to be the creator of the Pokémon universe. Yet Arceus still can't break out of a Master Ball. Go to a Nintendo special event to get one of your own!
One Curse Limit: A Pokémon cannot be affected by two major status effects (Poison, Paralysis, Sleep, etc.) at the same time.
Arguably the Trope Codifier, if not the Trope Maker. Each generation of the series comes in at least two "versions", with certain Pokémon exclusive to a particular version. Trading between versions is the only way to truly catch them all.
Note that other than Dex completion, each version is pretty much "complete". The game in fact encourages trading rather than buying both games.
The Gen V games also have more differences than previous ones, like Black City/White Forest and the two versions of Reversal Mountain and Opelucid City.
Arguably inverted in Gold and Silver and their remakes: although the trope remains valid, these games also offer the ability to go to a whole new region with new Gym Leaders and a rematch of the Elite Four after beating the main game. It's true that the Kanto portion is abbreviated compared to Johto, but still, it almost feels like a separate game.
One-Gender Race: Several species of Pokémon are exclusively male or exclusively female, although some (like the Nidoran, or Volbeat/Illumise) are considered different genders of the same species, officially or otherwise.
One Head Taller: Not for romantic reasons. However, measuring a person's height by their head is a way of telling their age in all medias. Children usually are 5 heads tall, teens six, and adults seven.
One-Hit Kill: Guillotine, Horn Drill, Fissure, and since Generation III, Sheer Cold, are this. In G1, they couldn't hit Pokémon faster than the user, while since G2, they can't hit Pokémon with a higher level, and their accuracy is the difference between the user's and the target's level, plus 30%note Since they ignore accuracy and evasion changes, difference of at least 70 levels is equal to a Swift-like accuracy. In Rescue Team and Explorers (and presumably WiiWare PMD games), the game says the Pokémon faints from "calamitous damage".
Blue/Gary Oak's sister. Twice. In the games, she's named Daisy, which confuses people familiar with the anime where one of Misty's sisters is also named Daisy. In The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga, she's named May, which confuses people who follow the anime and games even more, as that's the name of Ash's companion in Hoenn and the female character in RSE.
Only Shop in Town: In the vast majority of the towns and cities throughout the series, the local Pokémart will be the only place where goods of any kind are bought and sold.
Averted in Pokémon Black and White and its sequel, where you see stalls and flea markets. Pokémarts themselves became integrated with Pokémon Centers.
Our Monsters Are Weird: A lot of Pokémon. The 5th generation in particular is known for this, but the other gens have some weird ones as well.
In Gen. V, we have an ice cream conenote Vanillite, Vanillish, and Vanilluxe, who are actually closer to Snowcones than Ice Cream because they're actually made of crystals, a candle that first evolves into a lamp, then a chandeliernote Litwick, Lampent, and Chandelure, a trash bagnote Trubbish, who evolves into Garbodor, a trash heap, gearsnote Klink, Klang, and Klinklang, a sarcophagus that used to be humannote Cofagrigus, which evolved from Yamask, a mask ghost, a disembodied brainnote Elgyem and Beheeyem, a legendary trio based on The Three Musketeersnote Cobalion, Terrakion, Virizion, and Keldeo - Officially known as the Swords of Legends, and a species based on The Nazca Lines Condor◊note Sigilyph
Generation VI is already shaping up to have some of these. There's the flying dragon-bat-boomboxnote Noivern, a possessed sword that can unsheathe itselfnote Honedge, a cotton candy Pokémonnote Swirlix, and Cthulhu-like mind-controlling squids that turn upside downnote Inkay and Malamar.
Previous generations introduce monsters based on such concepts as the entire English alphabet including ! and ? marksnote Unown, magnets that evolve into a UFOnote Magnemite, Magneton, and Magnezone, living Poké Ballsnote Voltorb and Electrode — and they're fast Pokéballs to boot, with Voltorb's speed being no slouch even compared to fully evolved Pokémon, a pineconenote Pineco, who evolves into Forretress, a boomboxnote Whismur, Loudred, and Exploud, a clay statue encircled with eyesnote Claydol, which evolves from Baltoy, a windchimenote Chimecho, who evolves from a bell (Chingling), a mon based on the futakuchi-onnanote Mawile, note a starved woman that had a hungry mouth emerge out of a wound in the back of her head. a Shapeshifting pink blob that can breed with almost anything and looks like a wad of bubble gumnote Ditto, a powerful cat fetusnote Mew, a flying magnetic Moai head that looks like a Jewish stereotypenote Probopass, who evolves from a miniature rock Moai (Nosepass], a mutated Shapeshifting alien space virus with its brain in its chestnote Deoxys, a stomachnote Gulpin and Swalot, living sludgenote Grimer and Muk, eggs that evolve into a walking coconut tree with faces on its fruitnote Exeggcute and Exeggutor, ghost balloons that try to abduct childrennote Drifloon and Drifblim, a cursed, probably possessed doll that seeks the child that disowned itnote Shuppet and Banette, a incredibly stupid hippo thing that gains super genius level intelligence when a clam bites its skull and releases toxins while it's holding a special rocknote Slowpoke and Slowking. Poor Slowbro..., etc...
The Overworld: The various Routes inbetween cities and caves. Unlike most overworlds that are extremely expansive with points of interests scattered, the Routes are more like connect the dots, each being a straight shot to one other place. Also, Random Encounters only happen in Tall Grass. There are typically a few different Route themes. The early ones are more bouncy like you're out camping, as it progresses they get more noble as you're now on a true adventure.
Palette Swap: Quite literally, for shiny Pokémon. They are no more or less effective than their normal counterparts (except Generation II, where they have mid range stats all around), but their rarity (a 1 in 8192 chance of being encountered) make them sought-after, even if they're Com Mons.
Padded Sumo Gameplay: Pretty easy to do with two stall-heavy Mons, or if the battle has been going on for a while and Mons only have Struggle as their move left. Reaches ridiculous levels in Wobbuffet vs. Wobbuffet battles, where due to a lack of actual attacks beyond counterattacks, that they can only hit with Struggle, and their high defence means that winning with that will take a long, long time. And heaven help you if you both have Leftovers attached, which will easily heal more HP than Struggle will hurt you for...
The Wobbuffet vs. Wobbuffet scenario is the likely reason why in Generation IV and onward the recoil damage from Struggle is equal to 1/4 the user's max HP instead of 1/2 the damage dealt to the target.
The Shadow Tag issue actually had to be tweaked in Gen III to prevent unwinnable situations...if both Pokemon have Shadow Tag, it,will fail.
Many Pokémon. All Absol try to warn people about disasters despite suffering from Cassandra Did It, all Bagon want to fly so badly they developed natural crash helmets to protect themselves when leaping off cliffs, all Meowth like shiny things and collect them, etc... This can lead to an Out of Character if you happen to get a Single Specimen Species with a nature that contradicts its Canon personality, like a Timid or Jolly Mewtwo.
Planimal: Bulbusaur's family is both animal and plant simultaneously. Also Chikorita, Treecko, Turtwig, Snivy, and Pansage, being part weird dinosaur, gecko, turtle, snake, and monkey, respectively.
Player Data Sharing: The series was built on the idea of players being able to trade their mons between each other. Each iteration of the game even comes in multiple versions, with exclusive Pokemon, to encourage trading.
Pluralses: Non-fans or casual fans often don't realize that both the franchise name and the names of individual Pokémon don't get an S on the end; singular and plural are the same (one Pokémon, many Pokémon; one Pikachu, many Pikachu).
Police Are Useless: To varying degrees. In the anime, Team Rocket never get arrested (mostly because Ash makes them blast off). In the games, officers only fight at night, and even when there's a museum robbery, or when an organization has set up an evil-looking base in the middle of town, both done in broad daylight, only the player actively attempts to fight back.
Looker is a one-man exemplification of this trope, up until his very last appearance, in which he actually arrests someone, go figure.
Taken further in Pokémon Colosseum. There are only two officers in a crime-filled desert, and their long arm of the law isn't nearly long enough to stamp out the crime in their town, much less all of Orre.
The first generation unlocked the Cerulean Cave, home to the most powerful Pokémon, Mewtwo. The remakes also unlocked the last four Sevii Islands.
The second generation unlocked the Kanto region, with the leaders of the first generation ready to fight you again. Many people, however, consider this to be part of the game and not an unlockable. Mt. Silver on the other hand only unlocks when you beat the 8 old gyms and lets you fight the True Final Boss, the protagonist of the first generation.
The third generation unlocks the roaming Pokémon Latios (in Ruby) or Latias (in Sapphire), with Emerald letting the player choose which one of the two will be roaming. Ruby and Sapphire unlock the Sky Pillar (where Rayquaza can be battled/caught) and the Battle Tower; Emerald unlocks the Battle Frontier, Terra Cave, and Marine Cave (the locations where Groudon and Kyogre can be battled/caught, respectively), the National Pokédex (completion nets a choice of one of the Johto starters), and new areas in Hoenn's Safari Zone (of which the inhabitants are mostly Johto Pokémon).
The fourth generation unlocks the upper right part of the map, with the Fight, Survival, and Resort Areas, but to unlock the latter two, you need to have seen every Pokémon in the Regional Pokédex (which can be a pain in the ass and a Guide Dang It to boot). Turnback Cave also appeared when you unlocked the previous areas. Pokémon swarms started to appear every day too.
The fifth generation went one step further than any other, as the League Champion is now a post-endgame battle, something never done before. Other important fights with Bonus Bosses are unlocked too, as well as new areas (the right part of the map) where old generation Pokémon appear. The option to connect with the fourth generation becomes available too.
Black 2 and White 2, due to being sequels rather than simply third versions, unlock not only the White Forest/Black city areas, as well as the ability to import from the 4th Gen, but also the first area from Black and White, Icirrus City and its surrounding environs, the Nature Preserve (which requires you to have seen the entire Unova Dex in addition), and, for a first, the version's legendary mascot, unavailable before completing the game.
The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series are far from over when you end the game. You'll gain access to many new areas and a second storyline. You'll also be able to fight (and even recruit) the boss legendary Pokémon from the first part.
Power Copying: Pokémon can do this in a variety of ways, both temporarily (Ditto and Mew's move Transform, as well as the moves Mimic and Mirror Move) or permanently (Smeargle's Sketch makes it learn the opponent's move).
The Pokémon ability Trace allows the user to specifically copy the opponent's ability (determined randomly if more than one foe is present), and the move Role Play is a manual method of accomplishing the same thing that the ability Trace does.
Power Creep: And how. It's impossible to keep track of all the old-school Pokémon that have been completely eclipsed by new counterparts. The addition of physical fire moves should have been a godsend for Flareon, but instead they gave Flare Blitz to every other fire-type and left the little weirdo to swing. Pidgeot and Fearow got two of the worst abilities in the game, while Swellow got Guts to dovetail with STAB Facade, and Staraptor got Close Combat and Intimidate. Persian is outclassed by Ambipom's superior Attack stat and slightly better movepool. Electabuzz got an intriguing Attack-heavy evolution, but the only physical Electric move that stands out (Volt Tackle) is still exclusive to the Pikachu line, while Electivire's signature ability has been distributed to newer Pokémon. Magmar's corresponding evolution gets Thunderbolt to deal with Water-types, but has low Speed, weak priority, and an ill-suited ability. Primeape at least got Close Combat, but can't keep up with mixed and boosting Infernape and Lucario. Similarly, Pinsir got Close Combat but not Megahorn, so there's really no competing with Heracross.
Mind you, some of the aforementioned Pokémon tend to be used for team dynamics and not generally for standing on the fight. Ninetales, for instance, is generally subpar and is only kept in high level teams due to its ability. Compare to Venusaur, which can actually wreak havoc, but good luck getting one with Chlorophyll.
Base stats seem to climb up and up whenever new Pokémon get introduced. Generation 5 was the most blatant in that regard with, among other things, Pokémon with 147 base attacking statsnote Haxorus and Chandelure, for Attack and Special Attack respectively, while Generation 6 introduces Aegislash (Blade) with 150 in both. And they're not even pseudo-legendaries.
This applies to moves, too. Take boosting moves, for example: the first two generations only had moves that boost one stat. The third generation introduced Status Buff moves affecting two stats, such as Dragon Dance and Calm Mind. The fifth generation not only extended this to three stats (Quiver Dance, Coil) but introduced moves that boost a stat three times. Attacking moves' base powers tend to rise dramatically with each generation: Generation 4 has Fighting and Dragon attacks at/exceeding 120 base power, while Generation 5 memorably introduced a 180 BP Fire attack, albeit one with severe drawbacks (and only available via event).
Power Limiter: Poké Balls of all kinds, though presumably the "limiter" (whatever it is; maybe a mental block?) can be removed by the Trainer temporarily, should they wish.
Power Of The Storm: Any Pokémon who can learn the move Rain Dance can summon rain. Similarly, any Pokémon with the ability Drizzle can cause a permanent version of Rain Dance, which was part of the world-threatening issue in the plot of the 3rd generation games. Any Pokemon with the ability Cloud Nine or Air Lock can dispel these storms. Notable is Rayquaza, who can stop the effects of Kyogre's Drizzle almost instantly.
Mewtwo summons a storm which rivals the worst storm in documented history in the first movie.
The Power of the Sun: Solarbeam, Morning Sun, Weather Ball, the Abilities Chlorophyll, Solar Power, Forecast, Flower Gift...
Power Up Letdown: Few HM moves have enough attack power to make them useful in competitive multiplayer battling, and become useful only in the field. A Pokémon equipped with HM moves exclusively for field usage is sometimes called an "HM Slave". Surf and Waterfall are the major exceptions, as they are both staples of competitive battling.
Practical Taunt: The moves Taunt, used in making the target only use offensive moves, and Torment, for preventing the target from using the same move twice in a row. Parting Shot lowers the opponent's attacking stats while switching the user out.
The series only plays this straight with Mossdeep Gym Leaders Tate and Liza, who look like young children (complete with Twin Telepathy). And maybe Caitlin, depending on which generation you're playing. All the other prominent Psychic-type trainers (eg. Sabrina, Will, Lucian, as well as the Psychic trainer class) appear to be at least in their twenties.
Some Psychic-type Pokémon, such as Mime Jr, Smoochum, Ralts, Kirlia, Gothita, and Gothorita actually resemble children.
Psychic Powers: Psychic-type Pokémon, as well as a few humans (human psychics coincidentally tend to favor Psychic-type Pokémon).
Punch Clock Villain: Most trained Pokémon owned by evil teams are apparently like this. The grunts of each version's evil team also tend to be this. (Team Plasma grunts are the major exception; they're Unwitting Pawns instead.) After Team Plasma collapses, a polite former member even sets up an incense shop in Driftveil's Market.
Just about every Pokémon's name is a pun or Portmanteau on their type, design, or general nature — some of the puns are even bilingual.
In the English versions, almost every single Gym Leader and Elite Four member's name is a pun on their preferred type. Lt. Surge, Wattson, Volkner and Elesa are Electric trainers, Brock, Roxanne and Roark are Rock trainers, Pryce, Candice and Brycen are Ice trainers, Fantina, Morty and Shauntal are Ghost trainers, and so forth.
The Dragon type with their "legendary power" mentioned by Lance isn't super effective against anything besides itself, but the only type which resists it is Steel. (And Fairy, which is immune.) Dragons make up for this by learning attacks of varying types, such as Fire Blast and Earthquake.
Race Lift: Colosseum Leader Rosie and Colosseum Master Sashay were given darker skintones in the American version of Battle Revolution due to complaints of a lack of any skintone variance.
Rain Dance: It's a move which summons rain for 5 turns, or 8 turns if the user is holding a Damp Rock.
Random Effect Spell: Metronome is the most dramatic, being able to use any other attack in the game. Assist and Sleep Talk are more minor ones, as is Present.
Players curse pretty much anything that has a random chance of happening, whether it's Standard Status Effects, their Mon injuring itself in confusion, the opposing Mon landing a Critical Hit....
Accuracy/evasion are a special annoyance, as while all Mons have a base accuracy of 100%, moves that affect accuracy or evasion will make anything (short of an Always Accurate Attack) seem to miss at the worst possible times, and seemingly more against you than the AI.
Most field moves do essentially the same task: "Cut" and Rock "Smash" destroy obstacles (trees and rocks) on the field, "Whirlpool" and "Waterfall" grant passage across obstacles in water (like, well, whirlpools and waterfalls)...
Aside from HMs, there are a lot of moves that have the exact same base power, accuracy, and/or effects, but with different elemental typings. Flamethrower, Ice Beam, and Thunderbolt, for example. As of Gen V, Crabhammer became functionally identical to Aqua Tail (the former previously had slightly lower accuracy); Justified since they're both dependent on different body parts, and so currently have no overlap in which Pokémon can learn them.
Reality Warper: Stantler's Pokédex entry in Gold is "The curved antlers subtly change the flow of air to create a strange space where reality is distorted."
Based on its other Pokédex entries and the anime, it's more like where reality appears distorted. Its special abilities focus on hypnotism and illusions.
More accurately, Arceus in HeartGold/SoulSilver has the power to create an egg for one of the Gen 4 dragons in a special area. The way the animation for this is shown, it looks like it's remaking the entire Universe just to give you the egg. This is also the ONLY legitimate way to get a Legendary egg (Manaphy and Phione keep getting flip-flopped).
We also have the Ralts-Kirlia-Gardevoir evolution line, all of whom can "warp reality" to some extent. Gardevoir in particular, according to its Pokédex entry, "has the psychokinetic power to distort the dimensions and create a small black hole", on top of future prediction and teleportation. Move aside, Alakazam and Mewtwo.
Reduced Mana Cost: Inverted with the "Pressure" ability, which doubles PP cost for the enemy's moves, and triples it in double battles if both Pokémon possess the Ability.
Red String of Fate: The held item Destiny Knot (a ball of red string) - if a Pokémon of the opposite gender uses Attract or the Cute Charm ability on you while you're holding it, your opponent becomes infatuated as well. Actually called Red String in the Japanese version, even.
Renamed the Same: If you ask the Name Rater to rename one of your Mons, but give him the same name it already had, he'll lampshade it, declaring that the new name may look the same as the old one, but it's still vastly superior.
Retcon: Generation II gave Magnemite and Magneton the then-new Steel typing, while Generation V changed out the Ghost half of Rotom's alternate forms' typings for more thematically appropriate types, and Generation VI is going to give at least three old Pokémon the new Fairy type.
Prior to the introduction of Pichu, the anime showed baby Pikachu.
Retro Upgrade: Pikachu, despite being pretty much the official mascot for the franchise, was never very useful in game due to its low stats. Later generations, however, included a special item called the Light Ball, which could only be equipped by Pikachu and would significantly boost its speed and damage, giving it a viable role as a Glass Cannon.
Roar Before Beating: Utilized as a gameplay mechanic. Moves like "Screech" and "Growl" will lower an opponent's stats without doing actual damage.
Rule of Three: There always are three starters and at least one legendary trio per game. There also usually come out three main games per generation, not counting remakes. As of Gen V, Triple Battles and Rotation Battles (which also use three Pokémon, but different field mechanics). Starting with Generation III, version mascots tend to be part of a trio as well (with the third one being used for the inevitable Updated Re-release).
Rummage Fail: Implied to happen with Delibird, whenever you get the undesired effect(s) using its signature Present attack (accidentally healing the opponent or damaging your Doubles/Triples partner).
Running Gag: Most of main series games have a Fisherman with 6 Magikarps. In fact, in Generation V, since Magikarp can't be found prior to obtaining the National Dex, this trainer has Magikarp at Level 60 (58note 53 in Easy and 63 in Challenge in sequels)
Hoenn games instead have a Fisherman with 6 Magikarp— but when you go back for a rematch it's become a Magikarp and 5 Gyarados.
There's always a Youngster talking about shorts.
In Black and White, there's a girl talking about skirts instead.