The original announcement of Pokémon Black & White came as something of a surprise. It was due to come out on the Nintendo DS in 2010. At this point, the Nintendo DS had already received its own generation (Pokémon Diamond & Pearl) and a duo of highly acclaimed remakes (Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver). The release of the Nintendo 3DS was also just around the corner.
Still, Pokémon Black & White proved itself to be a worthwhile continuation of the series. The games were highly acclaimed for shaking up the traditional Pokémon formula, by setting it outside of Japan and telling a story that dealt with some of the ethical issues of the Pokémon universe. They were also the first games in the series to receive their own direct sequels.
We are here today to look into the secrets of the Unova region. From PETA’s continuing quest to destroy the series to the lost battle against a familiar face.
Here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Pokémon Black & White (And Their Sequels).
15. PETA Made A Parody Of Pokémon Black & White
The Pokémon franchise has had its fair share of controversy over the years. These mainly fizzled out when the series waned in popularity during the Hoenn era. The one main concern about Pokémon that has never gone away, however, involves the belief that the series promotes animal abuse. This is why organizations, like PETA, have tried to have the series banned. It is believed that N & Team Plasma were inspired by these outcries and were an attempt by Game Freak to answer the criticisms of the series.
When Pokémon Black 2 & White 2 were close to releasing, PETA released a parody of the original Black & White that aimed to prove that the series was all about abusing animals. Pokémon Black & Blue was a Flash game, where you played as a group of Pokémon that had to fight off evil human opponents, who wanted to capture and torture them. The whole game is laughably inept and does nothing to endear you to PETA’s cause.
14. The Unused Lock Capsule
One of the main aspects of the Pokémon series involves trading with other players. It is impossible to catch them all on your own, as each version of the game does not have all of the Pokémon. As time went on, it became possible to trade between the various generations of games. This stretches back to Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire on the Game Boy Advance. It is possible to trade a Pokémon from those games into Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire on the Nintendo 3DS, which will reward you with a special certificate.
It was once planned for the player to be able to trade an item between Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver and Pokémon Black & White. There is an unused item in the code for the Johto remakes, called the Lock Capsule. This could not be opened in HeartGold & SoulSilver. You had to trade it to Black & White and take it to Mr. Lock in Castelia City, who would then open it for you. This would give you the TM for Snarl, which damages all Pokémon on the field and lowers their Special Attack.
13. The Presidents Of Unova
In the mid-nineties, there was a popular alternative rock band called The Presidents of the United States of America. They are best known for their two hit songs, “Lump” and “Peaches“. The band continued to tour until 2016 when they announced that they had permanently split up.
So what does this have to do with Pokémon? Well, the people at Nintendo were looking for a hot new band to sing a promotional song for Pokémon Black & White. They tried calling Tommy James & The Shondells, but they were busy. Nintendo eventually just called the “Lump” guys instead.
Nintendo and The President of the United States of America collaborated on “Can’t Stop (Catchin’ ‘Em All)“. The song was intended to hype people up for Pokémon Black & White, which would only work on people who are impressed by bald men clowning around in their shorts. If you ever wanted to hear a far worse version of the Pokérap, that focuses on the Pokémon from the Unova region, then this awful song has you covered.
12. The Girl In Kanto Who Wanted A Munna
Pokémon Red & Blue were released on the Game Boy, which was already considered to be an obsolete system by the time Pokémon arrived. Game Freak managed to do a lot of impressive things with Pokémon Red & Blue, that came at the cost of a lot of bugs and glitches.
It took a long time for Game Freak to be able to do everything they wanted with the Pokémon series, as they were often hampered by the limitations of handheld consoles. They would sometimes leave messages in their games that spoke of the ideas that they wanted to implement. In Pokémon Red & Blue, there is a Picnicker Trainer, named Carol, who wants to meet a chunky, pink Pokémon, with a floral pattern on its body. Picnicker Carol would finally get her wish in Pokémon Black & White, as she perfectly described Munna, who was introduced in that generation of games.
11. The Unova Gym Leaders Will Beat You Up
Every conflict in the Pokémon universe is resolved with Pokémon battles. It doesn’t matter how serious the situation is. If a terrorist is about to unleash a Pokémon that will annihilate all life on Earth, then you need to knock out all of their Pokémon in a battle in order to stop them. You can’t just run over and punch them in the face or threaten to shoot them with a gun.
The one group that is fine with using their Pokémon to attack human beings is the Unova Gym Leaders. In the 13th episode of Pokémon Generations, the Unova Gym Leaders beat the absolute crap out of the members of Team Plasma. This includes both the human and Pokémon members of the team. Brycen (the Ice-type Gym Leader of Icirrus City) actually eschews the use of his Pokémon and resorts to hand-to-hand combat. He has no problem using his martial arts skills to wail on Team Plasma.
10. The Unused Tournaments
One of the most hotly anticipated additions to Pokémon Black 2 & White 2 was the Pokémon World Tournament. This gave the player the chance to take part in tournaments as part of the single-player mode of the game. What made these contests so impressive was the ability to download special contestants through the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. This allowed you to challenge Gym Leaders and Champions from previous games. You could also fight some unique characters, like Giovanni from Team Rocket, or the rivals from Pokémon Black & White.
It seems that the tournament mode was going to include even more challenges at one point. There exist files hidden within the data for Pokémon Black 2 & White 2 for twelve more tournaments based on the 2011 Pokémon World Championships. These are unfinished and would have been filled in by the actual contestants of the real life tournaments, which had yet to take place while the game was still in development.
9. The International Designs
All of the Pokémon designed before Black & White were created by Japanese artists. In Pokémon Red & Blue, the bulk of all Pokémon designs were done by Ken Sugimori and Atsuko Nishida. As time went on, more designers contributed to the ever-growing roster of Pokémon.
Pokémon Black & White introduced Pokémon that were designed by someone who wasn’t from Japan. Seven of the Pokémon in the game were created by James Turner, who works for Game Freak. James is originally from Britain and he moved to Japan in order to work on the Pokémon series. The seven Pokémon he designed are Vanillite, Vanillish, Vanilluxe, Golett, Golurk, Vullaby, and Mandibuzz. He would later go on to design Phantump & Trevenant in Pokémon X & Y and Buzzwole & Guzzlord in Pokémon Sun & Moon.
It is a shame that the first international Pokémon designer was responsible for the Vanilluxe line, as these are often regarded as having the laziest design and being the most uninspired group of Pokémon in existence.
8. The Extinction Of Magikarp & Pikachu
Magikarp is the most common Pokémon you will meet in the whole series. They can be encountered in everything from tiny puddles to vast oceans, and even the inside of statues. Magikarp is one of the easiest Pokémon to breed and can survive almost everywhere. This is fortunate, as they are a popular choice of food among wild Pokémon.
In Pokémon Black & White, you cannot catch a Magikarp anywhere in the game. You can only purchase them from a seller on the Marvelous Bridge. It is speculated that the reason they are rare in Unova is due to the fact that it is based on America. Magikarp is based on the Asian carp, so it makes sense that they would not appear in Unova.
It isn’t just Magikarp that are hard to find in Unova. You cannot catch a Pikachu in the wild in Pokémon Black & White. This is despite the fact that Pikachu features prominently in the game’s promotional material. In order to use a Pikachu in Unova, you have to trade it from another game.
7. The Bug Champion
Alder is one of the most unusual Champions in the Pokémon series. He is the Champion of Unova in Pokémon Black & White, before being replaced by Iris in Black 2 & White 2. Unlike all of the other Champions in the series, he is not considered to be the end boss of the game. The conflict with N & Team Plasma is where the main story concludes and you don’t get a chance to fight Alder until the post-game.
The most fearsome Champions in the Pokémon series are the ones that use a variety of Pokémon types. Trainers like Red, Blue, and Cynthia are feared due to their balanced mixture of Pokémon. Champions like Lance, Steven and Wallace are easier, because they rely on a type (Dragon, Steel, and Water respectively). Alder falls into the latter category, as he specializes in Bug-type Pokémon, and uses three of them on his team.
Alder loves Bug-types due to the fact that his starter Pokémon was a Larvesta, that passed away from illness. He uses Bugs as a way of honoring his fallen comrade. This goes to show how powerful Bugs have become since Pokémon Red & Blue, where they were considered to be one of the weakest types in the game.
6. The Perfect Score
Famitsu magazine is one of the most highly respected video game publications in the world. It debuted in Japan in 1986 and has remained hugely popular there, even in the face of the death of the print industry. Every game in Famitsu is given a score out of ten by four different reviewers. These four scores are tallied up and are given as the final rating. A game that gets 40/40 is considered to be “perfect” by Famitsu. This is not a score that is given out lightly, however, and only twenty-four games have received it in the past thirty years. The first was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and the most recent was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
The only Pokémon games to ever receive a perfect score in Famitsu are Black & White. This is considered odd among fans of the game. Pokémon Black & White were certainly well received, but they also had numerous balance and gameplay issues. There are many fans who believe that Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver or X & Y were better candidates for the perfect score.
5. The Sky Drop Glitch
Pokémon Red & Blue were some of the buggiest games ever made. It’s a wonder Nintendo ever allowed games like that to be released on one of their systems. Since then, the series has improved drastically when it comes to glitches. They are practically a moot point nowadays, due to the fact that 3DS games can be patched. Even something as bad as the Lumiose City save glitch can easily be dealt with, through the use of a downloadable patch.
One of the nastiest bugs in the series could be found in Pokémon Black & White. It is known as the Sky Drop Glitch and it can prevent an enemy Pokémon from acting. This glitch can only be activated in a Double Battle and if one of your Pokémon knows Sky Drop, with the other knowing Gravity. You should use Sky Drop on an enemy Pokémon, which will drag both of them into the air. When your other Pokémon uses Gravity, it will cancel out Sky Drop and the two floating Pokémon will drop to the ground. The enemy Pokémon will no longer be able to act in battle, as the game still considers it to be in the air. The glitch will not stop until the user of Sky Drop is knocked out, or the battle ends.
4. The Hydreigon Tank
Pokémon Black & White introduced the first Dark/Dragon-type Pokémon into the series. These were a line of three Pokémon, called Deino, Zweilous, and Hydreigon. With each new evolutionary stage, the Pokémon would gain a new head. Hydreigon has three heads, which gives it the appearance of the Hydra from Greek mythology. The Hydreigon line would be the only Dark/Dragon-types until Guzzlord appeared in Sun & Moon.
The Hydreigon line was originally going to be very different. According to Ken Sugimori, the Hydreigon line was originally going to consist of cyborg dragons. Hydreigon itself was going to have tank tracks instead of legs. This design was abandoned and the Hydreigon line was reworked into using a design that looked more like traditional dragons. The segmented lines on Hydreigon’s body are all that remains of the original design. We can only assume that Ken Sugimori changed the design in an effort to make the game look less like Digimon.
3. Dresses & Shorts
One of the most infamous lines in Pokémon Red & Blue is uttered by one of the Youngsters who is hanging around on Route 3. Once defeated, he will tell you that he likes shorts, because they’re comfy and easy to wear. This line is true to the dialogue that is spoken in the original Japanese version of the game. The people at Game Freak really wanted the player to wear shorts. In the years since the release of Pokémon Red & Blue, this line of dialogue has become one of the most quoted phrases in the whole series.
In Pokémon Black 2 & White 2, it is possible to encounter a kindred spirit for the shorts-loving Youngster from Kanto. The player will eventually need to travel to Humilau City, which contains the final Pokémon Gym. There is a girl in this city who will tell the player that her dress is comfy and easy to wear.
2. The Worthwhile Prize For Finishing The Pokédex
The original catchphrase of the Pokémon video games and anime was “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”. This was abandoned over time, as it eventually became more and more difficult to actually catch them all. It was a daunting prospect back when there were only 151 Pokémon. Imagine what it is like in Pokémon Sun & Moon, where you have to catch over 800 of them!
In the first four generations of Pokémon games, you were given bad rewards for completing the Pokédex. It was usually a certificate or some new additions to the Trainer Card. Pokémon Black & White were the first games to actually give the player something useful for catching them all. If you completed the Pokédex in Unova, then the player would receive the Shiny Charm. This is an item that triples your chances of encountering a Shiny Pokémon. The Shiny Charm is a must for the insane players who actively seek out Shiny Pokémon.
1. The Lost Final Battle
Pokémon Gold & Silver has one of the best final battles in video game history. Once the player has conquered the Johto League, they are given the option to return to Kanto and challenge the eight Gyms that are there. If they can hold their own against the souped-up versions of the Kanto Gym Leaders, then they are given the chance to enter Mt. Silver. Once you reach the summit of the mountain, you will meet Red from Pokémon Red & Blue. The player will have to challenge the protagonist of the previous game, in one of the most difficult and epic boss battles in the series.
It seems that Pokémon Black 2 & White 2 were going to feature their own battle against the protagonist of the previous game. There are dialogue files for both Hilda and Hilbert, that prove you were going to battle against them in the World Tournament mode. They have no Pokémon associated with them, so it is unknown how difficult the confrontation against them would have been.
The Pokémon games set in Unova were in the unique position to allow the player to battle against their predecessors. It would have been a fitting end for the journey in Unova if the players could have their final match against the characters that had walked the same path as they did.