The Pokémon universe (ポケットモンスター, Pocket Monsters) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties that originate from Nintendo's immensely successful Pokémon media franchise. Pokémon is one of Nintendo's two most lucrative franchises, reaching only behind the Mario franchise in global video game sales and cementing its success outside of gaming via animated series, manga and merchandise; as of December 2016, Pokémon is the highest-grossing media franchise of all time with combined global sales of 6.0 trillion Japanese yen (55.15 billion USD). Thus, a rather large proportion of each Smash Bros. game's primary content is themed after the Pokémon series, and many of the other eponymous Pokémon creatures have made smaller cameos appearances elsewhere. Counting all Smash Bros. games' rosters together, more Pokémon have been playable characters than most other represented franchises: Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Pichu, Mewtwo, Lucario, Squirtle, Ivysaur, Charizard, Greninja, and Incineroar. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard were featured as a set of freely interchangeable combatants collectively represented by the character choice Pokémon Trainer.
In the early 1980s, video game enthusiast Satoshi Tajiri began writing and selling his own magazine series known as "Game Freak". He would be joined by artist Ken Sugimori and together they eventually took up the task of making video games themselves. Game Freak was officially founded as a game developer in April 1989 and would work on a number of unrelated titles for the Famicom and Super Famicom from 1989 to 1994, effectively making them a second-party developer for Nintendo.
It would not be until February 1996 that Nintendo and Game Freak saw unprecedented success in Japan and overseas with the release of two games. Pokémon was introduced in Japan as "Pocket Monsters", a Game Boy JRPG that came in slightly modified Red and Green editions that both made then-original use of the Game Boy's link cable between separate systems in that, rather than being strictly used for competition, it was additionally used for trading between players. Nintendo did not expect these games to be a large success, even less so in the West than domestically, but the games - branded Pokémon outside of Japan - took both sides of the Pacific and Atlantic by storm and quickly established the series as a blockbuster, multi-billion dollar franchise. The main JRPG series paved the way for a merchandising empire, including an extensive anime continuity, several series of manga, a bestselling trading card game, spinoff video games touching upon many other genres, and a live-action feature film that received mixed-to-positive reception greater than any other video game-based movie at that point. Pokémon has become the second biggest-selling game-based media franchise of all time, only behind Nintendo's Mario franchise; as of March 2013, cumulative sold units (including home console versions) have reached 245 million copies. As a direct result, Pokémon has been a mainstay in the Nintendo-centric crossover fighting games Super Smash Bros. since the series started in 1999.
In the various incarnations of the Pokémon universe, the world of Pokémon is an Earth-like world inhabited by many species of the eponymous Pokémon creatures which coexist with humans. The Pokémon are colorful, sentient, sometimes sapient creatures possessing the abilities to perform amazing talents of seemingly every conceivable sort, examples of which are breathing fire, expulsing poisonous smog, summoning rainfall, performing martial arts, using illusion to split up into multiple copies of itself, employing psychokinesis, unleashing paralysis-inducing electricity, etc. Many Pokémon live as wild animals both as predators and prey, while other individual Pokémon are immensely powerful beings that the world's human denizens superstitiously attach a variety of creation myths to, and others still are man-made. Unlike the main RPG series itself, where all Pokémon make animal-like grunts and vocalizations (except for a few cases, such as Pikachu in Yellow and the sixth generation onwards) most Pokémon in the anime freely communicate with each other in an exclusive language that consists entirely of them reciting their own species names, but some can communicate in human tongue through telepathy (e.g. Mewtwo), and in extremely rare cases a Pokémon can master the ability to speak the physical human tongue (e.g. Team Rocket's Meowth). This is retained in various spinoff games, such as the Super Smash Bros. series itself and Detective Pikachu, as well as other media such as the Detective Pikachu live-action film. As of the present "eighth generation", there are 900 recognized species of Pokémon, a fair portion of which are known to have multiple, distinctive forms.
The concepts of the Pokémon setting, in whatever incarnation it takes or what kind of media it is depicted in, stem from the hobby of insect collecting, which was a popular pastime which Pokémon executive director Satoshi Tajiri had enjoyed as a child. In most depictions of Pokémon, humans of varying interests seek out and capture various and multiple species of Pokémon using specially designed mass-producible tools called Poké Balls. In most cases, a Pokémon caught from the wild by a human willingly joins up with the human and obeys his or her spoken commands. Some catch and own Pokémon as friendly pets and lifelong companions and do not participate in any competitive activities with them. Others of a less savory nature, such as members of Pokémon crime syndicates such as Team Rocket, capture Pokémon and use them as living tools to advance their evil agendas. Most humans, however, including players of the Pokémon RPGs, take on the occupation of Pokémon training; they catch and collect Pokémon to train them and battle the Pokémon of other trainers in officially sponsored competitive Pokémon matches. There are never any lasting, bloody wounds or deaths incurred by the creatures involved, and seemingly never any hard feelings between winners and losers.
The two-stage object of most Pokémon RPGs is to collect all of the available Pokémon species in the region where that RPG takes place in, and from them train a winning team of powerful combat Pokémon to defeat the professionally trained Pokémon teams of that region's strongest trainers. The player's quest always takes him or her across the region to battle eight specialists in Pokémon training, that region's "gym leaders", and once eight commemorative badges have been gathered, the player may then go to the region's Pokémon League and battle an elite group of trainers - that region's Elite Four - and then battle the regional Champion to take the title. These five trainers, which must be battled one-after-the-other with little rest in between, are almost always the game's equivalent to any other RPG's "final boss" challenge. Pokémon captured from the wild with Poké Balls accumulate experience and learn new combat moves by battling many wild Pokémon and challenging other trainer's Pokémon to Pokémon matches, and whenever a Pokémon falls in battle ("knocked out"), it is easy to quickly and completely restore it to health, free of charge, by visiting one of many Pokémon Centers located throughout a region. Many species of Pokémon, when they gain enough experience and regardless of whether they are in the wild or under a trainer's ownership, undergo a metamorphosis and "evolve" into a similar, but larger and more powerful, species of Pokémon. Many of the 900 species belong to such lineages, and therefore many of the species of Pokémon are effectively different stages of what can be said to be several hundred "families" of Pokémon.
The Pokémon franchise's chronology is divided into "generations", each of which is defined by the newest Pokémon that are introduced within the newest pair of handheld Pokémon RPGs. Some generations may have more than one pair of interlinking RPGs, with the second set being released later than the first as a sort of "semi-sequel" to the base set that began that generation, but a new generation and associated set of new Pokémon are released every several years in a new pair of RPGs centered on a new fictional region. There have been eight generations that ran their courses, and each have introduced many, many dozens of new Pokémon, moves, and characters as well as new and changed mechanics and gameplay concepts:
In addition to the main series games, there also exists a multitude of spin-off games. The gameplay of these games can be similar or drastically different compared to the main series games, and can also have different goals of the game. These games are:
The Pokémon series' initial incarnation and set of releases were in effect when Super Smash Bros. was released in 1999, so only Pokémon from what is now referred to as the franchise's "first generation" are featured in the game.
With two of the twelve playable characters in the game being Pokémon species themselves, the Pokémon franchise ties with the Mario series in having the most amount of characters available on the roster (and becomes the second most-represented series if one counts Donkey Kong and Yoshi as extensions of the Mario series). Mewtwo was originally planned to be a playable character, but was scrapped for unknown reasons.
Super Smash Bros. features one Pokémon-themed stage:
Super Smash Bros. introduces what has since been the only Pokémon-related item featured throughout the Smash Bros. series until SSB4:
Following the release of the first Smash Bros., the Pokémon series entered its second generation in 1999, so Pokémon from the two existing generations at the time are featured in 2001's Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Additionally, Ditto makes an appearance as the graphic for a random character and color choice when setting up a Winner Out or Loser Out style tournament in the Tournament Mode.
Super Smash Bros. Melee features two stages representing Pokémon, one starter and one unlockable. While the second generation of Pokémon games introduced the Johto region in which they initially take place, it may be noted that both of the following stages nonetheless take place in Kanto, the region that was the setting of the first generation.
Main article: List of SSBM trophies (Pokémon series)
During the extended hiatus between Melee and Brawl, Pokémon proceeded with and completed its Third Generation, and had already begun its Fourth Generation in 2006-2007 when Brawl was released in 2008. Therefore, all four of the Pokémon generations at the time are represented in the Brawl package.
While Pokémon-related characters occupy four slots on the 35-slot character roster of the game, the franchise effectively contributes six unique playable characters, the largest of any represented franchise if not compared to a combination of Mario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, and Wario as one "overall" franchise; this is reflected in the Pokémon segment of the game's All-Star mode having the most opponents to fight. This is especially noteworthy because Pokémon is the only series to have more than one of its characters from Melee cut in the transition to Brawl, with the absence of both Pichu and Mewtwo in the roster.
On the final character select screen (after all characters are unlocked), the Pokémon characters take up the seventh column.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl features three stages representing Pokémon, one starter and two unlockable, and one of them is a carry-over from the previous game, Melee:
Main article: List of SSBB Music (Pokémon series)
Main article: List of SSBB trophies (Pokémon series)
Main article: List of stickers (Pokémon series)
In the interim between the releases of Brawl and the Wii U and 3DS Smash Bros. games, the Pokémon franchise once again proceeded with and completed a full generation, Generation V, and had started Generation VI, which allows for content from all six Pokémon generations to be featured in the most recent Smash Bros. game. Among the introductions in Generation VI are new, temporary "Mega Evolutions" for certain Pokémon species such as Lucario, Charizard, and Mewtwo who returns as the first downloadable character in the Smash Bros. series.
for Nintendo 3DS
for Wii U
Bold italics denotes an item new to the Smash Bros. series.
Poké Ball summons
A bolded lowercase Mu "μ" denotes a Pokémon that can be summoned from a Master Ball.
Smash Tour items
for Nintendo 3DS
Enemies exclusive to the 3DS version. They appear in Smash Run.
Main article: List of SSB4 Music (Pokémon series)
Arrangements and remixes unique to SSB4.
Arrangements and remixes from previous Smash titles.
Compositions and arrangements directly sourced from Pokémon series with no alterations.
Main article: List of SSB4 trophies (Pokémon series)
The Pokémon franchise has been greatly expanded to include a substantial amount of content from the seventh generation, starting with Sun and Moon, such as a new playable character, many new Poké Ball summons, many Spirits, and new music tracks. This is on top of all of the previous Pokémon fighters returning (including 3 cut veterans) and most of the summons, stages, and music tracks from the previous installments as well. This is the first title since Melee where Pikachu is the only Pokémon fighter available from the start.
All Pokémon stages from past games aside from Poké Floats return. This is the first game with no new Pokémon stage, only retro stages.
Main article: Items
Poké Ball Summons
A bolded lowercase Mu "μ" denotes a Pokémon that can be summoned from a Master Ball.
Main article: List of SSBU Music (Pokémon series)
Pokémon received 8 new tracks for Ultimate, 6 of them from Pokémon Sun and Moon.
Arrangements and remixes from previous Smash games.
Tracks sourced from the Pokémon games.
Main article: List of spirits (Pokémon series)
Media with elements appearing in the Super Smash Bros. series
Due to the long lasting popularity of the franchise, the Pokémon universe has received an impressive amount of representation, featuring a total of 29 games and media. The latest game represented in this universe is Pokémon Sword and Shield, released on November 15, 2019.