What are Starter Pokémon?

Starter Pokémon are the Pokémon characters that are offered to a player at the beginning of a video game. They are sometimes referred to as starters or first partner Pokémon.

With the exception of Pokémon Yellow, Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee players are given a choice of  three starter Pokémon. The player chooses either a grass type, fire type or water type Pokémon from the generation relevant to the game. Their rival will then choose one of the other two. 

Grass, fire and water types form a triangle of weakness. Grass is weak to fire, fire is weak to water and water is weak to grass.

Grass Fire Water triangle of weakness

In Pokémon Yellow and Let’s Go Pikachu the player is given Pikachu as their starter Pokémon, while in Let’s Go Eevee the player partners with Eevee.

 

Generation I

Kanto Region Starter Pokémon

Pokémon Red, Blue and Green

Pokémon Red and Green were released in Japan in 1996 as Pocket Monsters: Red and Pocket Monsters: Green, later the same year, Pocket Monsters: Green was released. The games were released internationally in 1998 and 1999 as Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue for the Nintendo Game Boy. Both games have Pokémon that are exclusive to that game.

In Pokémon Red and Blue the player meets Professor Oak while wandering around Pallet Town. The Professor takes the player to his laboratory and introduces his grandson who will be the player’s rival in the game. The player is invited to choose their starter Pokémon from Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle. Professor Oak’s grandson will then choose the Pokémon that is stronger than yours.

Generation I Starters Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle

 

Pokémon Yellow

Pokémon Yellow was released in Japan in 1998 and internationally in 1999 and 2000 for the Nintendo Game Boy.

The game play is almost the same as in Pokémon Red and Blue except that there is no choice of starter Pokémon. Professor Oak gives the player a wild Pikachu as their starter, while the rival is given Eevee. 

Pikachu Pokémon Starter

 

Generation II

Johto Region Starter Pokémon

Pokémon Gold and Silver

Pokémon Gold and Silver were released in Japan in 1999 and internationally in 2000 and 2001 for the Game Boy Color.  Both games have Pokémon that are exclusive to that game.

In Pokémon Gold and Silver the player meets Professor Elm who offers a choice of starter Pokémon from Chikorita, Cyndaquil and Totodile. 

Generation II Starters Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Totodile

 

Pokémon Crystal

Pokémon Crystal was released internationally in 2001 and is an enhanced version of Pokémon Gold and Silver released for the Game Boy Color.

Like Gold and Silver, players are offered a choice of Chikorita, Cyndaquil or Totodile.

 

Generation III

Hoenn Region Starter Pokémon

Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire

Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire were released internationally in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance. Like the 1999 versions, the two games only differ in the Pokémon that can be found within the game.

The player takes the part of a child who has moved to the town Littleroot. The player chooses either Treecko, Torchic or Mudkip as a starter Pokémon to defend resident professor Birch. Afterwards, the chosen Pokémon becomes the player’s partner Pokémon. 

Generation III starters Treecko, Torchic, Mudkip

 

Kanto Region Starter Pokémon

Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen

FireRed and LeafGreen are 2004 remakes of the original Pokémon Red and Blue released 1999. They were played on the Game Boy Advance. Like the 1999 versions, the two games only differ in the Pokémon that can be found within the game.

The story is exactly the same as the original but towards the end of the game the player is able to visit the Sevii Islands. Like the original games the starter Pokémon are Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle.

Generation I Starters Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle

 

Hoenn Region Starter Pokémon

Pokémon Emerald

Pokémon Emerald were released internationally in 2005 as an enhanced version of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. The game was released for the Game Boy Advance.

The story echoes that of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire with the player choosing from Treecko, Torchic or Mudkip as a starter Pokémon.

Generation III starters Treecko, Torchic, Mudkip

 

Generation IV

Sinnoh Region Starter Pokémon

Pokémon Diamond and Pearl

Pokémon Diamond and Pearl were released internationally in 2007 for the Nintendo DS.  Both games have Pokémon that are exclusive to that game.

The player takes the part of a young novice trainer who, with their friend finds a briefcase left by the side of a lake. When they are attacked by a wild Starly they open the briefcase and choose either Turtwig, Chimchar or Piplup to fend off the attack. After returning the briefcase to Professor Rowan their chosen Pokémon becomes their starter Pokémon.

 

Pokémon Platinum

Pokémon Platinum was released internationally in 2009 for the Nintendo DS and is an enhanced remake of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.

The story is virtually the same as that of Diamond and Pearl with the player choosing either Turtwig, Chimchar or Piplup as their starter Pokémon.

 

Johto Region Starter Pokémon

Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver

Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver were released in Japan in 2009 and internationally in 2010 and 2001 for the Nintendo DS.  Both games have Pokémon that are exclusive to that game.

The games are updated remakes of Pokémon Gold and Silver. Like the original games, the player meets Professor Elm who offers a choice of starter Pokémon from Chikorita, Cyndaquil and Totodile. 

Generation II Starters Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Totodile

 

Generation V

Unova Region Starter Pokémon

Pokémon Black and White

Pokémon Black and White were released in Japan in 2010 and internationally in 2011 for the Nintendo DS.  Both games have Pokémon that are exclusive to that game.

The game follows a young trainer on their journey through the Unova region. At the beginning of the story Professor Juniper offers the player a choice of Snivy, Tepig or Oshawott as their starter Pokémon.

Generation V Starters Snivy, Tepig, Oshawott

 

Pokémon Black 2 and White 2

Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 were released in 2012 for the Nintendo DS as sequels to Pokémon Black and White.  Both games have Pokémon that are exclusive to that game and include new locations not available in the original games.

The starter Pokémon are the same as in Pokémon Black and White with the player choosing from Snivy, Tepig or Oshawott.

 

Generation VI

Kalos Region Starter Pokémon

Pokémon X and Pokémon Y

Pokémon X and Y were released in 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS. The two games differ only in the Pokémon encountered on the player’s journey through the Kalos Region. 

Like previous games the story follows a young trainer. After meeting Professor Sycamore the player chooses their starter Pokémon from Chespin, Fennekin or Froakie.

Generation VI Starters Chespin, Fennekin, Froakie

 

Hoenn Region Starter Pokémon

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are remakes of the 2003 games Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. They were released internationally in 2014 for the Nintendo 3DS. Like the original versions, the two games only differ in the Pokémon that can be found within the game. The remakes incorporate moves and features of the modern game.

The game story is the same as the original with the player choosing either Treecko, Torchic or Mudkip as their starter Pokémon.

Generation III starters Treecko, Torchic, Mudkip

 

Generation VII

Alola Region Starter Pokémon

Pokémon Sun and Moon

Pokémon Sun and Moon were released Worldwide in 2016 for the Nintendo 3DS. The games feature the Alola Region which is based on Hawaii.

The story follows a young trainer who has moved to the Alola Region from the Kanto Region. After meeting Professor Kukui, the player chooses either Rowlett, Litten or Popplio as their starter Pokémon.

Generation VII Starters Rowlett, Litten and Popplio

 

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were released Worldwide in 2017 for the Nintendo 3DS. The games are enhanced versions of Pokémon Sun and Moon which were released the previous year and feature new locations and buildings.

Like Sun and Moon, the story follows a young trainer in their journey through the Alola Region. The starter Pokémon are also the same – Rowlett, Litten or Popplio as their starter Pokémon.

 

Kanto Region Starter Pokémon

Let’s Go Pikachu, Let’s Go Eevee

Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee are 2018 remakes of the original Pokémon Yellow released internationally in 1999 and 2000. Both games were released for the Nintendo Switch. 

The story is very similar to the original game except that in Let’s Go Pikachu the starter Pokémon is Pikachu while in Let’s Go Eevee the player receives Eevee.  Each game also has game-exclusive Pokémon.

Pikachu and Eevee Starters

 

Generation VIII

Galar Region Starter Pokémon

Pokémon Sword and Shield

Pokémon Sword and Shield were released in 2019 for the Nintendo Switch and are the first to feature the Galar Region which is based on the United Kingdom. Each game features game-exclusive Pokémon.

The story sees the player and their friend Hop travel through the Galar Region in a bid to defeat the reigning Pokémon Champion, Leon. Before leaving on their journey, Leon offers the player a choice of starter Pokémon from Grookey, Scorbunny, or Sobble.

Generation VIII Starters Grookey, Scorbunny, Sobble

 

Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion

The first downloadable expansion for Pokémon Sword and Shield was released in the Summer of 2020 and featured the Isle of Armor which is based on the Isle of Man. The new region is an add-on for the main Sword and Shield game and as such does not involve the selection of Starter Pokémon.

The second downloadable expansion for Pokémon Sword and Shield was released in the Autumn of 2020 and features an ice covered location known as the Crown Tundra which is based on Scotland. Like the first expansion this is an add-on to the main game and does not require starter Pokémon.

 

Sinnoh Region Starter Pokémon

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl were released in 2021 for the Nintendo Switch.  The games are remakes of the 2007 games Diamond and Pearl. Both games have Pokémon unique to that game. 

The story is the same as the original with the player choosing either Turtwig, Chimchar or Piplup as their starter Pokémon.

 

Pokémon Legends Arceus

Pokémon Legends Arceus is scheduled for release in January 2022 on the Nintendo Switch. 

The story takes place in the Sinnoh region. Pokémon Legends Arceus breaks from the standard format by offering Pokémon from different generations as Starter Pokémon. In the game the player chooses either Rowlet, Cyndaquil or Oshawott as their Starter Pokémon. 

Pokémon Legends Arceus Starters