How the first Pokemon entries inspired new games

By William Davis


Jun 11, 2023

Reading time: 3 min

When Pokemon Red and Blue were released in the United States in 1998, the games already had a large following in Japan. As it spread around the world, it grew more rapidly than anyone could have imagined. With the release of Pokemon Yellow and the widespread airing of the original cartoon series, Pokemon became a truly global phenomenon. 

Everyone had their favorite part of the game, from exploring to collecting Pokemon to grinding through the tall grass to evolve their favorites. One of the more intriguing parts of the game was the Celadon City Game Corner, where you could play different games. 

Celadon City was one of the biggest locations in the game, and arriving there for the first time really did feel like you’d made it to the big city. Not only were there tons of buildings to explore, but there was also a multi-story shopping mall. The Celadon City Game Corner was a slot machine hall with games that your character could play. 

These traits have helped Pokemon grow into one of the most recognizable media franchises in the world, and it’s safe to say it’s one of the most influential games, if not properties in general, of all time.

Pokemon’s popularity continues well into 2023

While Pokemon cards and video games were taking the world by storm, online casinos were also experiencing a growth in popularity. Initially, they were niche operations featuring mainly online poker or rudimentary slots. But just like how the Pokemon universe has expanded immensely since the 1990s, online casinos have become a major segment of the gambling industry, with a huge selection of games now available for a wide variety of players. 

Pokemon GO fest

The Pokemon franchise has grown exponentially, with multiple generations of games available on all manner of consoles, as well as films, board games, and even a live-action series. Many of the series’ classics are also being rereleased on modern consoles, so there is something available for every player.

The Celadon City Game Corner broke new ground

Seemingly in a nod to the history of Las Vegas and the international tradition of organized crime being linked to the gambling world, the Game Corner is initially named the Rocket Game Corner and hides a Team Rocket base. 

There are 30 slot machines in the Game Corner, with 11 of them unavailable to play for various reasons. The rest are open to players. To play, you first had to collect a coin case to hold your potential winnings. The Celadon City Game Corner slot machine game was a typical slot. Three of the icons are classic slot images like BAR, cherries, and the number 7. The rest are made up of iconic Pokemon. It should be no surprise that a trio of Magikarp will only win you 15 tokens! The 7s are the big winners, netting players 300 tokens for a row of three. 

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In Gold, Silver, and Crystal, a second game was added. This was Card Flip, a sort of roulette-style betting game. Each round, two cards from the deck are dealt face down, and the player can place bets on what they will be. It’s a simple game but with a bit more strategy to it than slots. There are only 24 cards in the deck, and it plays similarly to traditional blackjack.

Pokemon gambling didn’t stay around for long

The most recent versions of Pokemon games have removed Game Corners entirely or made the games unplayable. This was done to comply with standards that were trying to reduce the appeal of gambling to children. Pan-European Game Information, which is one of the major rating systems, has regulated that any games with gambling elements will be rated 18+. This would obviously have seriously cut into the Pokemon franchise’s fanbase.

If you ever feel nostalgic and want to play the old Pokemon gambling games, you’ll have to dust off your old Gameboy, pop in some AA batteries, and make your way to Celadon City.