The Game Boy was also the birthplace of the Pokémon franchise. The first Pokémon video game was released in Japan on February 27, 1996 by Nintendo. Pokémon was developed by Game Freak and was monitored closely by Nintendo. It is a role-playing game where the player caught and trained monsters and competed with others in competition. The object of Pokémon was to find and capture all 151 creatures either by capturing them in the game or by trading with other players via the Game Link cable. Two different versions of the game — Red and Blue (Red and Green in Japan) — were released, both having different types of monsters to capture.
Pokémon would become one of Nintendo's most successful franchises, spawning its own highly–successful animated series as well as lines of toys, trading cards, and apparel. Pokémon Red and Blue became the highest–selling video games in 1998 upon its release in North America, and it revitalized interest in the Game Boy. It became the console's highest-selling non-bundled game at 20.08 million copies.