Pokémon Black Version and White Version (ポケットモンスター ブラック・ホワイト Poketto Monsutā Burakku & Howaito, “Pocket Monsters: Black & White”) are role-playing games developed by Game Freak, published by The Pokémon Company and by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS. They are the first installments in the fifth generation of the Pokémon series of role-playing games. First released in Japan on September 18, 2010, they were later released in Europe on March 4, 2011, in North America on March 6, 2011, and Australia on March 10, 2011.
Similar to previous installments of the series, the two games follow the journey of a young Pokémon trainer through the region of Unova, as they train Pokémon used to compete against other trainers, while thwarting the schemes of the criminal organization Team Plasma. Black and White introduced 156 new Pokémon to the franchise, 5 more than the previous record holder Red and Blue, as well as many new features, including a seasonal cycle, rotation battles, fully animated Pokémon sprites and triple battles. Both titles are independent of each other, but feature largely the same plot, and while both can be played separately, trading Pokémon between both of the games is necessary in order to complete the games’ Pokédex.
Upon their release, Black and White received positive reviews; critics praised the advancements in gameplay, as well as several of the new Pokémon introduced; much acclaim went to the unique, complex plot. Reviewers, however, were divided on some of the character designs, and some critics felt that the games did not innovate as much as expected. Nevertheless, the games were commercial successes; prior to the games’ Japanese release, Black and White sold one million consumer pre-orders and sold five million copies as of January 2011, making it one of the best selling DS games to date. As of September 2017, the games’ combined sales have reached 15.64 million, putting the titles amongst the best selling games for the Nintendo DS, but still being outsold by their predecessors, Diamond and Pearl. Sequels to Pokémon Black and White, Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, were released in Japan for the Nintendo DS in June 2012, with October releases in North America, Europe, and Australia.