In the core series games (with two exceptions), the player can choose a Fire-, Water-, or Grass-type starter Pokémon at level 5. At least one of the player's rivals will also always choose or have a starter Pokémon, typically the one that has a type advantage over the player's.
In Pokémon Red, Green, Blue, FireRed, and LeafGreen, Professor Oak will bring Trainers to his lab to give them one of the following to begin their journey:
The player's rival will then pick the type-advantageous starter Pokémon, and the remaining Pokémon will sit in its Poké Ball on Oak's desk for the rest of the game.
In FireRed and LeafGreen, the choice of starter Pokémon also determines which of the Legendary beasts will roam the Kanto region after defeating Team Rocket in the Sevii Islands—if the player chooses Bulbasaur, Entei will appear, Suicune will appear to those who chose Charmander, and Raikou will appear to those that went with Squirtle.
Professor Oak offers one of this trio of Pokémon to the player in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver after the player has defeated Red, making reference to the fact that he gives them out as starter Pokémon in Kanto-based games, suggesting the player will be able to make it to the next town with one of these Pokémon by his or her side.
Professor Sycamore will let the player choose one of these three Pokémon after meeting him in person and beating his team of Kanto starters in battle. After making their choice, Professor Sycamore will give the player a Mega Stone corresponding to the chosen starter's final evolution; Venusaurite for Bulbasaur, Charizardite XX/Charizardite YY for Charmander, and Blastoisinite for Squirtle. The middle stages of the starters can be found in the Friend Safari.
In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the Kanto starters can be caught in the wild via Island Scan on Melemele Island.
In Pokémon Yellow, due to being based on the anime, Oak instead gives out:
In Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, players will start with Pikachu or Eevee, depending on which version of the game they are playing. These Pikachu and Eevee are considered special, separate forms commonly referred to by the game as Partner Pokémon.
In Pokémon Gold, Silver, Crystal, HeartGold, and SoulSilver, Professor Elm will have an errand for the player to run, and will give them one of the following for protection on this errand, which they will then keep after completion:
After the player meets with Mr. Pokémon and receives a Pokédex from Professor Oak, Professor Elm will call the player to tell them that a thief has taken a Pokémon. As the player returns to New Bark Town, he or she will encounter the thief, who will have the stolen Pokémon with the type advantage over the player's own. From this point onward, the thief will be the player's rival, while Professor Elm keeps the Pokémon that was left behind by the thief on his desk for the remainder of the game (in HeartGold and SoulSilver, the last Pokémon mysteriously disappears at some point).
In Generation II, the Pokémon will be holding a Berry when received from Elm, though the rival's stolen starter Pokémon will not.
In Pokémon Emerald, after the player has caught all Pokémon in the Hoenn Pokédex with the exception of Jirachi and Deoxys, Professor Birch will offer one of these Pokémon as a reward.
In Pokémon Colosseum, the middle stages of the Johto starters are caught as Shadow Pokémon from a Mystery Troop member. Only one is available for the player to obtain during the main game, while the other two are only available during the post-game. The color of the outfit for the corresponding Mystery Troop member is the same as the type for the Johto starter they have.
In Pokémon XD, after the player has cleared the entirety of Mt. Battle without touching a PC or retiring, Battlus will offer one of these Pokémon as a reward. The player can obtain all three Pokémon with consecutive challenges.
In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, after the player first enters the Hall of Fame and meets Zinnia, Professor Birch can be found being chased by a Shroomish on Route 101 and the player will be allowed to choose one of the Johto starters.
In Pokémon Sun and Moon, the Johto starters can be caught in the wild via Island Scan on Melemele Island.
In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, Emerald, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, after Professor Birch is rescued from a PoochyenaRSORAS or ZigzagoonE, he allows the player to keep the Pokémon they chose to rescue him with, either:
The player's neighbor, Brendan or May, already has his or her starter Pokémon, which is always the one with the type advantage. What happens to the starter not selected is unknown. By the end of Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, it seems that the player's nominal rival, the son/daughter of Professor Birch, has stopped being a Trainer, and Wally is actually the true rival, facing the player before he or she can leave Victory Road and staying there to have rematches with the player later. In Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Brendan or May's role as an NPC is slightly expanded, acting as a post-credits battle in which they gain access to Mega Evolution for their starter Pokémon.
In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, Steven Stone offers one of these Pokémon to the player after he or she has defeated Red.
In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the middle stages of the Hoenn starters can be caught in the wild via Island Scan on Akala Island.
In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, when two Starly attack the player and rival at Lake Verity, to which they travel upon hearing reports of a red Gyarados, they will choose one of the following from Professor Rowan's briefcase, which he left at the lake:
The player's friend and rival Barry will choose the starter Pokémon that has a type advantage against the player's choice, and the NPC who is the other-gender choice (Lucas/Dawn) will have the Pokémon weak to the player's choice, and therefore strong against Barry's. After fighting off the two Starly at the lake and returning the briefcase to Rowan, the professor will allow the player and Barry to keep the Pokémon they used.
In Pokémon Platinum, the player and the rival are stopped by Professor Rowan just as they are about to run through tall grass to get to Sandgem Town to ask the Professor for Pokémon. After some questions about the player and the rival's love for Pokémon, he decides to entrust them with one starter Pokémon each.
In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, after the player enters the Hall of Fame for the second time, Professor Birch can be found being chased by his wife on Route 101 and the player will be allowed to choose one of the Sinnoh starters.
In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the middle stages of the Sinnoh starters can be caught in the wild via Island Scan on Ula'ula Island.
In Pokémon Black and White, Professor Juniper leaves a gift with the player's Mom in Nuvema Town to give to him or her, containing the following three Pokémon:
The player's friend Cheren will choose the Pokémon that is strong against the player's choice, while the player's other friend Bianca will choose the one weak to the player's choice. The choice of starter Pokémon affects which of the Gym Leaders of Striaton City will be battled; players who chose Snivy will face Chili, a Fire-type specialist, players who chose Tepig will face Cress, a Water-type specialist, and players who chose Oshawott will face Cilan, a Grass-type specialist. Also, the choice affects the Pokémon given to the player in the Dreamyard. Choosing Snivy gives the player a Panpour, Tepig a Pansage, and Oshawott a Pansear.
In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, Bianca takes three starter Pokémon to Aspertia City on Professor Juniper's behalf and offers one of them to the player. The player's friend, Hugh, will have the Pokémon that is strong against the player's choice, having raised it from an Egg. The player character not chosen will have the starter that is weak to the player's choice, but only seen in its second form.
In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, after the Delta Episode is completed, Professor Birch can be found being chased by a Machoke on Route 101 and the player will be allowed to choose one of the Unova starters.
In Pokémon Sun and Moon, the Unova starters' final forms can be caught in the wild via Island Scan on Poni Island.
In Pokémon X and Y, the player, Shauna, and Serena/Calem receive their starter Pokémon in Aquacorde Town from Tierno, who was asked by Professor Sycamore to deliver them.
The player's friend Shauna will choose the Pokémon with a type disadvantage to the player's choice, while the player's other friend Serena/Calem will choose the one with a type advantage to the player's choice. The choice of starter Pokémon affects which Pokémon Shauna will trade with the player after the player enters in the Hall of Fame. Shauna will trade the unevolved form of her starter Pokémon, having received it as an Egg. The choice of starter Pokémon also determines which of the Legendary birds will roam the Kalos region after defeating the Pokémon League—if the player chooses Chespin, Articuno will appear, Zapdos will appear to those who chose Fennekin, and Moltres will appear to those that went with Froakie. The middle stages of the starters can be found in the Friend Safari.
In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the Kalos starters' final forms can be caught in the wild via Island Scan on Poni Island.
In Pokémon Sun and Moon, the player receives their starter Pokémon in Iki Town from Hala and Professor Kukui. In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the player receives one from the Professor on Route 1. The player's friend Hau will choose the Pokémon with a type disadvantage to the player's choice. Teacher Emily in the Trainer's School will use the starter that has a type advantage over the player's choice.
During the player's ChampionSM and Title Defense battles, Professor Kukui will use the final evolution of the starter Pokémon with the type advantage to the player's choice. Gladion's Silvally will also be holding the memory of the type the player's starter is weak to. Hau's Eevee will evolve into the Eeveelution whose type has the advantage to the player's choice. Gladion, in his Title Defense battle in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, will have a fully evolved Kanto Starter whose type is the same as the player's starter.
The recently announced Pokémon Sword and Shield will feature these three Pokémon as starter Pokémon. The starters' evolutions have not yet been announced.
Other notable in-game starters
- The rival of Pokémon Yellow, Blue, starts with an Eevee originally intended for the player. The Eevee will evolve into a Vaporeon if the player loses against the rival at the lab and either loses or skips the battle on Route 22, Jolteon if the player wins against the rival at both locations, and Flareon if the player wins against the rival once at either location, and loses or skips the other battle.
- Wally, with the help of the player and their father, will catch a Ralts.
- The player character not chosen in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, Ethan or Lyra, will have a Marill.
- In Pokémon Ultra Sun, the Pokédex identifies the Ultra Beast Poipole as a common choice for a starter Pokémon in its own world.
Base stat comparison when fully evolved
Base stat comparison when Mega Evolved
In Pokémon Colosseum:
A first for the Pokémon games, these starter Pokémon come as a pair as to represent the Double Battle system, and are also different in that they are in the player's possession right at start of play. Umbreon is at level 26, knowing the TM moves Taunt and Snatch, as well as Bite which is otherwise only available through breeding at such a level. Espeon is at level 25, knowing the TM moves Return (while also starting with maximum friendship) and Reflect. Both are always male.
In Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness:
This starter Pokémon is in the player's possession right at the beginning of the game. It is at level 10 and knows Bite, which Eevee does not normally know at this level without breeding. At an early point in the game, the player is offered one of five evolutionary items—Water Stone, Thunderstone, Fire Stone, Moon Shard, and Sun Shard—to allow the Eevee to evolve into any of its evolutions that existed in Generation III.
In Pokémon XD, if the player completes the Mt. Battle challenge and defeats all 100 Trainers without quitting or switching Pokémon, Battlus will give one of the Johto starter Pokémon as a reward.
In Pokémon Battle Revolution, the player's starter Pokémon are determined by the gender specified on their Rental Pass or Custom Pass. They are all at level 50.
Male players start out with the following Pokémon:
Female players start out with the following Pokémon:
In Pokémon GO, when the player starts the game, Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle will appear nearby. If the player battles and captures one of them, the others will disappear.
If the player walks away from them, they will reappear near their new location. If they do this four times, Pikachu will appear in addition to the Kanto starter Pokémon.
While not actually starter Pokémon, these are the first Pokémon available in each of these games.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series
- Main article: Player character → Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series
Pokémon Ranger series
- Main article: Partner Pokémon (Ranger)
Pokémon Rumble series
- Main article: Player character → Pokémon Rumble series
- Main article: Player character → PokéPark series
In Pokédex 3D, all players begin with these Pokémon.
In the Be the Best! Pokémon B+W manga
The fully evolved Unova starter Pokémon in Be the Best! Pokémon B+W
Monta, Bianca, and Cheren received a Snivy, Oshawott, and Tepig respectively as their first Pokémon. They ended up evolving into their final stages later on.
In The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga
In The Electric Tale of Pikachu, unlike the anime from which the manga was based on, new Pokémon Trainers do not appear to be given any sort of starter Pokémon. Professor Oak is not shown residing at his laboratory handing out starter Pokémon to new Trainers, as in the anime, rather, he travels the Kanto region conducting research, often accompanied by Bill. Trainers in The Electric Tale of Pikachu must obtain a license before they can purchase Poké Balls or otherwise capture and train Pokémon. Ash found Pikachu under the floorboards of his home, keeping it as his first Pokémon. It is not currently known what Gary Oak's first Pokémon was in the manga.
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
In Pokémon Adventures, the starter Pokémon featured in the games are reserved for the few people who hold a Pokédex. Professor Oak produces three Pokédexes for each region, and gives out the three starter Pokémon in each region along with the Pokédex to Trainers he thinks are talented. He has colleagues and friends like Professor Birch do this for him in regions in which he isn't present. In the Unova region, two sets of starter Pokémon are given out to six Trainers, but still with only three Pokédexes. Professor Oak also gave Red's Pikachu as a special starter to Yellow.
Most characters in the manga do not start out with one of the Pokédex-related starter Pokémon. Instead, they usually have a Pokémon they were given by their parents when they were infants that they use as their starter Pokémon. Occasionally, it is not directly stated which Pokémon were their starter Pokémon in the manga, but in profiles of their teams, their starter Pokémon is marked with a star and is among the highest level in the party, even if they acquired more than one Pokémon at first.
List of starter Pokémon in Pokémon Adventures
- Red's first Pokémon was a Poliwag he had since his childhood, which has evolved into a Poliwrath. His "starter Pokémon" was a Bulbasaur given to him by Professor Oak, which he nicknamed "Saur". He became a Venusaur in his travels.
- Blue's first Pokémon was a Scyther, now a Scizor, he took to the training with Chuck. His "starter Pokémon" was a Charmander given to him by his grandfather, which evolved twice into a Charizard.
- Green's first Pokémon was a Jigglypuff, now a Wigglytuff, she received from the Masked Man. Her "starter Pokémon" was a Squirtle she stole from Professor Oak, which she nicknamed "Blasty". He later evolved into a Blastoise.
- Yellow's first Pokémon was a Rattata that Red taught her to caught, which has evolved into a Raticate. Later, she borrowed Red's Pikachu, and after Red took him back, caught her "starter Pokémon", a female Pikachu for herself which she nicknamed "Chuchu". Like the Pikachu in Yellow, neither evolved.
- Gold's first Pokémon was his Aipom, now an Ambipom, that his mother gave him. He borrowed his "starter Pokémon", a Cyndaquil, from Professor Elm, and was later allowed to keep the Cyndaquil which he nicknamed "Exbo". He later becomes a Typhlosion alongside the other two Johto starter Pokémon.
- Silver's first Pokémon was the Sneasel, now a Weavile, that Giovanni gave to him as a child. He later stole his "starter Pokémon", a Totodile from Professor Elm, as well as the first Pokédex of Johto. His starter Pokémon evolved twice into a Feraligatr.
- Crystal's first Pokémon is officially her Smoochum, although she acquired many wild Pokémon that lived as a family while she was in the wild. Chikorita later ran away from Professor Elm to go with her, and became her "starter Pokémon" nicknamed "Megaree". He became a Meganium midway into their journey.
- Ruby's first Pokémon were the Poochyena, Skitty and Ralts that he received from his father, all of them having evolved into Mightyena, Delcatty and Gardevoir respectively. Later, he got his "starter Pokémon" from Professor Birch; a Mudkip which he nicknamed "Mumu". He evolved into a Swampert from the battles he underwent.
- Sapphire's first Pokémon was the Aron, now an Aggron her father gave her. Later, he gave her her "starter Pokémon", a Torchic, which she nicknamed "Chic". She has since evolved twice under her Trainer's care into a Blaziken.
- When Emerald arrived in the Battle Frontier, he had no Pokémon on hand. Then he challenged the Battle Factory using only rental Pokémon, nearly at the end of the challenge, he noticed something suspicious about a Sceptile so he decided to steal him from the facility and kept him afterwards, it is later is revealed that the Sceptile was supposed to be his in the first place, making him his "starter Pokémon". He evolved from his Grovyle stage in the wild, after evolving once in Wally's care. Except Sceptile, his first Pokémon he captured were Sudowoodo and Dusclops.
- Diamond's first was his Munchlax, and later he received his "starter Pokémon", a Turtwig from Platinum because of a misunderstanding. He has since evolved to Torterra alongside the others.
- Pearl's first was his Chatot, and later he received his "starter Pokémon", a Chimchar from Platinum. The Chimchar has since evolved twice into an Infernape.
- Platinum's first Pokémon was her Ponyta, now a Rapidash, and later she received her "starter Pokémon", a Piplup from Professor Rowan. She has since become an Empoleon under her care.
- Black started with a Rufflet that he captured with the help of a wild Munna he had befriended, and later acquired his "starter Pokémon", a Tepig from Professor Juniper which later evolved into an Emboar. Initially he was nicknamed "Tep", but the nickname was changed to "Nite" and eventually "Bo", making Black the only main character so far to change his Pokémon's nickname.
- White's first Pokémon was a Tepig named Gigi. She later acquires her "starter Pokémon", a Servine, which later evolved into a Serperior. This Servine, which White nicknamed "Amanda", was with N until Gigi decided to leave White to follow N. It was later revealed that Amanda was a Snivy that was going to be given out to new Trainers by Professor Cedric Juniper, but was liberated by N. Except Gigi and Amanda, her first Pokémon she captured was Deerling.
- Blake's first known Pokémon is a Dewott, given to him by the International Police Headquarters so he would have a partner Pokémon.
- Whitley's first known Pokémon is a Foongus, given to her by Team Plasma's Anthea and Concordia, who allowed Whitley to pick the Pokémon she felt closest to.
- X's first known Pokémon is a Kangaskhan. He later got a Chespin, nicknamed "Marisso", as his "starter Pokémon" after he accepted him as a member of his team. He has since become a Chesnaught under his care.
- Y's first known Pokémon is a Fletchling. She later got a Froakie, nicknamed "Croaky", as her "starter Pokémon" after she accepted him as a member of her team. He has since become a Greninja under her care.
- Sun's first known Pokémon is an Alolan Meowth. He is immediately shown as well with a Litten named Dollar as his "starter Pokémon" that he got from Professor Kukui. He has since become a Torracat.
- Moon's first Pokémon is unknown, as she caught a Grubbin, Alolan Grimer, and Mareanie around the same time. She is later given a Rowlet as her "starter Pokémon" from Professor Kukui. He has since become a Dartrix
In the Pokémon Gold & Silver: The Golden Boys manga
In Pokémon Gold & Silver: The Golden Boys, much like in the Pokémon Gold and Silver video games on which the manga was based, Gold is offered the choice of one of the three Johto starter Pokémon - Chikorita, Cyndaquil or Totodile - to borrow so that he may run an errand for Professor Elm. Gold chooses Totodile, which Elm allows him to keep after the errand is completed. Also like in the games, Black, who is based on Silver, steals a Chikorita from Elm's lab while Gold is away on his errand.
In the Pokémon Pocket Monsters manga
In Pokémon Pocket Monsters, Professor Oak is depicted distributing the choice of one out of three starter Pokémon - Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle - to Pokémon Trainers as they begin their journeys, much like in other media. Green chooses Charmander as his starter Pokémon, and while Red was offered the choice as well, he decided to keep a Clefairy that he met on his way to Professor Oak's lab as his starter instead.
In the Pokémon Zensho manga
In Pokémon Zensho, much like in the Pokémon Red and Green games on which the manga was based, Professor Oak offers Satoshi and Shigeru their choice of one out of three starter Pokémon - Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle. Satoshi chooses Charmander, while Shigeru chooses Squirtle, leaving Bulbasaur with Professor Oak.