Way back in the first Pokémon games, a random Pallet Town resident first uttered the immortal words “Technology is incredible!” He couldn’t have been more right. The Pokémon franchise has made it clear that science and technology have played a huge role in its setting since day one. Sure, there are elements that definitely take inspiration from folklore and mythology (there are Pokegods, for Arceus’ sake), but its ever-evolving technological breakthroughs (brought about by the scientists and researchers known as Pokémon Professors) are what really make the world what it is. The Pokedex is an always-connected smart device, Pokeballs somehow manage to turn Pokémon into storable energy, and the PC can turn the Pokeballs themselves into data. That’s not even mentioning things like the worldwide trading service, technology that brings to life Pokémon from centuries-old fossils, cloning (looking at you, Mewtwo), and even time travel! There’s also Pokémon evolution, a natural act based in scientific principle, and the natural scientific phenomena that various Pokémon can cause (including inter-dimensional travel as of the recent games). The world of Pokémon is one of scientific wonders, and one can only imagine the bounds and leaps it will take in the future.
Honorable Mention – Mega Man
Even though they’re not as deep as the others on this list, Mega Man’s varied settings are interesting enough to warrant discussion. In the year 20xx, robots are assigned to do pretty much every dangerous job or task you can think of. Sure, there’s the off chance that those robots could be hijacked by Dr. Wily or one of his surrogates, but that only happens like…once a year. Twice, tops. Mega Man himself is a robot, and is able to adapt others’ powers into himself. The games showcase varied takes on the future of technology as well. X, Zero, and ZX concern themselves with humanoid robots and their struggles to mesh with human society, Legends has a flooded earth with more exploration-focused tech, Battle Network is more like our own world with artificial intelligences, and Star Force has a focus on alien and human fusions with less focus on robotics. All of these are interesting settings, but they don’t really do too much outside of provide a setting that you can fight bad guys in. Still, they make for some rocking backdrops and roll out some interesting concepts nonetheless.