Uncovering The Mystery Of Pokemon Micro Machines

pokemon micro machines

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Have you heard of Pokemon Micro Machines? No? We didn’t either until we did some serious digging into this long lost ancient fossil.

Micro Machines were insanely popular in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s with cars, trucks, emergency vehicles, so on and so forth being made for the masses of kids who loved mini motorized toys.

Today, you’ll find many a collector hoarding rare variants of these vehicles, whether that be an F-16 Fighter Jet, or even some Star Wars ships.

What Are Pokemon Micro Machines?

Where does Pokemon fit into this? It’s a franchise that’s certainly not known for its vehicles, apart from an insanely priced in-game Bicycle that is, so how does a collaboration of this ilk occur?

Well, no one has the full picture as almost all information about it has been lost to time, but what we do know is that they weren’t ‘machines’ at all, and instead, were figurines.

pokemon micro machines sets

We spoke to probably the only Pokemon Micro Machines expert out there Joe Scheppe, an avid collector and owner of Joe’s Curios. He stated that he not only knows about these extremely rare items but he actually owns some too.

He suggested that due to their rarity, he “can only think of 3 sales for each fully released sealed set” on platforms such as eBay which certainly attests to their scarcity.

Incredibly, he also told us that the “Pokemon sets are not shown in any reference materials” released to the public which is very odd considering that most, if not all toys of that era featured in catalogs either from the brand themselves, or where it was going to be stocked.

In his search to acquire more of these he found only one place – a warehouse in China.

This warehouse housed other rare Micro Machines variants including some Pokemon ones which was not only an insane find, but also further expanded his knowledge of the subject.

There were 8 total sets that made up the complete collection along with a Pokemon Island Battle Arena as the pièce de résistance.

pokemon micro machines back

The full line was never released into the wild with 2 of the aforementioned sets never reaching the public domain – Route 3 and Fuchsia City. The Pokemon Island Battle Arena never came to fruition either which was a real shame.

The Sets That Didn’t Make It

He has also detailed on his website that even though the 8 different sets didn’t get a launch, the Route 3 and Fuchsia City products did get mock-ups, but unfortunately didn’t make it past the R&D stage.

Taking a quick look at those mock-ups, these show the framework of what the Pokemon Micro Machines were to become, with molds of potential items from the series but on the usual backdrop of Micro Machines cars.

The Pokemon figurine sets appeared to all follow the different areas and Routes within Kanto, each with a set of Pokemon inside, coupled with some form of set piece such as a Pokemon PC, or even a slot machine from the Game Corner.

The ‘chase’ was in a blind Poke Ball containing a mystery figure that could only be opened if you ripped through this precious collectible.

Again, as there is little to no information in the wild, we have no idea as to how many mystery Pokemon there were to collect, but since there were 8 sets in development, creating parts of the original Kanto region, the number could be around the 50 mark.

We highly doubt, a full Kanto Pokedex would have been created, but there’s always a small chance.

The Pokemon Island Battle Arena

The Pokemon Island Battle Arena was the product to pull it all together though, allowing you to use both the Pokemon that you got in the sets, as well as the mystery ‘mons, to stage a face off.

pokemon micro machines battle island

You would’ve been able to mimic a scene of the games or the anime which in our eyes, is the best part of this whole collection.

There was even meant to be a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place podium on the Pokemon Island Battle Arena, making for a Pokemon Olympics if you will.

Why Were Pokemon Micro Machines So Rare?

Sadly only the UK, and potentially some parts of Europe, had the chance to get its hands on them, severely diminishing the chances of finding them today.

This is pretty odd considering both Hasbro and Galoob are American companies, so you’d expect the products to ship there to begin with, but this just could have been due to the exporting process from China.

Additionally, these Pokemon Micro Machines were set to come out at a time where original creators Galoob were in a process of being acquired by toy giant Hasbro.

This meant that at that point, a lot of the ideas and new products from the former company got dropped in the process, whether that was to do with cost cutting or clashing with the parent company’s current output.

Could You Own One Of These Hidden Gems?

If you have taken a look at some of the above images and thought you recognized the figures in question from your collection, you’d probably be right.

This is due to the fact that even though these specific sets weren’t widely available, there were recreations of the figures themselves, albeit in a slightly larger form.

These could be found in something called ‘Poke-Packs’ which were readily available in places such as Walgreens and even vending machines scattered across the US.

pokemon micro machines poke pack

Since we’re in 2023 now, these are still on the harder side to find in comparison to something that released in more recent times, but unfortunately, since they’re just like any other Pokemon figurine collectible, they don’t hold much value.

So, sadly, if you’ve been frantically digging through your Pokemon collection to find a hidden Micro Machines gem, it’s likely a figure from a Poke-Pack. Either that, or the very similar Pokemon Polly Pockets that were previously released in 1997.

Yes, there were Pokemon Polly Pockets, but we’ll save that for another time…

Final Word

All in all, the mystery of Pokemon Micro Machines is certainly an intriguing one, especially when you compare it to Pokemon Trading Card and Pokemon ROM hacks.

Due to the acquisition of Galoob we’ll never get a full answer as to why the Pokemon Micro Machines didn’t see the full light of day, but if we manage to uncover any other experts like Joe, maybe we’ll be able to uncover more tidbits about the unlikely collab.

And hey, if you’re reading this and realize your parent was an employee of the company at that time, press them for any and all details, as it could lead you to a treasure trove of incredibly rare Pokemon goodness.

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