Pokemon Diamond and Pearl are the first Pokemon games where the main Pokemon lab of the region is actually not in your hometown.
In Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, you can speak with Prof. Rowan's assistant to get a special birthday message! (That assumes that the DS's date equates to the birthday set on the same.)
In Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, there is an area called the Hall of Origin that most don't know about: it is an area that is above Mt. Sinnoh. Game Freak was supposed to hand out an item relating to this event known as the Azure Flute: this would allow the stairs to appear to the Hall of Origin and you thereby meet Arceus, the supposed God of all Pokemon (for he created the universe according to Sinnoh myth). However, this actual giveaway of the Azure Flute never occurred: every legitimate Arceus you'll see are from special direct-download giveaways that don't trigger this event that, although programmed into the game, never occurred. (And likely never will: by the time this was written, it has been over 7 years since D/P/Pt's release.)
The years in which Pokemon Diamond and Pearl were released were also the introduction of the Pokemon VGCs, or "video game championships": these were competitions held at the regional, then national and global levels in which people would be able to compete directly with other players for the title of Pokemon World Champion. This in turn began to make players more concerned about factors normally trivial for non-competitive play, such as EVs and Natures, and was also the rise of a number of battle simulators to lessen the amount of work on people that would possibly be spent in making a flawed team.
In Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, if a Pokemon using Choice Band, Choice Specs, or Choice Scarf uses the move Pursuit on a Pokemon that switches out, they can oddly choose a different move on the next turn, contrary to the function of the item.
In Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, if a Pokemon using Choice Band, Choice Specs, or Choice Scarf uses the move U-turn and switches to a Pokemon that can also use U-turn, then this latter Pokemon - despite not using a Choice item - will still be forced to use U-turn for whatever unknown reason.
Funnily enough, in Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, and SoulSilver, Kadabra will still evolve into Alakazam when traded, even if holding an Everstone. An Everstone is supposed to prevent evolution, and it does with all other evolutions except that of Alakazam for unknown reasons.
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl saw the introduction of the GTS, or Global Trade Station, an international trading station where a person can offer a Pokemon for trade for a specific other Pokemon, as specific as species, gender, and level. The concept behind the GTS was drawn from the Mobile System GB's capabilities in Pokemon Crystal some 7 years prior, although most non-Japanese gamers would not know this as the Mobile System GB was only allowed in Japan.
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl were the first Pokemon games that successfully introduced international interactivity, allowing players from around to the world to battle and trade together.
Prior to Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, it was possible to make cross-generation trades with Generations I and II. However, glitches in the system could be caused by bringing Pokemon from Generation II (Gold/Silver/Crystal) to Generation I (Red/Blue/Yellow/Green). Thus, Game Freak made such cross-generation "trades" permanent in this game: Pokemon can now only go from the GBA games to the DS games, and not the other way around.
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl were the first Nintendo DS games to sell over 5,000,000 units.
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl marked the first time where the rival's starter Pokemon was not Level 5 during your first battle with him.
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl are the first Pokemon games where all three starter Pokemon are dual-typed when fully evolved: Torterra is Grass/Ground, Empoleon is Water/Steel, and Infernape is Fire/Fighting.
Among all core series DS Pokemon games, Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum are the only ones to use the standard gray cartridge rather than the black one seen in Pokemon HeartGold, SoulSilver, Black, White, Black 2, and White 2 that signified infrared capabilities. They are also the first Pokemon games whose cartridges use the standard coloration of games of their console: previously, all Pokemon games had some kind of special coloration (such as Pokemon Red being a red cartridge or Pokemon Emerald being a translucent dark-green).
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl mark the first time that the names of items are not fully capitalized in international releases, insteading opting to abide by English standards. For example, "Ultra Ball" not "ULTRA BALL". Pokemon remained named in the old fashion, however.
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl have a slight localization error: Korean characters cannot be viewed on non-Korean Pokemon games, causing problems with Korean-named Pokemon in trades. The same is true in reverse.
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl are the first core series Pokemon games that require a file deletion before a new game can be started. Previously, all one had to do was start a new game and save, which would overwrite the old file.
Pokemon Diamond/Pearl made attacks be "Physical" (using Attack and Defense) and "Special" (using Sp. Atk. and Sp. Def.) classed based not upon the move's own types, but the individualistic nature on how the move operates. For example, the move Volt Tackle used to be Special-classed; however, because it actually physically harms the foe, Game Freak made this particular Electric move Physical-classed. This change was initially highly controversial as it seemed to "waste" some of the better Pokemon of the prior games, although it was eventually accepted that it actually bettered most Pokemon by playing to their strong points.
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