The core series of the Pokémon games or core games, commonly referred to as the main series or mainline games by fans, is the game series that is always released on a Nintendo handheld system and developed by Game Freak, which follow the standard model of a player's journey through a specific region to catch and raise Pokémon, battle Trainers, fight crime, and earn recognition (usually by collecting Badges from Gym Leaders) until they are acknowledged as the strongest Trainer.
Counting each game individually, there are currently 28 games in the series internationally, 29 in Japan, and 19 in South Korea. Counting paired individual games as a single release, there are currently 16 games in the series internationally, 17 in Japan, and 10 in South Korea.
Prior to Generation VI, it was standard for the Western releases of the core series games to include the label Version in their title, although this was seldom used by the Japanese releases. In Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, the series is called the Pocket Monsters Series (Japanese: ポケットモンスターシリーズ, Korean: 포켓몬스터 시리즈, Chinese: 精靈寶可夢系列 / 精灵宝可梦系列), as core series games all contain the full name Pocket Monsters in their title, whereas side series and spin-off games use the abbreviation Pokémon in the title instead. However, the Japanese releases of the Pokémon Stadium series use Pocket Monsters in English subtitles, despite the titles using Pokémon in kana.