By: Toshiko Sakurai
POP CULTURE Story
When Was Pokémon Created?
The first video game appeared in 1996 in GameBoy format. But the genesis of Pokémon dates back at least 3 decades before that date, to its creator Satoshi Tajiri’s childhood. On more than one occasion, Tajiri has recounted how much these adorable “pocket monsters” (the name Pokémon is short for pocket monsters) are related to his own childhood experiences. Catching insects or small crustaceans is a very common pastime among Japanese children.
Manga, Anime, Video games, Collectible Card Games, Merchandising Pokémon Products...
The feedback between games, comics, shows, and a cornucopia of available products, have worked to satisfy and at the same time amplify the existing demand for everything that has to do with Pikachu and co.
Seen from a distance, the formula for success seems obvious. An extensive gallery of critters, each one lovelier than the next. Creatures with which you establish a relationship similar to the one you could have with a virtual pet to play with friends and strangers. Characters living in a steadily ever-expanding universe thanks to an inexhaustible number of stories, objects, and gadgets we can surround ourselves with, covering the most diverse market niches. Products that can be attractive to any kind of audience regardless of age. The latter is an important factor.
Pokémon’s Incredible Success in Japan
"However, the Pokémon fanbase probably reached true global paroxysm with the launch of Pokémon GO in 2016."
The worldwide craze was immediately unleashed. Finally, an interactive game that didn’t require a console but could be played on any smartphone took the universe created by Tajiri’s logic to its last consequences. The playing field jumped from consoles to the real world, filling the Pokédex required traversing all over your city and maybe even a little further.
Pokémon is probably the world’s largest video game-based entertainment franchise. Multi-platform, multi-generational, and with universal appeal. Add to this the value of social interaction and you realize that we are dealing with a product that has practically everything and continues to accumulate followers among new generations of players.
Happy 25th Anniversary Pokémon!