BY CORY McCORMICK
“Catch them all!” I remember the first time I heard this famous slogan. It was in 1999, a few years after the first Pokemon games were released in Japan. I was six years old and I had my usual breakfast: Eggo waffles. It was Saturday morning, so I was also watching cartoons. Suddenly this new cartoon that I had never seen before started playing. The narrator was describing a world very different from ours, a world filled with those animal creatures known as PokÃ©mon, which could be captured and trained in battle! The minute the theme song started, and I heard âI have to catch them allâ at the end, I was hooked.
Over the following months, I witnessed the growing popularity of Pokemon firsthand. All the kids in school had PokÃ©mon cards, and if they were really lucky, their parents would also buy them a GameBoy so they could become their own PokÃ©mon master, like Ash Ketchum, the main character in the cartoon. After months of watching other people play the games, fight and create their own PokÃ©mon teams, I couldn’t take it anymore; I had to get a GameBoy.
Lucky for me, my birthday was just around the corner. When my mom asked me what I wanted, of course I answered with “a GameBoy Color with Pokemon!” Sure enough, on my birthday morning, I opened a brand new GameBoy Color and my very first Pokemon game: Pokemon Gold.
No other game had previously caught my interest as much as Pokemon. It perfectly mimics the feeling of going on an adventure by giving you control of a character with no name and no personality with one goal: to catch all the PokÃ©mon you can. It allowed me to really immerse myself in the game. Every day I encountered new and different PokÃ©mon to catch, and the feeling of finally gaining a gym badge after a long battle with another trainer was second to none. It felt like I was going to have my own PokÃ©mon adventure from the TV show, and I loved it.
Fast forward 16 years to 2016 on the 20e anniversary of the first game’s release and I still have the same feeling every time I start a new Pokemon game, that feeling of adventure and discovery. Apparently I’m not the only one, as the franchise has managed to sell over 200 million copies worldwide, and that only counts video games! In total, the Pokemon franchise has grossed over $ 37.76 billion and is the second most successful video game franchise, just behind Nintendo’s. Mario, which is truly an achievement. Pokemon even managed to land a coveted Super Bowl commercial for the first time this year.
So what kept people interested in this series for so long? With that question in mind, I interviewed a few PokÃ©mon enthusiasts.
So what first brought you to PokÃ©mon?
Michael sistek: âI got into Pokemon because my parents bought me a GameBoy Pocket with Pokemon Yellow. I never even knew what it was before that, but it captured me instantly.
Charessa Sistek: âMichael is what brought me to PokÃ©mon, actually. I would sit and watch him play for hours.
Deric Phan: “The cartoon, of course.”
What made you a PokÃ©mon fan for so long?
Michael: “I really like the gameplay and the design of the PokÃ©mon, so I keep playing the games and probably always will.”
Charessa: âIt’s such an integral part of my life that I couldn’t imagine life without it. It’s like an old friend who has stayed with me over the years.
Deric: âA mixture of nostalgia and probably hype for the new games. It’s always fun trying to figure out which new PokÃ©mon is going to be introduced!
Is there anything about the show in particular that you really like?
Michael: âThe aesthetic of raising a team of PokÃ©mon that is unique to me. Also, restoring my âcompletelyâ habits with more and more PokÃ©mon and items to obtain. “
Charessa: “The PokÃ©mon designs, especially the original 151. They’re creative and cute, and I love cute things!” Plus, some are so cool it looks like a status symbol when you have them.
Deric: “The games have a main character with no real personality, so it’s easy to fulfill the PokÃ©mon fantasy he’s trying to sell.”
It’s clear that Pokemon has become a huge part of people’s lives over its 20-year lifespan, and for good reason. Pokemon makes players feel like kids again and encourages people to connect with each other by trading and fighting. Each new game feels like a whole new adventure, as the developers are constantly incorporating new PokÃ©mon to catch into each game. One thing’s for sure, as long as there are PokÃ©mon, I’ll always want to catch them all!