This year, Pokemon passed a major landmark as the world-famous game reached its silver ie 25th anniversary. We’ve had twenty-five years of fun with Ash Ketchum, Pikachu, and their friends, spanning video games, trading cards, anime TV shows, and even major Hollywood movies. In the past quarter of a century, Pokémon has grown to be the highest-grossing media franchise in history, bringing in a massive $90bn in revenue.
The original game was created by Satoshi Tajiri and was based around his childhood hobby of collecting insects. It was launched in Japan on 27th February 1996 under the title Pocket Monsters Red and Green on the Nintendo Game-Boy. It didn’t take long to go global, with Pocket Monsters Red and Blue arriving in America in 1998, and the game really captured the American imagination with the Black and White version, set in a city very much like New York. Before long, Pocket Monsters became shortened to Pokémon, and the game became increasingly detailed and complex. New versions had a wide range of worlds and scenarios to play, each with its own special sections, including features like the Game Corners designed to resemble online casinos such as www.mariacasino.se.
Pokémon in numbers
The facts and figures behind the last twenty-five years are quite staggering. With over a 370million copies of the game sold, it is second only to Nintendo stablemate Super Mario in the all-time sales league. The augmented reality version, Pokémon Go, launched to celebrate the 20th anniversary in 2016, has been downloaded over a billion times, and generated $1bn in revenue in just ten months in 2020.
The game itself is just a small part of the empire. The Pokémon franchise also includes over 1000 episodes of anime TV, which is shown in 169 countries around the world. There’s also been 23 animated movies plus a live-action adventure starring Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu. Add in no less than 30bn trading cards, two theme parks, and endless Pokémon merchandise in every shape and form, and it’s easy to see how the franchise has grown to ‘catch ‘em all.
The Pokemon Company has a whole year of events and activities planned to celebrate their silver 25th anniversary. Their dedicated anniversary website includes musical collaborations with artists such as Katy Perry, J Balvin, and Post Malone, along with limited edition items such as skateboards from Bear Walker and highly collectible 25th-anniversary trading cards.
Bringing the game full circle, players will be able to go back to the origins of the game and catch 150 of the original pocket monsters. This will not only be nostalgic but also surprising in many ways, as many of the characters have changed since their original conception. For example, the popular Jigglypuff and Wigglytuff were originally known as Pudding and Custard, while the mighty Gyarados, once had the even more frightening name of Skullkraken.
The future for Pokémon
As the 2020 sales figures for Pokémon Go proved, the appetite for this quirky Japanese game is stronger than ever, with the brand going from strength to strength. The live-action movie took $433million at the box office, reaching a whole new fanbase, and a sequel was announced before the first film had even been released. The high-profile anniversary celebrations this year are sure to raise awareness even higher.
Perhaps more importantly, the franchise is perfectly placed to take advantage of new technology such as virtual reality, as Pokémon Go proved. Who knows what form the game will have taken by the time we reach the 50th anniversary. One thing is for sure; with the game both adapting to each new advance, and driving the next generation, Pokémon will never be far from the action when it comes to mobile gaming.
What are your thoughts on the 25th anniversary celebrations of Pokemon? How connected are you Pokemon with your childhood? Do let us know in the comments below!