Cosplay & Culture

Why Pokemon Has Lasted 25 Years

By Bea

This year marks Pokémon’s 25 years of existence. Over the course of its 25-year run, the franchise still continues to grow and expand. I remember when I was a kid, and I was participating in trading some Pokémon cards at school during recess. Now, my 12-year old nephew is the one intricately perfecting his card collection. I bet many are wondering what is it about Pokémon that makes it a hit generation after generation. How can a Japanese game turn into a worldwide phenomenon, garnering over $90 billion in total franchise revenue? Well, here’s everything you need to know about its history and why Pokémon has lasted 25 years (and counting!).

How It Started

Pokémon Red and Green launched in Japan in February 1996. Two years later, it then came out in the US as Pokémon Red and Blue. In 2010, Pokémon Black and White came out. Everything about this game set the tone for how awesome this franchise is and would become. It featured exploration, training, trading, and battling out different Pokémon characters. From its original green Game Boy display, the game now features a beautiful 3D Nintendo Switch display. As of 2021, there are currently eight generations of mainline video games under the franchise with each generation featuring a new region and set of Pokémon. This just shows how the game evolved throughout the years.

Card Trading Begins

The success of the franchise proved that video games weren’t enough to contain the Pokémon craze. Just eight months after its initial 1996 release, Wizards of the Coast published The Pokémon Trading Card Game. Now, it is considered as one of the biggest trading card games, alongside Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh!.

More Pokémon Media Come Out

One of the things that make Pokémon so successful is the storytelling that surrounds its characters. More than just a game and a toy, Pokémon features characters that are based on something, whether it be an animal or myth. Also, each location in the game/show is also based on locations in the real world. I guess this makes the franchise more relatable to people. So when the anime series and manga comics came out in 1997, more people were introduced to and fell in love with the franchise.

From the small screen, Pokémon evolved to the big screen over the course of several years. As of 2020, there have been 23 animated films and 1 live-action film surrounding the franchise. Most recently, an AR game also brought more attention to the franchise with the release of Pokémon GO.

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Pokémon25

Seeing how revolutionary the franchise has become, it is only natural to have a grand celebration for its 25th anniversary. Branded as Pokémon25, its anniversary is a year-long celebration prepared by The Pokémon Company. With over a year of preparations for this momentous celebration, the team already has a lot in store for its fans. Check out the list below:

  • Official 25th Anniversary Website

The website was launched which displayed results of a live vote that took place from February 19 to 22 for favorite Pokémon. Moreover, it contains trivia and information about each generation. A countdown for its concert P25 is also visible on the site.

  • New Pokémon Snap

This upcoming first-person simulation game will be released on April 30 of this year. It is a sequel to the 1999 game Pokémon snap. Here, the player is a Pokémon photographer helping out Professor Mirror on his research. With over 200 different characters to capture, the player has to complete a compendium called a Photodex.

  • McDonald’s Partnership

The fast-food franchise released an exclusive collection of trading cards that were included in their Happy Meals for a limited period.

  • Collaboration with Levi Strauss & Co.

The clothing company recently released its 90’s inspired Levi’s x Pokémon collection to tie up with its 25th anniversary this year. The collection includes Pikachu denim jackets, character graphic tees, Poké Ball bags, and many more. Check out their website for more information.

  • Special Pikachu Move

A special Pikachu move, Sing, will be distributed to the Pokémon Sword and Shield games this year. This is in line with the anniversary’s musical motif.

  • The Pokémon 25th Virtual Concert

Probably the biggest event of all is the P25 virtual concert featuring Post Malone on February 27 at 7 pm EST. Prior to the event, Malone released a cover of Hootie and the Blowfish’s 1995 hit song “Only Wanna Be With You” which he will also be performing at the concert. Moreover, it is said to be reminiscent of original video game’s sound effects. Pretty cool, huh? Watch the event for free on the official YouTube channel.

  • Other Partnerships

Because Pokémon likes to surprise its fans, many partnerships and announcements are yet to come for the rest of the year. Other corporate partnerships to look forward to including: Build-A-Bear Workshop, General Mills, Jazwares, Scholastic, Mattel, Funko, PowerA, and The Wand Company.

Love playing Pokémon? Check this out!

Here are other awesome AR games that aren’t Pokémon GO!

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