We all know and love the story of Pokemon: a boy comes into acquaintance with a little electric mouse and has the adventure of a lifetime. But both the Pokemon Trading Card Game and Pokemon video game have been in the hearts of 90’s babies all over the world. Pokemon is celebrating its 25 year anniversary this week and for the remainder of the year, and it’s amazing knowing that I’ve been alive nearly as long as this franchise.
This precious game and the stories have people wishing that such creatures existed and the Pokemon Go mobile game helped bring that childhood dream come alive to some degree. Catching, trading, and battling with other trainers have brought that love to life and even helped getting people out of the house. The earliest memory I have with Pokemon is with my brother who gave me a Rapidash trading card and instantaneously made me fall in love with the fire horse Pokemon.
This helped make me a Fire-type trainer and with my brother being a Dragon-type trainer since he loves Dragon-type Pokemon. We would take our plushies and throw them at each other and pretend to have a duel between the two of us. And although we didn’t have a firm grasp on how to play the card game, the video game allowed us to join the community. And the anime was so amazing, showing the adventures of Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu was almost intoxicating. Trying to guess that Pokemon and shouting the answer was my favorite part.
Pokemon has stayed clean, fun, and never too edgy. Not saying it hasn’t had its emotional moments; like when Ash found Charmander abandoned by his owner, showing that the bond between trainer and Pokemon should be loyal and loving. It was witty and cute, showing the personalities of every creature.
This game keeps us young and we welcome a time that keeps it simple in an ever troubling world. The care-free adventure of traveling with your friends and your companion who you want to help strengthen. Making memories, witnessing a world change with legendary entities, battling against the forces of evil who want to take advantage of the beloved creatures with who you share the earth with.
But why have we grown so attached to this game? I believe it helps us socialize. The needs and wants to share the game. You leveled up your Bulbasaur and you share it. You caught a rare legendary Pokemon and shared it. It’s a social game, assisting the need to be involved in a group fashion. As much as some deny it, we are social species, depending on the energy of others to fuel our internal batteries. And the mobile game has definitely helped recharge the lot of us. With trading and distance with the pandemic, it’s hard for others to fill that void.
And Pokemon Go certainly helped with that, right in the middle of summer. Got people out to exercise and meet up to battle gyms, raids, and above all mingle. I am a part of Team Valor and a Facebook group that goes to raids to capture shiny Pokemon, pre-Covid of course. I met people of all ages and races playing with this app.
And that boost of trending brought back awareness of the games thus the relaunch of love for the franchise. Then Detective Pikachu brought the imaginative world of Pokemon to life. The animation and getting the details of our favorite beloved friends were amazing. Almost made me wish there was such a place where I could go and meet REAL Pokemon.
The franchise has brought joy and love to people of all backgrounds and will continue to bring those feelings, it will live on and become near immortal. The new video games that are now on the Nintendo Switch and Pokemon Go will keep on for a long while, and I hope it will last.
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