The cultural impact of Pokemon

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The cultural impact of Pokemon

Liam Froberg, Staff Writer

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Video games, movies, TV shows, books, one of the most popular card games of all time. It seems like Pokemon has crept into every crevice of pop culture. You can’t go anywhere without seeing that iconic yellow and blue logo. The world first heard of Pokemon on February 27, 1996, when Pokemon Red and Green debuted on the Gameboy to instant popularity and acclaim. The first game turned into a series, the series turned into a TV show, and now, over 20 years later, Pokemon has infected the brains of every bright-eyed child and nostalgic adult. Pokemon has truly stood the test of time.

It seems like the series has been in an upward crescendo of popularity over its 23-year lifespan. As a matter of fact, Pokemon is the highest grossing media franchise of all time, being worth over $90 billion, according to Screen Rant. The series isn’t just a few good games and a TV show from the nineties though. Even as recent as a few months ago, the franchise has been making big splashes in the entertainment industry.

Detective Pikachu, the first live-action Pokemon movie, released May 10 earlier this year, has earned an impressive $392 million and isn’t even out of theaters yet, a truly impressive feat. In 2016, Pokemon tried their hand in the mobile games market with Pokemon GO. The app, which allows you to catch Pokemon in real life through augmented reality, immediately swept the nation. The game now sits at over 650 million downloads, according to Variety.

The franchise’s long lasting lifespan has made many people question how it’s stood the test of time. There are two students at Saint Joe High School who have some theories. “[Pokemon] keeps adapting to a younger and a growing fanbase. I started at a younger age and it was very fun to play the Gameboy games,” Levi Beam, 10 said when asked why the series is still thriving today.

Liam Ellsworth, another sophomore at SJHS has a differing opinion.“Nostalgia. I feel like it’s just nostalgia. Nostalgia and people jumping back on the bandwagon,” Liam said.

These two statements sound opposing, but there seems to be truth to both of them. Pokemon Sun and Moon, the latest game in the main series, pulled in more players in their 20s and 30s than any Pokemon game before, according to a financial report released by Nintendo. The same report states that 17 percent of players had no prior experience with the games. These two facts prove the wide and multi-generational reach of the series.

Whether you’re a ten-year-old, experiencing Pokemon for the first time, or a 30-year-old, reliving the days of your youth, we can all agree, it’s stood the test of time. From small 8-bit beginnings to worldwide appeal, Pokemon is a series that sought out to provide a good bit of entertainment and inadvertently changed the lives of millions.