When Fans Become Creators – A History of Pokémon

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Much has been said about the social nature of Pokémon Go. How it encourages players to get up, step out, and explore their surroundings and interact face-to-face with other hunters in the real world instead of staying glued to a screen inside like so many other video games might encourage. The integration of mobile alternate reality tech may seem like a drastic turn for this 20-year-old franchise, but anybody familiar with the origins of Pokémon would know that these showy new developments actually fulfill the game’s original intentions quite fully.

For all the questions of why this brand made such a spectacular impression on the AR platform, the answers go back to creator Satoshi Tajiri’s earliest dreams. He wished to make a game that would connect people.

Kaptain Kristian distills and examines the whole Pokémon ethos in his video lover letter. Fans who’ve grown up with the games may be quite surprised to learn that this all grew out of a video game fanzine. After appraising countless games in the pages of Game Freak, Tajiri turned his admiration into action by transforming the zine into a proper game studio. He actually was inspired to create a game that would exploit the first Game Boy’s ability to link with other units after he had a dream where little bugs were literally crawling through the connective wires.

Tajiri, of course, was also inspired by his boyhood hobby of collecting bugs. Kristian notes how that–along with the developers’ autism diagnosis–the hobby likely shaped the superlative qualities that have set Pokémon apart from other franchises. Collecting treasures isn’t just a chore in the game, it’s a hunt for something truly special that can’t be fully found unless the player links up and trades with others.

As Kristian notes, the last function has provided generations of shy kids an easy ice-breaker with which to make new friends. While the game’s connectivity speaks to Pokémon‘s social value, it’s quite encouraging to know this phenom is the product of a fan who once wrote regularly about all the games that benefited him.

Do you find Pokémon’s true origins inspiring? Share your experiences in the talkback.

Featured Image Credit: Nintendo

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