Gotta catch ‘em all! Believe it or not, Pokémon recently celebrated 25 years of monster-catching fun. It’s hard to believe what started out as an odd little game has expanded into an all-encompassing media phenomenon. More than just a series of handheld games, Nintendo has built the franchise into one of the biggest-selling entertainment properties of all time.
There are tons we can say about Pikachu and co – but here are a few interesting facts about Pokémon, the catchable oddities, which might just surprise you to get started. There are hundreds of Pokémon out there to collect – better get your trainer’s hat on!
The word ‘Pokémon’ is actually a contraction of the words ‘Pocket Monsters’, which is what the phenomenon is still largely known as in Japan.
Satoshi Tajiri first developed the Pokémon concept back in 1989, having collected insects as a child.
Inspired by the wide and vibrant world of insects, Tajiri wanted to develop a game through which players could catch and catalogue intriguing animal species out in the wild.
Pokémon largely revolves around the idea of ‘catching’ monsters through throwing spheres, known as ‘Pokeballs’. The game series has come under criticism over the years through organizations such as PETA, who claim that it glorifies animal abuse.
However, Nintendo – as a family-friendly company has continued to assert the opposite. In the games, animals willingly participate – and they simply ‘pass out’ during battle.
Since 1996, eight generations of games have been released, mainly across handheld systems such as the Game Boy and Nintendo 3DS.
The Pokémon phenomenon has expanded to a jaw-dropping extent. It’s more than just a series of games – it’s a card game, a long-running anime, and you can find just about anything with Pokémon branded on it.
Pokémon Sword and Shield, the two latest installments in the series, were released in November 2019. These were the first ‘main’ Pokémon adventures – not spin-offs – to be released on a home console. Namely, they are playable for the Nintendo Switch.
In August 2014, Pokémon even made its way to Monopoly – with a themed version of the classic board game released worldwide.
Pokémon trading cards are hugely collectable, and often valuable. Old first edition cards in perfect condition can sell for as much as$40. Holographic cards, however, in good to perfect condition sell for between $1,000 and $24,000!
There has, in fact, been a rise in forgeries surrounding Pokémon paraphernalia and cards. Therefore, if you do have a shiny Charizard in the back of your cupboard, make sure it’s legitimate before you try selling it!
The most valuable Pokémon cards so far come from the years 1999 and 2000. This is from the first wave of the cards released in the west.
Nintendo officially owns the rights to the Pokémon brand; however, Game Freak and The Pokémon Company are also involved in the games’ production.
For a short period, during the initial burst of popularity in the mobile game Pokémon Go, Nintendo’s share price spiked. However, once Nintendo confirmed they had nothing to do with the title, their share price dipped again!
Pikachu is inarguably the most iconic Pokémon. Its name literally translates as ‘electric mouse’ – a pretty apt description.
Pikachu is such an icon that it’s split off into a number of spinoff games and has been a staple character in the Super Smash Bros series of games since the early 00s.
In 1998, Joan Wagnon, a Kansas mayor, renamed her town of ‘Topeka’ to ‘Topikachu’ to coincide with a national Pokémon event – endorsed by Nintendo, of course!
It’s estimated that Pokémon has helped Nintendo gross more than $90 billion worldwide. This, it’s thought, makes it the most profitable entertainment franchise of all time.
It’s easy to assume that the most fervent followers of Pokémon hail from Japan. However, it has its core base of fans in Vietnam!
With each new Pokémon game, there are new species of Pokémon unveiled. That means there are now a staggering number of creatures to catch and battle with. There are nearly 900 different species! Can you catch ‘em all? Best of luck!
App interface when using the Pokémon Go app
Famous celebrities who enjoy playing Pokémon include Demi Lovato, Stephen Colbert, Nick Jonas, Chrissy Teigen, John Meyer, the Backstreet Boys and Jimmy Fallon.
In November 2016, Prince Daniel of Sweden famously announced he was a fervent fan of Pokémon Go. He’s even arranged for Royal security to escort him and his children to local Pokémon gyms!
Pokémon Go remains hugely popular, and during the COVID-19 lockdown, the game was adapted to allow people to catch creatures at home. This is a big difference from the game which normally requires you to go walking out and about in public!
In 2017, designers at Nintendo – specifically those working on Pokémon games – earned in the region of $71,000 dollars a year, alongside production staff earning $88,000 dollars.
As of 2020, there have been 23 animated Pokémon movies, but only one live action film. This movie, Detective Pikachu, was released in 2019, and features Deadpool’s Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu. It’s a combination which surprisingly works wonders!
Other stars originally thought to be in line for the role of Pikachu included Dwayne Johnson and Hugh Jackman.
Detective Pikachu, 2019
Other Pokémon films are in the pipeline, with the next animated adventure reportedly due for release in 2021.
The Pokémon anime, which focuses on the never-ending journey of trainer Ash Ketchum, is itself a long runner. It’s been continuing to roll episodes out since 1997, across 22 seasons.
What’s notable is that Ash’s main Pokémon – a Pikachu – has never evolved. Evolution of Pokémon is a big part of the games – which has led viewers to wonder if the same will ever happen to Ash’s Pikachu!
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Pokémon that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!