Pokemon has been Going Strong for Over 20 Years and We Hope It Never Stops
Pokemon isn’t leaving. After over 1000 episodes (even though Ash is still 10, don’t question it) we know they aren’t giving up this amazing franchise any time soon. That isn’t even touching on the 300 Million games sold over the last 22 years or the 21 full length movies. Pokemon is a powerhouse that is sticking around, which makes us super happy.
But why are we still catching ‘em all after all these years? Why do we still get that little rush of excitement whenever they announce a new game, or heck, even a remake? They sell millions in merch every year, and we buy it up like it might disappear tomorrow. What makes this franchise so much more long lasting than all the others that come and go?
The Ideal Slice of Anime, Trading Card, Video Game, and Toy
When Pokemon first hit the scene, it was everywhere. If you weren’t watching it, you were playing it. If you weren’t playing it, you were trading it. If you weren’t trading it, you bought the toys. Pokemon was basically exploding in every form of media children consumed — and it worked. We all fell for the lovable Ash, who was (admittedly) not very good, but his persistence reminded us that we could do anything if we worked hard enough. If you didn’t like one avenue, then there was another for you to enjoy. If you liked them all, well…you went broke. It made Pokemon really work. Nowadays it continues to thrive using the same model: the game releases, the show follows the game, and the trading cards follow that. The wonderful world of Pokemon keeps expanding, and we keep finding ways to enjoy it.
The Ultimate Customizable RPG
We know there are a lot of possible teams. With 802 different Pokemon to choose from (not including Mega Evolution and Alolan Forms), your team has so many possibilities, it’s nearly unthinkable. How many? Well, in 2014 a fan named Dan Starkey over at Kotaku tried to figure out just how many different teams you could make when there were only 719 Pokemon to choose from. He came to a figure so large that our brains can hardly process it. There were 216,217,804,439,226,231,642 team combinations. Go ahead, check his math. That’s basically an endless number of combinations you can make in order to develop your ideal team. Our brains hurt just thinking about it. You could use a different Pokemon team every day for the next 500 years and still not be close to that number!
It Lets You be an Expert at Something
Everyone likes to become an expert, and Pokemon gives you that wonderful opportunity. The combat is simple enough that kids can grasp it, and yet complex enough that a thoughtful adult can adapt their team into something unbelievable. Learning the names of all the Pokemon is a feat in and of itself (they keep adding more which makes it harder every year), not to mention figuring out type weaknesses and advantages. Getting to be an expert makes us feel better about our abilities — even if it is just a video game. Learning this helps us feel more confident that we can become an expert in any field if we put our minds to it.
It Encourages Playing With Friends
Since day one, Pokemon has encouraged playing with your friends. Between battles, version-locked Pokemon, and trade-only evolutions, there has never been a time when Pokemon games weren’t encouraging you to seek out your friends. Now it has the added bonus of helping you make new friends! Pokemon GO, while it has fallen off in popularity, caused whole communities to come together to battle in “gyms,” catch Pokemon, and walk. In the main line of games, now there is Streetpass and Wonder Trade, which enable you to make friends (and rivals) all around the world.
The Perfect Mix of New and Nostalgic
When you pick up a Pokemon game, you have a good idea of what you are getting. Sure, there are a couple of different types — ranger, mystery dungeon, the main line, and then all of the little arcade games that come along the way. For the most part, however, they are similar to the previous game that came out. In the main line, you know you’ll be fighting trainers, catching monsters, battling gyms, saving the world from a gang of thugs, and will most likely finish it off by beating the elite four. Yet even with this predictability, each new game adds a little something to the mythos. The nostalgia is strong because it feels familiar, but there are just enough new things to discover to make you need to buy the next one.