Pokemon is not a dying series

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Wikimedia Commons


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Pokémon is everywhere: it is nearly impossible to traverse Hayfield without seeing someone sporting a Pokémon shirt or keychain at least once a day. What makes the Pokémon so appealing and marketable? More importantly, why is it still massively popular after over two decades?

First, it is important to note what exactly Pokémon is. Pokémon, short for “Pocket Monsters,” is a video game series first released in Japan in February 1996. The main series games, usually released in pairs depending on what type of gameplay the player wishes to experience, revolve around a central plot: trying to become the strongest Pokémon trainer in the unique region every game takes place through battling other trainers, which in turn strengthens the players Pokémon. Since 1996, over 120 different games have been released under the “Pokémon” name (Bulbapedia).

A year after the original games, Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue, came out in America an anime was produced under the name “Pokémon: Indigo League.” The anime was a slight deviation from the games with a new main character, 10 year old Ash Ketchum. Since the main demographic of the series at the time was primarily young boys, this was most likely done to give younger viewers somebody to relate to.
The games influenced the development of a series of trading cards, which were first released in America in 1999. Each card comes with its own unique abilities, weaknesses and resistances, and these cards can be used to play the official trading card game, which involves a competitive battling system that has made its way to national tournaments all over the planet, where players from every corner of the world compete to be number one.

How does any of that contribute to where the series is today? There is a bounteous number of video game series that produce content at an overwhelmingly rapid pace and have been doing so for decades, such as the Mario Brothers and The Legend of Zelda franchises. What is Pokémon doing differently from these series that has made it the hegemonic household name it is today?

The rate of content production is a key factor. The special thing that Pokémon does is have several branches to release content in, including but not limited to: games, anime, trading cards, comic books and any type of merchandise you can think of. While waiting for the newest game to be released, fans can sate their craving for Pokémon by occupying themselves with one of the other extensive forms of media on the subject that exists. This is a clever strategy for keeping fans hooked and not letting their attention on the series slip.

Nintendo, the company that owns Pokémon, focuses on gaining a wide demographic. As aforementioned, Pokémon has branched off into a large amount of spin-off material that appeals to fans of all ages. Younger fans could enjoy the show, while older fans might find themselves more inclined to play the games; Nintendo always makes sure that they are not only producing content for one age group. The recent release of the fast-paced fighting game Pokkén Tournament, which draws inspiration from games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, while the official anime, which has always used bright colors and simple themes, keeps young fans hooked and watching for the 15+ years it has been on.

Pokémon is not a dying series. There is a reason the flame has not burnt out since its conception in 1995, and in short, it is just a matter of keeping fans hooked. If a series can keep its fans for all the years it has been around, then it is a successful series. This amounts to continuous, fluid updates and installments that any fan of any age can get a charge out of. Pokémon is not going anywhere if it continues this pattern.

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Pokemon is not a dying series