Let me preface this whole thing by saying, I’ve never been one for Pokémon. Ever. I never saw the allure in the franchise, and the characters & art style just do nothing for me. What follows here, are my opinions on the matter, so…feel free to disagree.
Earlier today, Kotaku ran an article about the fact that ‘Pokémon Sun’ and ‘Pokémon Moon’ have been confirmed for release on the Nintendo 3DS later this year. My Facebook timeline exploded with the news, and I know a bunch of my friends are overjoyed with this news. All I have to say is, “Whoop-dee-freaking-doo”. I know that there are A LOT of people out there who really like the Pokémon video games, and have ever since the franchise first debuted in Japan in 1996. However, I am not (nor do I ever see myself becoming) one of them.
This one video game IP has become a worldwide phenomenon, and now has a glut of products on the market – much like the He-Man, She-Ra, and G.I. Joe TV shows were created to market the toys back in the 1980’s. However, it’s become pervasive, in my opinion. I cannot even go one day without seeing something having to do with Pokémon…hell, even my 20-something roommate has a pokéball backpack. I really can’t understand the allure, though. I’ve had friends describe the games as having “long and established story lines” as well as an “interesting and consistent art style”, but I’ve always thought of the character design & story as being somewhat juvenile. I mean, at its core, it’s a story about a group of kids who go around capturing super-powered creatures, so that they can pit them in battles against one another. “Look at me! I’m better than you!” No thanks. Not for me.
All of this being said, for those of you who enjoy the franchise, I’ll say this: the Pokémon players’ community is a very welcoming one, and has a tight sense of comradery. In fact, because this weekend is Pokémon weekend, there will be several stores hosting events to celebrate the franchise’s 20th anniversary. For instance, Toys R’ Us is apparently giving away posters & promo cards this Saturday (02/27/2016). The Pokémon team will also be giving away Level 100 Mythical Pokémon cards for free all this year. Additionally, GameStop stores across the country will be hosting “Pokémon Day” on Saturday; where tournaments will be held, and anyone who purchases a Pokémon product will also receive a free double-sided poster.
Regardless of how you feel about Pokémon; whether you are a die-hard fan, or if (like me) you would not miss it if it dropped off the face of the Earth, it’s a franchise that seems to be here to stay. After 20 years, its staying power has been established, and does not appear to be waning at all. So I’ll say, “Happy birthday, Pokémon…I may not like you, but I respect you”.