February 27 marks the 25th anniversary of Pokémon. The day is celebrated annually by fans across the world, but the 25th anniversary is going to be special. For the entire month of February, leading up to the 27th, the Pokémon Company has been collaborating and releasing exclusive merchandise for fans.
The story behind Pokémon comes from its creator, video game designer Satoshi Tajiri, who had the hobby of catching insects as a child. Back when the Nintendo Game Boy was popular, Tajiri saw the cable that linked two Game Boys to play together and envisioned it as a tube in which bugs can crawl back and forth. He wanted to share with other children his joy of collecting different insect species. When he pitched the idea to Nintendo of a game that allows players to catch, collect and trade collectibles, the developers couldn’t understand the concept.
Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the popular Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong franchises, saw potential in Tajiri’s idea and began mentoring him. On February 27, 1996, the first-ever game was introduced on the Nintendo Game Boy, known as Pokémon Red and Blue (Green in Japan). Since then the game has become a worldwide phenomenon, with ongoing anime, trading cards, cafés, Pokémon Center shops and more—and it shows no signs of slowing down.
The Pikachu character is the Mickey Mouse of Japan. There is even a weeklong celebration and festival in Japan dedicated to Pikachu. Pokémon continues to prove it is the fastest-growing children’s franchise in the world.
For the 25th anniversary, the company has released 25 collectible Pokémon cards in McDonald’s Happy Meals, each with a holographic design. A virtual online concert featuring music artist Post Malone will air on YouTube, Twitch and the Pokémon 25th Anniversary website on February 27.
Pokémon proved it was more than just a fad in the 1990s. It became an incredibly popular cultural phenomenon that it is still going strong today. From the video games to the trading cards, merchandise to famous cameos, television shows to movies premiering on the big screen, Pokémon is without a doubt a successful franchise. Even more, Pokémon is for anybody of any age who can take what they love and express it in any shape or form with the franchise. Whether that means playing the video games or collecting every plushie of every Pokémon character, there is a way to express one’s love of Pokémon.
For more information about Pokémon’s 25th anniversary events, visit https://25.pokemon.com/en-us/.