Why Pokémon Has Endured For 25 Years

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The games have evolved over the years, moving from a Matrix-green original Game Boy sprite display to the gorgeous, full-color three dimensions of Nintendo Switch. Along the way, new generations of fans have found their respective access points into the games and the franchise at large.

Pokémon content creator Ron Sroor is part of the next wave of Pokémon fandom, having been born after Red and Blue even debuted. He knows as well as anyone that the appeal of Pokémon has been constant, even if the heights of the franchise have waxed and waned. 

“To the people who were around at the beginning of Pokémania, it seemed like it was dying down, and it definitely was,” Sroor says. “But it never stopped being big. It was going from the biggest thing ever to just a normal, big thing.”

Like Benkwitt, Sroor came to Pokémon through the anime before coming to appreciate the larger tapestry of the franchise through the Pokémon Black and White games, which are set in a world approximating his native New York City. Now Sroor interacts with Pokémon fans via a variety of creative YouTube videos in which he discusses elements of the games like tier lists for powerful Pokémon, and shares his own artistic Pokémon renditions.

“I think the Pokémon are the draw of the franchise. They’re the perfect formula for creating creatures that aren’t too monstrous, but also not too childish or too cute,” he says. “Every single Pokémon is based on something, whether it be an animal or myth, and every location in the game or in the show or whatever is based on places in the real world.”

Cardboard Craze

Though the Pokémon series of games were the progenitor of the franchise, Pikachu and friends quickly proved too big to be contained by only one medium. The Pokémon Trading Card Game was first published by Wizards of the Coast in October 1996, just eight months after Red and Blue’s debut. These days, the Pokémon Trading Card Game (now under the auspices of The Pokémon Company) is considered one of the “Big Three” TCGs, alongside Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh!

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