What do you know about Pokemon? Of course, in addition to the fact that every second person around you is now catching pocket monsters on his smartphone. Definitely, more people have become familiar with the abilities of Bulbasaur and Jigglypuff since recently. Much more connoisseurs and connoisseurs have appeared who consider the capture of Vaporeon the most striking event of recent times.
What caused all these changes? It’s all the fault of the game Pokemon Go, a recent virus, the effect is comparable only to the T-Virus from Umbrella. In the first week of release, the app had over 10 million installs, and by August it had reached 100 million downloads. And that’s not counting pirated copies.
Of course, this range was only made possible by the richest past of the Pokemon franchise. In my childhood, pocket monsters were primarily associated with the then popular animated series of the same name, in which a hero named Ash, hand in hand with Pikachu, overcame the road to his cherished dream — possessing the title of the strongest Pokemon master.
In addition, the students were engaged in the sale and purchase of collectible cards from the Pokemon Trading Card Game, which, in addition to the images themselves, indicated the characteristics of each monster. The most interesting thing is that no one used the cards for their intended purpose. Instead of competing with each other, all my peers only collected cards, and the owner of the most generous parents turned out to be the most ardent collector.
Pokemon originated in the form of the Pokemon Red and Blue video game released for the Game Boy in 1996. The game is an RPG where you collect, evolve Pokémon, and duel other masters on your way to becoming the Pokémon Major League Champion. In the future, the series released a new title almost every year, and the library of monsters has grown from the original 150 to 722 titles by the sixth generation.
Speaking of generations. The Pokemon series is notable for the fact that with each new era, Nintendo updates all released titles, adding freshly baked Pokemon. Generations change on average once every three to four years, and the transition to the seventh cycle is currently expected with the games Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon. In addition to video games, the franchise has successfully realized itself in the form of the aforementioned cartoons and card games, as well as in the form of manga and its version of Monopoly.
And no matter what form Pokemon comes in, the main factor that gets people hooked on Pokemon has always been the euphoria of collecting. Thanks to modern technology, that euphoria peaked about a month ago when Pokemon Go finally came out.
Now it seems that the transition of the franchise to such an interactive level was only a matter of time. It is all the more surprising that the start of Pokemon Go was given by none other than the April Fool’s raffle from Google. The well-known company has long secured the title of the world’s «pranker» after the pranks a la «we are closing Youtube for ten years» or the recent launch of Youtube SnoopaVision, announced by rapper Snoop Dogg. So this time, Google, together with people from Nintendo and The Pokemon Company, launched a poke campaign Google Maps: Pokemon Challenge, in which they allegedly planned to create something that Pokemon Go is now.
The joke grew into a full-fledged idea and the title was officially announced on September 10, 2015. It was no coincidence that Niantic was the developer, because most of Pokemon GO is based on the gameplay of Ingress, another title of the company. In it, in a similar way, you need to interact with the real world and capture portals using your smartphone. What’s more, Pokemon Go uses the same map databases as Ingress. In March 2016, extensive beta testing began, eventually spreading beyond Japan to Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
In the first week of release, Pokemon Go set a new world record for the number of downloads in the AppStore store. The game provides the possibility of micropayments for the purchase of pokeballs and other things that facilitate the gameplay. As a result, by August the game had already accumulated $160 million in profits, and currently collects $10 million daily through Google Play and the AppStore.
Immediately after the release of Pokemon Go, a string of numerous applications and sites followed the game, offering players to make it easier to catch monsters. In addition to fake copies of the game, of which more than two hundred were discovered in two weeks, it is worth highlighting the site PokeVision.com, which collected 27 million visits in the first five days. The site displayed the places where Pokémon appeared and the time before they disappeared. Be that as it may, Niantic regularly cut off the oxygen to most third-party applications and sites, including PokeVision.
Also, the first accessory soon arrived, namely Pokemon Go Plus — a bracelet that connects via Bluetooth to your phone and vibrates if you find yourself near PokeStops (key points with various bonuses) or Pokemon. The release of the device is scheduled for September.
Of course, hysteria of this magnitude could not pass unnoticed. A huge number of people suddenly left their warm chairs and went to catch monsters, thus causing both positive and negative reactions from others.
For example, stores that were lucky enough to have a PokéStop near them found a significant influx of customers. The same story with museums and exhibitions. Music streaming service Spotify has seen a 630% increase in playback of the Pokemon Theme alone. Surprisingly, the situation even affected pets. In one city in the US, players successfully combine hunting for monsters with walking dogs from a shelter. Although, it is quite possible that this kind gesture is more related to personal safety.
The fact is that since the release of Pokemon Go, players regularly get involved in dangerous situations. Several cases are already known when criminals used Pokestops located in not the most favorable and crowded areas to catch careless players. Pokemon Go’s thirst for exploration has helped prevent a number of other incidents, such as arson and attempted violence. But at the same time, according to many, players create more problems than they solve.
In search of digital animals, careless players often show obvious inattention and carelessness. They roam the railroads, walk through criminal areas at night, without realizing it, penetrate into private territories. At the same time, many lack, so to speak, a sense of tact, which is why players crowd in cemeteries and memorials, make noise, litter, knock on strangers’ doors, and if they are not let in, climb over the fence or even launch gliders so that everyone -get the treasured monsters.
The authorities are screaming about the increase in traffic, consisting of inattentive drivers. In Bosnia, players are warned not to forget about minefields. Others call Pokemon Go a playground for espionage and a breeding ground for sexual harassment. And someone does not see anything in the game except a fashionable bad habit.
And, of course, the game was hit hard by some religious leaders who called Pokemon Go «satanic» and urged people to come to their senses and abandon this entertainment.
At the same time, the last fact is not at all surprising if you remember how many problems were brought down on the franchise long before the release of the “demonic” Pokemon Go:
- One of the most famous cases is the accusation by Saudi Arabia of the Pokemon series of promoting Zionism and Freemasonry due to the presence in the TCG (Trading Card Game) of signs similar to the Star of David and a certain type of Masonic triangles.
- A group of Christians did not like that Pokemon develops the concept of evolution, and also touches on the occult. As a result, Christian Power Cards appeared in 1999, reminiscent of Pokemon TCG with biblical characters.
- Let’s not forget about the famous case when, while watching one of the episodes (season 1, episode 38) of the Pokemon cartoon, 685 children were taken to the hospital with epileptic seizures. As it turned out later, all the victims suffered from photosensitive epilepsy, in which flickering light of high intensity causes epileptic seizures.
- Well, for dessert. In 1999, Pokemon was sued by two nine-year-old boys who claimed that the card game had developed them into a serious gambling addiction. It didn’t work out.
But, despite all the difficulties, claims and prejudices, the series continued to grow and develop, including thanks to its strong fan community. Over the years of its existence, the franchise has inherited not only in the hearts of ardent fans, but also in the world as a whole, and sometimes in quite entertaining forms:
- First of all, it should be noted a series of Pokemon Center stores, symbolizing the Pokemon hospitals of the same name from the universe of the series. In addition to acquiring all kinds of franchise paraphernalia, the store offers first-class duels with strangers in TCG.
- The Japanese airline All Nippon Airways introduced its first Pokemon Jet in 1998, a plane painted with Pokemon. To date, at least ten Boeings are advertising the series. Inside the planes, too, everything is Pokemon-themed, from flight attendant uniforms to in-flight entertainment.
- The Japanese railway company Meitetsu advertised the franchise in a similar way, decorating several of its trains in pocket monsters. Looks pretty cool.
- From 2000 to 2001, the musical Pokemon Live! The musical was a great commercial success and was booked on tour to other countries, but, unfortunately, remained ignored by critics, and soon ceased to exist.
- From 2005 to 2006, a mobile theme park Pokepark functioned in Japan and Taiwan. Visitors were invited to try out more than a dozen attractions, such as «Pikachu Forest» or «Catch Mew».
In addition to all of the above, world pop culture regularly refers to Pokemon, and in the relatively successful series «Multi-reality» there is even a character Ling-Ling, almost entirely written off from Pikachu.
One thing is for sure. You can not be afraid for the future of the franchise in the near future, because it will only grow and the matter will not end on the seventh generation alone. Almost immediately after the release of Pokemon Go, it turned out that the developers had implemented only a tenth of all the ideas, and that subsequent updates would add a lot of new and tasty things. And you can be sure that against the background of the growing popularity of the game, the entire franchise will bloom in new colors. At least he’ll try for sure.
Author: Jake Bailey
Interestingly, in the light of recent events, Pokemon may be able to claim the title of the most successful video game series. Officially, of course, the series is in second place in sales after Mario, but do not forget that Pokemon is fifteen years younger than the “Italian”. Who knows, maybe in the coming years, aimed at a modern audience, Pokemon will still come to the fore and take the throne of the king of video games.