Still ga-ga over Pokemon 25years after
The augmented-reality game raked in $1 billion in just the first 10 months of last year – its most lucrative yet – according to market tracker Sensor Tower, and experts see no sign that interest is flagging as the world’s highest-grossing media franchise evolves. “The characters themselves are so appealing, and the mechanics of the actual video and card games are so well executed that it has this very timeless quality,” said Brian Ashcraft, an author who writes about Japanese pop culture. Dan Ryan, a 29-year-old who works in London’s finance sector, has been a fan nearly his whole life and is not shy about his hobby, even with colleagues. “They know I disappear every Thursday to go and play Pokemon cards, they see me come in with my Pikachu jacket, and they see my Pokemon mugs,” he told AFP. He admits he spends “too much money” on rare Pokemon cards, whose prices have boomed as virus lockdowns push people towards indoor pursuits, with some in mint condition going for over $500,000 in recent weeks. Pokemon is inspired by the childhood tradition of collecting bugs – popular during Japan’s hot and humid summer holidays – and part of its enduring appeal is its simple goal: to catch them all. Hundreds of round-eyed “pocket monsters” inspired by everything from mice to dragons can be caught and trained to full strength in battles. The winning concept has sold countless toys, film tickets and more than 30 billion Pokemon cards since the first black-and-white Game Boy titles were released in Japan in 1996. ‘Pika-pika’ Atsuko Nishida, who designed the electric mouse Pikachu, once said she modeled it on a round Japanese sweet called a daifuku.