“The Gyro Ball is about to enter the Tapu Fini.” The audience in front of me is enthralled, howling and cheering at the events unfolding on the stage. “It’s interesting that he’s going after the Tapu Fini because it’s a Pokémon that can’t do much other than Nature’s Madness at the present, yet he’s going after it right away.”
Why does pokémon continue to be so famous?
With a double target, [he] takes it out. Is Xerneas going to be asleep again? No! It actually wakes up! “That excites Eric tremendously!” Wolfe Glick and Eric Rios, two young guys crouched over the table like wizened chess players, are the focus of this audience’s attention. Years of intensive practise have allowed them to manage their Nintendo 3DS consoles with finesse. They’re the rising stars of a scene that most people don’t understand, slugging it out in Berlin, Germany, at the 2019 Pokémon Europe International Championships. To steal a term from a clichéd headline genre, Pokémon is having a moment. Non-nostalgists or those who haven’t kept up with the latest trends may find this strange, but it’s undeniable. 2019 is shaping up to be a big year for Nintendo, with the debut of Detective Pikachu (an intriguing and amusing cute-em-up film) and two new Nintendo Switch titles. However, a lot of individuals are asking themselves, “How?”
In the 1990s, everyone was collecting Pokémon cards, and many of them were even playing, but almost all of them eventually stopped. However, many people continue to do so – albeit in a competitive manner. Why? Society has changed dramatically in the twenty years after the debut of Pokémon: The First Movie. The world that initially took Pokémon into its arms is hardly recognisable from that which is now receiving the so-called “Pocket Monsters” all over again, having gone from being barely online to one of continual connectedness. But it is one of Pokémon’s strengths: its ability to evolve over time and keep fans intrigued. The cards (or Trading Card Game, as it’s formally known) were very 1996, in the best possible manner, but have since been updated with new designs and a far larger number of cards available to buy and collect.
There’s also the fact that the people behind it all are constantly coming up with new concepts and incorporating new technical breakthroughs, such as embracing cellphones and producing Pokémon Go, which is more of a new genre than a new game. Pokémon was initially released in the late 1990s, at the height of western cultural civilisation as we know it, and the first Pokémon Movie was one of the year’s biggest releases (along with The Phantom Menace, Notting Hill and The Matrix, as well as countless other modern classics). What began as a hymn to insect collecting has reappeared, appearing just as society reaches its worst. Examining the official magazine is one approach to keep track of the brand’s popularity throughout time. It was first shown in 2004, but was quickly cancelled. They tried again in 2013, but this time it only lasted a few months. The most recent attempt was in 2017, and it is now 28 issues old and still going strong, which is a tiny miracle in the world of publications. Google Trends reveals the same pattern, with a tremendous and unprecedented jump in searches in 2016, when Pokémon Go was released, but otherwise a fairly steady level of attention and enthusiasm. To put it another way, there’s a lot of both.
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