So. Pokemon. Or as some people may NOT know it?
Pokuto Monsuto (Japanese).
Or Pocket Monsters.
Even though all these names are epic, we mostly know the craze as Pokemon.
What began as a video game for the original Game boy (developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo), has grown to mammoth proportions, with trading cards, animated TV shows and movies, comic books, and toys.
This has actually been quite a surprise to myself seeing as the first I remember hearing of the soon to be culture, was through the incredibly popular trading card game and TV series.
To be quite honest, it has actually come to the point where I couldn’t tell you what came first for me. It’s become a sort of; “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” debate, where my mind is in constant peril.
I have to say, the TV show came out first? In Australia at least.
The concept of transmedia has actually loomed over my head for a substantial portion of my life, and I didn’t even know it.
Flash-back to 1998.
I had already been introduced to an obsession for the Pokemon world as depicted by its TV show.
I mean, who wouldn’t! A kid that’s allowed to leave home at the age of 10? Away from mum? I was all over it!
Well. I finally pulled together enough money to purchase my FIRST EVER packet of the all-famous 11 card Training pack. I had no clue that this was Transmedia storytelling. Plus, I had no idea this would lead me to an addictive lifestyle throughout my childhood.
But then again, what kid at 8 years old would know?
Well, that was a long time ago. But I can tell you this. The rarest card I got in that pack was a holographic Zaptos (I still have it).
Fast-forward to the year 1999.
You have to know (for the purpose of this story) that my sister has a different dad than me. And while my dad is from Croatia, her dad is from Japan.
My sister has been visiting him throughout the years, ever since we were kids, and whenever she would go to Japan she would bring me back heaps (and I mean heaps) of Pokemon cards and some other stuff.
Well as you could probably tell, at that age I was totally unaware that Pokemon was actually created in Japan, but what I did know was that she was giving me the most amazing presents known to mankind (at that point in my life).
When the game was released in Australia, I had seen my friends playing Pokemon Red on their Game Boys. It wasn’t actually until I saw the game cartridge itself that i realised.
“I have that game! I don’t remember it being in English like that! But I have that game!”
It was the Charazard (as seen above).
This moment will sit in my mind as one of the greatest highlights of my entire life.
Obviously, it took me a while to get used to the fact that the game was in Japanese, but since all my friends had the game (in English) I would spend a majority of my time navigating, gaining knowledge and developing my muscle memory to get through the game (I still remember how to get into my backpack and use my bicycle in Pokemon Red – Japanese AND English).
In light of all this, it’s needless to say that thanks to its constant engagement with its consumer, with constant development, tailored by that communication, it’s no wonder why Pokemon is continuing to plant its roots in popular culture.
And with six generations of these little Pocket Monsters, it’s evident that Pokemon has an impressive Curriculum Vitae [CV] to say the least.