Chances are you know Pokémon – or at the very least, you’ve heard about it from someone else who is obsessed with it. You may have wondered to yourself where these adorable little creatures got all their popularity and fame from. Well, look no further – as this article explains the history of Pokémon and its rise to popularity.

The Origin Story

Pokémon, short for “Pocket Monsters,” was created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1996. In Japan, it was released as Pocket Monsters: Green and Red. Nationally, it was released as Pokémon: Red and Blue. It was incredibly popular across the globe, which turned the game into a multimedia franchise. Cards were announced later in the same year as the first games, and the first manga, called Pokémon Adventures, was released in 1997. This was a game-based manga that originally followed the story of Red. Later, it followed the story of the other protagonists from games such as Blue and Yellow. Later, it would follow the other protagonists from other games.

person holding video games
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Satoshi Tajiri originally thought of the concept around 1989, when the Game Boy was released. At this time, it had a different name. The concept of the universe actually stems from insect collecting, which Satoshi enjoyed doing as a child. It may also be another reason behind bug catchers being in every game!

The video game, card game, manga and anime were all based on three principles: collecting, training, and battling.

When Did Ash Come into Pokémon?

The character of Ash was introduced in Pocket Monsters: Original Series – though you and I might know this as Pokémon: Indigo League. Ash similarly proved as popular as the original games, which led to the release of the first movie in 1998. It holds the iconic scene that many Pokémon fans still remember to this day.

Ash (though his name is Satoshi in Japanese, sharing the name of the original creator) was the anime’s main protagonist until 2023. The eternal ten-year-old’s journey finally came to an end, paving the way for new trainers to rise to the challenge – and continue his legacy.

Going International

When Pokémon first came to the United States, Nintendo feared it would be “too Japanese” for the Western market. Nintendo spent millions in deals with Hasbro and KFC in order to advertise the franchise. Alfred Kahn, the then CEO of 4Kids Entertainment, saw potential in Pokémon and agreed to take it on. Later this was taken back by The Pokémon Company International.

In 2006, the franchise celebrated its tenth anniversary with Pokémon Diamond and Pearl – a fan favorite for many. For the 20th anniversary, Pokémon celebrated by airing an advertisement during Super Bowl 50 by re-releasing the original Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue, and Pokémon Yellow on the Nintendo 3DS.

The Pokémon franchise then further branched out into mobile gaming with the release of Pokémon Go. The augmented reality game has been downloaded over 500 million times.

turned on iphone displaying pokemon go charizard application
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Pokémon continues to release new content constantly, with the most recent being Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. While there are no other games yet announced, DLC for the latest game is set to release later this year.


What Can We Expect From Pokémon in the Future?

One thing is for certain – there is no signs of it slowing down. The Pokemon franchise seems to be following the same path as many other games in making it an open-world experience. Many fans loved the feeling of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and many hope for more games to be released like it in the future.

Remakes have been something that has continued. If the games follow the same patterns as the release, the next remake will be Pokémon Black and White, as these followed by Diamond and Pearl.

However, there is no telling what may happen next – we can only wait and see.

What are you hoping to see from Pokémon in the future? Are there games you want to be remade? Or are you wanting more features to be added? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!