Some people might still be wondering how Pokemon ever became the phenomenon that it did. If you’ve never heard of Pokemon, you must live under a rock because it is one of the most wildly popular games of our time. Pokemon first came out as a black and white video game at a time when black and white video games were getting phased out. On top of that, this game came out on a gaming platform that was also about to become phased out. With all of these factors playing against the game, it now seems strange that the game ever took off. Pokemon (also known as Pocket Monsters) was huge in Japan and possibly even bigger in the United States. Forget the show, forget the card game, let’s talk about what started it all – the original Pokemon Game Boy game.
I remember when this game first came out. I Pokemon Gold ROM was in sixth grade, and a friend brought this game and his Game Boy to school, along with the user manual to the game. Just like most RPG video games, playing the game is way better than watching it, but because my friend had a booklet full of all the different Pokemon, I was able to learn about the game without even playing it. Needless to say, I bought a Nintendo Game Boy Pocket just so I could play the Pokemon game.
Now let’s talk about the marketing of this game for a second. The original Pokemon game came in two different versions, the red version and the blue version. When the marketers behind the game employed this idea, the effect was quite powerful. Kids did not ask themselves, “Should I get this game?” Instead, most kids asked, “Which version should I get?” Personally, I got the blue version because my friend already had the red version.
Besides the choice of game versions, players were given a wide variety of furry and not-so-furry creatures to train and fight opposing creatures. This gave players the opportunity to train creatures that most appealed to their personality. With 151 Pokemon available, it was almost like choosing your pet out of all the animal species in the world. Furthermore, most of these Pokemon creatures had the ability to grow up and become a bigger and more powerful version of themselves. With such enticing game options available, it’s no wonder Pokemon became the huge hit that it did.