The Pokemon franchise is officially old enough to drink in the United States. Today marks the 21st anniversary of the Japanese release of Pokemon Red and Green, the first two games in the Pokemon franchise. Those games introduced millions to the simple yet addicting concept of the Pokemon franchise: collecting a diverse set of monsters and training them to make them stronger in battle. Although the Pokemon games have changed a ton since then, the core game mechanic has never wavered from the original goal of "catching them all."
Although the Pokemon franchise was a smash hit in Japan, it took another two and a half years for those first Pokemon games to make its way across the Pacific to the United States. The Game Boy games did fantastic in the United States, and the Pokemon anime and Pokemon trading card game solidified Pokemon as a cultural phenomenon.
Pokemon is the bestselling RPG franchise of all time, beating more traditional RPGs like Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft, or The Elder Scrolls. It helps that the games are typically released in pairs, a concept originally conceived to promote the game's unique trading feature. It also helps that millions of fans have remained loyal the franchise over the last 20 years, or returned to the games as adults. The recent popularity of Pokemon Go (which remains near the top of Apple and Android's top grossing apps chart months after its release) shows just how much people love the franchise.
As it enters its 21st year, Pokemon still has plenty of surprises up its sleeve. A new Pokemon movie is on the way, which looks to bring Ash back to his earliest encounters with Pikachu and the Legendary Pokemon Ho-oh. The franchise appears to be eyeing a move to the Nintendo Switch after spending 20 years avoiding using Nintendo's home consoles for its main games.
Whatever Pokemon has in store for fans this year, WWG will be there to cover it. Happy birthday to the Pokemon franchise and here's to 21 more great years!