27 Feb: Pokémon Hegemon

The first Pokémon videogames, ‘Red’ and ‘Green’ were launched in Japan on 27th February, 1996. The franchise went on to be the most successful ever video game to TV adaptation, and the highest selling trading card game in history of cards. 

Created by Satoshi Tajiri, the gameplay recalled his childhood obsession for bug-hunting, and made use of Nintendo’s new GameBoy connection cable to enable players to swap and collect monsters. But it wasn’t until the card-trading game went viral in playgrounds that his company, Game Freak, was accused of encouraging gambling.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain why the series was re-named for the American market; reveal just how many epileptic seizures were caused by the anime adaptation in one ill-fated broadcast; and explain what the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia had in common with a group of Long Island moms…

Further Reading:

• ‘The Year in Ideas; Pokémon Hegemon’ (The New York Times, 2002): https://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/15/magazine/the-year-in-ideas-pokemon-hegemon.html?searchResultPosition=21

• ‘Pokémon: The Japanese game that went viral’ (BBC Culture, 2020): https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20200811-pokemon-the-japanese-game-that-went-viral

• ‘Gameplay: Pokemon Red’ (GameFreak, 1996):