The making of Pokemon Red and Blue: How Game Freak changed the world

Well, you ? No need to be shy, you know what we are talking about. Want to be the best? Like no one has ever been? The thing about Pokemon’s many elements is that they’re all interconnected, and just seeing screenshots or the logo is often enough to send that opening G power chord ringing in your head, for conjure up visions of Ash turning his cap backwards in the anime or reminding you of that shiny Charizard card you just couldn’t get for love or money back in the day. Pokemon was launched globally not just as a video game, but as a multimedia offensive. Backed by a TV show, merchandise and other merchandise following the huge success of its original Japanese launch, there was simply no way it would fail. It was everywhere and in the late ’90s, you could barely move without seeing Pikachu’s beaming little face somewhere.

But while that may have been the beginning of the phenomenon as we know it, our story begins earlier. Well, much earlier – all the way back to 1990, actually, or even earlier if you want to track the origins of the most important people behind the franchise. “M [Satoshi] Tajiri was the founder of Game Freak and I was a friend of his when I was a student,” recalls Ken Sugimori, veteran Game Freak artist, art director and character designer on just about every game and who has been responsible for official art. assets. “We used to play video games together and that’s how we started this business – Mr. Tajiri started a business and I joined. In 1983, Mr. Tajiri started selling this small booklet for ¥200 and it was only sold in very specialized bookstores. It talked about strategies for arcade games because at the time there were no home consoles. A few people visited these stores and saw the book, and I was one of them.As we talked, we became friends and discussed that arcade games were often very similar – if we were developing, what would we do differently? When we started, some of the readers were programmers and they had the skills and access to hardware – that’s how we started producing video games. Then Mr. Masuda joined and our first game was Quinty.

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Pokemon takes off!

Pokémon Yellow is coming

Cultural impact

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Having been on board from the very beginning and being more committed to the series than most thanks to his continued hard work with Serebii.net, Merrick is as well placed to discuss the importance of the series as anyone in other than you might want to mention – he handled the franchise in all its forms almost on a daily basis, with a pretty staggering weekly workload for a fan project. “Sometimes it’s as little as five hours, others it’s around 155 hours,” he laughs. “It all depends on what happens in the franchise. Over time, not only have I focused more on the quality of the site, but more and more is happening in Pokemon. Over the years, I usually had many times when I had nothing to do; as it is my policy never to skip more than one calendar day in a row on news updates, it became difficult to have to find reasons to update. Now, however, I rarely have this problem. In 2015, I updated 331 of the 365 days, and the other days I was usually working on something else.

There’s so much to love about Pokemon that it saddens us to hear the blind opinions of those who base their opinion of the franchise on the colorful promotional material and frankly corded cartoonishness that emerged while it was still young enough to be considered a fad; before the franchise has even had a chance to prove itself and long before it became one of the complex RPG series created.

“People think Pokemon is a kid’s game, but I think that’s a misunderstanding,” says Sugimori, and we’re inclined to agree – look beyond the presentation surrounding it, dig deeper into its near-bottomless strategic complexities and you’ll find an RPG deserving far more respect and credit than it often gets. But while some may be harder to convince of the series’ merits, those who are comfortably on the Pokémon Express make up a vast player base that spans every conceivable age group and demographic, as you’ve probably seen lately. when Pokemon Go brought in fans of all ages. out of the carpentry in search of virtual creatures in the real world. “The community is by far my favorite thing about Pokemon,” Merrick tells us. “Aside from a few things, it’s one of the friendliest communities around. People go out of their way to help others find Pokemon. The game by design, has a mandate to bring people together to fight and trade, and it has continued to do so. There are people alive today because their parents met because of Pokemon and that is quite amazing to me.

“His impact in the 90s was phenomenal,” he concludes. “It was everywhere and everyone was playing it. Honestly, I never thought we would see something like this again. Then Go arrived and once again Pokemon was everywhere. Will we ever see an equal to this again? It’s hard to say. The industry is much more volatile these days than it was in the 90s, and much more saturated. Yo-Kai Watch, while huge for a few years in Japan, has dwindled and just hasn’t taken off here. I don’t know if we’ll ever see a series permeate so many facets of media at once and be a phenomenon like Pokemon again.

This feature first appeared in retro gamer magazine issue 161. For more great articles, like the one you just read, be sure to subscribe to the print or digital edition at My favorite magazines.


More information about The making of Pokemon Red and Blue: How Game Freak changed the world

Well do you? No need to play coy – you know what we’re talking about. Do you want to be the very best? Like no one ever was? The thing about Pokemon’s many elements is that they’re all interconnected, and just seeing screenshots or the logo is often enough to send that opening G power chord ringing out in your head, to evoke visions of Ash turning his cap backwards in the anime or to remind you of that shiny Charizard card you just couldn’t get for love nor money back in the day. Pokemon launched on a worldwide scale not just as a video game but as a multimedia offensive. Supported by a TV show, merchandise and other products following the huge success of its original Japanese launch, there was just no way it could fail. It was everywhere and in the late Nineties, you could barely move without seeing Pikachu’s beaming little face somewhere.
But while that might have been the start of the phenomenon as we know it, our story begins earlier. Well, a lot earlier – all the way back in 1990, in fact, or even earlier if you want to track the origins of the most important people behind the franchise. “Mr [Satoshi] Tajiri was the founder of Game Freak and I was a friend of his when I was a student,” recalls veteran Game Freak artist Ken Sugimori, the art director and character designer on pretty much all of the games and who has been responsible for official art assets. “We used to play video games together and that’s how we started this company – Mr Tajiri started a company and I joined. Back in 1983, Mr Tajiri started selling this little booklet for ¥200 and it was sold only in very specialist bookstores. It talked about strategies for arcade games because, at the time, there were no home consoles. A few people would visit these stores and see the book, and I was one of them. As we talked, we became friends and discussed how arcade games were often very similar – if we were developing them, what would we do differently? When we started, some of the readers were programmers and they had the skills and access to the hardware – that’s how we started in producing video games. Then Mr Masuda joined and our first game was Quinty.”
Subscribe to Retro Gamer
Pokemon takes off!

Pokemon Yellow arrives

Cultural impact

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)
Having been on board since the very beginning and been more attached to the series than most thanks to his ongoing hard work with Serebii.net, Merrick is as well-placed to discuss the significance of the series as anyone else you might care to mention – he has dealt with the franchise in all its guises on a pretty much daily basis, with a weekly workload that is pretty staggering for a fan project. “Sometimes it’s as little as five hours, others it is pretty much 155 hours,” he laughs. “It all depends on what is going on in the franchise. As time has gone on, not only have I focused more on the quality of the site, but more stuff is happening in Pokemon. In past years, I would typically have a lot of times where I had nothing to do; as I have a policy of never skipping more than one calendar day in a row on the news updates, it got tricky to a point of having to contrive reasons to update. Now, though, I rarely have this issue. In 2015, I updated on 331 of the 365 days, and on the other days I was typically working on something else.”
There’s so much to love about Pokemon that it saddens us to hear the blinkered views of those who base their opinion of the franchise on the colourful promotional material and frankly ropey cartoon that emerged while it was still young enough to be considered a fad; before the franchise had even had a chance to prove itself and long before it had evolved into one of the complex RPG series made. 
“People think that Pokemon is a game for children but I believe that’s a misunderstanding,” says Sugimori, and we’re inclined to agree – look beyond the presentation around it, peer deeper into its near-bottomless strategic complexities and you’ll find an RPG deserving of far more respect and credit than it often gets. But while some can be harder to convince of the series’ merits, those who are comfortably on the Pokémon Express make up an expansive player bases that spans every age group and demographic imaginable, as you probably saw recently when Pokemon Go brought fans of all ages out of the woodwork in search of virtual creatures in the real world. “The community is by far my favourite thing about Pokemon,” Merrick tells us. “Aside from a few elements within it, it’s one of the friendliest communities around. People go out of their way to help others to find Pokemon. The game by design, has mandated to get people together to battle and trade, and it has continued to do that. There are people alive today because their parents met due to Pokemon and that is utterly incredible to me.
“Its impact back in the Nineties was phenomenal,” he closes. “It was everywhere and everyone was playing it. I honestly never thought we’d see anything like that again. Then, Go happened and once again, Pokemon was everywhere. Whether or not we’ll see an equal of that again? It’s hard to say. The industry is far more volatile these days than it was back in the Nineties, and far more saturated. Yo-Kai Watch, while huge for a few years in Japan, has diminished and, just hasn’t taken off over here. I am unsure if we’ll ever see a series permeating so many facets of media at once and be a phenomenon like Pokemon ever again.” 
This feature first appeared in Retro Gamer magazine issue 161. For more excellent features, like the one you’ve just read, don’t forget to subscribe to the print or digital edition at MyFavouriteMagazines.  

#making #Pokemon #Red #Blue #Game #Freak #changed #world


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