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Otaku Guild Celebrates 20 Years of Pokemon

By Christian Pridemore
On March 9, 2016

Many students on campus have distinct memories of a childhood filled with endless hours of games about mythical creatures with supernatural abilities being pitted against man, nature, and themselves. These creatures go by a more familiar name: Pokemon. Pokemon, as a game series, as an animated series, as a trading card game series, and through other forms of merchandise, has become more than a trope in today’s society. For some, it has become a way of life; for others it has become a way to earn a living; while still for others it has been a beloved hobby since the elementary school days. This year, on February 27, Pokemon celebrated it’s 20th anniversary.

    Pokemon as a concept originated with Satoshi Tajiri, who came up with the idea back in 1990 and worked on it  for six years before the first two Pokemon games were released in Japan in 1996. In addition to this, Tajiri also established the company that would continue to produce the Pokemon games, Game Freak. Japan saw the release of the true first two games, Pokemon Green and Pokemon Red for the Nintendo Gameboy, in 1996, but the U.S. didn’t see a Pokemon game release until 1998, which were the iconic Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue, also for the Gameboy. In 1997 the famous animated series got its debut in Japan, and came to the U.S. in 1998 along with the games. Since then, Pokemon has experienced an enormous growth, with 25 main series titles, over 40 spin-off titles, 67 different trading card expansions, 19 different seasons of the show, and merchandise that is beyond measure. According to an article on the official Nintendo news site by Shawn Taylor, the Pokemon company rakes in a whopping 1.5 billion dollars annually from all the products listed above. 

    In celebration of all of Pokemon’s success, Concord University’s very own Otaku Guild decided to host a week’s worth of events. On February 29 and March 1, the Otaku Guild had showings of three of the many movies: Pokémon: The First Movie, Pokémon: The Movie 2000, and Pokémon Origins. On March 2 and 3, the Otaku Guild held their own version of a Pokemon league. Brandi Pugh, president of the Otaku Guild, said “It was the Otaku Guild Region Leaders, which there were 8 of, and it was made up of members who were ‘gym leaders. It was a tournament to see who could get past them, and they then went against the Elite Four.” Those people that were able to defeat 12 of the top Pokemon trainers in the Guild were awarded the prize of a digital download of one of the three original Pokemon games re-released this year as part of the 20th anniversary celebration. The two winners were Michael Bailey and Roman Runyon.

    Pokemon has an amazing history, and they’re still going strong. Game titles to watch out for this year include two new main series games, Pokemon Sun and Moon, which will be the 7th generation of Pokemon to be released. In addition, a few spin-off titles will be released sometime this year, including a fighting style game known as Pokken Tournament and the first game for smartphones officially sponsored by Nintendo, Pokemon GO. For more information about the history behind the Pokemon franchise, visit

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