Columns / Discourse / May 4, 2011

Did You Know: Gotta catch ’em all!

If there’s one thing almost every person that grew up in the ’90s knows about, it is Pokémon. Definitely not the newer seasons (please!), but the first season. Who’s with me? Sure, sure, call us nerds, but secretly you know you loved it too. Now, here are a few fun facts about Pokémon! Gotta catch ‘em all!

1. Pokémon was based on the Japanese creator’s childhood hobby: catching bugs. Satoshi Tajiri would collect insects in his rural home that had been chased away by urban development farther away. He’d spend his days coming up with specific techniques to catch the bugs for his own. Sound familiar?

2. Everyone knows the cute and cuddly and just-won’t-evolve Pikachu that tags along with Ash Ketchum in every episode. But did you ever wonder where his name comes from? Pikachu is a blend of two Japanese words: pikapika and chu. Pikapika is a common expression for electricity, and chu is the sound a mouse makes according to the Japanese. And what do you get when you put them together? An electric mouse!

3. Here’s another Pikachu fact! Why is he yellow? Good question. According to Poke-lore, the creators chose to yellow-fy Pikachu because it’s easily identifiable by children. Not only was that a reason, but also because the only other children’s icon to use that color when Pikachu was created was Winnie The Pooh. And look how popular he got! Not sure if they got the exact yellow they were looking for, though…

4. Is it any surprise that Ash is named after the Pokémon creator? I’m not exactly sure of the resemblance of Satoshi Tajiri and Ash, but maybe it’s different in Japan. Gary, Ash’s rival in most of the Pokémon shows, is named after the Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto, a.k.a. Mario’s designer.

Now just how popular are the Pokémon games? Besides the fact that most of your friends who play games have some kind of Pokémon game as well? Pokémon is only second to Mario as the most sales in the history of video games. You don’t even have to add in the astonishing amount of cash it’s received from merchandise and the like to know that it’s pretty much dominated. Gotta catch ‘em all! Pokémon!

Emily Park

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