Pokémon is one of the most successful gaming franchises of all time

Pokémon GO and the other representatives of the franchise are now hard to imagine life without. A detail in the Game Boy documentation provided the inspiration that gave rise to the franchise.

Satoshi Tajiri is the creator of the Pokémon franchise. Even at a young age, Tajiri had a great interest in insects and wanted to become an entomologist. In his class, he was aptly called Dr. Bug.

Most people know that this interest was one of the main factors that inspired him to later develop Pokémon, but the real inspiration came to him after reading the Game Boy documentation.

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The beginnings of Game Freak

From magazine to video game studio: After Tajiri founded Game Freak magazine with Ken Sugimori, they later decided to go in a different direction. Game Freak magazine became a video game development studio.

The studio’s first development was the game Mendel Palace, which was released for the NES in 1989. This game was the studio’s first notable success and brought in €300,000 in profit.

The studio then decided to get a developer kit from Nintendo for the Game Boy, which was also released in Japan in 1989, in order to develop games for it. And this is where Tajiri discovered a detail that would ultimately lead to the creation of Pokémon.

One cable, many possibilities

What detail is it? In the Game Boy documentation, Tajiri read about the link cable. If this cable was connected to two Game Boys, it was possible to exchange data between the games on the Game Boys. This fact triggered a brainwave in Tajiri.

In the past, he had played the game Dragon Quest on the NES with Ken Sugimori. The last boss in the game had a very small chance of dropping an item.

While Sugimori received the item twice after just a few attempts, Tajiri simply couldn’t get it to drop even after many attempts. There was no way to swap the item between save games. And the link cable was able to solve this problem.

The idea of ​​collecting monsters, similar to the way he collected insects in his childhood, and then being able to trade them with friends using a link cable, excited Tajiri. The idea stuck with Tajiri so much that he pitched the idea to Nintendo.

Nintendo believes in the idea: Nintendo saw the potential in the idea and gave Tajiri the green light to start development. The development took a full six years until the first generation of Pokémon was finally released in Japan on February 27, 1996, and in other parts of the world in the years to come.

While Tajiri withdrew more and more from the public eye and interviews with him became less and less frequent over time, Pokémon’s success story continued.

With over 70 video games, more than 20 movies, and an anime with over 1,100 episodes, the Pokémon franchise is now one of the most successful of all time.

And even today, new content for the franchise continues to be released. Pokémon Legends ZA has already been announced for 2025.

What do you think about this detail in Pokémon history? Did you already know it, or was it new to you? Is there a part or generation in Pokémon’s long history that you particularly remember to this day? Feel free to write to us in the comments. If you’re also into Pokémon GO, check out the events in June 2024 in Pokémon GO.