Pokemon — the small, adorable creatures with special fighting abilities — have been around for more than two decades, and they are as popular as ever, mainly due to families sharing the legacy.
More than 7,500 people from 49 nations are expected to attend the annual Pokemon World Championships in Washington this weekend.
On Friday, as the event started, most of the attendees appeared to be in their 20s or older.
“I’m 24, but I know I look young,” joked Amanda Gunkle, who was decked head-to-toe in the gear of Pikachu, the iconic yellow Pokemon.
She came in from Pittsburg with her twin brother to watch the tournament.
“I’ve been a fan [of Pokemon] since my early childhood,” she said.
It is clear why Pokemon appeal to younger children.
However, for many of the older fans, Pokemon simultaneously represent nostalgia and novelty.
The Pokemon franchise launched in Japan in 1996, but did not take off in the US until the early 2000s.
The brand, which is estimated to be the highest-grossing media franchise ever, produces video games released in pairs every one to two years, alongside a new batch of Pokemon species.
It also makes trading cards that players use to battle each other, an animated television series and several movies.
“We’re definitely seeing some intergenerational fans,” said Elvin Gee, a spokesman for the Pokemon Co, who was a big fan of Pokemon himself growing up.
“It’s amazing to see parents pass on their cards or pass on their video games to their children,” he said.
The franchise’s popularity is also due to the success of smartphone app Pokemon Go, a game that lets players walking the real world hunt virtual Pokemon, as well as the film Detective Pikachu, which opened in May and has made more than US$430 million worldwide.
“There’s something for everyone,” Gee said.
New Jersey native John Kim drove down with his family so his two older sons, ages 11 and eight, could compete in the tournament.
“I really like it for [my sons], because ... they have to learn to lose gracefully, to win gracefully. They learn rules, they learn to accept outcomes,” the 40-year-old said.
For the Kim family, Pokemon’s legacy moved in the opposite direction: John became interested when his sons started playing.
Now, the whole family plays together, even the youngest boy, who at four years old plays alongside his brothers — albeit with a simpler deck.
“They have to sit with an opponent” and engage with others, Kim said.
That engagement is a staple of the Pokemon community, with many players developing close friendships, despite only seeing each other at the world championships once a year.
The championships prize money — which runs up to US$25,000 for the card game tournament — is mainly offered in the form of scholarships or travel certificates, particularly for players under 18.
The goal is to encourage education and strong principles among the participants, many of whom are minors, the organizers said.
“It’s about sportsmanship, it’s about great characters, it’s about a great game,” Gee said.
Like the Kims, Yannick Daunais’ interest in Pokemon was sparked when his daughters started playing. The 38-year-old from Joliette, Quebec drove to Washington so that his 11-year-old son could compete in the championships.
“We’re like a huge family,” said his daughter Mya, 14.
She and her sister Lidya, 12, were dressed as Pikachu and Eevee, another Pokemon.
“Exactly,” her father agreed. “We’re part of a huge Pokemon family.”
URGENT CALL: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency pleaded to gain access to the plant, saying ‘every principle of nuclear safety has been violated The UN’s nuclear chief on Tuesday warned that Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine “is completely out of control,” and issued an urgent plea to Russia and Ukraine to quickly allow experts to visit the sprawling complex to stabilize the situation and avoid a nuclear accident. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi said in an interview that the situation is getting more perilous every day at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant in the southeastern city of Enerhodar, which Russian troops seized in early March, soon after their Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. “Every principle of nuclear safety has been
On a beach in the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen, just a few kilometers from Taiwan’s Kinmen, life is carefree, despite some of the worst cross-strait tensions in decades. Ignoring warnings from Beijing, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday — the highest-ranking elected US official to visit the nation in 25 years — sparking a diplomatic firestorm. China yesterday launched some of its largest-ever military drills — exercises set to disrupt one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. However, on Xiamen’s palm-fringed beach, there was little concern. “A war? No, I don’t care,” a young IT worker surnamed
According to Forrest Gump, life is like a box of chocolates because “you never know what you’re going to get.” Now, an Indian remake of the movie has been hit by boycott calls over years-old comments by its Muslim star, Aamir Khan. It is the latest example of how Bollywood actors, particularly minority Muslims such as Khan, are feeling increased pressure under Hindu nationalist Indian Prime Minister Modi. Laal Singh Chaddha, an Indian spin on the 1994 Hollywood hit with Tom Hanks, is expected to be one of India’s biggest films of the year. This is due in large part to its
ACROPORA REVIVAL: A marine science official said that the results of recent studies showed that the reef can still recover in periods that are free of intense disturbances Parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef now have the highest levels of coral cover in decades, an Australian government report said yesterday. Portions of the UNESCO heritage site showed a marked increase in coral cover in the past year, reaching levels not seen in 36 years of monitoring, the Australian Institute of Marine Science said. Scientists surveying 87 sites said that northern and central parts of the reef had bounced back from damage more quickly than some had expected, thanks mainly to fast-growing Acropora — a branching coral that supports thousands of marine species. “These latest results demonstrate the reef can still recover