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Pokemon is one of the largest and most recognizable franchises in the world, producing multiple blockbuster video games, a long-running anime series, a line of movies, a popular trading card game, and much more.
It wasn’t always quite so big or far-spanning. Pokemon first started with the releases of Pokemon Red & Blue for the Game Boy on February 27, 1996 in Japan. The games were instant successes, and that success only carried on as the titles were ported around the world, making their North American debut on September 28, 1998.
The two games have gone on not only to become the best-selling games in the Game Boy’s history, but to be among the best-selling games in the broader video game industry’s history. And that success opened the door for so much more.
The Pokemon trading card game was first brought to market in 1996. The TCG remains popular not only in competitive play, but also as an outlet for card collecting, with rare cards fetching high prices over the years.
An anime series was launched in 1997, and the adventures of of Ashe, Misty, Brock, and prominent Pokemon Pikachu became globally recognizable among young audiences everywhere. Many more episodes would follow, as would a series of movies, the biggest of which have enjoyed wide-ranging theatrical releases.
Throughout it all, the Pokemon games have continued running strong, with the main series seeing new updates every few years while new releases on the side have allowed to do everything from snapping pictures of the titular creatures to catching them out in the real world through the use of their phones in Pokemon Go.