This month, Pokémon is celebrating its Silver 25th Anniversary and PSA is applauding the TCG’s popularity with a “Poké-Month” assortment of giveaways. Throughout February, PSA is offering a sweepstakes contest sponsored by Troll and Toad, multiple blog entries to keep the discussion going, and great giveaways via PSA’s Instagram account (@psacard). It’s our way to celebrate that Pokémon has become the highest grossing media franchise of all time.
The Pokémon phenomenon can trace its roots back to creator Satoshi Tajiri’s fascination with bug collecting. The collecting element is actually celebrated in the catchphrase, “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” We have seen Pokémon cards in celebrity collections and watched them break the six-figure mark in sales over the years. But what is it that makes this franchise a household name? Let’s take a deeper look at this generational franchise.
Pokémon is a game that sends players off on an adventure to assemble the most powerful team of characters by collecting the game cards. Through the years, annual set releases have introduced new characters while maintaining the older ones. This allows collectors and players to maintain a bond with a Pokémon over multiple generations. The success of this formula has allowed the franchise to blossom into many forms of media and merchandising such as the anime and card game. Being able to connect to fans beyond the game has established Pokémon as one of the strongest brands in the world.
When labelling something as generational, one is saying that it affects those living at the same time: grandparents, parents, and kids. Though this is Pokémon’s 25th anniversary, the brand is actually entering its fourth decade of relevance after beginning in 1996 and carrying over into the 2000s, 2010s, and now the 2020s. Its focus toward younger fans and being family-friendly formed a great foundation for its burgeoning fan base. Pokémon’s exposure started with parents in the late ‘90s who purchased the games and cards. The kids who grew up during their respective generation of Pokémon then shared that interest in the game with the next generation of fans.
Pokémon has been able to get new fans with every passing year. Just like sports, a generational talent like Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan or LeBron James is the source of great memories for fans. That joy and nostalgia helps people pass that enthusiasm on and establish the brand and legacy of those players. That same type of joy can be found in Pokémon by sharing fond memories from all aspects: the games, anime, and various types of merchandise.
I have experienced this generational impact firsthand. My parents purchased the game and cards from Generation I (Red/Blue Era) and then I was able to get my nephew involved with during the Generation IV (Diamond/Pearl Era) release. Naturally, I kept my cards from that period and then gave my nephew his own Base Set Blastoise, Charizard, and Venusaur for his collection. Being able to share our experiences – whether you got into Pokémon cards in 1999 or 2021 – makes this franchise truly generational.
Don’t forget PSA is celebrating Poké-Month throughout February with a multitude of prizes including a special sweepstakes for a Cosmic Eclipse Full Art Pikachu Secret Rare PSA Gem-MT 10, so pay attention and you might just walk away with a coveted card!