Is Pokémon Dead?

Many teenagers today can "remember" Pokémon, as in when they used to play it when they were younger. Meanwhile, their parents will most likely remember Pokémon as those nonsensical, expensive cards that managed to get lost all over the house, and the generation before them might remember it as the bleeping of the Gameboy as they were promptly ignored by their grandchildren.

However, most of these people will agree that Pokémon is over - the old Pokémon players can only barely recall that there was one called Bulbasaur, no longer does every child in the school collect Pokémon cards, and recently kids who refuse to talk to their relatives while hooked on a handheld video game console are most likely playing the PlayStation Portable. But is this true? Is Pokémon really dead?

Indeed, it would appear so to the general public. However, the Pokémon games sell well, and online Pokémon discussion forums are fairly popular. Why does Pokémon seem so much less popular, especially among teenagers and adults, than it actually is?

Being a member of quite a few Pokémon forums, I have noticed that many teenage Pokémon fans (not all, but many) say things such as "I like Pokémon, but I have to keep it secret from my friends and it's driving me crazy," or "My mom keeps telling me I should be growing out of Pokémon," or "I'm 13, am I too old to like Pokémon?" The point of mentioning this is that basically teenagers are often afraid of revealing that they like Pokémon in real life, because in their peers' and parents' minds, Pokémon is a kid's game - and this makes them feel embarrassed about it and want to hide it. I know of quite a few personally who keep it even from their family and parents. There are more Pokémon fans around than it seems at first glance.

Additionally, as the years pass, the fans are also getting older, and not just aging themselves - the whole average age of Pokémon fans is gradually rising as fewer and fewer kids are getting into the franchise and the ones that already were into it grow older. This can be seen for example by the fact that on average, FanFiction.Net's Pokémon section has received more new fics per month after the release of the Advance generation (Ruby and Sapphire) than before it, even despite the Pokémon fad being at its height during the Gold/Silver/Crystal age. During the height of the craze, many children were into it, but they were not particularly active fans for the most part; they just bought their cards and played their games. As the true fans, who were not only into it because everybody else was, prevailed after the fad died, they began to communicate more online about Pokémon, seeing as most of them no longer had friends who were into it, discovering subjects such as fan fiction and more importantly being old enough to participate and write some of their own. Serebii.net, currently the largest Pokémon news-based site on the net, is reportedly getting more hits now than the biggest sites were getting during the height of the Pokémon fad, which says quite a bit.

In conclusion, no, Pokémon is not dead - the fans are just more undercover and online than they used to. Who knows, one of your best friends might like Pokémon without you having any idea...

Page last modified December 29 2006 at 02:01 GMT