With 2016 marking 20 years since the first Pokémon games launched in Japan, The Pokémon Company is encouraging fans to share their memories of the series using #Pokemon20.
As part of that activity, The Pokémon Company CEO Tsunekau Ishihara and Game Freak director Junichi Masuda have shared their own history with the series in two new videos that have been published.
You can find both videos below, and we’ve busily written up each of their comments for those that would prefer to read them!
“For many of you, your relationship with Pokémon has lasted 20 years at most. But for me, I have been involved with Pokémon since its development began. My relationship goes back 26 years. It’s been a very long time.
“Back in 1996, when the first Pokémon games – Red and Green – went on sale, I was working hard on the development of the Pokémon Trading Card Game, which was to be released in the fall of that year.
“Assuming the video games sold well, and I always thought they would, I wanted players to be able to enjoy the Trading Card Game alongside them, I was really working hard on its development at the time. That really takes me back.
“And now, 20 years later, I see people from all around the world having fun playing the video games and the Trading Card Game. Fans really love the games and that makes me extremely happy and proud.
“I hope to produce more and more fun and exciting products so that players can continue to enjoy Pokémon for the next 10 and beyond! I hope that everyone will look forward to what’s to come.”
– Tsunekazu Ishihara, The Pokémon Company
“We’ve made it to the 20th anniversary! Hurray! Good job, Pokémon 20th Anniversary Messages! Hi, everyone. I’m Junichi Masuda from Game Freak. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Pokémon 20th Anniversary Messages, and it’s thanks to all of your support that we made it this far! I’m so happy.
“Development on the original games, Red and Green, took about six years, so I’ve been working on Pokémon for about 26 years now. In the beginning, I worked as a programmer, and I composed the music and worked on sound effects.
“Some of my strongest memories from those days, and this happened a lot back then, but – I remember my computers always overheating and breaking down on me. I would work hard to fix them, and eventually we managed to complete the first Pokémon games, but I think I went through three or four computers by the end. I sure am glad I fixed those computers back then. If I hadn’t, the original Red and Green games might never have come out! That’s a scary thought!
“These days, computers are a lot more durable, but I have a lot of memories like that from the early days. I could probably talk about them for days. So much went on with the creation of the original games. Of course, developing them was a lot of fun, too. I would sit in front of my computer from morning to night programming the games and coming up with all sorts of ideas. And I never thought I would still be doing it 20 years later!
“Developing each game is definitely hard work but whenever I see the fans enjoying the games, see them smile, and get messages from them, I always get the strong urge to make another game!
“So, it’s the 20th anniversary this year, but I hope all of you will continue to support Pokémon! Masuda out!”
– Junichi Masuda, Game Freak