All Nippon Airways celebrates Pokemon
iOS users who also happen to be fans of Pikachu and his seemingly infinite roster of friends were delighted on 21st October as Camp Pokemon, a free app with several games and activities, was released.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Pokemon universe, it can seem strangely childish for adult gamers to be downloading and playing games like this – but they’re missing the point. Games have always been about escapism, about finding a way to grab a bit of fun time away from the relentless grind of modern working life. Fantasy games like Camp Pokemon have always been hugely popular, and the generation that played the original Pokemon games in 1996 is now in its late 30’s.
Fantasy In Modern Culture
Fantasy games are everywhere in 2014, and fantasy themes can be seen in all kinds of cultural arenas. Movies are an obvious example. The two films so far released in The Hobbit trilogy have been derided by some people, partly because making a single book into a trilogy was never going to make everyone happy.
But nearly $2 billion of box office takings prove that the total escapism of Tolkien’s world is as popular as it ever was – if not more so. Gaming both reflects and amplifies this popularity; the biggest growth area in online games in the last decade has been the casino sector, and sites like CasinoSagaFans.com offer fans of slots, roulette and blackjack a new twist on the experience of playing these always-popular games. Slots like Jack And The Beanstalk and Greedy Goblins contrast nicely with the usual Vegas-themed fare from other online gaming sites.
The original Pokemon video games – there were two – became notorious for their trading card offshoot, which was similar in concept to 1970’s card games like Top Trumps, in which players won or lost rounds depending on the attributes of the card they held – for example, the top speed of a car. But it’s the fantasy element that keeps fans coming back. Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit are always going to sell, whether they’re books, movies or games.
The Pokemon franchise may not be quite the cultural milestone that Tolkien’s books were, but 200 million sales of video games alone, ignoring the card games, manga, anime and countless items of Pokemon merchandise, are a testament to the enduring allure of fantasy. Ironically, the concept of “Pokemon evolution” which forms a part of the Pokemon fantasy universe, was attacked by some extreme Christians for failing to adhere to their own fantasy of “creation”!