Why Pokemon Is Popular: 10 Reasons Players Love It

One of the most recent hit games from Pokemon is the open-world Pokemon Legends Arceus

Pokémon is one of the most successful franchises of all time, and there are plenty of good reasons why. Ever since their first games, Pokémon has captured the imagination of a huge audience, and it has remained prominent ever since. Here are just a few of the reasons this game series is so popular.

1) The Designs

How can you not love these adorable critters?

The central idea behind Pokémon is just that: the Pokémon and their designs. These animal-like creatures went through an elaborate design process to maximize their appeal and make them memorable. It would not be the smash hit that it is today if the Pokémon were ugly. It’s notable how there’s a wide variety of designs— Pokémon can be cute, scary, cool, beautiful, and more. No matter who you are and what types of animals you like, there are bound to be many Pokémon that appeal to you. There is no single artistic style that Pokémon are bound by, allowing even further creative control. Pokémon are simple or complicated, mean or nice, and just about everything in between.

2) Building Your Team

A trainers team says a lot about them

The Pokémon games are turn-based RPG games, which certainly aren’t rare genres of games. Turn-based games are easier to create than games played in real time. With plenty of turn-based RPGs out there, Pokémon stands out thanks to one of its central mechanics: building your own team. Many other turn-based RPGs, like Final Fantasy or Fire Emblem, have a condensed cast of characters you can use. But Pokémon shines thanks to the hundreds of Pokémon available to anyone. It’s incredibly easy to change your team on a whim. You can pick your favorites and have them battle by your side. 

3) The Strategy

The first type matchup is a simple one to learn: the triangle of Grass, Fire, and Water

The Pokémon games have plenty of things to consider when battling. There are type match-ups, abilities, moves, held items, stats, and so much more. The type match-ups are like an expanded version of rock-paper-scissors. With all these things to consider, Pokémon strategy can become incredibly deep and complex. But it can also remain simple. This allows for strategy to be as complex as the trainer desires. Some experts can win battles without even attacking outright. The meta of Pokémon battles is always expanding and changing, which allows long time players to continue to find new ways to fight. And if that is too complex for your liking, it's easy enough to disregard most of these and steamroll your way through a game by using a couple of your favorite Pokémon or moves.

4) Escalating Challenges

The challenges get bigger and bigger

Pokémon can offer engaging gameplay to everyone, from beginners to experts. The games are sure to teach you their mechanics early on, and continue to expand on those tactics throughout the game. Late-game battles can prove incredibly difficult, if players progress that far. The Pokémon community has also developed plenty of self-imposed challenges for Pokémon games to ramp up the difficulty even further. Players can randomize or limit their catches, use no items, limit healing, or many others. But even without these challenges, Pokémon offers plenty of challenges that require players to test their knowledge of gameplay and ability to adapt to different opponents. 

5) The Catching

The catchphrase is "Gotta catch 'em all" and for good reason

The Pokémon catchphrase is “Gotta catch ‘em all”, and that certainly is fitting. The team-building aspect of Pokémon is enhanced by the fact that the player has an active hand in how their team is decided. Players need to actually challenge the Pokémon that can become their teammates. There are very few guaranteed Pokémon. And some Pokémon prove incredibly difficult to catch. Movesets and strategies change completely when you need to weaken a Pokémon without defeating it. Catching adds another layer of customization by allowing the player to select different Pokéballs to catch Pokémon in. Some players might choose their Pokéballs based on their visual appearance, while others will use them for their unique properties. And in the end, the final challenge of most Pokémon games is indeed catching them all. Players will be rewarded for going out of their way to catch every single Pokémon in their respective game— just another achievement players can strive toward.

6) Hunting for the Rare

A trainer encountering an elusive shiny Charizard

The Pokémon games are full of rare, exclusive Pokémon that aren’t easily accessible. There are rare Pokémon, Legendaries, and the alternately colored Shiny Pokémon. And many of them require the player to undergo challenges similar to treasure hunts. They may need to solve riddles, find specific items, or even change their team if they want to find these hidden treasures. Of course, exploration is key to finding these rare Pokémon. Players need to keep their eyes open for hidden paths and areas not yet traveled. These trainers will be rewarded with stronger Pokémon, useful items, and a greater understanding of the world.

7) Playing with your Pokémon

In picnics, trainers can play with their Pokemon, clean them, or even eat sandwiches with them

A more recent addition to Pokémon are side games that encourage trainers to bond with their Pokémon. This side content, like Pokémon-amie, picnics/camping, allows you to see your partners outside of the usual battle context. You can play with your Pokémon or pamper them. Even older side content, like Pokémon contests, allowed your Pokémon to show off their talent rather than just fight. While these minigames don’t have a ton of depth in terms of gameplay, they are simple and fun ways to see more of your Pokémon. 

8) Replayability

Some trainers play Pokemon games more times than they can count

Pokémon games have excellent replay value. You can play the games over and over, and get a brand new experience just by changing your team. With hundreds of options per game, every runthrough will be unique. And if you want a new type of challenge, the Pokémon community is filled with ideas on how to give each playthrough more variety. Some trainers only catch Pokémon of one type. Some will randomize which Pokémon you might encounter. Others will limit how many Pokémon you can catch. There are simple self-imposed rules that are easy enough to act on, but these aren’t necessary to enjoy a replay. It can be as simple as changing a single team member or having a new moveset.

9) The Other Content

Encounter Pokemon in the real world with Pokemon Go

There’s plenty of other Pokémon media out there that helps build hype for the games. The Pokémon anime is a long running series that holds a strong nostalgia factor for many long-term fans, while also updating itself enough for new fans. There are movies, side games, toys, and much more. Even Pokémon Go, which doesn’t include a lot of similarities to the original games, is wildly popular. Pokémon may have started out as a video game series, but it has expanded far beyond that. With so much Pokémon-related content out there, there is no shortage of excitement for the franchise. Something simple like a stuffed Pikachu toy can lead to a lifelong love of the games that created Pikachu.

10) Bonding with Pokémon

The roster of amazing creatures will only get larger

Finally, Pokémon games encourage an emotional attachment to the larger-than-life creatures. Pokémon are like a fantastical extension of regular pets. The games repeatedly show players that their bond with their Pokémon is what makes them strong. Beating a game with your team or seeing your favorite Pokémon reappear throughout the series can forge strong emotional connections. Pokémon can feel like your friends. Just remembering that Pokémon are out there can encourage people to keep playing. Pokémon offers a unique bonding experience when compared to most video games, which usually have set characters in the world. But Pokémon are more simple than that, and may have characteristics, but they are largely open to player interpretation. Overall, Pokémon offers appeal to a large audience, creating emotional bonds between the games, the players, and the Pokémon.

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After recently progressing to NG+, Nicholas is now farming for writing and storytelling EXP. Soon his inventory will be filled with pearl milk tea, pizza, and, of course, tons of games.
Gamer Since: 2004
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Dark Souls: Remastered
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dark Souls 3 , Portal 2, Undertale

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