At around 193 million units versus Pokémon’s 155 million, Mario may have sold more games overall, but considering the wide variety of stuff he stars in and the length of time he’s been around; Pokémon is arguably the more significant videogame phenomenon.
Pikachu and the gang have enjoyed peaks and endured troughs since the original game’s 1996 Japanese debut, but no matter how many times people have tried to write off Pokémon, it remains hugely popular. It’s a cultural volcano that can lie semi-dormant for years before erupting to shower a fresh audience with white-hot gobbets of fluffy gaming magma. Without further ado, here are just a few of our favorite/weirdest/most significant Poké-moments from the last decade-and-a-bit.
The ability to have pokémon produce offspring in Ruby and Sapphire gave rise to some fairly improbable couplings - not least the union of giant Wailord (14.5m tall, 398kg) with little Diglett (20cm, 0.8kg). No amount of debate has solved the problem of how such a thing would be possible without resulting in the death of one party and the eternal shame of the other.
At the peak of Pokémon’s craze years, the hugely popular trading card games were banned in many schools (and entire countries) after reports of kids being attacked for their stashes of valuable cards. Americans started complaining about imported cards before they were even released here, with religious activists ignorant of the Buddhist manji symbol - which looks like an upright, reversed swastika - claiming that Nintendo was about to subvert their children by marketing toys plastered in Nazi regalia. As a result the manji no longer gets used on any Pokémon products.