I read the book “Pokemon Story”.
This book is a detailed spelling of Pokémon’s history up to the year 2000 since the proposal for the first Pokemon, Pokemon Red and Green, was submitted.
This is a valuable book where you can learn about the game’s planning intentions and development episodes, as well as learn about the behind-the-scenes character business that is being developed in various ways such as manga serialization, anime broadcasting, and Pokemon cards.
Not only the affiliated companies at the time, the circumstances that led to the project, but also the discussion (why you agree or disagree) with the project, and even the rough budget scale, it is quite lively content.
By the way, this book has 542 pages.
It’s insanely thick.
The events of that time are described in detail.
[Reason for reading]
Since it is a book that details business from the planning of the first Pokemon,
With the feeling that I will not be able to study in game development,
I bought this book and read it from the pure interest of how Pokemon was developed and how it was developed.
By the way, this book was the first edition in 2000, and it seems that it is out of print, so I bought it as a used one.
[History of Pokemon]
In touching on the contents of the book,
I think that some people may not know the history of the original Pokemon or have vague memory, so I created a simple chronological table.
Like this, it is amazing to put together a chronological table.
It has a history of turbulence, starting with games, animation, card games, movies, and entering the United States in a short period of 2-3 years.
Actually, the game was released in 1996, but the plan itself was proposed in 1990, and it took six years to release it.
I will touch on this when writing my thoughts on game development.
Next to the chronological table, I will show you a diagram of the people involved in Pokemon.
From Pokemon’s 1996 game software sales to the year 2000 when this book was published,
Since it is an IP that has been expanded so that it can be folded into various fields such as anime, manga, and goods, there are a great number of affiliated companies and people involved.
And when it comes to who owns what rights, what gets complicated?
Even if you take one Pokemon, it will be wide-ranging, such as game-related rights, anime broadcasting rights, commercialization of anime characters, and Pokemon card rights.
In this book, many people other than those mentioned in the image appear, but I picked up the main people and wrote it.
The game software was mainly created by Mr. Tajiri of Game Freak, Mr. Ishihara of Creatures, Mr. Kawaguchi of Nintendo, the main game was Mr. Ishihara of Creatures, the animation is Mr. Kubo of Shogakukan.
Now that I have shared my knowledge of the history of Pokemon and the people involved, I would like to write the main story and impressions.
First, I will focus on the topic “Game development” and write a summary of what was written in this book and my impressions.
▼Planning to release
In 1990, Mr. Tajiri, a game freak, submitted to Nintendo a plan document that is the prototype of “Pokemon” as a new game that utilizes the communication function of Game Boy.
Mr. Kawaguchi of Nintendo and Mr. Ishihara, who was at a company called APE at that time, were present at this time.
(Ape was the company that copywriter Shigesato Itoi set up with Nintendo to make games.
Famicom software “MOTHER” is a masterpiece.
“Ness” and “Luca” appearing in the smash bra are characters of the “MOTHER” series.
At the time the project was launched, Mr. Ishihara belonged to Ape.
During the development of Pokemon, I established a company called Creatures and became independent, and I am now. )
At this time, the concept of Pokemon has already been fixed,
The concept was “exchanging information that is visible in one chunk”.
At that time, the communication function of Game Boy was used only for exchanging the data of the competition game results,
There wasn’t a game where you could exchange things in a tangible way that would give you a lot of attachment.
So Mr. Tajiri planned the game, “Monsters enter capsules and exchange them with friends.”
By the way, at this time, the game name was “Capsule Monster”.
However, the trademark “Capsule~” was already granted and I had no choice but to use another name, so it was later renamed to “Pokemon”.
Although the plan was submitted and development started in 1991, it will take about 6 years to develop until its release in 1996.
At the start of development, the company Game Freak, founded by Mr. Tajiri, had only created the action game called “Quinty” for the first time, and had no know-how to create an RPG.
The image of director Tajiri is that it was difficult to incorporate it into the game.
I also had a great deal of difficulty in setting the direction for the very essential question, “What kind of things would you like to exchange?”
Furthermore, immediately after the production of “Quinti”, there was a movement of the company that left three staff members to replace each other, and development stopped substantially for about three years.
Game Freak was doing some outsourced development from 1991 to 1994, because the development of Pokemon was likely to take time and the company needed to finance it in the meantime.
Example: “Yoshi’s egg” (released in 1991)
I was developing Pokemon with the tone of playing with Pokemon when I had a free hand while conducting contract development.
Although it takes time, it doesn’t mean that you can make games forever.
Nintendo, the investor, needs to recover the Pokémon’s development funds, but didn’t he urge?
Nintendo side producer Kawaguchi highly praised Pokemon’s concept of “visible information exchange.”
Therefore, it seems that he wanted to complete it, so he waited until Pokemon was completed (I asked him to wait for it internally).
After about 6 years, the “Pokemon Red/Green” was finally released in 1996.
By the way, Pokémon didn’t receive much attention when it was released.
Even though it’s a new game that uses Game Boy’s communication function, it has already been seven years since Game Boy was released.
In 1996, the next generation of Super Nintendo called “NINTENDO64” was also released, so the media was full of “64”.
For that reason, Pokemon was quietly released, but it is a game that allows you to experience the concept of “exchange” that is not found in other games, the successful development of the media mix described below, Mew and broadcast accident Pokemon broke because the name recognition suddenly increased due to an unexpected event such as.
▼ What we learned
① The essence of the fun of Pokemon
The first thing I learned was that I was able to understand the essence of fun in the game Pokemon.
Pokemon often have a characteristic system of “collecting, training, playing, and exchanging.”
But when I read this book, I realize that they can never be placed side by side.
The concept of “exchange” is at the top, and as a system that fulfills that concept (a system that encourages exchange), a system called “collection of picture book complete”, “competition between Pokemon”, and “cultivation of Pokemon” is established. It means that
② The concept is never bra
The second thing I learned is that the concept must never be blurred.
And I strongly felt that it was necessary to have the patience to put together the concept of “exchange” without giving up and not giving up.
I don’t think it’s too common for content creators to say, “I don’t blur the concept.”
To be honest, if development is difficult
“Is this concept really interesting…?”
“Is it possible to put together this concept well?”
“Can you sell…?”
I get a lot of anxiety and impatience.
When I’m developing a game, I find it very anxious when I can’t get to the “interesting” feeling, or when there are discussions that go back to the original concept.
Even though it took a long time to make it, it’s hard to sell, but it’s harder to make if it’s not interesting.
I thought “this is interesting” and formed it, but it didn’t come out as I expected.
At that time, Game Freak had no experience making RPG games,
I think it was a tremendous challenge to “create a new genre and challenge the fun that no one knows yet.”
And we must answer the super-essential questions such as “Why do you want to exchange?” and “How can you make exchange interesting?”
Furthermore, since the development had almost stopped, it would have been impatient.
Even so, the concept of “exchange” was never put into a bra, so I was able to put it into the shape of that Pokemon.
Pokemon was born by overcoming such difficulties and anguish.
I was very courageous to know this.
What I also felt was that it was important not to blur the concept, and I realized again that it is very important to create a high-quality concept.
Nintendo has been waiting for us for 6 years because the concept of “visible information exchange” was a very valuable concept, and in this way our customers have loved us for over 20 years.
③ Structure that creates the fun of Pokemon
The third is how to make fun in the detailed game system part.
I wrote that I built a system called “collection, training, competition” based on the concept of exchange,
I also learned a lot about creating a mechanism that makes each of these systems feel “interesting!”
There was such a passage in the book.
As producer Ishihara says,
If you weaken a wild monster, reduce its hit points (HP=physical strength), and then throw the ball at the reduced point, the monster will give up and be captured. If you do not weaken it enough, you often cannot capture it.
There are many such detailed exchanges. I think that it is exactly game balance that if you make it over there you won’t be able to stand up, but if you don’t stand up there is such a gain, but I think that the balance of the play mechanism is exquisite. “
When I read this, Pokemon certainly thought that there were many detailed dilemmas in mind that “if you set it up, it won’t work”.
Every game has a structure that creates the dilemma that “it can’t stand if you make it over there”.
“Would you like to bring a little type of Pokemon or make it a type of Pokemon…?”
There are dilemmas here and there, such as “Should I use scratches here or now, or should I endure a little more…”.
If you overcome that dilemma, choose actions, and thereby achieve victory and purpose, you will have a great sense of accomplishment.
This sense of accomplishment leads to “interesting!” and “fun!”.
When I read this book, I felt that there are many dilemmas in Pokemon…! So what kind of dilemma does Pokemon have? Let’s play Pokemon again and summarize the main dilemmas. It was
If you look carefully at Pokemon’s system, you can see that everywhere there is a dilemma structure that “you can’t do it if you make it over there”.
I think that there are many things that you all think “yes”.
Hundreds of millions of people have suffered from this dilemma…
And I don’t feel unreasonable no matter which action I choose, and even if I lose, I’m convinced that my choice was bad.
In other words, the dilemma is well balanced.
We’re funny with Pokemon! I could learn that the reason why I think that it is because it has a structure that creates a dilemma everywhere, such as capturing Pokemon, battles, intentions, and items.
Next, I will touch on Pokemon’s character business.
Over the years since the game was released, Pokemon will be deployed in many media.
Let’s review the history and people involved in what kind of media Pokemon was developed in.
Regarding game development, we were basically completed by 3 companies, Game Freak, Creatures, and Nintendo, but when it came to character businesses such as animation and manga, the number of affiliated companies increased at a stretch.
Based on this, I will write a rough summary and impression of what was written in this book about character business.
▼Development of character business
After the release of “Pokemon Red and Green”, Pokemon has been deployed in various media.
・Licensed products (toys, foods, etc.)
Pokémon manga is serialized in “Korokoro Comic”,
“Mew” gifts and “Pokemon Blue” will be released,
An animation was planned by Mr. Kubo, who belonged to Shogakukan, which publishes “Coro-Coro Comic”,
A Pokemon card was released by Mr. Ishihara of Creatures,
An animation movie was also shown,
In the end, we made it to the United States…
Then, it was developed so as to be folded.
In this book, each of these projects was written very carefully and carefully.
The back side of the Pokemon business was clearly visible so that the expression of the planners at that time came to mind.
I’m going to write about 3000 characters in the digest on this note, so I’ll end this with a very rough summary.
In the next chapter, I will focus on the parts that I think are particularly important in developing the character business, and write them while sharing my thoughts.
▼ What we learned
What we learned from this character business chapter
The reason why IP (intellectual property) called Pokemon has been accepted all over the world is that we have firmly established a seat and a conference body to protect IP.
I think that these successes were largely due to Mr. Kubo of Shogakukan and Mr. Ishihara of Creatures.
I will write my impressions while touching the contents of the Zagumi and the conference body.
①Zagumi for successful media mix
Until the game was released and animated, Nintendo was in charge of license management for Pokemon.
(License management is, roughly speaking, a business that decides whether or not to grant a license to a company that wants to make such a Pokemon product, and negotiates the contract.)
Mr. Kubo of Shogakukan proposed the consolidation of licenses when organizing an anime sponsor group.
License consolidation is the following contents.
・License Pokemon to only one company that sponsors anime for one industry
・Take licenses to companies that do not become anime sponsors
The purpose of doing this is to not issue licensed products of low quality,
It was to make it easy for people to collect money when doing events such as events and movies derived from anime.
I also proposed that Shogakukan Productions of the Shogakukan Group, to which Kubo belonged, acted for this license consolidation.
At the time when Nintendo was managing licenses, it seems that the amount of work was beginning to get confused as the game sold.
As a result, we missed business opportunities, and if the confusion continued any longer, the licensing business would be overwhelming, and some products could destroy the image of the character.
Therefore, Mr. Kubo proposed to move most of Pokemon’s license windows to Shogakukan Productions and to try to control the quality of Pokemon’s licensed products.
In this way, we have succeeded in consolidating licenses and organizing a sponsor group for anime that will become a “supporting group” for Pokemon.
Because of this integrated consolidation of licenses, various companies did not produce inferior licensed products, which led to movie production and event holding.
I have learned that it is very important to have a Zakkumi organization that anticipates the future for the project to pass, assuming the project that you want to do.
② Efforts to maintain high quality
Next, I will touch on the “copyright conference.”
We see Pokemon bread, Pokemon curry, Pokemon plush toys, and other Pokemon-related products,
I don’t think I can think of any product that would make the image of Pokemon worse.
The reason is that all planned products were checked at a conference called “copyright conference”.
The Copyright Council is the highest decision-making body within the scope of licenses (excluding card games and portable LCD technology) owned by Shogakukan Productions.
The members are Nintendo, Creatures, Game Freak of the original author group, Shogakukan Productions of anime right holder, TV Tokyo, and JR planning. (Therefore, it seems that it became a meeting of a dozen people in total.)
At this point, I made a “YES, NO” decision by looking at all the event plans, publication plans, and commercialization plans in Japan.
This was done every week.
In particular, the organizer, Mr. Ishihara of Creatures, seems to have read and directed all the projects submitted at that time.
It is because I have done a polite job of seriously making decisions one by one at this conference for a large number of planned items,
We can continue to release high quality Pokemon products to the world,
We were able to create a “loved Pokemon” without destroying our image of Pokemon.
In 2000, the market expanded to the world, and more than 400 items were submitted each week, and it took 5-6 hours to view each item one by one.
Did I look at each one properly? I was surprised,
“Protecting IP” means seeing projects one by one,
“What does it mean for Pokemon fans?”
“How do Pokemon fans feel?”
It’s a matter of thinking again and again,
I was able to know the most important part of the character business.
By reading this book, I was able to understand the essence of Pokemon: why “Pokemon” became a beloved content.
Believe in the concept of “visible information exchange” and complete the game,
I was moved by the fact that the people involved in Pokemon loved Pokémon, thought it carefully, and did their work steadily, so that Pokemon could fly to the world…
Do you know the first production of episode 1 of the anime “Pokemon”?
When the Pokemon animation was produced, the planner Mr. Tajiri made only one request to the animation production team.
That is to have Pokemon play.
This request was to cherish the fun and worldview of the game called Pokemon, and to have it enjoyed even in animation.
The production team who responded to it firmly made the first scene of the first episode of that animation.
Because the animation production team is playing Pokemon firmly,
It is a production where you can fully feel the excitement that “the world of Pokemon in the game is revived lively in animation”.
The anime “Pokemon” is currently available on Amazon Prime, so please check it out if you like.
The animation I saw after reading this book and learning about the efforts of the people involved in Pokemon… cried.
I am also selling on ebay. Please take a look.
Thank you for reading to the end. If you have any information about games, anime, or manga you would like to know, please let us know.
Please feel free to contact us about the items you want to list on eBay.