This year, Pokémon is celebrating its 20th anniversary. In the 20 years since its debut, the franchise has become a massive conglomerate of video games, anime, and toys. This year alone saw the mobile phenomenon Pokémon Go take the world by storm, an anime web series spanning multiple generations, the recent release of Pokémon Sun and Moon, and the announcement of an anime series tied to the new games. Pokémon fans and fandom spans multiple generations.
Whether you’ve been playing the games since Pokémon Red/Blue, or just caught Pokémon fever from Go or Sun and Moon, it’s easy to fall in love with the cute creatures that have taken the world by storm for two decades now. You may consider yourself a Pokémon expert, or perhaps even a master. However, here are four super passionate Pokémon fans, whose devotion even rivals the Elite Four.
Gotta Catch ‘Em All
“Gotta catch ’em all” is the motto of the Pokémon franchise, and one super fan has gone through incredible lengths to pursue that dream. Lisa Courtney holds the Guinness world record for the largest Pokémon memorabilia collection, currently sitting at over 16,000 items! She started this collection at age nine and has been adding to it for over seven years.
She was even able to travel to Japan after the release of the 11th Pokémon movie to get her hands on exclusive merchandise that wasn’t available in Europe. What was the Pokémon that inspired her to begin collecting? None other than the loveable Pikachu!
Massively Multiplayer Pokémon
The world of Pokémon fan games is vast. Most are simple recreations/modifications of existing games. Furkan Gözükara, a superfan from Turkey, created perhaps the most successful Pokémon fan game as a thesis project. Beginning in 2009, Furkan developed MonsterMMORPG which allowed players to capture and battle with different original monsters. After the game began to experience some success, he decided to create a second MMO based on the Pokémon world.
In 2014, Furkan developed PokemonPets, which was based on the framework of his original game. Today the game boasts over 65,000 total players. Pokemon Pets allows players to capture Pokémon in a persistent world, as well as take part in heated player-vs-player battles. The game remains free-to-play and continues to receive major updates today.
Searching for Shiny
With over 700 total Pokémon, the series gives players a wide variety of ways to build their team. Some players tend to hunt for their personal favorites, mystical Pokémon, or Pokémon with great stat lines in battles. But the rarest of them all are shiny Pokémon. These unique, sparkly color versions of Pokémon are extremely rare to come across (1 in 4,096 normally). One player has been on a constant search to obtain as many as he can.
Meet Cyal, famous shiny Pokémon hunter. Cyal runs a popular YouTube channel that follows his exploits searching for these elusive creatures. Since 2009, he’s gathered over 50 shiny Pokémon! Most players only see 1 or 2 shinies in their lifetime. Tracking these creatures is often extremely repetitive, and involves multiple game resets. Despite the grueling hours, dedicated hunters continue to defy the odds to obtain them. It’s quite uplifting to see Cyal react whenever his long searches are rewarded with a new shiny.
Stadium Brought to Life
Virtual reality and hologram technology have begun to make big waves in the tech world. One talented developer has brought the iconic pocket monsters to life. Kenny W. has created a variety of Pokémon holograms that have a surprising amount of tracking and movement to them. Check out the holograms in action in this video.
Kenny created these holograms using the Unity game engine, a webcam, a monitor, and some plastic to make a pyramid. The process Kenny used to create these holograms is fairly intuitive, and it doesn’t take a PhD in cryptozoology or computer science to recreate them yourself. Maybe in the future we’ll get a Pokémon Stadium with holograms?
A version of this article originally ran Feb. 26, 2016.