25 years of catching them all: students reflect on Pokémon anniversary


Pokémon logo for the 25th anniversary, courtesy of Nintendo

As Pokémon celebrates its 25-year anniversary, the ever-expanding franchise of video games, anime, manga and cards continues to influence De Anza College students.
Many got introduced to Pokémon as children, like computer science major Alice Chen, 21, who had her first taste of the video games in elementary school, playing “Diamond” and “Pearl” on a borrowed Nintendo DS for 10 minutes.
Chen does not keep up with the current series, except for the “Mystery Dungeon” spin-off games, but she still remembers her time playing Pokémon on her own DS wherever she could.
“I brought the DS everywhere, hiding under the covers to play, because my parents didn’t really want me to play that much,” said Chen. “So I remember hiding in my backyard and going on the roof to play.”
She said her parents would be looking for her while she was on the roof playing Pokémon.
Others, though, enjoyed Pokémon with their family. Joaquin De La Torre, 22-year-old journalism major at San Jose State University and former Impulse editor of La Voz, watched the anime on his grandma’s cable TV with his cousin.
Since then, La Torre has played every main game except “X,” “Y,” “Black” and “White,” played spin-off games like “Pokémon TV” and watched countless Pokémon-themed YouTube videos.
La Torre has not kept up with the anime in some time, but he still remembers his favorite Pokémon movie, “Destiny Deoxys.”
“That movie talks about a lot of heavy topics,” La Torre said. “You had aliens, a whole city controlled by machines and technology, and then the technology turning on you and not working properly. And it had hot dog vending machines, so why wouldn’t it be my favorite?”
Nathan Spruiell, 21, business major, started to dive into the world of Pokémon from playing “Pokémon Yellow.” He does not find much interest in the Pokémon series now, aside from the new direction in gameplay and art style in “Pokémon Legends: Arceus.”
He said his stepbrother continues to love the whole franchise and tries to get Spruiell to play “Pokémon GO” with him. Spruiell said he sees Pokémon as an “additive” to their relationship.
“Going out on those (‘Pokémon GO’) events was really fun, although he had a lot more energy than I did,” Spruiell said. “This dude would go up and down the Los Gatos Creek Trail. I would get halfway, passed out, and say ‘I need to go back.’”
Pokémon continues to play a large role in pop culture. La Torre said he hopes the series continues so that future generations can experience the joy he has experienced.
“Pokémon is a very iconic piece of media,” La Torre said. “And that’s it. That’s the tea.”