What series is the highest grossing media franchise, second best selling video game franchise series, and has more spin-off content than you can shake a leg at? Pokemon. After 22 years, it is still going strong. But why is it important? Why do people still play it and buy it even though it is formulaic?
Please understand that I am extremely bias when it comes to Pokemon. I grew up with the series. I have a ton of the merchandise, almost all of the main series games, some of the spin-offs, and a bunch of other things.
The Pokemon series is a world-wide phenomena. You could ask anyone on the street what Pokemon is and they could probably tell you. It is a common ground for millions. It is rare especially nowadays to find such a wide reaching thing that people agree on. There is inter-community fighting, but overall it is one of the more peaceful fandoms in the world. You are encouraged to interact with people from other countries due to a greater chance to get shinies, version exclusives, region exclusives, and the GTS. You can make so many friends and you don’t even need to speak their language.
I am not excusing the problems that the games have with representation and other social issues. Trust me, I live in a rural area so Pokemon Go is a No Go and even though there is more diversity in the newer games it could be a lot better. But overall Pokemon is an important cultural touchstone.