Pokémon: The Power of Transmedia in a Globalized Culture

Pokémon, a video game known throughout the world, has a whole company dedicated to toys and games worth billions. Pokémon, which is available to wide audiences due to being accessible through video games and anime, is associated with the growing capacity to produce and consume articles in society. Not being an avid fan of Pokémon as a child, I faced the game as a new experience as I played it for this course, and I knew most characters even though I have never played it much. This shows that Pokémon has successfully attained people who don’t even play the game itself, a goal that is aimed for in any large organization in a globalized society.

Pokémon is a product originating from Japan that imitates consumption and the globalized society in which we live in today. Through transmedia, Pokémon has reproduced the consuming society in the game and has applied it via its fan base, by creating a powerful enterprise. According to Thomas Apperley’s text entitled “Citizenship and Consumption: Convergence Culture, Transmedia Narratives and the Digital Divide,” in Super Mario Bros: Mario Madness, the “… empowerment -and transformation- within the game is always through consumption” (2). This analysis can be applied to Pokémon, since one must train to become the ‘best’ and catch all the Pokémons available. The Pokémons’ species show their continuous growth, which can be closely connected to the growth of the society’s continuous investments. The Pokémons’ evolution is tied to the progress of marketing: it starts out small, multiplies and becomes a bigger, stronger corporation. Multi-national corporations are spreading all over the world and trying to possess the most businesses they can. The connection between Pokémon and imperialism is clear: the game is centred on gaining the most and consuming endlessly.

Convergence culture allows the participation of the consumers according to Apperley. Therefore, consumers can interact with Pokémon and support globalization in society by simply purchasing any item with the game’s brand name. Transmedia allows for different stories to be created through different platforms. These different versions create a story that merges together and empowers the player by displaying multiple options that the player can consume. Pokémon creates empowerment to the player by allowing the option to grow stronger and to consume more with the shops in the towns. Media consumption is re-enacted through Pokémon’s interactions with the countless items that can be purchased and stored, including the Pokémon characters that can be caught. For example, potions can be bought to heal, bring back to life and other actions. Attaining higher levels allow strength and other skills to be gained.

The presence of transmedia is everywhere with Pokémon: there are cards, toys, clothes, and other items sold with its brand name. The consumption of such products demonstrates the strong connection with the game and the power of convergence culture itself, allowing for Pokémon to become known on an international level. Therefore, convergence culture strengthens the bond between Pokémon and the power of transmedia through a globalized lens.

Written by: Ariane Arsenault

Works Cited

Apperley, Thomas. “Citizenship and Consumption: Convergence Culture, Transmedia Narratives and the Digital Divide.” IE ’07 Proceedings of the 4th Australasian conference on Interactive entertainment. Eds. Martin Gibbs and Yusuf Pisan. RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, 2007.

Pokemon Red or Blue (Nintendo 1998).

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