For Our Consideration: Pokémon created a phenomenon by delaying gratification

One of the more memorable moments to come out of Super Bowl 50 was a cinematic ad featuring people in various circumstances and far-flung locales who whisper, “I can do that.” As the commercial builds, we realize what this multifarious group has in common: They’re all Pokémon trainers. With an epic, sweeping intensity, the commercial heralds Pokémon 20, a yearlong celebration commemorating the 20th anniversary of everyone’s favorite pocket-sized monsters.

Two decades into Pokémon‘s existence, it’s easy to forget where it all started: a humble video game for the original Game Boy released only in Japan on February 27, 1996. The central conceit was simple. You control a newbie trainer who makes his way through a world inhabited by creatures called Pokémon. You collect them, pit them in battles with other trainers, and earn badges and prizes as you head toward a final cadre of challengers …

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