Nintendo Apparently Hated The Pokedex Toy, Thought It Would Steal Game Sales

Nintendo Apparently Hated The Pokedex Toy, Thought It Would Steal Game Sales

Pokemon became a huge deal 25 years ago and has remained that way ever since. Dominating the world of anime, trading cards, and video games, you may have forgotten about Pokemon’s OG Pokedex toy, a replica of Ash’s device that taught you more about your favorite Pokemon, and a product Nintendo apparently attempted to bury before it ever came to market.

That’s according to Chris Nicolella, Hasbro and Tiger’s former senior games producer. Nicolella explained just how arduous a process it was to get the Pokedex made to Johto Times (thanks, Nintendo Life) because Nintendo of Japan thought it would negatively affect the sales of Pokemon’s Game Boy games.

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“They felt [that] our toy product line would take away sales from the Game Boy game which wasn’t the case at all,” Nicolella said. An odd qualm to have as the Pokedex was in no way a handheld console, let alone one that would be able to rival what Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow had to offer.

window.arrayOfEmbeds[“1646535579293696000”] = {‘twitter’ : ‘"n<blockquote class="twitter-tweet">Very interesting interview w/ producer who worked on the very first electronic Pok&eacute;dex toy model! Turns out it almost never made it to market! Make sure to follow <a href="">@johtotimes</a> and SUBSCRIBE to their newsletter, even more insights from the early days of Pok&eacute;mon and its fanbase are&hellip; <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a>n&mdash; Pok&eacute;Jungle: Gen IX (@pokejungle) <a href="">April 13, 2023</a></blockquote>nn"’}; window.arrayOfEmbedScripts[“twitter”] = “"<script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>"”;

That wasn’t Nintendo’s only problem either. “I had my art team come up with a simple two-frame animation of each of the 151 Pokemon characters… When NOJ saw the screen animations they freaked out and said we couldn’t do that and it was too close to the Game Boy game.” If you’ve never seen the Pokedex, it was pretty basic. Turns out that was largely Nintendo of Japan’s fault.

There was no gaming element to the Pokedex. It simply looked like the item from the anime and included information on the original 151 Pokemon. After being delayed for six months, even the two-frame animations were eventually dropped. Each entry was instead paired with a single very basic image. Those images were designed by someone from Nintendo, something NOJ insisted on before it allowed the Pokedex to launch.

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Nintendo has been forced to work with others when it comes to expanding its IPs outside of its comfort zone since then. Niantic makes Pokemon Go, and it teamed up with Illumination to create the billion-dollar Mario movie. The studio is still very wary of its property being used in any way it hasn’t approved of, though. Gary Bowser, who played a part in selling software that allowed people to play pirated Switch games, spent time in prison for crossing Nintendo and will pay the studio 25 percent of his wages for the rest of his life.

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