A NEW interview has revealed how Nintendo tried to prevent one of their biggest revenue streams from releasing.
It is claimed that the company didn’t want to release certain toys to support the Pokémon franchise of TV shows and games.
Speaking to the Pokémon fansite Johto Times, former Tiger Electronics employee Chris Nicolella describes his experiences developing Pokémon merchandise.
In the late 1990s, before Pokémon had achieved worldwide popularity, Tiger gained the license to create Pokémon toys.
The first toy they wanted to develop was a real life Pokédex, the handheld encyclopedia that Ash carries with him in the cartoon.
However, Nicolella explains how Nintendo of Japan wanted to cancel the project after they saw that animations of each Pokémon had been added to the toys.
He recalls: “I had my art team come up with a simple two frame animation of each of the 151 Pokémon characters.
“That turned out to be a big mistake and almost killed the entire toy.
“When Nintendo of Japan saw the screen animations they freaked out and said we couldn’t do that and it was too close to the Game Boy game.
“We disagreed and said the toy needed it [but] Nintendo of Japan would not let us move forward.”
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It seems that the crux of the issue lay with the fact that Nintendo believed people would purchase the Pokédex toy to play with rather than buying the games.
However, the Pokédex is simply a picture of each of the then 151 ‘mons with short descriptions attached.
After six months of delays, the company finally managed to convince Nintendo that the toy would not take away from game sales.
Nintendo agreed to let sales of the Pokédex go ahead on two conditions.
Nicolella says: “We had to again promise there was not [a] game element in the Pokedex.
“The 2 frame animations of each Pokémon needed to be removed and a senior art manager from [the] Japan Pokémon art team had to design each graphic image for us.”
The toys ended up being a huge success, and likely helped, rather than hindered, sales of the game.
These original Pokédex toys can still be found on eBay, and sell for around £50.
Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.
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