Pokémon: 10 incredible world records to celebrate the franchise's 20th anniversary
By Rachel Swatman
Pokémon celebrated a milestone anniversary on 27 February as it has now been 20 years since its debut in 1996, when the games Pokémon Red and Green were published in Japan by Nintendo for Game Boy.
Pokémon, which is a word blend of ‘Pocket monster’, was created by the Japanese game designer Satoshi Tajiri in 1995 and has gone on to become an international franchise and cultural phenomenon that includes video games, trading card games, movies and anime series.
To celebrate the occasion, here is a list of some of the most exciting Guinness World Records titles that are related to Pokémon...
1. First Pokémon character
Pikachu may be the one on all the lunchboxes, but Rhydon was the first Pokémon ever designed. Mew was the first Pokémon to be trademarked.
2. Largest collection of Pokémon memorabilia
The largest collection of Pokémon memorabilia belongs to Lisa Courtney (UK), with 14,410 different items as of 14 October 2010, which she has been collecting for over 14 years. Her collection includes items from the UK, USA, France and of course Japan. She has made several trips to Japan for the specific purpose of collecting Pokemon merchandise, each time sending between 8-12 boxes full back to the UK. Part of the collection (including her GWR certificate) has been displayed at the Museum of Hertford as part of an exhibition on popular culture.
3. Best-selling RPG series
With sales of the main series tipping 204.24 million worldwide, Pokémon is by far the best-selling RPG series ever created – although much of its success comes from Nintendo’s habit of selling multiple versions of the game, from X and Y all the way back to the debut of Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Green Version. Speaking of which… originally released in Japan as Pocket Monsters Red and Pocket Monsters Green, the Game Boy classics have together sold a (pocket) monstrous 31.37 million copies, making them the best-selling Pokémon game. Sequel releases Gold and Silver have second place with a very respectable 23.10 million units sold.
4. Longest-running videogame TV spin-off
The hugely popular Pokémon anime first screened on Japanese television on 1 April 1997, with the episode "Pokémon, I Choose You!". Since then the show has been in constant production, clocking up a monster 884 episodes across 18 seasons, as of 30 July 2015.
5. Heaviest Pokémon
At 950 kg (2,094 lb), “Ground-type Legendary” Pokémon Groudon is the heaviest monster in the Pokédex to date. It weighs so much that its movements have the ability to expand whole continents and make volcanoes erupt. Groudon was the mascot for Pokémon Ruby, the eighth game in the main Pokémon series, which launched in 2002.
6. Least popular Pokémon
According to a 2014 survey completed by 500,000 voters on the website Dorkly, the least popular pocket monster of them all is Luvdisc – a heart-shaped water type that made its first appearance in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire (2002). Unlike the majority of Pokémon creatures, poor Luvdisc doesn't even evolve.
7. Largest competitive Pokémon videogame family
Pokémon’s family-friendly charm is confirmed by the record-breaking five members of the Arnold family from Frankfort, Illinois, USA, who take part in official Pokémon videogame world championships. The family include Ryan, mum Linda, Ryan’s twin David, dad Glenn and youngest child Grace. Their most recent tournament took place in California in August 2011.
8. Fastest selling instalments of Pokémon
Released in the USA on 22 April 2007, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl became the fastest selling Pokémon instalments ever. Just eight days after launch, sales had reached the one million mark. Worldwide, the installments have now sold 8.76 million copies since their initial release in Japan in September of 2006.
9. Smallest hand-made Pokémon sculptures
A range of Pokémon clay sculptures, hand-made by the artist Ruby "Lonelysouthpaw" Huang (USA), measured on average between 2 mm and 5 mm in height. As of 5 January 2016, the smallest in the collection, dubbed "Pinkymon Project", was Voltorb, which measured 2 mm height x 2 mm width x 2 mm depth.
10. Most wins of the Pokémon World Championship
On 11 August 2012, 19-year-old Ray Rizzo defeated rival Wolfe Glick (both USA) in the Pokémon World Championship final – taking the title for a third consecutive time. Following his victory, Ray featured in Pokémon Black/White Version 2 (2012) via a downloadable update.
For more amazing Pokémon facts and feats, check out the debut Guinness World Records 2016 Blockbusters book, now available in the UK, Ireland and Australia which includes a spread all about the game.
This brand new title from Guinness World Records features a huge range of records from showbiz, media, popular toys and technology.