Pokemon Fans Light Up Social Media With #ThankYouGameFreak
If you’ve been paying attention to the last few months of Pokemon news, it’s no secret that the franchise’s fan community is a little concerned about just how innovative Pokemon Sword and Shield will really be. A vocal contingent of the Pokemon fandom has been very critical of developer Game Freak, and have only been spurred on by recent leaks. To put a bow on it, Game Freak decided to cancel their Tokyo launch event for Sword and Shield due to “operational reasons.”
But a new social media hashtag campaign has emerged, showing off a much more positive side of the Pokemon community. “#ThankYouGameFreak” has been used countless times on Twitter by fans to thank the game developer for making a positive impact in their life, working to counter the swell of recent negativity.
Some Twitter users thanked Game Freak for their work representing people of color in their games.
#ThankYouGameFreak for the consistent and positive portrayals of black/brown people in a major video game franchiseit means a lot, honestly pic.twitter.com/tmEArtCG8z— | (@gurugurugravity) November 9, 2019#ThankYouGameFreak for all the years of pokemon. You brought my aunt and I so close together as a family. Thank you for your games getting me through some very dark times in my life. Please do take a break and I will always keep appreciating you guys. You all deserve a break! pic.twitter.com/6UPJ57wEKP— Disappointed Xemnas (@PixelRoseArtist) November 9, 2019Go figure, a social marketing manager for the Pokemon franchise also had their life irrevocably changed by the games.Pokémon is, and has always been, a inextricable part of who I am. Thank you for giving me the franchise that changed my personal and professional life#ThankYouGameFreak pic.twitter.com/mpUmagwXVo— Galarian Chaka (@princessology) November 9, 2019#ThankYouGameFreak because of you, I have amazing job where I’m creative every moment of every day working on something I love. In 2013, I realized I wasn’t living my life and completely started over. Pokémon helped me be the person I am today. Thank you, I’m forever grateful. pic.twitter.com/pGqvNBhhfO— Liz (@AlolanBunny) November 9, 2019Considering that the Pokemon games have been around since the ’90s, it’s no surprise that some millennials even themed huge moments in their life around Pokemon, like this couple and their adorable wedding decorations.#ThankYouGameFreak for making an awesome series that people have been able to enjoy for years! Your characters means so much to my wife and I that they were the theme of our wedding! Thank you! pic.twitter.com/VXIeM1uM83— Jerod C. (@The8BitDrummer) November 9, 2019This father thanked Game Freak for helping him teach his son positive traits any Pokemon trainer should have.
#ThankYouGameFreak for creating a franchise that makes the relationship with me and my son even stronger. It also teaches him being dedicated and a good caring person, leads to positivity in your life.It’s also made me amazing friendships across the world. Thank you pic.twitter.com/OMJE4mWEAs— PokeTaj ポケタージ (@PokeTaj) November 9, 2019Things can’t always be easy as a game developer behind one of the world’s largest franchises. In an interview with Eurogamer, Game Freak producer Junichi Masuda and series game director Shigeru Ohmori both touched on the pressure of making Sword and Shield, and how the negativity impacts the Game Freak team.
“Of course, you know, you see these sort of negative comments and it does, as a developer, make you feel a bit down about certain things, but at the same time, you have to take criticism,” Masuda told Eurogamer, citing criticism of Pokemon Let’s Go games that called the games too “kid-focused.”
You can check out the #ThankYouGameFreak hashtag on Twitter to see more responses from the Pokemon community. In the meantime, if you can hardly wait for Pokemon Sword and Shield to get here, check out how new in-game items are going to make Pokemon training easier, check out the latest news about leaks (beware spoilers though), and read up on how online play will work.
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer/young lad for IGN.