Pokemon is one of the most popular video games ever made, odds are you’ve played it at some point in your life, but did you know that there’s a true story behind the game?
I had no idea until I got an email from blog reader Amanda B, who said:
Hello I recently came upon your blog and I must say they are very intresting ^_^ and I have been wondering about the theory of pokemon.
I have done my own research on it and I keep coming up that ash is in a coma and that he dreaming everything that is happening. I was just wondering if you know the truth behind it. Please and thank you ^-^
This made me wonder if there really was a true story behind Pokemon, and if so would it be a weird one?
I was intrigued by the idea that such an imaginative game could possibly have real people (and …real animals?) behind it. I dug into things and time and time again came across the theory that Amanda B mentioned. It’s the most popular theory of Pokemon out there, and it’s known simply as “Ash’s Coma”.
THE STORY OF ASH’S POKEMON COMA
The theory of Ash’s Coma came out of the Pokemon cartoon series, which went into detail about the story of Pokemon and it’s main character Ash. In the first episode his life seems fairly normal, but then he gets into a bad accident while riding his bike.
He wakes up from this accident and suddenly his world is changed. Ash starts to travel the globe and has fantastical adventures involving the training and battling of strange creatures. There’s a bizarre twist though, no matter which new town that he goes to there’s always the same nurse and police officer there.
The Ash’s Coma theory came out of this and other weird aspects of the show. The theory states that Ash never actually woke up from the bike accident. Instead he was found unconscious and taken to the hospital. The doctors there put him on medications for his severe injuries and this is how the world of Pokemon came to be.
The medications were meant to keep his body alive but they also helped his mind to cope with being in a coma.
If his mind wakes up before his body is fully healed and able to move then he will likely go insane. So his imagination builds new worlds and situations for him to experience while he slowly comes to terms with his situation. The nurse and police officer are trusted people that he knows from his “real” life and they help him stay anchored to the real world, that’s why they’re in every town that he goes to.
Presumably Ash eventually recovered from the coma, and used his dream world of Pokemon adventures as the basis for the game. But is any of this even true?
THE TRUE STORY BEHIND POKEMON
Well, after looking into the history of Pokemon I can tell you this: it was based on the adventures of a real boy, but his name wasn’t Ash. The boy that Pokemon was based on was a Japanese child named Satoshi Tajiri, and he wasn’t your average kid.
Satoshi was born with a condition of the mind called Asperger’s syndrome, which makes a person obsess over certain things to the extreme, at the expense of other parts of their lives.
As a child Satoshi was a human bug hunting machine and would go out daily to the woods near his house to find them under rocks, or stick his hands in the local ponds and scoop them right out of the water. Then he’d bring them home to study them, sometimes even observing how they’d fight each other.
Satoshi was such an extreme bug collector that his classmates started to call him “Dr. Bug”. He was sure that he’d collect bugs all his life and become a scientist that studied bugs when he grew up. But then things started to change in his hometown. The population was booming, and the places that he got his bugs from were paved over with concrete to make way for buildings. Soon there weren’t enough bugs around, forcing him to give up on bug collecting.
But Satoshi still had Asperger’s syndrome, which meant that to make his mind happy he needed to find something else to be obsessed with. He eventually found a new love, video games. He started to spend massive amounts of time in video arcades having a great time playing games like Pac-Man and Space Invaders. His parents, however, were absolutely horrified. He often skipped class, and the more he got into video games the more his grades slipped. They could imagine “Dr. Bug” growing up to be a scientist, but the only future they could see for “Dr. Video Game” was as a low wage worker at an arcade.
Satoshi never gave up though. Slowly but surely he worked his way up in the video game world, publishing a magazine about video games and developing his skills as a game programmer. Then in the 1990’s he saw two kids playing against each other on Game Boy’s using a link cable and he had a flash of inspiration. His imagination showed him a picture of bugs crawling along the link cable, and the idea for Pokemon was born. He wanted to use video games give the new generation of kids the chance to find and collect weird creatures like he did as a child.
He took his idea to Nintendo and the rest is history.
He based Ash on himself as a kid and put the fun he had as a child into the game. Pokemon went on to become one of the most popular video games ever. Millions of people of all ages play the game each day, but they probably have no idea that it all started with an extremely curious kid named “Dr. Bug”.
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