Nintendo Told Pokemon Were 'Too Cute' for West

The Pokemon franchise was originally too cute for North American Markets

The Dash B Camp in Osaka has kicked off this week and Nintendo's President Satoru Iwata made a rare public appearance.

Iwata started out with a Nintendo history lesson, dating all the way back to the company's start as a card manufacturer in 1889. Moving on through the years since into the gaming giant that it is today, the president also had something to say about the late, great Hiroshi Yamauchi Nintendo's former head.

When we talk about Nintendo we cannot ignore (former president) Hiroshi Yamauchi who just recently passed away. He always said that if you have failure, you don’t need to be too concerned. You always have good things and bad, and this reflects the history of Nintendo.

Please note that the quotes have been taken from a live translation of Iwata's speech and may not be completely accurate.

This may explain Nintendo's laid-back attitude with regards to the struggle they are facing with the Wii U.

The company's head went on to talk about Nintendo's past successes,

Will America accept cute monsters? No, they said. Some people even recommended to make Pikachu more muscular. If we followed their advice Pokemon would never have been the success that it was. Brain Training software became a hit in Japan, and I proposed that we sell it globally. And even as I said that as the president, no one listened.

As it turned out, he was totally right. Pokemon is a massive franchise with games, movies, a manga series, anime, and even a theme park. 

Even though Nintendo appears to be struggling in some areas now, with the success of the 3DS and the upcoming launch of Pokemon X and Y, I have no doubt they will be around for a long time to come.

Published Oct. 10th 2013
  • Jason Winter
    Featured Correspondent
    When I worked for Decipher, we sent some of our people to Japan in 1997 to check out trading-card game opportunities. One of them came back with some Pocket Monsters cards and said they were really hot over there, but we all pretty much agreed that they were aimed at too young an audience to be successful in the US.

  • Destrolyn.Bechgeddig
    Featured Columnist
    Oh poo. Just missed a prime opportunity to link you article with mine!
  • Amy White
    Former Editor in Chief
    No law against editing to make the link ;)
  • Ashley Gill
    Associate Editor
    Well, we are the country in which Kirby is always angry. Glad Nintendo didn't go through any redesign choices with Pokemon over the years because of some silly localization nonsense.

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