By Keith C. Smith
Photos by Jowy Romano
A Tokyo suburb, sometime in the 1970’s: A typical boy named Satoshi Tajiri enjoys the simple pastime of catching and collecting bugs in the ponds and forests around his house. In time, the boy would grow up to be a video game developer and use those childhood memories as inspiration for a game called Pokemon. After 6 years of development, the game is finally released in Japan and becomes a success unlike any other, spreading across the world and capturing the imagination of millions.
10 years and $25 billion dollars later, these combat critters have earned the right to celebrate. And celebrate they did, right here in New York’s Bryant Park on August 8. From blocks away you could see the enormous Pikachu balloon hovering over the park marking the center of festivities. The park was filled with thousands of visitors. Some came to play, some to compete and some just to see the guest of honor, former WWE Champion and star of VH1’s “Hogan Knows Best,” Hulk Hogan.
The festivities opened up with “The Hulkster” coming on stage and reading this official proclamation:
Today in Bryant Park, New Yorkers and Pokemon fans from all around the world are gathered to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Pokemon. Today we celebrate another incredible decade of success for Pokemon and look forward to the accomplishments and innovations still to come. Therefore I, Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of the City of New York, in recognition of this important anniversary do hereby proclaim Tuesday, August 8, 2006 in the City of New York, Pokemon Day.