When Did Pokemon Cards Come Out?


The Pokemon franchise is one of the biggest entertainment franchises of all time, mainly thanks to its hugely popular game series and the Pokemon TCG. The Pokemon TCG is a bit of a phenomenon, in the sense that it still managed to sell millions of physical cards a year despite most things having gone digital.

Many card games vanished when the internet and mobile games became accessible, but the Pokemon TCG held strong. What is the reason behind this? How did the TCG come into existence, and when was the first set of these cards released?

How did Pokemon come into existence?

Ape, a subsidiary of the Nintendo company, was set up to nurture new talents in the gaming industry. One of these talents was the creator of Pokemon Red and Pokemon Green; he was given guidance by the creator of Mario, setting the stage for the success of Pokemon.

The subsidiary, Ape, was rebranded to the name Creatures, Inc. before the release of Pokemon Red and Green. After the release of the games, Creatures, Inc. was tasked with creating Japan’s first-ever TCG, and it was the Pokemon TCG that we all love and play today.

The first release of Pokemon TCG

The Pokemon TCG was very similar to a card game known as Magic the Gathering. Magic was massive in the West, but not so much in the East. The Pokemon TCG’s first booster packs were released in the Japanese markets in October 1996 and instantly hit the ground running.

After Pokemon Red and Green were released, there wasn’t a lot of hype surrounding these games. Instead, the game started selling slowly after being on the shelves for months. By the time the TCG came out, the Pokemon craze had caught up in Japan!

Pokemon TCG in English

In 1999, the original English Pokemon TCG (Base Set) was released in North America and Europe by a publisher known as Wizards of the Coast. The publisher was well known already for printing the cards for Magic the Gathering.

The English TCG soon became one of the biggest hobbies in America, and then Europe. To this day, millions of kids and adults globally buy and collect Pokemon cards.

The current state of the TCG

The Pokemon TCG has seen its ups and downs. Ever since its release in English, the audience of the TCG has increased drastically as a lot of countries speak and understand English compared to Japanese. The English TCG is still one of the biggest TCGs in the world.

The Pokemon TCG is still going strong and shows no signs of stopping; new expansion packs come out all year long. There is a solid community backing these cards. There is also a massive second-hand market where people buy and sell rare Pokemon cards and will continue to do so in the future.

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