How Pokemon avoided steroid abuse

We all know Pokémon as the cute and cuddly game in which pocket-sized monsters fight for your approval. However, according to Nintendo president Saturo Iwata, the worldwide smash hit could have been an entirely different beast. An altogether more disturbing one, at that.

When Pokémon was being readied for its big Western debut, the localization team were incredibly skeptical, claiming that in no way, shape or form would such adorable little creatures ever be successful in the US. Apparently, all we care about in America are huge, rippling muscles. That’s almost what we got, too. 

“We were sent a proposal of muscle-bound characters to use if we wanted to do well in the U.S,” reveals Iwata. Luckily for us, Nintendo never went ahead with the idea of making American kids train, trade and battle with pint-sized Chris Benoits. The Pokémon never bulked up, thanks to former Nintendo boss Hiroshi Yamauchi. He felt Pokémon could be successful in the United States because it was something different, and he relished the challenge. His gamble paid off bigtime.

Would Pokémon have been such a huge craze in the States if all the monsters looked like Machamp? Something tells me it wouldn’t have had the same charm.

Jim Sterling