Pokémon Go is all the rage, but we wouldn't have any of our little monsters, from Abras to Zubats, without creator Satoshi Tajiri. But the famed video game developer's imagination is a curious and fascinating place, starting with his childhood love of insects, which started it all.
As a child growing up in a Tokyo suburb, Tajiri reveled in spending time in nature. One of his favorite hobbies? Collecting insects, which eventually gave him the idea for catching imaginary critters in games. But when developers took over his neighborhood and began building, his bug pals were driven away.
As Tajiri told Time in 1999, "Every year they would cut down trees and the population of insects would decrease. The change was so dramatic. A fishing pond would become an arcade center." Or, perhaps, the prototype for a Poké gym. As time went on, other kids nicknamed Tajiri "Dr. Bug." But that didn't deter him; in fact, he gloried in the many minute differences between individual insect species, how they interacted with one another and sometimes fought.
Satoshi Tajiri with his most famous creation, Pikachu. Image via Keyword-Suggestions.
Years later, when our young porto-entomologist began to turn his childhood love for video games into a career, he thought back to his other youthful hobbies for inspiration. His curiosity about insects, how they morphed and evolved, and his own skill at catching them - he boasted to Time that "None of my friends would do what I did. I got more insects than anyone" - led him to bring the outdoor critters indoors: to technology. He added, "Kids play inside their homes now, and a lot had forgotten about catching insects. So had I." Thus, he built a game that took kids outside and into their imaginations.
Now, thanks to Pokémon Go, more people (9.5 million, sources estimate, and growing) are outside, catching (virtual) insect and animals. Mission accomplished.
Feature image via Quora.