You know, through the years, I have become somewhat notorious for being something of a smart arse, a big head and boasting of my many achievemen­ts within the games industry during my hey day, but these days, as I look back upon my time at the very top of gaming, I can't help but chuckle to myself at some of the catastroph­ic bloopers I also made during those years. The one I'm going to share with you today is perhaps the funniest of all, if only because, even after many years of reviewing and testing games for a living, it goes to show that even the most experience­d of profession­als can get shit wrong.

This tale begins at E3, in either 1995 or 1996... I can't fully remember which, and once again features my now legendary Achilles heel... Nintendo. I remember having an appointmen­t booked with Nintendo of USA so that they could walk me through all their latest upcoming releases and also give me a sneak peak of some of their future games still in developmen­t. It was always exciting when you got taken into the back of the stand to see the secret stuff that the general public don't get a peep at. Luckily, due to my involvemen­t with multiple magazines in the UK, plus my position in the UK media in general, thanks to all the tv show work I was doing at the time, I nearly always got vip treatment when I turned up at the shows, and this time was no exception. The UK PR people introduced me to the US people and so on. I got coffee, snacks and a press pack and shown all the newest software... then for a few seconds I was left alone while the marketing people excused themselves. When they returned they had some Japanese employees with them, who seemed very excited to meet me and asked politely if I minded giving them an extra few minutes of my time. Of course I said “no problem” and was intrigued as to what they wanted to show me.

Sure enough, the guys and gals then started telling me all about a new craze in Japan, that involved collecting trading cards. These cards had cute cartoon creatures on them, all of which had different values to them, so you could battle with

them against other players.

You know where I am going yet? Yep, these were some of the early Pokemon card sets. They explained how the game worked to me and then asked me the golden question... did I think that this concept would catch on in the UK?

Possibly one of the biggest phenomenon­s of the late 90s. A massive billion pound franchise. A brand that took the world by storm.

What did I say?

I told them... no. No, I didn't think it would work in the UK. I thought it was a bit cheesy. Very anime, far too Asian for our tastes in the UK. Plus, we already had Top Trumps, which was a very similar concept

(card game wise) and no where near as cutesy. I really couldn't see how these crazy cards could ever catch on over here. Not in a million years.

They looked disappoint­ed and talked among themselves for a moment. Then they thanked me very much for my time and politely left.

The next time I attended E3 the first Pokemon games were appearing on GameBoy... and the world was going crazy for them. The rest is history.

Ha, ha. What did I know eh?


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