Behind the Johto Starter Series | Pokemon Center x Bear...

By: Thomas KilgoarTwenty-three years ago, the second generation of titles in the now-storied Pokémon series of games rode the crest of a massive marketing campaign to hit the United States...

Joanna Dembowski

By: Thomas Kilgoar

Twenty-three years ago, the second generation of titles in the now-storied Pokémon series of games rode the crest of a massive marketing campaign to hit the United States with incredible force. Pokémania as it was described in newspapers at the time, was inescapable at nearly every schoolyard in America. These new Pokémon games were all kids of a certain age were talking about, all they were thinking about in their free time. These games shaped the zeitgeist in a way few other games have been able to in the decades since, and we at Bear Walker hope that our new Johto Starters boards will capture the spirit of that time.

Our new boards feature the iconic starter Pokémon from Gold and Silver: Totodile- the big jaw Pokémon, Cyndaquil- the fire mouse Pokémon, and Chikorita- the leaf pokémon. Each board was hand-crafted to bring out the unique personality of these fan-favorite starters. Our use of novel techniques mirrors the design philosophy of the games themselves in many ways. This was after all the generation that brought gameplay innovations such as breeding and the real-time clock and our exposed wood finish pays homage to the spirit of Johto. 

The Johto region, based on the Kansai region of Japan, is an area steeped in history and tradition. The old ways are still going strong in Johto, from their Pokémon species reminiscent of the yokai of folklore to the prominent Shinto shrine to Celebi the forest deity in Ilex forest. We have endeavored greatly to represent this veneration for traditional techniques in our hand-crafted boards, and our connection to the past is visible in the prominent grain featured in this series.

"The concept behind this series is I wanted to do something with us going to the UK, that first step of going to a new region: the journey from Kanto to Johto and the best way to symbolize that would be us making the Johto Starters." - Bear Walker 

In the final moments of Pokémon Gold and Silver, the player progresses through the Silver Cave for a final confrontation with Red, who is meant to represent the player character from the first game. This exciting battle against the most formidable foe a player has encountered in the game has a metanarrative aspect of challenging oneself to be greater than you were yesterday, and this resonates with our philosophy at Bear Walker. Our approach is one of challenging ourselves with each new release, to strive towards the perfection of our craft. To challenge the version of ourselves from the past on the mountaintop and prevail, time and time again. 

We invite you to explore your world on one of our new cruisers, the way we explored Johto in our youth. Perhaps you will find your own Red Gyarados, challenge your own Elite Four, and prevail over the challenge of your rival with your beloved starter beneath your feet.



Joanna Dembowski

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