Satoshi Tajiri was born in 1965 in a suburb of Tokyo. Satoshi spent a lot of time outdoors collecting insects. He was called Dr. Bug by his friends. As the outdoors where he lived disappeared, Satoshi could no longer collect insects and he turned his obsession to video games. He hated school and started missing classes. He had to repeat high school.
At the urging of his father, he completed a two-year program at the National College of Technology. His father hoped that Satoshi would be an electrical repairman, but Satoshi had other ideas.
Satoshi wanted to design games. He won a contest sponsored by Sega. He then created a fanzine to educate game players. When he began to realize that many games were not that good, he began to design his own. He developed a connection with Ken Sugimori who was an illustrator. Together they formed a game company.
When Satoshi saw two children playing video games together using a linking cable, he started to combine his interests in insects and video games. The Pokémon set of characters were conceived by Satoshi. Pokémon became the highest grossing media sensation of all time. Trading cards and toys were added. In both cases, they became the top-selling items of their type. A TV spin-off followed.
One of the successes of the Pokémon phenomenon is the impact they have on children in providing a sense of identity and values.
Satoshi has been honored as one of the top video game designers of all times. Pokémon and its various spin-offs have become Japan’s greatest export.
Just imagine how the mind of an autistic person can have such an influence on society. Satoshi’s autistic mind helped him create a world that has captured the imagination of children across the globe. Satoshi designed his games to give children the same joy he had in collecting insects.
Different minds can often open up the world for others who don’t see things the way that others do. And this neurodiversity benefits all of us.
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“Autism is not a disability, it’s a different ability.” – Stuart Duncan (Bluegrass Musician)