NME People Of The Year 2016: Pikachu

For redefining gaming

Who: Yeah, he’s not a person. The cute electric rodent is merely symbolising something much bigger than himself (even after metamorphosis into Raichu following exposure to a Thunder Stone)

Why: Pokémon Go, of course. An app so anticipated, people hacked their phones to get it early. So playable that one man lost half a stone in a week in his quest to catch ’em all. So popular it spawned headlines about thieves luring hapless players to shady locations, people walking into ponds while playing it, and conspiracy theories about it being a new form of government surveillance. The technology behind it wasn’t new, but Pokémon Go was the first game to deliver an augmented reality experience that captured the public imagination, tapping into both a millennial nostalgia for the beloved Nintendo franchise and a universally appealing sense that the real world is more magical than you thought. Your local area might still be s**t, but now it has magical creatures living in it. Are we still playing? Hell no. But it was fun for a while.

What he says: “Pika! Pika! Pikachu!” Your childhood friend has spoken.

What people say about him: “Pokémon [is] bringing people 
together all over the world. Even 
though nobody’s speaking to one another/everyone is walking into poles’ – Ariana Grande

How he made the world a better place: In a year like 
2016, a little daft escapism went a long way.

See more of the NME People Of The Year 2016 profiles

Beyoncé

Matty Healy

Millie Bobby Brown

Skepta

Margot Robbie

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Héloïse Letissier (Christine & The Queens)

Girls Against

Riz Ahmed

David Bowie

Kanye West