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Magician ends 20-year battle with Nintendo over Pokemon card

Illusionist and magician Uri Geller sued Nintendo decades ago for using his likeness

Pikachu standing in front of Kadabra Image: The Pokémon Company
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Two decades ago, magician and illusionist Uri Geller sued Nintendo in a California court for its Kadabra Pokémon card, alleging the company used his likeness to create the character. You see, Geller is known for his spoon-bending trick, just like Kadabra. Now, Geller is apologizing for the lawsuit, in which he claimed Nintendo turned him into “an evil, occult Pokémon character,” and stole his identity “by using [his] name and [his] signature image,” according to a BBC story from 2000.

The California lawsuit was dismissed in 2003. He reportedly filed several other lawsuits globally, according to The Guardian.

“I am truly sorry for what I did 20 years ago,” Geller wrote on Twitter. “Kids and grownups I am releasing the ban. It’s now all up to Nintendo to bring my #kadabra #pokemon card back. It will probably be one of the rarest cards now! Much energy and love to all!”

Later, he published a video where she sorted through a large suitcase full of Kadabra memorabilia, including cards in Japanese and English. (The Japanese card is called Yungeller, which is very close to Geller’s name.) He’s also got a number of figurines and toys stuffed away in that bag.

Geller told gaming website TheGamer that he received “tremendous” amounts of emails from Pokémon fans asking him to drop the case and allow Nintendo to bring back Kadabra. He added that Nintendo representatives “picked up” his letter.

The Pokémon Company told Polygon it “has nothing to share at this time” when asked about Geller and the reprinting of Kadabra cards. Maybe Nintendo will begin reprinting Kadabra cards, but maybe it won’t! Nintendo and The Pokémon Company do, at least, now have Geller’s blessing.