Gen Z knows Pikachu better than Rosa Parks, survey shows

Entertainment

Pikachu mascots are seen during the unveiling of new Pokemon-themed livery on a Skymark Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft at Tokyo’s Haneda international airport on June 21, 2021. (Photo by Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — In the ongoing culture divides of youth versus experience, age is more than just a number – it’s a recognition game. For Gen Z, a recent survey showed that video game characters are more well-known than the men and women who changed history.

A study conducted by GetCenturyLink surveyed Gen Z and asked them to identify video game characters and cultural icons. In the age of the internet, with information at everyone’s fingertips, Gen Z could identify characters from their favorite games more than historic leaders and famous icons, the study found.

The percentage of how much of Gen Z could identify characters was almost 30 percent higher than how many could identify public figures.

Here’s how the study breaks down:

For videogame characters, Pikachu was the most recognized fantasy feature, with 85 percent of respondents recognizing the popular critter. Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Luigi (Mario’s brother) and Kirby all got recognition by at least 80 percent of those surveyed.

All five characters featured are stars of their franchises, and members of the brackets for Nintendo’s series-spanning fighting game series, Super Smash Bros. The survey ranked the top 5 fictional characters as follows:

CharacterPercent Recognized
Pikachu85%
Mario84%
Sonic83%
Luigi82%
Kirby80%
(Source: GetCenturyLink Survey)

Of the real-life historical and cultural icons chosen for the survey, Rosa Parks was the most well-known, followed by Bill Gates, Dua Lipa, William Shakespeare and Winston Churchill. Still, Rosa Parks was only recognized by 72 percent of survey respondents, meaning Gen Z recognized her 13 percent less than Pikachu.

A photograph of Rosa Parks circa the 1950’s and a paper written by Parks about segregation are some of the items in the Rosa Parks archive, seen during a media preview at the Library of Congress, Madison Building, in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Among the remaining cultural figures, Winston Churchill was the least-recognized among Gen Z, with only 48 percent of respondents able to identify him. After Rosa Parks, the percentage recognition dropped off, with Churchill ranked at the bottom of the top five known icons.

Cultural IconPercent Recognized
Rosa Parks72%
Bill Gates67%
Dua Lipa63%
William Shakespeare62%
Winston Churchill48%
(Source: GetCenturyLink Survey)

The data from the GetCenturyLink survey results come from 1,800 Americans aged 16 to 24-years-old. The respondents were tasked with matching video game characters and famous figures from history with correct portraits on Pollfish, a market research platform. They used Pew Research’s age standards for choosing their survey pool. Pew describes Gen Z as anyone born in 1997 or later.

The characters and icons chosen came from a variety of sources for selection, including “the most-Googled video games nationwide, our cultural icons from Business Insider, the Guardian, and The Famous People,” according to GetCenturyLink.

Even characters that didn’t reach the same 80-plus percentage were more recognized than current stars, with Princess Peach and Lara Croft recognized by Gen Z respondents 79 percent and 66 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, Hollywood actor Zoe Saldana was only recognized 40 percent of the time.

The study reported that Thomas Jefferson was only recognized 43 percent of the time, preventing him from making it into the top five cultural icons that Gen Z could identify in the survey.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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