Last modified on 1 July 2007, at 20:38

Pokémon is a highly successful Japanese franchise created by Satoshi Tajiri, that was introduced by Nintendo in the 1990s. The name is a portmanteau of the "Pocket Monsters", which serves as the Japanese title of the series. It spread to several other countries in a short time.

The video game was the basis for the popular children's television show, Pokémon and helped to spawn a large amount of merchandise and a successful trading card game.</br> To those unfamiliar with the video games, the world is explored from an aerial view, in a way similar to "The Legend of Zelda" games (also by Nintendo). The player captures wild animals called "Pokemon," using a device called a "Pokéball." Pokémon often have cutesy species names such as "Rattata", "Pidgey", "Pikachu" & "Nidoran." Pokémon are also collected in the same way some people collect Baseball cards or "Garbage Pail Kids" stickers, and catalogued in a "Pokédex." Once captured, you can battle Pokémon against wild Pokemon to either scare them away or weaken them enough to capture them with a Pokeball. Each species of Pokémon has one or two elemental "types," and during turn-based battles, certain types trump others, in a Rock-Paper-Scissors manner. The most commonly-known of these are probably the starter Pokémons' types from each version: Fire trumps Grass; Grass trumps Water; Water trumps Fire.


In every mainstream version of the handheld Pokemon games, there are eight gym leaders, as well as a group called the Elite Four that one must beat, in order to win the game. Also, every different version gives each character a rival that constantly attempts to best you in your progress throughout the game. As you move along, stronger Pokemon and harder trainers become increasingly present, forcing the main character to quickly adapt and become stronger.


So far, there have been fourteen mainstream Pokémon games: Red and Green first appeared in Japan, but when the franchise came to the United States, Green was replaced by Blue, due to several bugs in Green. This was known as Generation I of Pokemon. Generation I was capped off by Yellow Version, a special Pikachu edition, in which the main character recieves a Pikachu as his first Pokemon. Generation II introduced many new Pokémon in Gold and Silver, which was followed up by Crystal Version. Generation III, which also introduced new Pokémon, included Ruby and Sapphire, which was capped off by Emerald, however remakes of Red and Green, called Fire Red and Leaf Green were also released during Generation III. Pokémon is currently in Generation IV, where Diamond and Pearl are the only games that have been released yet, along with a whole string of cute, collectible beasts.

There are also many spinoff games, such as Pokemon Colosseum for the Nintendo 64, in which players could put their Pokémon cartridges into special adapters and battle Pokémon in 3D. Also for the Nintendo 64 is Pokemon Snap, in which the player is a Pokémon photographer, and travels around through Pokemon's habitats and snaps photos of them. Pokemon Pinball also came out for Game Boy Color, which was a pinball game in which Pokémon could also be caught in order to fill a Pokédex.


In the past, some Christian groups believed Pokemon to be Satanic. In 2000, the Vatican released an offical statement.

The Vatican has announced that the trading-card and computer-game versions of Pok√©mon are ‚Äúfull of inventive imagination,‚ÄĚ have no ‚Äúharmful moral side effects‚ÄĚ and celebrate ‚Äúties of intense friendship.‚ÄĚ Whether that extends to the TV show, His Holiness didn‚Äôt say. The New York Post, quoting a Thursday story in The Times of London, says The Vatican made its announcement on its satellite TV station, Sat2000, run by the Italian Bishops‚Äô Conference. - from the New York Times