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The Pokemon logo

Pok√©mon („ÉĚ„āĪ„ÉĘ„É≥) (ESRB ratings: E) is a highly successful Japanese franchise. Pok√©mon was created by Satoshi Tajiri, and was introduced by Nintendo in the 1990s. The name is a transliteration of "Pocket Monsters" (po-k√© + mo-n = po-k√©-mo-n, which serves as the Japanese title of the series. It spread to several other countries in a short time. The game is centered around rewarding children for evolving their pokemon to make them better at turn based combat until one of them faints.

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.

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 cataloged 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, and for Yellow Version, Lightning trumps water.


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 receives 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. The third game in Generation IV, Platinum, is scheduled to be released in Japan on September 13, 2008. It is worth noting that for each Generation of games, a new system is used. Generation 1 was first released for the Game Boy, Generation 2 for the Game Boy Color (although the first two games of the generation were compatible with the original Game Boy), Generation 3 for the Game Boy Advance, and Generation 4 for the Nintendo DS.

There are also many spinoff games, such as the Pokemon Stadium series 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. Pokemon have also appeared in every one of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series. In the same vein as Pokemon Stadium, there are also Pokemon Colosseum (Game Cube) and Pokemon Battle Revolution (Wii) There is also Pokemon Red and Blue Rescue Teams for the DS and Game Boy Advance which are based on a short-lived cartoon series by the same name.


Evolutionist influences

In both games and anime, the evolution of pokemon is of importance and explicitly depicted. Although it bears no resembled beyond name to the theory of evolution, some Christians have expressed concern that it could legitimize the evolutionist thinking to children.

psychic/magic powers

Depictions of pokemon possessing 'psychic' powers including telepathy and telekinesis are frequent. In a situation similar to controversy over role-playing games and the Harry Potter series, some Christians are concerned that these may constitute an endorsement of non-Godly magic forbidden by the bible and leave children copying the actions of the anime vulnerable to demonic influence.

Gender roles

The character known in the English translation as James has repeatedly cross-dressed. This could be considered more a criticism of anime in general, as cross-dressing is often used for comedy in other anime series - a cross-dressing character is not exclusive to Pokémon.

Animal cruelty

The objective of the game revolves around attacking wild animals, beating them until senseless so they may be captured, trapping them in small containers and training them to fight other captive animals in an arena for sport. In some ways, this could be considered the computer game version of cock-fighting.

Vatican's OK

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

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