Where did this Pokémon thing come from? It is a Japanese phenomenon that is sweeping America's youth and a few adults like me into a Pokémon frenzy! Well, maybe not a frenzy, but I am now a fan of the Trading Card Game and I am starting to like the cartoon now too.
The Pokémon world started out as a game for the Nintendo Game Boy system. Nintendo spent 6 years developing this world. In this world 10-year-old boys and girls become Pokémon trainers. They leave home and travel the land in search of Pokémon to capture. They train them to battle other trainers and their Pokémon in the Pokémon League. There are 151 Pokémon at this time with 100 more due sometime this year (2000). From what I can tell, as it pertains to the Trading Card Game, there are only 150.
Pokémon, short for "pocket monster", are cute (well some of them) creatures that peacefully coexist with us. They have special powers and individual personalities. The more experience and friendship they receive from the battles and trainers the stronger they become. Most of them can even evolve into bigger, better Pokémon. Some may be able to evolve several times.
The only reason I did not like Pokémon to begin with was that I thought it was stupid. I did not see anything else that bothered me. However there are a couple of things that might bother some parents and those new to Pokémon. These issues do deserve to be looked into by parents and appropriate action taken if any.
Violence: Yes, Pokémon battle each other. In the cartoon, the Nintendo Gameboy Games, the toys, the board game (Pokémon Master Trainer from Milton Bradley), and the Trading Card Game. In these battles the Pokémon use their special powers against each other. Some of these special powers are singing that puts everyone to sleep, or squirting water, or like Pikachu, he shocks his opponents. There is no blood and no death. The loosing Pokémon is knocked out or faints. That's all. In the Trading Card Game these battles are not seen. It's just a matter of numbers and a flip of a coin. The matches are more a battle of intelligence between the trainers than fights of aggression between the Pokémon.
If violence is an issue of concern for you as a parent, before you make your final judgment, sit down and watch some Loony Tunes or super hero cartoons then watch the Pokémon cartoon. I personally have found Pokémon to be extremely tame compared with other cartoons. That's partly why I thought Pokémon was stupid. In fact many of the Pokémon episodes offer a good moral message to our children. I guess I am taking a chance saying that, however I see qualities in the main character that are completely missing in todays youth.
Psychic Pokémon: If you raised an eyebrow when you read the word "psychic" then I should not have to explain anything here. You already know what I am thinking. Otherwise, this is not an issue with you.
If this does bother you, why not remove these cards from your child's deck and avoid buying preconstructed decks that contain these Psychic Pokémon.
These are some additional things I thought worth mentioning.
Some of the Pokémon toys and even the Trading Card Game have small parts not suitable for small children. Please pay close attention to the age warnings on all the products.
I have heard and read about schools that don't allow Pokémon cards to be taken to school, including my son's school. One child in his class had about 100 cards taken away by the teacher. Some have even been beaten up by others and their cards stolen. Cards get stolen out of backpacks and desks. Moral of the story, don't let your children take their cards to school.
One last thing. I have heard reports of child molesters using Pokémon cards as bait. Warn your children to watch out for strangers. Stay away from them no matter what they offer.
Due to the nature of trading cards and the "Gotta catch 'em all!" catch phrase, it is easy to get caught up in a fever to buy more and more cards. Even I am feeling this to some degree. What I would recommend to parents is to keep the purchase of these cards as a treat to your child. Don't let yourself or your child get carried away with buying these things. If your child gets an allowance, have your child use a portion of it towards the cards. Once in a while surprise your child with a pack or two of booster cards. Just a few suggestions.
I have read reviews that say this Trading Card Game is complicated. My opinion, it is only complicated because we are ADULTS! We are preoccupied with the daily and nightly task of providing for our families. Our toys, we call then hobbies, since we don't have the time to play with them. Our children, after their home work is done, have time to play with their toys. For us adults, trying to remember is the true complication.
Actual game play I feel is pretty easy. Deciphering the powers and attacks can be the hard part, if you let it. I just read it slowly, out loud and I tell my children what I think it is saying to us and get their input. If we both agree thats what we do. Remember, it's only a game.
This is what I think confuses us adults, 150 different names (with the prospect of another 100) and our children refer to Pokémon with several different terms. First, the names. Don't worry about trying to remember them, our children will and they will tell us. Second, the different terms. One Pokémon can be referred to by approximately 4 different terms.
Over all the game is easy, adults make it complicated.
My guess is, since you are reading this, your child(ren) already have cards and may already be playing with friends. If this is the case you need cards. I strongly recommend buying the Starter Gift Box. It cost about $25 and comes with - 2-Player Starter Set which includes 2 30 card decks, 10 damage counters, 1 First Edition holographic card, starter rules and advanced rules. Gift Box also contains 1 Jungle Theme Deck, 1 Jungle Booster Pack, 1 collectable Pokémon coin, and a playmat (See Links Page). It is worth the money!
If neither of you have cards, at least one of you should buy the Starter Gift Box and the rest get the 2-Player Starter Set.
Want to know more about actual game play before you buy? Take a look at my Links Page. Click on the link by "Learn To Play".
One day our happy NON Pokémon family life was turned upside down. Our youngest son bravely announced, "I like Pokémon". My wife and I decided to keep our pain to ourselves. We like things our children do not like, so fair is fair. As you might have guessed, we did not like Pokémon.
We should have seen this coming. He was coming home from school with trading cards his friends would give him.
After his bold announcement he started watching the cartoon and buying Pokémon toys with his allowance. He even bought a very nice book from school that describes all 150 Pokémon. (The Official Pokémon Handbook, By Maria S. Barbo, Published by Scholastic Inc., ISBN 0-439-10397-5, $9.99 US. Now Maria has a new version of this book. See my links page.).
Next my wife bought him the Trading Card Game 2-player Starter Set. So he and his big brother started playing. Of course big brother was a little reluctant to play at first.
One day the unthinkable happened, my Pokémon fan asked me to play the Trading Card Game with him.
Our family life is hectic. My wife and I both have to work to make a living. We work different shifts so we do not need day care or a baby sitter. Doing family things together can be very difficult. So I thought I better jump at the chance to play, especially since he asked me too.
So I took the cards and basic instructions and looked them over. To my surprise this Trading Card Game was pretty COOL! Trading cards you can actually play with and collect. Even the advanced rules were easy, just a little more to remember.
To my complete surprise, and my wife, I am hooked on this game. No, I don't play it every day, but I own my own playing decks and so does big brother. We have a lot of fun together and I have a better understanding of Pokémon when my children talk about it.
I know I am not the only parent that did not like Pokémon and have child(ren) that do. That's why I am making this web site (with a little help from my children).
I want to introduce the Pokémon Trading Card Game to parents and grandparents that are in a similar situation like me. It really isn't that bad.
I want to encourage parents and grandparents to get their own deck of cards and play along with their child(ren).
Even if you do not get your own deck and play along, read through this web site. It should give you a better understanding of what they are talking about (for example - "I only like Fossil Cards"). If you plan on buying cards for them, this site should help you figure out which cards to get.
One last note, There is nothing more priceless than the look on your child(ren)s friends faces when they find out you play too, with your OWN deck.
I just have to say something about this. The marketing of this Trading Card Game is FABULOUS! I'm sure marketing like this has been used on other products, but I don't find it offensive with Pokémon. What am I talking about?
Notice on all the Pokémon products you can buy there is a catch phrase that is trademarked by Nintendo, "Gotta catch 'em all!" You'll find this theme throughout all the products and the cartoon. It is the way you become a Pokémon Master. This is basically the ultimate goal.
"Gotta catch 'em all!" gives our child(ren) a goal, as parents we see dollar signs. If it still hasn't hit you, as you look through the card section keep in mind that catch phrase "Gotta catch 'em all!".
If I was somebody I would give the person or company that thought of this marketing ploy an award. I think it is beautifully done and at the same time subtle.
Is it a fad? I can't say myself. I hope it is not a fad. I enjoy this Trading Card Game. I don't mind collecting the cards either. But time will tell.
Thank you for reading through all this. I do hope this site helps you. Please feel free to contact me with any info or comments.