the coast of Japan, a mysterious island is the home of dozens
of different species that somehow Darwin seems to have missed.
Each species has its own special powers and, over the course
of time, those powers evolve. Trainers, i.e. human beings under
12, can luckily capture these creatures, storing them in Pokeballs.
Controlling the special powers of this pint-sized army, a trainer
can then wage battles with other trainers in a quest to capture
all 151 species.
“fin de siecle” craze was created by insect-afficianado Satoshi
Tajiri in 1996. Working under a contract with Nintendo, Tajiri
developed the Pokemon game to be played on hand-held Game Boys.
Realizing that the Game Boy’s unique attribute was its ability
to connect to another Game Boy, he created a world where, in
order to capture all the critters, the player must physically
plug into other Game Boys to “catch ’em all”, as the game’s
slowly but steadily took off in Japan. Trading cards were released
as an after-thought, but kids clued into the possibilities of
using the cards to battle and collect right away. It was easier
to smuggle trading cards into school than a Game Boy. Pokemania
was born. Soon there was a Pokemon cartoon show, done in the
Japanese anime style, and now “Pokemon – The First Movie” is
chewing up the box office. Parents are running for cover.
The most popular character is Pikachu, the sort-of mouse that
is giving Mickey a run for his money. With characters like Squirtle
– the squirting turtle – and Raticate – the nasty rat-like critter,
kids and collectors are going to be kept busy gathering up all
things Pokemon for the conceivable future.
If you’d like to learn more about this phenom, you can visit
the official Pokemon website at www.pokemon.com.
Or just ask anyone under 12.