|Original title||ポ ケ ッ ト モ ン ス タ ー|
Pokémon ( Japanese ポ ケ モ ン [ 'pokemoɴ ], short for ポ ケ ッ ト モ ン ス タ ーPoketto Monsutā , German pocket monster ; also spelled : PoKéMoN or POKéMON ) are fantasy creatures in the series of video games of the same name . The games were originally developed by Satoshi Tajiri and the Japanese game software company Game Freak and represent one of the most important franchises of the publisher Nintendo . The Pokémon can be caught, collected and trained by the player. The success of the game, which was first published in 1996, was followed by an anime TV series , a trading card game , a large number of merchandising products and, since 1998, 21 films . The video games in the Pokémon franchise sold over 200 million copies worldwide. In this respect, the series can be regarded as one of the most successful products in the modern game industry .
Goal of the game
- Collect. The player can collect different types of Pokémon by catching them, exchanging them or receiving them in other ways in order to complete the so-called Pokédex. The Pokédex is a dictionary that you get at the beginning of the game and that is automatically filled with the data of all Pokémon caught during the game.
- Competition. The player tries to become "Pokémon Master". To do this, he lets the Pokémon he has received compete against other Pokémon in so-called Pokémon battles in order to train them and improve their skills. With the trained Pokémon you can compete against Pokémon from other Pokémon trainers. In most games the player has to defeat 8 or 16 so-called "arena leaders" in different cities, depending on the game (in some games this step is replaced by so-called island tests). Then the player has to face the elite of the Pokémon League (also known as the top 4 ) as the final challenge in order to achieve the title of champion.
Pokémon was invented by Satoshi Tajiri from Japan, who grew up near Tokyo . According to him, Tajiri developed the basic features of the game directly from his own child's world of experience and converted it into the first digitized forms on a trial basis during his studies. In interviews, Tajiri often said that the idea for the games and some characters came from his childhood, as it was his hobby to collect insects, especially beetles, in the wild, to draw them and to let them compete against each other in his pictures .
During his training at a technical college, he came into contact with video games and spent much of his free time in arcades. During this time, he is said to have received a machine with the game Space Invaders from a hall owner so that he could continue playing at home. After he became a games expert and won a video game creativity competition, he and friends brought out a game magazine called Game Freak in 1982 . Together with the game freak team and the developer studio Creatures , Satoshi then developed the first Pokémon games, which were published by Nintendo in Japan in 1996.
Marketing and Merchandising
The development to market success
When the first Pokémon games were released in Japan on February 27, 1996, publisher Nintendo only delivered 200,000 copies to retailers, as it was assumed that the games would only appeal to a limited group of buyers. None of those involved had even rudimentarily expected that these games would not only revive the Game Boy , who was believed to be dead , but also lay the foundation for one of the most successful video game series of all time. The dealer inquiries for the games increased steadily in Japan, so that the production of an anime television series , a trading card game and numerous merchandising articles were initiated by the issuing of licenses . In Germany, the gaming press reported on the new phenomenon from Japan for the first time at the end of 1997, after Pokémon was a central component of the Japanese trade fair "Space World" organized by Nintendo.
When the Pokémon games were finally released in the US in 1998 and in Europe in 1999, they appeared almost at the same time as anime, cards and merchandising; the first feature film followed a little later. This sudden omnipresence of Pokémon in the media is seen by many as partly responsible for the international success of the games, media researchers even consider the Pokémon phenomenon to be representative of an entire generation. In total, the games of the first generation - red , blue , yellow and in Japan the green edition - sold around 45 million times. If you add up the sales figures for all Pokémon games, according to the manufacturer, this results in a total of over 200 million games sold, but cinema films, trading cards and merchandising items also generated billions in sales. Although the peak of the Pokémon boom in Europe and the USA has probably passed some time ago, the reasons for the boom are still not entirely clear.
Pokémon as a successful marketing strategy
Pokémon can serve as a prime example of a globally successful marketing campaign. The marketing mix allowed the game maker to penetrate the market almost completely. The terms “Pokémon” and “Nintendo” were largely familiar to the associated target group. With the release of Pokémon games for a particular Nintendo game console , it was always possible to increase sales of the corresponding console, which in turn boosted sales of games for that console. Since 2000, Pokémon has also been marketed by The Pokémon Company , a subsidiary of Nintendo .
The resounding success of the Pokémon games sparked one of the biggest merchandising booms in history. Of collectible figurines on umbrellas, plush dolls, erasers, ice cream , board games , water bottles, stickers , macaroni , T-shirts , costumes - jumpsuits to PC software , all imaginable products were almost put on the market. Several Pokémon stores were even opened in Japan, entire department stores were devoted to merchandising, and a Japanese airline gave one of its planes a Pokémon outfit and offered exclusive Pokémon souvenirs in the passenger compartment. The Pokémon trading card game , which is marketed by Amigo in Germany and is the most successful trading card game in the world after Magic: The Gathering, deserves a special mention .
The Pokémon franchise was not spared from product piracy either . In markets in Asia and Eastern Europe in particular, you can find unlicensed Pokémon items in the form of towels, dolls and other toys . There are also counterfeits of trading cards, but these are less common on the European market.
In the first Pokémon games for the Game Boy , Red Edition and Green Edition , released in Japan in 1996 , 151 different Pokémon characters were available. After the green edition had only sold moderately, the breakthrough came with a special blue edition with improved game graphics - the appearance of the Pokémon was slightly changed. Outside of Japan, instead of the old red and green editions, a red and a blue edition based on the technical standard of the Japanese blue edition were brought onto the market from the outset . With the successor games for the Game Boy Color , Golden Edition and Silver Edition , 100 new Pokémon were added, and the games for the Game Boy Advance , the Ruby Edition and the Sapphire Edition increased the Pokémon inventory to a total of 386 different characters. On September 28, 2006, the current Pokémon generation with 110 new characters was ushered in with the Pearl Edition , Diamond Edition and Platinum Edition for the Nintendo DS . The 5th generation of the Pokémon with the editions black and white was released on September 18, 2010 in Japan and on March 4 in Europe. In October 2012, Pokémon Black and White Edition 2 were released in Europe. In October 2013, Pokémon X and Pokémon Y were released for Nintendo 3DS , the 6th generation of the video game series, the first two Pokémon games with 3D graphics. On November 21, 2014, Omega Rubin and Alpha Saphir were released, which are remakes of the 3rd generation (Pokémon Ruby and Saphir Edition). These are fully compatible with Pokémon X and Y. On November 23, 2016, Pokémon Sun and Moon were released in Europe, representing the 7th generation. These are compatible with the previous generations by importing the Pokémon into the newer generations.
In addition to the main Pokémon series, the role-playing games for Nintendo handheld consoles , in response to the success and popularity of Pokémon, other games of various genres were developed and published, some of which are compatible with the portable role-playing games. In the Pokémon Stadium games for the Nintendo 64 as well as Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD - The Dark Storm for the Nintendo GameCube, for example, Pokémon from the Game Boy games can be transferred with the help of appropriate accessories so that they can fight in 3D arenas to let. Pokémon Battle Revolution for Nintendo's Wii game console continues this concept.
There are also numerous other Pokémon games with a completely different gameplay, such as the Tetris-like title Pokémon Puzzle League or the photo safari game Pokémon Snap for Nintendo 64.
These titles are also distributed by Nintendo, but unlike the role-playing games, they are usually not developed by Game Freak, but by various development studios such as Intelligent Systems or Genius Sonority .
In addition to the software titles, some consoles and the " Pokémon Pikachu " also appeared. In addition to a Nintendo 64 and various Game Boys in Pokémon design, a very special Pokémon console was also released: the handheld system Pokémon Mini .
To the Nintendo DS games Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver appeared Pokéwalker .
Pokémon on TV and in the movies
As a result of the market success of the video games, an anime series of the same name was produced, which has been broadcast by TV Tokyo since 1997 (since 1999 also by RTL II ). The first Pokémon movie was released in Japan in 1998, and was followed by twenty more by 2018 (distributed by Warner Bros. ). The media presence also had an effect on the actual sales of the games. As part of cross-marketing , visitors to Warner Bros. Movie World in Germany were able to experience the hero Pikachu as a character “live” in the park from 2000 .
Pokémon amusement park
In 2005, there was a Pokémon amusement park in Nagoya, Japan near Expo 2005 between March and September. It was called PokéPark - Pokémon The Park 2005 , or simply PokéPark . A year later, a Pokémon amusement park was also opened in Taiwan , but it was also closed again after a short time. However, these short opening times are in no way due to a failure. Even before the respective opening, it was clear that the park would only be open for a few months.
Educational cultural criticism
Ambivalent attitude of the parents
Some parents struggle to form an objective view of the Pokémon phenomenon and its educational implications. They fear that these games contribute to the dumbing down, educational collapse , violence and brutality of their children. Jürgen Oelkers from the University of Zurich presented a differentiated view in a lecture in May 2001, which could help parents to take a more sober approach, especially because many adults who judge do not know the game at all. According to Oelkers, it can be stated that
- the games usually promote concentration ,
- is played with very complex compatibility between the individual elements,
- the goal is not to destroy an enemy.
As can be seen from the more detailed game descriptions below, in order to be successful, the children must be able to precisely distinguish 151 game characters in the first game generation alone, later 251, 386, 493, 649, 721 and currently even 807. You must be able to show great perseverance, be able to differentiate between loyalty and struggle and promote the metamorphosis of some species. The children learn these - and skills such as managing complex game situations - at great speed, even if their parents are suspicious of them. Of course, according to Oelkers, the learning effects targeted by Nintendo such as brand loyalty and familiarization with Japanese computer graphics also occur. The product variant "Pokémon" is the learning companion of a generation that is served exclusively. Today's childhood is thus exposed to media controls that were not only unknown in earlier epochs, but at the same time unthinkable, and we have got used to finding this immediately bad.
This new form of commercial childhood , so-called by Oelkers , whose development is irreversible, motivates the parents' resistance mainly because the new learning worlds of children can no longer be adjusted to the myths of pedagogical supervision. Since the new children's games are not comprehensible for many adults and can no longer be understood by many due to a lack of IT skills, their control fantasies are threatened, the children withdraw and are more autonomous. Today, children learn differently and differently, they do not allow themselves to be tied down to good toys or good reading ( defined in a civic way) . And if “childhood” is always the expectation of “adult”, adults are disappointed. Part of our disappointment is the new basic expectation of children that they will be "entertained" and not "raised" .
According to Oelkers, the fear of violence among adults is likely to be exaggerated, since the inventor Satoshi Tajiri built in non-violence insofar as the monsters do not die after a lost fight, but simply disappear from the screen and are later even brought back into the game by "healing" can. And it is no coincidence that the first Pokémon film ends with a theology of the heart and the victory of “good”. The non-violence is underlined by the belittling, loving aesthetics of the monster figures.
Overall, Oelkers advises more calm , which does not mean leaving the children to their own devices. The children live in a “no longer” magical world. What interests her about the replacement products, for which a huge fantasy market has been created, is not magic, but speed. And if the children are dependent, then really only on the boredom that is the price of growing up in an entertainment industry. A conclusion of the lecture expresses the following sentence by Oelkers: Technological change is always followed by educational cultural criticism, which lasts as long as the harmlessness of the new technology has not been proven. The entire lecture can be viewed at the web address given under Literature.
Prohibitions in schools
The Pokémon game, mainly in its trading card version, has been and is banned in some schools worldwide, mainly elementary schools (with the exception of Japan, its place of origin). There is usually no explicit ban on Gameboy / DS games, as electronic games are generally prohibited.
For many teachers, the main reason for the ban is theft and violence, which found its way into the schoolyard as a result of the passion for collecting. Among them were z. B. in 1999 robbery and self-mutilation. One of the reasons for this is the high value of the cards, sometimes more than € 30 per card. Another reason is the allegation of gambling. Teachers complain that the cards keep students from eating during the breaks and so captivate them after the breaks that they miss the start of the lesson.
The violence it contains is viewed critically: “The subject of violence also plays a central role within the game, because the aim of the whole thing is to train your Pokémon through successive duels. Incidentally, the final fights form the climax of the daily series. It is also the special fighting skills that make up the development stage of the characters ”.
Religiously motivated resistance
In Christian schools there are often reservations about learning magic and engaging in intensive study of magic games. Pokémon is said to embody the following, allegedly anti-Christian elements: violence as an instrument of power, belief in evolution , New Age elements such as reincarnation and psychokinesis, and occultism .
Whether the world of Pokémon has its roots more in the fantastic Japanese world of demons, ghosts and shadow beings or, as some claim, more in European fairy tale culture and American children's culture is a matter of dispute.
Saudi Arabia banned Pokémon because the playing cards had symbols of Jewish, Christian and Freemasonry.
Game content (role play)
The content of the Pokémon role-playing games is also the basis for the anime series. The world of these games is populated by a variety of different Pokémon. In the first games for the original Game Boy, their total number was 151 different copies; this number was increased by around 100 new creatures with the appearance of a new generation of the series for Nintendo's current handheld platform. The species names of the Pokémon are mostly localized for the respective market, one of the few exceptions is the popular Pikachu .
The Pokémon Trainer , the player's avatar , receives a single Pokémon at the start of the game. With this, he can challenge other trainers to a so-called Pokémon fight , in which the two trainers' Pokémon fight each other one after the other, similar to a cockfight . The game mechanics are strictly turn-based: the player can specify an action per round, for example one of several available actions (attacks of different classes; actions that change the status values of their own or opposing Pokémon), but also withdraw an endangered Pokémon from combat and replace. If a Pokémon loses all of its Power Points , it is incapacitated and must be replaced. A coach emerges victorious from a fight when the opponent's entire team has been defeated. Defeated Pokémon can be healed in a Pokémon Center , which is available in almost all locations. Alternatively, in-game items can as animators or drink be used.
In the anime, the battles are fought spontaneously in the open air, in arenas or in the form of organized tournaments in stadiums, whereby the combat conditions, for example the number of Pokémon allowed, can be determined by rules.
To add more members to your team, the Pokémon trainer can fight and capture wild Pokémon in the wild that do not belong to any trainer. The fight takes place in the same form as a trainer-trainer fight; the opposing group usually consists of a single Pokémon. Since Ruby and Sapphire there have also been double battles, i.e. battles in which you fight against two opposing Pokémon. Since the black and white games, you can also fight double battles against wild Pokémon. During combat, the trainer has the option of throwing a Poké Ball at the wild Pokémon in which it is locked; in doubles, one of the two must be defeated before the ball can be thrown. The more the Pokémon has been deprived of its hit points in the fight and thus weakened, the more likely it will not be able to break out of the Poké Ball; it is then considered trapped and can be called out of its ball as a new team member. Some Pokémon with above-average abilities are only represented once in the game and must be caught on the first try. If the team has the maximum number of Pokémon (always 6), the subsequently caught Pokémon are sent in their balls to a type of memory that the trainer can access via the Pokémon Center.
Basically, the trainer keeps all Pokémon in Poké Balls and only takes them out for battle. There is an exception in the editions Yellow, Golden Edition HeartGold and Silver Edition SoulSilver, in which a Pokémon runs after the player (in the Yellow Edition only the Pikachu that you get at the beginning, in HeartGold and SoulSilver the first Pokémon in the list the Pokémon in the team). In the games there are different types of Pokéballs, which can differ in their catching performance.
Captured Pokémon are entered in the Pokédex , a personal database. The Pokédex is initially an empty, numbered list (which, however, can be sorted differently since the 3rd generation, e.g. by weight) and only receives a new, lexicon- like entry when the trainer first sees a copy of this type in the Has possession. The Pokédex thus provides an overview of all Pokémon species that have already been caught. In the anime, the protagonist Ash uses a small fold-out computer as a Pokédex, which provides him with the entry of unknown Pokémon via voice and video output. The Pokédex is also available as a toy; in addition, several Pokédex versions were published in book form in stores.
If Pokémon win battles, they receive experience points ( E-points or EP ) and, as soon as they have reached a certain number of E-points, rise to a level (up to max. Level 100) and become stronger. As usual in role-playing games, different status values usually increase: attack, defense, initiative, special attack, special defense and the power points. At a certain level, some Pokémon evolve and become new Pokémon with a different appearance. Pokémon development can be brought about in different ways, depending on the Pokémon: by reaching a certain level, with development stones , by exchanging, if the Pokémon carries a certain object or if it shows a lot of love for its trainer . There is also a Pokémon called Perschwa , whose beauty you have to improve with Poké Bars and then bring the Pokémon to a higher level so that it evolves into Milotic . There are also Pokémon that can develop in different directions, such as the normal Pokémon Eevee , which can develop into one of eight different Pokémon depending on the circumstances. Since the 4th generation it has also been possible to have Pokémon only evolve in a few specific locations. A magneton develops into a magnezone if it reaches a new level in the crater mountain .
Most Pokémon have a gender from the 2nd generation onwards. There are Pokémon types that are always male (such as Tauros ) or always female (such as Miltank ), while some Pokémon (such as Ditto ) are neutral . However, most Pokémon can be found both as males and females.
If you take care of a male and a female Pokémon at the Pokémon boarding house , it can happen that the boarding house manager gives you a Pokémon egg after a certain amount of time. If you carry this around with you with your Pokémon, after a few thousand steps a Pokémon will hatch from the egg that combines certain characteristics of its parents, for example, it masters certain attacks by the male parent from birth. Pokémon only pair with certain partners, but alternatively you can also pair any neutral, male or female Pokémon (except for the legendary Pokémon (with the exception of Manaphy), baby Pokémon and a few other Pokémon) with the neutral shape-shifter Ditto to create a descendant of the Pokémon you want.
If you give two Pokémon (male and female) of the same egg group to the boarding house, the first Pokémon in the evolutionary line is the mother in the Pokémon egg . If you give a ditto with a partner, the result is the first stage of development of the respective partner. There are a few exceptions to this, however: with certain types of Pokémon (such as Snorlax), the parents have to hold a certain item in order to receive the first form (in this case Mampfaxo).
Pokémon editions usually appear in pairs (usually at least one edition that has been revised appears a little later), which in principle have the same content, that is, the game world and course are almost identical. Apart from a few details, the most important difference between, for example, the red and the blue edition is that certain Pokémon cannot be caught in one edition. To obtain this yet, the player must be an owner of the respective other Pokémon Edition exchange . For this purpose, up to the 3rd generation, two Game Boy systems are connected via link cables. It is also possible to transfer Pokémon via Transfer Pak with the Pokémon Stadium games or exchange them with the Pokémon titles for GameCube via NGC-GBA cable. With the newer generations (from the 4th) you can also do this online via Nintendo Wii, whereby the people don't even have to know each other. Swapping some Pokémon leads to development, but some Pokémon have to hold an item. In addition, Pokémon obtained through exchange gain more experience points in combat , but may not obey their new trainer until he has earned respect by gaining medals . The nickname of a swapped Pokémon cannot be changed as it reflects the feelings of the original trainer ( OT ). There is an exception if the exchange partner has the same trainer ID (5-digit number code of a trainer), whereby the Pokémon then behaves like a self-captured Pokémon.
All of the 890 Pokémon known to date are assigned to one or two of 18 types (originally 15). The attacks are assigned to a type, although there was also a ??? type up to the 4th generation; from the 5th generation onwards, these attacks belong to the ghost type . The Pokémon typing is of crucial importance in Pokémon combat, as electric attacks, for example, do double the damage against water-type Pokémon, but only half the damage against plant-type Pokémon and even ineffective against ground-type Pokémon. These relationships between the types are elementary for a tactically clever approach in combat, so knowing them precisely is an important prerequisite for victory.
The previous types are: normal, fire, water, electro, plant, ice, fight, poison, soil, flight, psycho, beetle, rock, ghost, dragon, dark, steel and fairy.
The company "The Pokémon Company" carries out online offers via the Wi-Fi Connection in cooperation with Nintendo . Some offers such as the "GTS (Global Trade Station)" are used to exchange Pokémon in different games around the world. They always stick around because of their popularity. But there are also offers, such as the "Wi-Fi Plaza" or the "Dream World", which are terminated without prior notice. Current offers are regular online tournaments, rated fights and so-called global spectacles, which are time-limited events in which trainers around the world work towards a common goal. An example of this is catching 100,000,000 Pokémon within two weeks.
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