For decades, kids all over the world have been discovering the enchanting world of Pokémon. Many of those children become lifelong fans. Today, the Pokémon family of products includes video games, the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG), an animated series, movies, toys, books, and much more. Both the Pokémon video games and the Pokémon TCG encourage strategic thinking on top of reading and math skills. Pokémon also puts a strong emphasis on good sportsmanship and respect for other players.
What Are Pokémon?
Pokémon are creatures of all shapes and sizes who live in the wild or alongside their human partners (called “Trainers”). During their adventures, Pokémon grow and become more experienced and even, on occasion, evolve into stronger Pokémon. Hundreds of known Pokémon inhabit the Pokémon universe, with untold numbers waiting to be discovered!
Pokémon Video Games
The first Pokémon video games were released in the US for the Nintendo Game Boy in 1998, and the series has driven the popularity of Pokémon ever since.
In many games, the player takes on the role of a young Trainer whose journey involves traveling from place to place, catching and training Pokémon, and battling against other Trainers’ Pokémon on a quest to become the Pokémon League Champion. An additional goal is to catch and catalog all of the many species of Pokémon within the game’s world. Despite this battling aspect of the games, the Pokémon games avoid explicit violence—Pokémon never die during the course of the game. Trainers are invited to take part in many peripheral activities when playing, including talent and beauty contests, camping and cooking, and fishing (for Pokémon, of course!).
Players can even battle and trade Pokémon with other players locally and around the world, which can aid children in learning the merits of sharing and sportsmanship.
Pokémon Trading Card Game
In the Pokémon Trading Card Game, players build decks around their favorite Pokémon and then play against each other, sending their Pokémon into battle with the goal of winning Prize cards by defeating their opponent’s Pokémon. Players can build their decks from scratch or begin with theme decks—preconstructed decks designed to cover the basics of the game. Then, they can augment their card collections with booster packs that provide more cards, letting players develop more diverse decks. With thousands of cards to choose from, the game is never the same twice. New sets of cards, called “expansions,” are released throughout each year, so the game continues to evolve and expand for both players and collectors.
Animated Pokémon adventures have been around for a long time—almost as long as the Pokémon video games. The main animated show, called Pokémon the Series, follows the journeys of a young Trainer named Ash Ketchum and his Pokémon pal Pikachu as they travel the world of Pokémon, visiting exotic destinations, making new friends, and meeting many interesting new people and Pokémon along the way. During their travels, Ash and his friends learn about teamwork, compassion, and fair play as Ash works toward his goal of becoming a Pokémon Master. The series has become so popular over the years that it has spawned a series of animated films that typically have Ash dealing with legends of the Pokémon world.
In addition to Pokémon the Series, there have been animated limited series such as Pokémon Generations and Pokémon Twilight Wings that tell other stories from the world of Pokémon. There’s also Pokémon Kids TV, which features animated videos like nursery rhymes and sing-a-longs that are aimed towards younger Pokémon fans.
You can watch Pokémon animation at no charge online at Pokémon TV. There is also a Pokémon TV app available for mobile, Nintendo Switch, and other devices.
Pokémon Trainer Club
A Pokémon Trainer Club account lets Pokémon fans log in to Pokémon apps like Pokémon GO and more. It also allows competitors in the Play! Pokémon program to track their attendance and performance in competitions. Parents can create and manage accounts for children under age 13, to help protect the privacy of and add additional security for younger Pokémon fans.
To encourage play among Pokémon fans, The Pokémon Company International has established Play! Pokémon—a network designed for Pokémon players to find casual and competitive opportunities to play with each other. Pokémon Leagues, tournaments, and Championship Series events give players chances to test strategies, trade Pokémon and TCG cards, and make new friends who share a common interest in Pokémon.
The core value of the Play! Pokémon program is to provide a fun, organized playing environment where kids can grow socially and intellectually. Within the Play! Pokémon environment, an emphasis is placed on fun, fairness, honesty, respect, sportsmanship, and learning. In addition to promoting logical and strategic thinking, good sportsmanship, and core math and reading skills, the game’s popularity has even led to parents and their children playing in the same events.
Play! Pokémon supports both noncompetitive and competitive play through Pokémon Leagues and tournaments. Pokémon Leagues are played in a casual setting, and League members are rewarded for playing games—win or lose. Pokémon League events are held in safe, public locations, such as game stores, community centers, or libraries, and are run by official League Leaders.