A Study of Pokémon Popularity
A Detailed introduction to Pokémon:
This was the first pokémon game ever to be released (in 1996). However, it was released only in Japan.
Its game play is similar to Pokémon Red and Blue, so everything shall be explained in full below.
These 2 games were the first pokémon games that were released by Nintendo (in 1996) in America. Mr.
Satoshi Tajiri of Game Freak, the company that came up with the idea for the pokémon games, designed
I shall now explain the objectives, game structure and game play of both the games.
The game revolves around non-violent fighting and catching. The player controls a central character
known as "Ash". He starts off in a small town, and is given a new pokémon as his companion by Professor
Oak, a famous professor who studies pokémon and their habits.
The player then goes from town to town, fighting other trainers' pokémon. After each victorious fight, the
pokémon is awarded some experience points. When the experience points total reaches a certain number
required the pokémon's level increase by 1. When this happens, the pokémon's statistics increase. The
statistics of the pokémon include the ATTACK, DEFENSE, SPEED and SPECIAL. When the statistics of the
pokémon increase, it gains an increased attacking power, an increased defense, an increased speed and
increased special attack.
Therefore, the pokémon grows more powerful as it fights more enemy pokémon (pokémon owned by other
trainers). Some pokémon evolve into more powerful pokémon when they reach a certain level. They look
more menacing and become more powerful as well.
There are 15 categories of pokémon, and pokémon are divided into each category by the type of elemental
power they possess. Each pokémon can have up to 2 types of elements. The 15 elements in the game are
Normal, Fire, Water, Electric, Grass, Ice, Fighting, Poison, Ground, Flying, Psychic, Bug, Rock, Ghost
and Dragon. There is no universally "best" pokémon, as some element types are weak to others. For example,
fire is weak to water and water is weak to electric. Even the best water pokémon can sometimes be defeated
by a weaker electric pokémon because of its weakness to electric.
Also, some pokémon have a resistance to pokémon of another elemental type, for example water has a
resistance to fire and when a fire pokémon attacks a water pokémon, the damage is reduced drastically.
Therefore, a player would need to train pokémon of as many elemental types as possible to be ready for
In each town other than the starting town, there is a "gym", and that is where a gym leader resides in.
There are 8 gym leaders, and they are considered to be leaders in the world of pokémon. Each leader
specialises in using a special type of pokémon, for example Brock, the first gym leader, uses ROCK type
When a Player has defeated each gym leader, he is given a gym badge, a symbol of authority in the pokémon
world. Pokémon will respect a trainer with a lot of badges and will obey him/her easily. Also, certain
badges are required if a player wants to use a special attack outside of battle.
After a player defeats all 8 gym leaders, he will have all the 8 badges. Only then will he be allowed
entry into the pokémon league, where he will fight the Elite 4, and they are 4 pokémon trainers
considered as the best in the entire world of pokémon.
Besides this, there is another objective of the game. Professor Oak, who gave you your first pokémon,
will give you a Pokédex after the game has progressed a little. A pokédex is an encyclopedia, which
records pokémon information. He asks you to look for and catch all the pokémon existent in the world,
so as to record all possible information on the pokémon.
There are 150 pokémon, so the player has to look all over the world to find these pokémon. Also, some
pokémon are very rare and can be found only once during the game. Always, a player has to get a specific
item or do a specific thing before he/she can get the chance to capture these rare pokémon.
Although the game might seem easy, it is a challenge to actually catch and train every single pokémon in
the game. Professor Oak's grandson, Gary Oak, lives in the same town as you. He is the same age as you
and you both happen to be very great friends when you were younger.
However, he became very mean and competitive when you two grew up. He also has an interest in pokémon,
and got his pokémon at the same time as you. You will meet him occasionally along your way to defeat the
8 gym leaders and the Elite 4, and always he challenge your pokémon to fight his.
Eventually, you will meet him immediately after you have defeated the Elite 4. He defeated the Elite 4
before you, and will brag about his achievements before he challenges you to a fight.
Besides all that, there is Team Rocket. Team Rocket is a team of pokémon trainers dedicated to using
pokémon for evil purposes, for example earning money. Throughout the game, the player has to bust many
of Team Rocket's notorious operations.
Now I shall talk about a pokémon battle. The drawback of a pokémon battle is that you cannot run from a
trainer, because it is very impolite to refuse a battle. Also, pokémon belonging to other trainers cannot
The player will often encounter wild pokémon in tall grass, caves and such areas. These pokémon can be
caught with a pokéball.
A pokéball is a special ball that when empty, snaps open when it is near a wild pokémon. It then
"absorbs" the pokémon and the pokémon is trapped inside the pokéball. If the pokémon is strong, it will
attack the ball and escape. If the pokémon is weak and cannot break the pokéball, it is captured. Some
pokémon are so strong that they can easily avoid the pokéball.
If the pokéball is full, it will snap open when the player throws it. It then releases the pokémon.
After a battle, the pokémon can be called back into the pokéball since it was already captured originally.
A trainer's pokémon cannot be caught because the trainer will block the pokéball thrown at his/her pokémon
with his/her hand.
Besides all this, a player can link up his Game Boy to another Game Boy, allowing him to fight or trade
pokémon with his friend. The fighting is done as in a normal battle, the only difference being that
ITEMS cannot be used.
For the trading, a player can trade one of his pokémon with his friend's. The advantage of trading is
that if a player can receive a new pokémon through trading. Also, some pokémon will only evolve when
traded over the Link Cable.
Another advantage is that traded pokémon will get 150% of the experience point they should normally get.
Now, I shall explain why there are 2 different versions of the pokémon game, namely "Red" and "Blue".
There are some species of pokémon indigenous to a certain version of the game, for example Sandshrew
TM can only be found in the Blue version. Thus, a player will have to buy both versions, or trade with
a friend playing a different version, to get all the pokémon.
This is the second game released by Nintendo (in 1998) of America.
There are not many differences between Pokémon Yellow and Pokémon Red & Blue, but they shall be covered
First, the player does not get to choose from 3 pokémon to start with. He now starts with a Pikachu.
This is because the game is made to closely resemble the pokémon cartoon.
Second, the Pikachu that Ash got will not stay in a pokéball like other pokémon. Instead, it travels
behind Ash. The player can occasionally turn around (in the game) and speak to his pikachu, and note
the feelings displayed by Pikachu.
Thirdly, a special division of Team Rocket, which contains 3 members, are formed, and it specialises
in stealing pokémon. This team has set its target to be pikachu, as pikachu is quite a rare pokémon. Ash
will find that he has to fight this new division many times. The Team contains James, Jesse and a pokémon,
Meowth, which can talk like a human.
Fourthly, the pokémon that the player has caught can now be printed out as stickers using the Game Boy
Fifthly, the graphics in the game are much better and the game also supports more colours.
Sixthly, the gym leaders and Gary uses different pokémon and fighting strategies.
This is a pinball game modeled after the pokémon RPG games. The ball used by the player is actually a
pokéball. The primary objective of the game is to beat all the best scores. A secondary objective is to
capture all the pokémon.
A player has to choose between 2 pinball tables at the starting, Red or Blue. Again, only some pokémon
can be found in each table and a player will need to play both tables to get all the pokémon.
He/She then scores points by hitting objects on the table with his/her pokéball. There are special
bonuses present in the game that can only be found if a player performs a list of things in the right
order. An example of a bonus us the "Double Pikachu Kickback" that causes the pokéball to be returned
to the table if it falls down the side tunnels.
A player catches pokémon by first making his/her ball go round the loop at the top of table 3 times
anti-clockwise, after which he must shoot the ball into a capture hole. The player is given a certain
amount of time to catch the pokémon and he does so by hitting special targets. A pokémon picture will
appear on the table, but it is darkened. Whenever the ball hits a target, a section of the picture will
be coloured in. When the picture is fully coloured, the trainer hits it with the pokéball repeatedly to
Evolving a pokémon is nearly the same process. First the player must make the ball go round the loop
at the top of the table in the way clockwise.
Then, the player shoots the ball into an evolution hole and is given a certain amount of time to evolve
his/her pokémon. He/She then tries to hit targets on the table. Whenever a target is hit, a special
item will appear somewhere on the table. When 3 of the items are found, the ball needs to be shot into
the hole in the centre of the table. When this happens, the pokémon will be evolved.
TCG stands for "Trading Card Game". The Pokémon TCG is a card game based on Pokémon. Mr. Tsunekazu
Ishihara of Creatures, Inc. created this game. Since then, the game rights have been sold to Wizards
of the Coast for U.S. distribution in 1998.
There are 7 basic types of pokémon in the Pokémon TCG, and they are Fire, Grass, Water, Fighting,
Lightning, Psychic and Normal pokémon. Some pokémon types have a weakness to certain types, and others
have a resistance to other types.
The cards themselves are also divided into 3 categories: Pokémon, Trainers and Energy. Pokémon are the
creatures you fight with, trainers are cards which aid you in your fight and energy powers you up for the
These can be even further divided into Common, Uncommon or Rare. They are, as their name suggests, how
easy it is to find the card in a booster pack (a pack of 11 cards a player buys to add more cards to his
The basics of the game involve using energy cards to power up your pokémon. There will be attacks stated
on the card, and different attacks require different amount of energy cards. For example, Mewtwo TM
requires 2 psychic energy to use its Psychic attack.
Trainer cards can also be used to help the player. For example, Bill allows the player to draw 2 more
There are 3 ways to win a Pokémon TCG game. The first if by winning all 6 prizes. At the start of each
game, 6 cards are set aside as prizes. The player cannot look at them. Whenever an enemy pokémon is
knocked out, the player will get to take 1 of the prizes of his/her own choice (without looking at the
cards). When he/she has taken all of the 6 prizes, he/she wins the game.
The second way is to knock out every one of your opponent's pokémon. This is sometimes a way to get
around tough opponents. When you knock out the last of your opponent's pokémon, he/she automatically
loses the game. Therefore, if you are lucky and manage to defeat the first and only pokémon the opponent
has, you win the game immediately without having to play a long game.
The third way to win is when your opponent has no more cards left in his/her deck. This can be caused
by using trainer cards that draws extra cards, and also pokémon whose attacks causes extra cards to be
drawn. For example, the trainer card Professor Oak causes the player to discard all the cards in his/her
hand and to draw 7 new cards. Kangaskhan's "Fetch" attack causes an extra card to be drawn. All this can
cause a player to use up all his cards in his deck. When this happens, the player loses.
If both players win the game together, they will have to play sudden death. Sudden death is a game played
like any other Pokémon TCG game, the difference being that only 1 prize is used. If sudden death results
in both players winning at the same time again, sudden death is played once more until a player wins.
You might be wondering what the difference is between the Pokémon TCG and Pokémon Card. The Pokémon TCG
is the official name for the Trading Card Game by Wizards of the Coast. Pokémon Card is the official name
for the Game Boy version of the Pokémon TCG.
There are some differences. The game is modeled after both the Pokémon TCG and the RPG games. Instead of
Professor Oak as your advisor, you have Doctor Mason. You start off in Doctor Mason's lab and he proceeds
to teach you the basics of the Pokémon TCG.
He then helps you to construct a simple deck. You then go out and fight with other card players. In the
Pokémon Card world, there are 8 Card Clubs. They are led by 8 Club Masters, who are considered Pokémon
Card leaders in the world. When players defeat a club master, they are given a badge (much like the ones
in the Pokémon RPG).
Before they take on each club master, they must first defeat the club master's disciples. Each club master
has 3 disciples and the player can often guess what strategy the club master will use through these
The only way to gain cards in the game is to find it, or by defeating somebody. Whenever you duel
against another player, and win, you will be rewarded either booster packs containing 10 or 11 cards
each, or a promotional card.
The badges that the player has won can be put to good use. Instead of allowing the player to use a
special move like in the Pokémon RPG, it can be inserted into Deck Machines located in Doctor Mason's
house. Once inserted, the machine is activated and the player is allowed access to the club's
configuration of special pokémon decks. He/She can then build a new deck from this configuration with
the Deck Machine.
After a player constructs a deck he can save the configuration of the deck in a Deck Save Machine.
This machine can store up to 60 deck configurations.
Instead of the Pokémon League HQ, there is the Pokémon Dome. The player will fight the Elite 4, a team
of 4 card players who are considered the best in the entire world, inside.
Instead of the horribly arrogant Gary who challenges the player on his/her journey, there is now the
horribly arrogant Ronald. He thinks he exists to become the greatest Card Master and you will eventually
have to fight against him in the Pokémon Dome (yep, you guessed it, he defeated the Elite 4 first).
There is no longer a team rocket, as it is impossible to use the Pokémon Cards for evil purposes.
In the Northwest corner of the world map, the player can locate a house. The owner of the house, Ishihara,
is named after the creator of the Pokémon TCG. Before you find out about Ishihara (you can find out about
Ishihara through people resting in the lobbies of some clubs), the house will be called "Somebody's House."
However, after you found out about Ishihara, you will see him at his house and after a short introduction,
he will offer to trade some very rare, promotional cards for your less rare cards.
There is also a character in the game whose identity is unknown. The character's name is Imakuni? and you
will only meet him after you find out about him, just like Ishihara. In real life, Imakuni? is one of the
co-creators of the Pokémon TCG, but in Pokémon Card he is identified as a strange life form.
He will offer to duel you. He has a good deck, but whenever he seems likely to win, he will ruin his game
by playing the trainer card, Imakuni?, which does nothing but confuses his own active pokémon. When you
win the duel, he will give you a booster pack of each type (there are 4) or the promotional card Imakuni?.
The objective of the game is to find the legendary cards, Legendary Moltres, Legendary Zapdos, Legendary
Articuno and Legendary Dragonite. Word has it that the Elite 4 of the Pokémon Dome possess these cards,
and are willing to pass it on to the person who manages to defeat them. Your aim, therefore, is to defeat
the Elite 4 and inherit the legendary cards.
Pokémon SNAP is the first Nintendo 64 game involving pokémon. It is an on-rail first person shoot-them-up,
where the game progresses automatically and the player shoots. The only difference here is that the
shooting of the pokémon is done with a camera and not a gun. Therefore, the game is non-violent.
There are 63 pokémon in Pokémon SNAP and your objective is to photograph all of them. There are 7 courses
in the game, and each course contains new pokémon to be photographed.
Professor Oak is again your mentor and it is from him that the character, Todd, got interested in
photographing pokémon. For each picture the player takes, he is awarded points based on how close the
pokémon is, how much of the pokémon is taken, how many similar pokémon are in the picture, whether the
pokémon is centred on the photograph and whether they are doing strange acts.
When the player gains a certain number of points or performs a certain action he is allowed to go onto the
Also, when the player reaches a certain number of points or completes a certain course, he is given
special items. The first is the pokémon apple, which attracts pokémon closer to eat it. This is useful
for bringing pokémon closer to get more points.
The second item is the pester ball, which releases a purple gas pokémon try to get away from. This is
useful for chasing pokémon out of long grass/hidden areas.
The third item is the poké flute, which causes pokémon to dance, scoring more points. The fourth item
is the Dash Engine, used for getting close up to pokémon along the rail before they run away.
Besides that, there are hidden pokémon symbols in the game. The player must find them if he is to capture
all 63 pokémon on film because they are counted as pokémon too. For example, in the Valley course, there
is a mountain shaped like a Dugtrio.
Pokémon Stadium is the second pokémon game on the Nintendo 64 to come up after Pokémon SNAP. It does not
contain a new pokémon game. It enhances the battle scenes of Pokémon, making them 3D and in superb
In the 2-player mood, each player chooses 6 pokémon from a list and fight against each other. The attacks
are fixed for each pokémon, making the game a little boring after the player has seen all the special
However, if a player connects his Game Boy to the Nintendo 64 system, he can then use his own pokémon.
This is better and more unique as the player has already customised the attacks of the pokémon and steered
its evolution, making it a more powerful and challenging creature than the one offered by the system.
Basically the objective is to knock out an opponent's pokémon before he/she knocks out yours.
In single player mood, the player can choose to enter either 1 of 4 different cups. Each cup has
different criteria for entrance and different pokémon are allowed to enter the competition. The player
then duels against the opponents generated by the system. There are 13 opponents, of whom 8 are gym
leaders, 4 are part of the Elite 4, and the last one Gary, the player's rival.
After the player has defeated the Level 1 version of the last cup, he is allowed to go to Level 2. After
he has completed Level 2, he/she gets a special bonus allowing him/her to teach his/her pikachu the
ability SURF. This is a great bonus as usually only winners in Nintendo competitions win a Surfing Pikachu.
If the player wants to play his/her pokémon games on the Game Boy, but on the Nintendo 64 system (bigger
screen, faster speed etc.) he/she can easily do so through a special option in Pokémon Stadium.
There are also small games in Pokémon Stadium, if the player gets tired of all the fighting. An example
is "Run, Rattata, Run", where the player(s) controls a Rattata and race against other players.
All in all, Pokémon Stadium is a good break from the monotonous fighting scenes in the Game Boy system as
it contains more lively and realistic graphics.
Pokémon Gold and Silver are the latest pokémon games to be released by Nintendo. However, at this moment
it has only been released in Japan. It is due to be released in the States in September 2000.
From what I have seen from one of the many non-official half English versions of the game on the net, it
certainly promises to be another great game like Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow. For starters, it retains
all the originality of the original (Catch 'Em All!) and yet have incorporated some new things into the
We have identified some of these changes to the game. These improvements to the game make it even more
fun than the original pokémon games and I shall now talk about some of the improvements.
Firstly, all the town names are changed. For example, the character starts at Wakaba Town instead of
Secondly, there are now 250 pokémon to catch instead of just 150, so catching all the pokémon will be
more difficult and challenging.
Thirdly, pokémon can be equipped with items. For example, a pokémon can be equipped with a potion. When
it health drops too low, the potion will heal the pokémon automatically and an extra turn is not required
Next, the pokédex is improved a lot. Now, it displays the pokémon graphic on the page listing all the
pokémon you have seen/caught. When you choose a pokémon the pokédex will display its description,
height, weight and type.
Also, when the player chooses to view a pokémon's statistics, the statistics are displayed in 3 pages,
the first page showing the health, status and elemental type of the pokémon. The second pages shows the
item equipped with the pokémon and its attacks. The third page shows the ATTACK, DEFENSE, SPEED, EVADE
and SPECIAL of the pokémon.
Now, there is a new addition to pokémon statistics: EVADE. The higher this statistic is, the easier it
is for the pokémon to dodge enemy pokémon attacks.
There are also 2 new elemental types in Pokémon Gold and Silver, Black and Steel. These 2 elemental types
provide increased difficulty to create a balanced team.
Time is a factor in the game, as there are day and night. Some pokémon are either nocturnal or diurnal.
That means that they will sleep at different times of the day and be unable to fight when they are
Gender is another factor in the game. Pokémon are either male or female. As such, pokémon can breed.
There is a pokémon house that specialises in breeding pokémon. If you take a male and female pokémon of
the same species there, you can mate the two and get a new baby pokémon. Some pokémon can only be
captured by this method, as they have pre-evolutions that do not exist in the wild. An example is pika,
which will hatch out of an egg laid by a female pikachu. This is also extremely useful for bringing about
rare pokémon, as you can easily mate 2 rare pokémon to get a new one.
Some pokémon also have further evolution. Pokémon like Chansey, which stops evolving in Pokémon Red and
Blue, might evolve into new pokémon.
Professor Oak is no longer your mentor. Instead, Professor Utsugi gives you your first pokémon and
Professor Oak gives you your pokédex later on. Therefore, Professor Utsugi completely plays the role of
Professor Oak, except that it is Professor Oak who gives you your pokédex.
Now, you make use of a special Pokégear to see the time, the map and listen to radio. You will receive a
Pokégear from your mother when you first start out. You will not have access to the radio until you have
answered a quiz in the Radio Tower.
Your bag pack is now divided into 3 compartments, 1 carrying TMs and HMs, 1 carrying pokéballs and 1 for
There are now many more TMs and 7 or 8 HMs. HMs will be very important if the player wants to get to the
The player's rival is now even more mean than Gary in the original Pokémon titles. Instead of receiving a
pokémon from Professor Utsugi (the rival is unrelated to anyone from the starting town), he waits until
the character has gone out of town, then steals a pokémon from Utsugi's lab. When Utsugi calls the player
over the Pokégear to tell you about the theft, he also requests that he/she find the boy. It is impolite
to refuse, so of course the player would have to do it. Just like Gary in the original titles, the rival
is always one step ahead of you.