Sunday, September 6, 2009

On Pokemon


It’s a perfect example of good intentions without a thought for the consequences. I admit that I was really into Pokémon years ago. More the Gameboy games and the trading card games than the TV show. For those of you unfamiliar with the games, the idea is more mature than you think.

The basic story line of the TV show involves a boy in a magical world with a huge variety of cute and loving creatures. For some reason, there are no schools in this world, and kids are free to wonder around and explore the world on their own. The children are encouraged to capture the creatures and care for them, and respect them. It’s a good message to send out to children. Interesting concept, but no one over the age of four would want to watch it, and no one under that age would understand the message.

The problem is that the TV show was based on a series of video games, aimed at a different audience. The basic idea is that the player collects and trains an army of monsters to take part in one-on-one battles with creatures trained by others. These battles involved attacking your opponent until it "faints” (i.e. is knocked unconscious). They required an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your monsters and their attacks, and those of your enemies. (If it weren’t for the fact that you could just level up and then be unstoppable, they would have been quite technical games.)

It’s an interesting idea for a TV show to teach young children to respect animals, but were the Pokémon games really the best source for the story?

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