Parents' Guide to Pokémon
Parents' Guide to Pokémon
For more than 10 years, kids all over the world have been discovering the enchanting world of Pokémon. Today, the Pokémon family of products includes video games, the Pokémon Trading Card Game, the Pokémon animated TV series, movies, toys, and much more. Many parents feel that the Pokémon TCG and Pokémon video games encourage their children to learn to read, since reading is required in most Pokémon games. The games also encourage strategic thinking, and in many cases, basic math skills. Pokémon 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 alongside humans. For the most part, Pokémon do not speak except to utter their names. Pokémon are raised and commended by their owners (called "Trainers"). During their adventures, Pokémon grow and become more experienced and even, on occasion, evolve into stronger Pokémon. Some Pokémon, such as Pikachu, Piplup and Charizard, play prominent roles in the video game series, Trading Card Game, and television shows, but these are just a few of the nearly 500 creatures that inhabit the Pokémon universe.
Pokémon Video Games
The first Pokémon video games were released for the Nintendo Game Boy in 1998, and the series has driven the popularity of Pokémon ever since. Pokémon games have thus far appeared exclusively on Nintendo systems, including the Nintendo DS™, Nintendo GameCube™ and Wii™ console.
In most games, the player takes on the role of a young Trainer, whose journey involves traveling from town to town catching and training Pokémon, and battling against other Trainers' teams of Pokémon on a quest to become the Pokémon League Champion. An additional goal is to catch and catalog all of the many Pokémon within the game's world. All Pokémon have one or two innate element types that reflect the Pokémon's strengths or weaknesses. For example, Water-type Pokémon have a natural advantage over Fire-type Pokémon, who in turn have an advantage over Grass-type Pokémon, and so on. 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, tournaments, and fishing (for Pokémon, of course!).
Players can battle and trade Pokémon with other players as well, letting children learn the merits of sharing and sportsmanship. With newer video game systems such as the Nintendo DS and the Wii console, players can even play and trade Pokémon via Nintendo Wi-Fi Contention® with other Trainers around the world.
Learn more about Pokémon video games.
Pokémon Trading Card Game
The Pokémon Trading Card Game has also been popular for more than 10 years. As a worldwide leader in the trading card game industry, The Pokémon Company International continues to support the game's many devoted fans with new card expansions, as well as an Organized Play program that provides opportunities for players to share their joy of the game in both casual and competitive environments.
In the Pokémon Trading Card Game, players build decks around their favorite Pokémon and then play against each other, sending their Pokémon into battle to prove who the best Pokémon Trainer is. Players can begin with theme decks-pre-constructed 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. The Pokémon Company International releases four sets of cards, called "expansions," each year, so the game continues to evolve and expand for both players and collectors.
Learn more about the Pokémon TCG.
The Pokémon animated series goes way back-almost to the time of Pokémon's origin as a video game. The show follows the adventures of a brash young Trainer named Ash Ketchum and his Pokémon pal Pikachu as they travel the world of Pokémon, visiting exotic destinations, meeting lots of interesting new people and Pokémon, and having lots of exciting adventures. Along the way they learn about teamwork, compassion, friendship, and fair play as Ash works toward his goal of becoming a Pokémon Master.
Now in its twelfth season, the show is one of the most popular children's shows of all time and has spawned a series of 12 animated films that also follow the adventures of Ash Ketchum and friends, but involve much greater stakes-often dealing with the legends of the Pokémon world. Each movie presents great mysteries and intrigue, and it's up to our young heroes to rise to the challenge!
Learn more about Pokémon Animation.
Pokémon Organized Play
To encourage play among Pokémon fans, The Pokémon Company International has established Pokémon Organized Play-a network designed for Pokémon players to find casual and competitive opportunities to play with each other. Initially created to give Pokémon Trading Card Game players the chance to meet, Pokémon Organized Play has expanded to include video game activities as well as general non-gaming activities, such as Pokémon movie viewings and art sessions. Leagues, tournaments, and National and World Championship 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 Pokémon Organized Play program is to provide a fun, organized playing environment where kids can grow socially and intellectually. Within the Organized Play 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.
Pokémon Organized Play supports both non-competitive and competitive play through leagues and tournaments. Pokémon leagues are played in a casual setting, and league members are rewarded for playing games-win or lose. Leagues are held in safe, public locations, such as game stores, community centers, or libraries, and are run by official League Leaders. Find a league near you or start one.
Learn more about Organized Play!
Premier tournaments are the foremost events of Pokémon Organized Play during the year. Our Premier tournaments have an escalating level of difficulty and are competitive in nature. They embrace an environment where Pokémon Trainers can meet other Trainers looking for a friendly match. For TCG competitions, players bring their own 60-card decks to compete against other players. For video game competitions, players must bring their own Pokémon game cartridges.
Premier tournaments are held throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and all over the world, and are run by official Premier Tournament Organizers (PTO). The season begins with City Championships, and moves through State/Territory/Provincials, Regional, National Championships, and Battle Roads. They culminate with the pinnacle event of the year-the World Championships.
Leagues & Tournaments: What to Expect
When they arrive at an event, players can expect to meet the Tournament Organizer (TO) or League Leader and probably a judge or two (possibly the same person). The TO or League Leader will ensure that the people running the event are responsible and are good with kids.
Players that wish to participate in Pokémon Organized Play tournaments and leagues are required to have a Player ID, which is used to report their attendance at these events. Most Tournament Organizers and League Leaders can provide Player IDs onsite for players who do not already have one. Players who choose to participate in the Ratings and Rankings system are required to sign up for a Pokémon Trainer Club account at Pokémon.com. Younger players may need a parental consent form to complete the sign-up process.
Participants in Trading Card Game events will likely engage in some card-trading with other players. This is encouraged, but we do suggest talking to your children about the potential consequences of trading real items. The TO or League Leader is often a good resource for trading tips.
Parents of minors: Please remember that Tournament Organizers are often store owners and have a business to run as well as the tournament. Parents should remain onsite to keep track of their children and, of course, celebrate their play. Tournaments usually take several hours, so parents might want to bring a book or some other quiet activity to occupy their time. We encourage parents to build a deck and join the fun!
What Your Child Can Expect
Due to the competitive element in tournaments, we recommend that parents discuss issues of winning and losing, pressures of competition, and good sportsmanship with their children. It is important to be a good sport-win or lose. The Pokémon Company International believes that children should be having fun in the process of competing, regardless of the outcome. It is, after all, just a game.
It is also important that players understand their responsibilities in preparing for the event. For the Pokémon TCG, players will need a legal deck (the format will be provided well in advance by the Tournament Organizer and noted on the Organized Play website) built to meet the regulations for that event. If a child is new to the game, or new to tournaments, have the event judge look over the deck prior to the event. Judges will be happy to provide this service for your child, and it will help ensure a pleasant experience. For the Pokémon video games, players will need their own game cartridge (such as Pokémon Diamond Version or Pokémon Pearl Version) and, usually, a Nintendo DS. Once again, the TO will be able to advise the players on tournament rules and restrictions in advance via the Organized Play website.
It is very important that players listen to the Tournament Organizer and/or judge when they explain how to play in the event. The Tournament Organizer or judge will outline important points, such as how to report the match scores and how to ask for a ruling, at the beginning of the tournament. Players should understand that, even if they are familiar with this information, they need to listen and avoid being disruptive. Talking or other disruptive behavior during the delivery of these instructions is impolite. All players should have the same opportunity to learn and understand the rules of play prior to an event.
Parents have responsibilities at events, as well. It is important that participants are allowed to play at their own pace. Players are learning to concentrate on complex strategies and concepts, which can sometimes be frustrating. Also, a match should not be interrupted while in progress. If you, as a parent, have a question about anything, ask a judge or the Tournament Organizer, away from the match.
We understand that parents get excited and often want to help their children do well. Please remember, coaching is not allowed. If you would like to talk to your child about strategies, sportsmanship, or anything else, please refrain from doing so during a match. You might be surprised that, although it is a competition, players will provide advice and play tips in between matches. So, even if you think your child missed something or misplayed, his or her opponent may actually point this out before you even get a chance. Tournaments provide great learning opportunities for all players.
By simply following these few guidelines, parents can help assure that their child has a fun and exciting experience participating in Pokémon leagues and tournaments! If you have any further questions, feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.