Nov. 15, 2012 | 7:10 p.m.

Pokémon puts players in the game … literally

Interaction is a key component in today’s video games, and Pokémon — still a strong denizen in the video game realm with more than 230 million games sold worldwide — has taken another step in getting players involved by actually putting a select few of them in the game as characters. Pokémon gave the top 12 finalists from the 2012 Pokémon World Championships held this past August in Hawaii a digital treat when the company announced that avatars and the participants’ Pokémon creatures would be in a downloadable world embedded in the new “Pokemon Black 2” and “Pokemon White 2” games. Players around the globe can battle through those games using the Pokémon World Tournament distribution event via Nintendo’s Wi-Fi connection service. The 12 players — four in the junior division, four in the senior division and four in the […]
April 11, 2012 | 2:42 p.m.

‘Pokémon’ at 15: Success is still in the cards, films and TV shows

After 15 years, 700 TV episodes and 14 feature films, Ash Ketchum and millions of kids are still trying to catch ’em all. In April 1997, the animated version of “Pokémon” premiered on Japanese television. Based on the hit Nintendo Game Boy title introduced two years earlier, the series follows the travels and travails of Ketchum (Satoshi in the original) as he tries to become a Pokémon Master by building a team that can beat other trainers in stylized battles. Traveling with Ash are perennially love-sick Brock, feisty Misty and Pikachu, the “electric mouse” Pokémon. The series scored a huge hit in Japan, and by 1999 the game and show had conquered America. Pokémon paraphernalia were everywhere. The original motto, “Pokémon Getto Daze!” (Let’s Get Pokémon!) became “Gotta Catch ’em All!” The first “Pokémon” feature film grossed more than $85 […]
Aug. 17, 2011 | 1:13 p.m.

Pokemon: World championships create ‘cool, international vibe’

Pokémon video game players and card gamers once again gathered from around the world in the seaside confines of San Diego, just weeks after Comic-Con, for world championship duels that decided this year’s Pokémon game players. The winners competed for trips, custom Pokémon prizes and scholarships totaling over $100,000.  They were divided into junior, senior and masters divisions, and separated into video game and card game categories. The junior division winners were Brian Hough for video games and Gustavo Wada in the card gaming section. Wada was the first winner ever from Brazil. The senior division winners were Kamran Jahadi (video games) and Christopher Kan (card games).  In the masters division,  repeat winners Ray Rizzo from last year (video games) and David Cohen from 2009 (card games) claimed the top spots. Pokémon is especially popular in Japan, and this year’s […]
March 11, 2011 | 10:18 a.m.

Pokemon Black and White keeps the brand battling with more than 1 million first-day sales [Updated]

The No. 2 video game title in the world (more than 210 million games sold worldwide through September 2010) may not be best known for those games by mainstream U.S. consumers, but a Saturday morning cartoon and a lightning mouse named Pikachu helped propel Pokémon as a game and an international sensation more than a decade ago. Though the cartoon’s popularity is not as frenzied as its Time magazine cover days — it just premiered its 14th season on Feb. 12, now on the Cartoon Network — the company’s core video games are just as popular as they’ve always been. Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver Versions for the Nintendo DS have sold nearly 11 million copies worldwide since launching, and the company is continuing its solid sales with more than 1 million copies sold in one day (launched Sunday) of its newest incarnation: Pokémon […]
Aug. 07, 2010 | 12:38 a.m.

Pokemon champs worldwide will catch ’em all in Hawaii

Following up on the “monumental battles” of last year’s Pokemon World Championships in San Diego, Jevon Phillips gives us this piece about the competitions taking place next weekend. Hawaii will soon be beset by Hitmonlees, Vaporeons and even Toxicroaks as the Pokemon World Championships descend on the Big Island on Aug. 14 and 15. The card game is uber popular, the cartoon (“Pokemon: DP Sinnoh League” on Cartoon Network) is going into its 13th season and the animated movies are still ranking in the top five overseas every time they’re released — with a new one coming in 2011. But it’s actually the video games that are at the heart of the franchise. In the U.S., more than 2.7 million copies of Pokemon HeartGold and Pokemon SoulSilver have been sold since launch in March 2010, and the company is about […]
Aug. 16, 2009 | 6:08 p.m.

Pokemon champions crowned in San Diego in (ahem) ‘awesome, monumental’ battles

Our brave soul Jevon Phillips dropped in on the Pokemon world championships and lived to tell the tale…  Long before hearthrob vampires and boy wizards seized the hearts, minds and wallets of American youth, Pokemon was a dominant force. It was on the cover of Time magazine and became a billion-dollar industry with a cartoon broadcast in 153 countries, a trading-card game that boasts 150,000 organized play members, and a video game (Pokemon Platinum version) that sold more than 3.75 million copies worldwide. Despite all that, the brand may have lost a little cache in this “What’s hot right now?’ culture. But not to those who gathered in the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel this weekend for the 2009 Pokemon Video Game and Trading Card World Championships. Thirty-two American players, from 7 to 44 years old, did battle with 16 Japanese players and 12 European players for the title of Pokemon […]
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