The Pokémon Peninsula > What is Pokémon?
What's Pokémon? That's probably the hardest question of all to answer, because Pokémon isn't just one thing. It encompasses a whole heap of things. Let's take a look.
At its core, Pokémon stands for Pocket Monsters. A Pokémon is a monster - it can be big or small, cute or ugly, and one of seventeen different types like fire, electric, water and grass. These Pokémon live in the wild or inside Pokéballs, which are small red and white balls that shrink to the size of a marble. Pokémon battle each other and change into more advanced monsters - this process is called evolution. Some Pokémon do not evolve, and some Pokémon can follow alternate evolution paths. Pokémon are captured in the wild by trainers, who store them in Pokéballs and train their skills to win against other Pokémon. Trainers travel throughout the country to catch, train and battle Pokémon; some battle Gym Leaders to win badges, which allow them entry to Pokémon Leagues.
Pokémon is perhaps best known as a series of video games - these started on the Game Boy console several years ago, and are still being released today. Most of these games are monster-raising role-playing game hybrids - they are not strict RPGs as most people understand them. Every Pokémon game named after a colour or jewel (eg. Pokémon Red, Pokémon Crystal, Pokémon Sapphire) is of this type, made for the Game Boy, Game Boy Color or Game Boy Advance console. The other games of this general type are Pokémon Stadium I and II for the Nintendo 64, and Pokémon Colosseum for the Nintendo GameCube. Of course there are other video games too - these include puzzle games, pinball, trading card games and voice recognition among others. Pokémon even has its own handheld games console, called the Pokémon mini, with its own Pokémon-themed games.
Pokémon is also the subject of a popular TV show and its associated movies. This show, a cartoon in the Japanese Anime style, follows the adventures of a ten-year-old Pokémon trainer named Ash, together with his friends and his favourite Pokémon Pikachu. It is shown daily or weekly in many countries.
The other well-known part of Pokémon is the trading card game - there are hundreds of different cards that are available to be collected. Players construct a deck of sixty cards and battle against each other. There are regional tournaments for the Pokémon TCG, as well as an annual World Championship (players compete by invitation only).
Other Pokémon merchandise includes figurines, board games, stickers, plushies, bags, other toys and practically anything you can think of. At the Pokémon Center stores in Japan and New York City, everything is Pokémon-branded.