???? Pokémon, although frequently mispronounced Poh-Kee-MAN,
is a video game franchise, created by Satoshi Tajiri and published by
Nintendo for several of their systems, most importantly the Game Boy.
It has been merchandised into anime, manga, trading cards, toys, and
much more. The name Pokémon is a portmanteau of the words Pocket
Monsters (????????? Poketto Monsuta), which is its Japanese name.
Pokémon is also the collective name
for the fictional creatures within the Pokémon games. The franchise
has 386 unique monsters that lie at the heart of the Pokémon
series (391 including currently known Pokémon from future games
and 393 including glitches). These figures have grown from the 151 monsters
- including the almost unobtainable Mew - from the original games.
The logo with the "Gotta catch 'em all" slogan.The Pokémon
games are strategy games with a small RPG element which allow players
to catch, collect, and train pets with various abilities, and battle
them against each other to build their strength and evolve them into
more powerful Pokémon. Pokémon battles are based on the
non-lethal Eastern sport of fighting insects, but the Pokémon
never bleed or die, only faint. The game's catchphrase used to be "Gotta
catch 'em all!", although now it is no longer officially used.
The games have sold over 100 million copies to date, not counting the
ones released for home consoles (such as the Nintendo 64 and the Nintendo
GameCube). This makes it the second biggest-selling games franchise
ever (after Nintendo's Mario series).
Pikachu, numbered 25 in the Pokédex, is probably the most well-known
Pokémon species.The Pokémon characters have become pop-culture
icons, with a Pikachu balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade,
thousands of merchandise items, and in 2005, a theme park in Nagoya,
Japan. The prone to offend cartoon South Park spoofed Pokémon
in Episode 310, entitled "Chinpokomon" ("chinpoko"
is Japanese slang for penis), in which the executives behind it were
revealed to be Japanese ultranationalists bent on avenging Japan's admitted
defeat in World War II. Shows such as the Simpsons have made mild references
to Pokémon and other anime in their cartoons.
Because of the unprecedented popularity
of the franchise, Nintendo formed a subsidiary company called The Pokémon
Company to handle the franchise. The subsidiary handles everything from
publishing the games in Japan to running the official merchandise stores,
the Pokémon Centers. The Pokémon Company in turn has a
U.S. based subsidiary called Pokémon USA, of which a minority
owner is 4Kids Entertainment, the international distributors (outside
Japan) of the popular Pokémon anime series.