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Classic Games (Games) Nintendo Games

Kids Still Playing Pokemon Like It's 1999 93

Posted by timothy
from the wait-it's-not-1999-yet? dept.
theodp writes "In 1999, TIME's cover warned readers to Beware of Pokemon ('For many kids it's now an addiction: cards, video games, toys, a new movie. Is it bad for them?'). But Pokemon wasn't as easily felled as Lehman or Bear Stearns. Thirteen years later, 16-year-old Manoj Sunny has his eye on a Pokemon world title, having earned the chance to travel to The Big Island with 35 fellow Americans for the 2012 Pokemon Video Game World Championships, which will be held Aug. 10-12. Sunny, who also captains his school's chess team, credits his success to a good memory, intuition, daily practice, the use of an online simulator, and a competitive attitude ('I hate losing. Once I lost, I needed to get better.')"
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Kids Still Playing Pokemon Like It's 1999

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    REAL men played with homoerotic action figures like He-Man.

  • Not surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @02:36PM (#40724857)

    My kids both like pokemon. I don't blame them... its collectible, and collecting is fun.

    What did we collect when I was a kid? Hockey cards? Baseball cards? Same idea but a hell of a lot less fun. Especially if you didn't really care about the sport...

    I'm vaguely surprised that Pokemon hasn't been replaced by something newer, but I'm not surprised that its still around. Nintendo has done well with the marketing.

    • by Sir_Sri (199544)

      Agreed. I think 'Pokemon' is more of a franchise than a single product anyway, so it has largely replaced itself with newer versions. Kids will always find things to collect and entertain themselves with, marbles, cards, electronic versions of the above etc. That Nintendo and Pokemon have clung on for 13 years is a testament to how well they've been able to understand and adapt to that market.

      • by Dogtanian (588974)

        Agreed. I think 'Pokemon' is more of a franchise than a single product anyway, so it has largely replaced itself with newer versions. Kids will always find things to collect and entertain themselves with, marbles, cards, electronic versions of the above etc. That Nintendo and Pokemon have clung on for 13 years is a testament to how well they've been able to understand and adapt to that market.

        Though I was never into Pokemon myself (*) I did notice that this was one major difference between Pokemon and other "fad" toys, cartoons etc. Normally once their heyday is passed, such toys, etc. die the death and disappear almost completely (or at least shrink to a tiny proportion of their former popularity). For example, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles [wikipedia.org] in the UK after about 1990. Or who's playing Tamagotchi [wikipedia.org] today?

        While it's undoubtedly subsided a bit since its late 90s peak, Pokemon never really seemed to

    • Re:Not surprised (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @02:54PM (#40724945)

      ... its collectible, and collecting is fun.

      Collecting was never fun for me. I never saw the point. When I was a kid, my dad tried to get me interested in coin collecting. He saw it as good "father and son time", but I hated it. We could have gone hiking or fishing, he could have taught me something useful. He was an electrical engineer, but he never taught me anything about electronics (I learned it all on my own). But instead of any of that, we spend our time going through bags of pennies looking for a rare 1939D. Bleh.

      Now that I have kids of my own, we do active outdoor stuff, we build things, we do science experiments. My daughter has a great collection of Barbie shoes, but I was not involved in that (other than as a source of funding).

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I never had those days, but sadly one of my friends did. My dad and I would go mountain climbing (more like I'd climb, he'd spot and belay), go boating, hiking, etc. (but never fishing because I HATE fishing for so many reasons), while his dad would go to the bank and make a withdrawal of some insane amount of money in different denominations, they would then spend forever looking for rare coins and bills with the radio on (and according to my friend, they were not allowed to talk as that would distract hi

      • Collecting was never fun for me. I never saw the point. When I was a kid, my dad tried to get me interested in coin collecting. He saw it as good "father and son time", but I hated it. We could have gone hiking or fishing, he could have taught me something useful. He was an electrical engineer, but he never taught me anything about electronics (I learned it all on my own). But instead of any of that, we spend our time going through bags of pennies looking for a rare 1939D. Bleh.

        Now that I have kids of my own, we do active outdoor stuff, we build things, we do science experiments. My daughter has a great collection of Barbie shoes, but I was not involved in that (other than as a source of funding).

        30 years from, your kids will be posting on slashdot (via direct neural interface) about how their father always dragged them out for stupid fishing trips (what was the point? Anyone could have foreseen that trout would extinct by 2017) instead of doing something useful with them like collecting valuable items.

    • by Mabhatter (126906)

      They keep making new 10 year-olds. That's the key to its success.

      The more interesting research would be how many STILL play the game versus how many new kids join. Of course at this point the original KIDS that started playing the game in 1995 now have THEIR OWN kids and got those kids hooked.

    • by Omniver (856159)

      My kids both like pokemon. I don't blame them... its collectible, and collecting is fun.

      What did we collect when I was a kid? Hockey cards? Baseball cards? Same idea but a hell of a lot less fun. Especially if you didn't really care about the sport...

      I'm vaguely surprised that Pokemon hasn't been replaced by something newer, but I'm not surprised that its still around. Nintendo has done well with the marketing.

      Not just collectible, playable. I'm in my 40s and through my son got into the video games recently and was surprised to find a really well developed and balanced gaming system that was both simple to understand yet nuanced enough to allow for extremely detailed and varied strategies. Online we found in-depth analysis on team and move strategies and a worldwide community of online players. This isn't just cute monsters, that's the marketing aspect, Pokemon is an excellent game. We are now doing the card ga

    • I collected comic books myself. Got boxes and boxes of them in the basement boarded and bagged in sealed containers, just waiting for the day for me to pass them off to my unborn son.

      Who will more than likely deem them retarded and sell them off, but hey, I tried.

  • Wow the summary contains useful info like the recipe for success :

    I hate losing. Once I lost, I needed to get better.

    And the way to get better is to train, and that is also in the summary

  • A handful of kids may still be playing Pokemon, but it is nothing like the craze of the 1990s. Most kids have moved on to other things. As I type this, my son (eight years old) and three of this friends, are downstairs building and programming Lego Mindstorms robots. There is no way these kids would be interested in non-motorized and non-programmable figurines.

    • World of Warcraft is implementing a 'pokemon' style pet battle system in its next expansion due out soon. Its not as dead as you might think. Disclaimer: I have never played Pokemon.
      • by peragrin (659227)

        No but the next evolution will use iPads for actual game play in an away enter reality style.

        There already is one card game played that way. In the future there will be more.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Pokemon figurines? Collector's item at best. Pokemon isn't centered on cards or figures; it's centered on the video game series, and every major release (read as not a spin-off) has outsold the last. Pokemon is just as popular, if not moreso than it has ever been, regardless of your kids' experience. I myself played the hell out of Pokemon growing up, as well as Lego Mindstorms.

  • by Pluvius (734915) <pluvius3.gmail@com> on Saturday July 21, 2012 @02:39PM (#40724879) Journal

    The only important difference between competitive Pokemon and competitive chess is that chess is old and respected.

    Rob

    • by King InuYasha (1159129) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @02:46PM (#40724917) Homepage

      Perhaps these other games should be respected as well. They offer more complex rules and require far more difficult strategic thinking than classic games like Chess and Checkers.

      Personally, I love the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG battle system. It's very complex and offers a wide range of valid strategies to actually win a match. Pokémon offers a similarly complex system, too. In a way, these games have invigorated the flagging card game genre.

      While I have no proof to back this up, I suspect that games like these that were popular in the 1990s and early 2000s are the reason why casual puzzle and strategy games are far more popular on computer platforms.

      Of course, none of these games get any respect. Most "adults" denigrate these games and believe they are worthless and/or childish. Many of these games are great for mental development in a multitude of areas.

      For example, you may have not really thought of the Pokémon TCG as a way for children to develop a good understanding of economics, but it does[1].

      [1]: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/717948.stm [bbc.co.uk]

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @03:32PM (#40725113) Homepage Journal

        Perhaps these other games should be respected as well. They offer more complex rules and require far more difficult strategic thinking than classic games like Chess and Checkers.

        Personally, I love the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG battle system.

        No. The benefit of chess is there is no corporate marketing campaign associated with it, and nobody owns the intellectual property.

        The more I think about it, the fact that chess is public domain makes in infinitely better than any game like Yu-Gi-Oh! that belongs to someone.

        And it's not just because Chess is free and you have to pay, at some level, to play Yu-Gi-Oh!. It's because chess belongs to everyone, to humanity, and I can go back and re-play the games played by chess masters 100 years ago and STILL not have to pay someone royalities. Two men of distinctly different backgrounds can play chess while incarcerated, in separate cells, as long as they can communicate somehow, either by yelling out the moves or by giving the moves to the screw patrolling the cellblock.

        There are volumes and volumes of chess theory and chess strategy and chess philosophy. I can ride my bike over to North Avenue Beach and play chess, right now, with a refugee from sub-Saharan Africa or an immigrant from the Ukraine (and get beaten by both, even though I've got a ~1700 Elo rating). You'll find retired Romance Language professors and backward hat & baggy pants-wearing teenagers playing one another for a buck a game.

        And there is something comforting about playing a game that has changed very little for the better part of a millennium.

        No matter how you look at it, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon will be an historical footnote when chess is still being played off-planet. They might be great games, but their proprietary nature and cultural framework keep them locked down.

        • And there is something comforting about playing a game that has changed very little for the better part of a millennium.

          I don't fully agree with that... computers have done a great deal to expand the realm of chess theory, and I expect to see chess become a "solved" game during my lifetime.

          It's already the case that even a low-powered computer system can play at the Grandmaster level and beyond.

          Chess variants will be able to increase the life of the game, but they are really something other than chess as it was 500 years ago.

          • by artor3 (1344997)

            Chess will never be solved in a meaningful way. Sure, it may be solved for computers, but I don't need to play against computers, and the solution will be too complex for humans to memorize. So while a team of scientists and mathematicians, working diligently for years, may reliably outperform a single person choosing their moves on the fly, that fact shouldn't surprise anyone, and does nothing to diminish the enjoyment of the game.

            • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @06:50PM (#40726185) Homepage Journal

              I don't fully agree with that... computers have done a great deal to expand the realm of chess theory, and I expect to see chess become a "solved" game during my lifetime.

              It's already the case that even a low-powered computer system can play at the Grandmaster level and beyond.

              Does the fact that a car can go over 200mph stop people from running the 100 yard dash?

              Just because a machine can perform a particular task better than a human does not make any human competition in that task meaningless. A computer can fly a plane much faster and more perfectly than a man, but people still want to be pilots.

              The idea that computers "solving" chess will destroy the game is ridiculous. I mean, a stick of dynamite has been able to dislodge a castled king more effectively than a two-bishops attack since the 19th century, but people still play chess.

            • Chess will never be solved in a meaningful way. Sure, it may be solved for computers, but I don't need to play against computers, and the solution will be too complex for humans to memorize.

              At least with the current state of technology. But wait a few decades and maybe we will all be running around with cyborg enhancements. Won't be quite as much fun if the other player has a more powerful chip in his brain.

              • Chess is about to become a whole lot more boring a lot sooner than that, once things like Google's Project Glass [slashdot.org] hit the scene.

                No more thinking about your next move, now you've got the Chess App tracking the pieces visually suggesting moves in real-time. Of course, so does your opponent, so now you've got two human beings doing little more than manually moving the pieces around while Google plays with itself.

                It won't be about who's the better chess player, it'll be about who has the better chess app. I'd

        • The more I think about it, the fact that chess is public domain makes in infinitely better than any game like Yu-Gi-Oh! that belongs to someone.

          And it's not just because Chess is free and you have to pay, at some level, to play Yu-Gi-Oh!. It's because chess belongs to everyone, to humanity

          that's why copyright was set to expire after 15 years (or 10 or 20...it was much shorter than the 75-95 years we have now [thanks Disney]), under the founding fathers' original plans. This meant
          1. you must keep creating content in order to keep making money
          2. your old content enters "culture" quickly and does not remained locked away forever like Walt Disney's greatest creations or Star Wars to be sold again and again for $$$profit$$$ to every generation.

        • Charizard! Flamethrower Chessboard!
      • by ais523 (1172701)

        Last year, I think I'd have agreed with you. (I came top 8 in the UK in the Pokémon VGC that year; and it was pretty fun. The rules were not that unexpected, but most people didn't have experience with them, and it turned out that there were a huge number of viable options despite the list of legal Pokémon being small enough that you could feasibly consider each one of them individually when designing a strategy.)

        They change the rules every year, though, and the 2012 rules are particularly obnoxio

      • by Impeesa (763920)

        In a way, these games have invigorated the flagging card game genre.

        Flagging? If I'm not mistaken, Magic has only continued to grow since pioneering the genre 19 years ago.

        • I'm including Magic in that. Card games have existed for hundreds of years, but in the last fifty years, they've lost significant popularity.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      It's also not a marketing scam to get kids to buy the pieces.

    • by The Rizz (1319)

      The only important difference between competitive Pokemon and competitive chess is that chess is old and respected.

      No, there are two major differences between Pokemon (and other CCGs) and chess.

      1. There is a financial disparity between players' chances of winning. (More $$ = better cards; better cards = better chances.)
      2. The game undergoes changes every ~3 months. (New cards are released, changing the shape of the meta-game.)
      • by Pluvius (734915)

        You guys did notice we're talking about the video games here, right?

        Rob

        • by ais523 (1172701)

          The video game also undergoes incremental changes; they change the rules every year (normally by using radical changes to banlists that ban reasonably arbitrary subsets of Pokémon just to shake things up), and for a while, they've been releasing one-off event Pokémon over wi-fi or at events. (Props to the tournament organisers for banning all the most egregious examples, like Arceus, but when Pokémon obtainable elsewhere get new moves or abilities, they're allowed.) Some of these Pokémon

  • by ed1park (100777) <ed1park&hotmail,com> on Saturday July 21, 2012 @02:41PM (#40724893)

    Pokemon championships? You're already lost.

    • Re:'I hate losing" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @03:52PM (#40725215)

      ... posted the Slashdotter on a Saturday.

      • by ed1park (100777)

        At the risk of causing bitter jealously while smacking down your comment, I'll have u know that it was posted after a morning surf session in Malpais, Costa Rica from a beach front bungalow. Plenty of sunshine, waves, and bikini clad women. As Charlie Sheen would say, "Winning!" B)

        (no tv or phone. But I get a weak wifi signal fortunately.)

  • by MrQuacker (1938262) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @02:43PM (#40724903)

    My 1st edition Charizard card is never going to be worth anywhere near the $150 it used to be worth...

    • by Zomalaja (1324199)
      Do not even remind me of the time and miles consumed keeping my daughter stockpiled with first edition and Import Pokemon Cards.
  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @02:50PM (#40724937) Homepage Journal
    Meh.

    Wake me when we start genetically engineering the little bastards.
    • It's getting there... Often in the games, you have to breed many Pokemon to get them to pass down desirable traits like higher attack or speed IVs, and moves that a particular species doesn't learn normally to get higher end Pokemon...

      It's surprisingly elaborate.
  • by Archenoth (2592069) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @05:11PM (#40725677)

    Well... Even to this day Pokemon is the second best selling franchise out there: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_Selling_Video_Game_Franchises [wikipedia.org]

    The 36 people in this article isn't a very large number... A lot of the people that play Pokemon today are actually in our 20s. Addictive? Perhaps a little. But the games have gotten a lot more elaborate than they have in the past. It's more than just collecting them all now, it's about the literally hundreds of things to do in each of the worlds, the oh-so difficult Battle Frontier which very few have beaten, the Breeding to get Pokemon with higher stats and moves not normally known by a particular species, EV training, the mini games, random quests, all of the post-game quests, harvest-moon style farming, and of course, catching them all... Not to mention all of the new multiplayer aspects, like the launcher battles in Black and White (The newest games) which add a whole new depth to battles.

    tl;dr I am a Pokemon nut, this article misleads about the general state of the Pokemon franchise, and the age a majority of us are.

    • The 36 people mentioned in the article are those who have qualified for the World Championship by ranking highly at the US National Championship. It doesn't even include people who qualified through other means or from other countries. The US TCG Nationals tournament (which allows all players who live in the US) had 1507 participants across 3 different age divisions. The Video Game portion is smaller right now. The US Nationals only had around 300 players in the top age bracket. I'm not sure about the lower
    • by Nyder (754090)

      Well... Even to this day Pokemon is the second best selling franchise out there: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_Selling_Video_Game_Franchises [wikipedia.org]

      The 36 people in this article isn't a very large number... A lot of the people that play Pokemon today are actually in our 20s. Addictive? Perhaps a little. But the games have gotten a lot more elaborate than they have in the past. It's more than just collecting them all now, it's about the literally hundreds of things to do in each of the worlds, the oh-so difficult Battle Frontier which very few have beaten, the Breeding to get Pokemon with higher stats and moves not normally known by a particular species, EV training, the mini games, random quests, all of the post-game quests, harvest-moon style farming, and of course, catching them all... Not to mention all of the new multiplayer aspects, like the launcher battles in Black and White (The newest games) which add a whole new depth to battles.

      tl;dr I am a Pokemon nut, this article misleads about the general state of the Pokemon franchise, and the age a majority of us are.

      I'm in my 40's and I've been playing Pokemon since it came out. Now they got the Trading Card Game Online (http://www.pokemontcg.com), which isn't too bad (always like the Gameboy Color Pokemon Trading Card Game). Got the various Pokemon games for my various consoles that I play on the occasion. All in all, it's not a bad game, could be better, could be a lot worse.

      What I don't understand is, Pokemon would make a very fun MMORPG. Why isn't there one? Seems to me they have missed out big time.

    • And, let's face it, the sheer fact that most standard-issue Pokemon video games are fairly decent turn-based party-battle RPGs, completely aside from any Pokemon-specific aspects.

  • by flimflammer (956759) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @07:10PM (#40726273)

    Man, back in 1996-1997, I collected the hell out of Pokemon. I had doubles/triples of all of the original 102 cards (including 12 Charizards, 8 or so Blastoise, and several misprint cards which were worth a pretty penny), and that was just my spares, not the deck I played with. That game was practically a religion back when we were kids.

    It was pretty weird. I do wish I cashed out though, before the bubble burst and they became rather worthless. I sold cards from time to time when they were still big, made a few hundred bucks here or there, but had I sold out completely, I'd have been looking at thousands and thousands of dollars as a middle school kid, as all my extra non-playing deck cards were in mint condition, straight from the booster packs to hard sleeves. The possibilities would have been amazing.

    I still have them somewhere, stored away. They very likely won't go up in value ever again, but you know what? It's a healthy reminder of a fun time in my life. It's probably worth more to me now than it was to the world back then.

  • *Click*

    Took them slightly over a decade to finally come up with this story. Gee, I thought they would have made this assumption when I was a kid.
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