ad info




TIME Asia
TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Entertainment
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia

TIME.com
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Asiaweek
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

 ASIAWEEK.COM
 CNN.COM
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia
  australasia
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 SHOWBIZ
 ASIA WEATHER
 ASIA TRAVEL


Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest
FORTUNE.com
FORTUNE China
MONEY.com

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards

TIME AsiaAsiaweekAsia NowTIME Asia story

NOVEMBER 22, 1999 VOL. 154 NO. 20

Inside Stuff
What's all the fuss about the game? A seventh-grader explains it for us

Over the past three-and-a-half years, Shota Yonekura has logged more than 1,000 hours playing the Pokémon video game. That doesn't include the 500 hours he figures he has spent playing with Pokémon cards. Players collect monsters by finding them in the video game or buying their card; then they train them to be fighters and confront other players' Pokémons in a match of skills. Shota, a 13-year-old Yokohama seventh-grader, reluctantly pulled himself away from a website devoted to the game to talk with reporter Takashi Yokota. Excerpts:

    ALSO IN TIME
Cover: Pokémania
Their creator thinks of them as inner monsters, but the Pokémon have gone far beyond his mind to sweep Japan--and now the rest of the world
Review: The Man Who Just Didn't Get It
Psychology: Should Children Play with Monsters?
Strategy: A teenager explains the appeal
First Look: A sneak preview of the new characters

Online Exclusive: The Ultimate Game Freak
TIME speaks with Pokémon's creator Satoshi Tajiri

  RELATED SITES
These are external links not endorsed by TIME Asia and will open in a new window

RESOURCES
Pokémon World
Everything Pokémon and more

Pokémon the First Movie
All about the first feature-length Pokémon movie to hit the U.S.

Join the Anti-Pokémon Quest
An anti-Pokémon advocate shares his views of doom and gloom

  VIDEO
VideoCNN's Rick Lockridge reports on the video game turned cultural phenomenon known as Pokémon.
Windows Media 28K 80K

Child psychiatrist, John Lochridge claims Pokémon brainwashes kids
Windows Media 28K 80K
  MESSAGE BOARD
Pokémon: The First Movie
TIME: Isn't Pokémon just a lame kiddie game?
Shota: A lot of people misunderstand Pokémon as a babyish game. The stuffed animals and food packaging attract younger kids and tend to keep away older ones who expect the game will be too childish. They never get to understand the depth and strategy involved.

TIME: What is your favorite monster?
Shota: I like to choose weak monsters and develop them into stronger ones. My personal favorite is Nassy [called Exeggutor in the American version], who is slow and weak. He's considered an underdog, but I've developed him into a Pokémon that none of my friends can beat.

TIME: Are there personal styles of playing?
Shota: A favorite Pokémon reflects a player's personality. Active kids usually choose tougher-looking Pokémon, while quieter people, including nerds, choose weak ones.

TIME: How much money have you spent on Pokémon?
Shota: I have more than 500 cards. Including the video games, I think I've spent about 100,000 yen [$950].

TIME: Does Pokémon appeal to adults?
Shota: Some parents actually end up getting hooked after helping their kids search the Internet for Pokémon sites. Adults trade on-line rather than in person. Some web masters set up off-line get-togethers to promote interaction, and some of the adults play with the kids there.

TIME: Is this a game for loners?
Shota: Some people have two Game Boys and two cartridges, and they trade by themselves. These people are usually older, in their 20s and 30s. Because they don't want to be public about their interest in Pokémon, they either play by themselves or on the Internet. There are also some kids who do the same thing, which is sad.

TIME: Did you know the idea for Pokémon came from real insect collecting?
Shota: Yeah, when I went on a vacation to the countryside, the kids there gave me a beetle. I hear they do that a lot in the countryside, and I see Pokémon as the urban version of collecting insects. We collect, nourish and trade in Pokémon, so I think we have a lot in common.

TIME: Is Pokémon violent?
Shota: Even after beating a trainer [human] in the game, you don't feel guilt. Even the bad guys aren't too bad. They're just petty thieves.

TIME: When will the boom end?
Shota: It relies too much on Pikachu, and I believe the true enjoyment of Pokémon comes from the strategy involved rather than the cute looks of the characters. I think Nintendo is running out of ideas. It concentrates too much on gaining popularity among younger children, when kids are more interested in difficult games with flashy graphics.

Images © 1995, 1999 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./Game Freak Inc.; moving images by Adam Connors

This edition's table of contents
TIME Asia home


AsiaNow


Quick Scroll: More stories from TIME, Asiaweek and CNN

   LATEST HEADLINES:

WASHINGTON
U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

MANILA
Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

ALLAHABAD
Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

COLOMBO
Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

TOKYO
Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

BANGKOK
Thai party announces first coalition partner



TIME:

COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state



ASIAWEEK:

COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness


Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN
 Search

Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.