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Pokemon

A TV show, music CD, collectible card game, stuffed animals, keychains, model kits, and oh yeah ... a game, too.

   Nintendo's booth focused greatly on Pokemon (or as it was known in Japan, Pocket Monsters). Pokemon was stressed and hyped even more than (believe it or not) Zelda 64. Nintendo's focus, however, seemed to be more on the merchandising and tie-in possibilities (that have been so successful in Japan) rather than the game itself. Pokemon comes in two colors, red and blue. As a Pokemon monster trainer, your ultimate goal is to collect all 150 monsters in the game. Each game, however, only contains 140 of the monsters available - and at widely varying frequencies. A monster that is rare in the Red version may be extremely common in the Blue version, or vice versa. For this reason, trading with friends (who have the other colored version, especially) is encouraged and required to find all the monsters.

   The mascot of the Pokemon movement is Pichaku, a demonic little hellspawned orange beast who sends innocent children into epileptic seizures. Okay, well, not really. The cartoon has been "corrected" for the U.S. and no such dangers exist any longer. And after a while, you'll find Pichaku oddly ... cute ... with his twitching nose and lighting-shooting cheeks ... anyways. It remains to be seen if this tamagotchi / collecting / RPG Game Boy game will find the same success in the U.S. as it did in Japan. While this correspondent finds it highly unlikely, only time will tell. Pokemon (both colors) will be released in the U.S. in November 1998.

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