Almost 20 years since the first edition was released, Pokemon is still at the forefront of video game entertainment, and the series seems like it’s not slowing down any time soon. With dozens of game versions and editions released since the game’s introduction in the U.S., Pokemon is sure to have affected a large portion of the population in some way. It is phenomenon that won’t cease to exist. The first Pokemon handheld game was released on Nintendo’s Game Boy in 1996. The American releases were in the Blue and Red series and these two combined with a remake in 2004 and the Japanese releases of the same game have sold more than any other Game Boy game. Various Pokemon games were released for each of Nintendo’s handheld devices throughout the years including Pokemon versions for the Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS. The first Pokemon console game was released on Nintendo’s N64 system in 1998, followed by a release on Nintendo’s advanced console Game Cube in 2003, and then most recently on Nintendo’s Wii console in 2006.
Officially, the Pokemon video game franchise have only been released for Nintendo’s handhelds and consoles, as well as for the PC. Of course, as online technology has become a part of console and PC gaming, downloadable versions of some of the new Pokemon games can be played online via a home console. Players are able to compete or team up with other players around the world and has led to the development of friendly yet competitive leagues among thousands of Pokemon devotees. Pokemon.com also has several demo and short version of Pokemon online games one can play for free. The site has become quite popular among children between the ages of 6 to 12 and is constantly being updated with new free levels and different games. In addition to free games, the website also features a trading card type game, videos via Pokemon TV and news and events from the entire Pokemon community.
The online Pokemon game community is in the hundreds of thousands, with several official and non-official sites springing up around the world. Largely the online community meets to discuss strategies, exchange stories and set up tournaments over online gaming consoles. Several community websites also encourage Pokemon’s traditional trading card gaming by setting up and scheduling tournaments and matches in public places such as game stores or coffee houses. The online community has grown to such heights that there is a need even for local chapters and moderation among community chat members. The online popularity of the franchise almost ensures that Pokemon will continue to be a dominant force in the video gaming industry. One needs to only get onboard one of these communities to see the enthusiasm that members have about classic, current and rumored versions of the video game.
As with any fair and friendly competition, the Pokemon online games tournaments aren’t safe from cheaters or unfriendly participants. Various technologies, including cell phone app technologies, have allowed players to circumvent online tournament rules by being able to edit and change their Pokemon characters on the fly, instead of training their characters onsite or at the tournament to compete on an even playing field. Tournament organizers are constantly looking to find ways to ensure fair play but Pokemon games have become so popular that officials are literally working against thousands of hackers and programmers who are seemingly always ahead of the curve. So as a new preventative measure arises so do the tricks and hacks used to get past the new barrier.