The Truth About Pokémon
The first time I heard someone use the words Pokémon and Satanic in the same sentence, I assumed they were joking. But they weren't. There are a lot of parents who are concerned about the influence of Pokémon and other games may have on their children. I had to know more. This article gives some background on card collecting and role playing games in general, as well as some specifics on Pokémon in particular.
Pokémon Card Game
Pokémon is short for ‘pocket monster' and has become one of the most popular and profitable game-based media franchises in the world. Pokémon characters can be found in the forms of amime (comic books), trading cards, toys, and books. The franchise has been around since 1996 includes over four hundred fictinoal species, whose creation is said to be inspired by executive director Satoshi Tajiri-Oniwa childhood hobby of insect collecting.
Although there is debate about whether or not Pokémon is a true role playing game (RPG), it's clearly a card collecting game. There are two general goals in any Pokémon game setting: 1.) collect all of the available Pokémon species found in the fictional region where that game takes place, and 2.) train a team of powerful Pokémon from those they have caught to compete against teams owned by other Trainers (the game name for collectors).
Each game lays out a path for the player to journey through, completing events and battling opponents along the way. After defeating especially powerful players, referred to as Gym Leaders, player receive a Gym Badge. Once all eight badges are collected the player can then challenge the region's Pokémon League, and progresses through the hierarchy from there, competing for the ultimate title of Pokémon Master.
Is Pokémon Satanic?
Pokémon has been criticized by some Christians because of concern over perceived connections to the occult as well as themes of violense. Some are also not fond of the concept of Pokémon evolution, where species take on new powers and traits, as contradictory to the creation story of Genesis in the Bible. By that reasoning, all fantasy fiction must be suspect. The Vatican, by contrast, has countered that the Pokémon trading card game and video games fuel creative imagination and are free from moral side effects. Christian Power Cards was introduced in 1999 in response to provide a Bible friendly trading card game. Jews and Muslims have spoken out against Pokémon as well, and according to Wikipedia, Saudi Arabia has banned the games and cards because they promote Zionism and violate Muslim doctrine.
Christian Gamers Speak Out
The Christian Gamers Guild finds nothing wrong with Pokémon. In fact, they argue that Pokémon is not an RPG at all, but merely a card collecting game out of the tradition of Old Maid or Authors. They say that although Pokémon is part of the hobby game industry which includes RPGs surveys suggest that the people who play CCGs and those who play RPGs are usually not the same people.
The controversy seems to revolve around the powers the characters enjoy. Is it just playing pretend, or something more? Please let us know your position in the comments!
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