Posts tagged pokemon
Since I’ve spent so much time on SoulSilver, I have yet to get around to cracking open Pokemon HeartGold (despite buying it the day it came out). This set of Pokemon games were released with an accessory called a “Pokewalker“, which is like a combination of a pedometer and a Tamagotchi.
It’s a fun device on a few levels. Firstly, in the game, you can take your Pokemon for “walks” and they accompany you in your travels. This is a more literal manifestation of that idea, in that you load a Pokemon into the Pokewalker, and as you literally walk, your steps are counted and your Poke walks with you :)
Second, it’s fun because there are times where you gotta take a bunch of steps before youe Poke can level up. These games came out right before Pax East 2010, and I always knew who was trying to add steps to a Pokewalker, because they’d be frantically running around for no reason. Funny!
Third (and this leads into my “project”), it is a highly visible device, so people can see you are “playing” Pokemon. As the ALA’s resident “King Pokemon Fanboy”, everyone will be SURE that I’m a true Pokefanatic now.
SO I’ve decided to spend some time playing HeartGold before the 2010 American Library Association Annual Conference, and the morning the conference kicks off, I’ll load it up with a Pokemon. I’ll carry the Pokewalker everywhere I go for the entire conference, and by the end, I’ll know how many steps I walked for the entire conference, and hopefully my Pokemon will have leveled up a few times. But I need your help:
Here’s pics of the Pokes, in case you wanna see them:
Also, don’t forget that this Poke will be dancing with me at the ALA DANCE PARTY!
As part of the Wizard World comicon in Philly, there is a sanctioned gaming– Magic, Pokemon, Dungeons & Dragons. Some are free, some have a cost. These are all games I’m super unfamiliar with personally, but recognize their following! Last year there were also many gaming vendors selling retro systems, games, and there were demo stations for videogaming.
Of course, there are also tons of comic artists, writers, creators, Tshirts, and all geekery! Join me there!
I’m hoping to meet Bruce Campbell!
Hello, 8bitlibrarians! I’ve written so much about Pokemon in libraries that I have ignored how cool it is to see libraries actually using Pokemon! So here’s some fun Flickr finds:
Here are some youngins at a Pokemon card trade-off at Wilmette Public Library in Wilmette, Illinois.
Some older folks playing Pokemon at St. Joseph County Public Library in South Bend, Indiana.
Here is an eye catching awesome advertisement flyer for a Pokemon Rumble program at the Lester Public Library in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.
Here we have a fun display of Pokemon manga at the Ridgedale Library in Monnetonka, Minnesota.
Some adults playing Pokemon Monopoly.
Here we have Gaming-in-Libraries guru and author of Gamers…in the Library?! The Why, What, and How of Videogame Tournaments for All Ages, Eli Neiburger, running a Pokemon event. Pulled off the American Library Association Flickr account!
Is your school or library including Pokemon? Let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve written a basic intro to Pokemon for teachers and librarians, a more in depth look at gender roles and violence in the game, and lesson plan ideas using Pokemon as a tool to teach “habitats”. With the USA release of Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver coming on March 14th, the time is definitely right for another post.
Let’s start with the controversy. This controversy transcends Pokemon. The controversy is: “What does Pokemon have to do with reading!?” Or, on that larger scale, “What do video games have to do with literacy?!”. This is the stigma that libraries face not only with video games, but with many forms of media. This is why we have Banned Books Week; this why we are constant advocates for our own roles as librarians. What the controversy almost always entails is a single person (or group of people), without a proper understanding of the specific story’s context of the content they oppose, trying to censor material from all users of a public or school library. The outcome of most of these well-meaning censorship attempts is that the person who tried to censor the material reads it, understands the content in the context of the story, and actually likes the story and withdraws the censorship attempt. This is a very frequent occurrence and I think that Pokemon’s detractors would feel the same way if they spent time within the story, playing the game.
That brings us to content. As a follower of Marshal McCluhan, I always try to hip people to the fact that a distinction must be made between the content of media and the media itself. In this case, the media is “video games” (arguably, “handheld video games”), and the content is “Pokemon” (and more specifically, “The story contained within Pokemon HeartGold”, or whatever Pokemon game you are speaking about). If we understand this distinction between content and the media transmitting the content, we have already raised the legitimacy with which the “gaming-in-schools-and-libraries” discussion takes place.
And as that discussion is raised, it reaches the level that OTHER media has reached in schools and libraries: the literary value of gaming. I don’t need to rehash it completely, but games now have a plot, character development, thematic elements, and interactive narrative devices. This is why the Pokemon franchise can release Pokemon Silver in 2000, and release Pokemon SoulSilver in 2010: SoulSilver is a game with a similar plot and theme, retold using the new character development & narrative devices possible that technology allows for 10 years later. THIS is what Pokemon and gaming-in-general has to do with reading. 8bitlibrary’s Craig Anderson has written more on that subject in LibraryGuyCraig’s review of Batman: Arkham Asylum.
As a little addition to the article (I didn’t know where else to put this), I think the release of HeartGold and SoulSilver is an interesting one. As technology moves forward and more can be “done” with video games, Pokemon as a franchise has taken to “retelling” stories. HeartGold and SoulSilver and RETELLINGS of the stories contained within Pokemon Gold and Silver, which were released for play on the “inferior”-to-DS hardware system Gameboy Color. These new game are not really “remakes” of the old games; these are new games telling the same story. This reflects the true nature of video gaming: a modern storytelling medium. One of the library’s most important roles in the community is “storyteller”. From baby storytime lapsits to book discussion groups for seniors to archiving the local history of the community, libraries are a place to tell story. This is why Pokemon belongs there.
A big movement in K-12 education is Project Based Lessons (or Project Based Learning, abbreviated PBL). Those of you who aren’t familiar with this concept, it’s a lesson that is based around students learning-by-doing (instead of sitting and listening to a classroom lecture).
Step 1: Advocate for funding to purchase 10-20 Nintendo DS’s or DSi’s and copies of Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum for students who don’t own the game or handheld. Odds are, many students already will. This is a great idea for a grant, too, if you can’t get “real” funding ;) For $3000, you can purchase 15 DSi’s and 13 copies of Pokemon.
Here’s my lesson:
Compare habitats in Pokemon with real-world habitats.
“A habitat is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species of animal or plant or other type of organism. It is the natural environment in which an organism lives, or the physical environment that surrounds (influences and is utilized by) a species population.”
Chose a Pokemon and its habitat. Using internet sources, encyclopedias, library databases, game guides, wikis, and your own play experience, research both its game habitat and (your opinion of) the real-world animal and real-world habitat it is based on. Write a 3-page paper comparing how the “real world” animal interacts with its habitat, and how the Pokemon interacts with its habitat. Some questions to think about while writing the paper:
- What are the differences between the real animal’s behavior and the Pokemon’s behavior?
- How is the Pokemon habitat realistic, and how is it unrealistic, when compared with a similar real habitat?
- How would the Pokemon be different if it was in a different habitat? How would the real animal survive in a different habitat?
- What part does the animal play in its ecosystem?
- How would your Pokemon survive in the real-life habitat you’ve chosen? Who would be its predators and who would be its prey? If it is an herbivore, is there sufficient food? Would it be doomed to extinction or would it threaten other life?
I bet your classes would go bananas over this assignment…
One of the biggest video gaming franchises Librarians will encounter (and possibly the most important of all video game IPs for libraries) is the Pokemon franchise. With two “new” games being released (HeartGold/SoulSilver) in March 2010, librarians should be prepared.
First first FIRST thing you need to know: the word “Pokemon” can either refer to the creatures in the game, the game franchise, or a game itself. Only context determines what it means.
Pokemon 101: understanding the basics of Pokemon!
What does Pokemon have to do with schools/libraries? This is a question I got from a (kinda irate) first-year teacher, right in front of a class full of kids in the middle of a library presentation I was giving them. More specifically, it was, “what does this have to do with summer reading?!“. Well, here are some ways they relate!
- Pokemon has an extensive map structure. If you are teaching map skills, I’m sure it will be difficult to find a map-skills exercise with the depth and diversity of the maps that the kids are going home to play with for recreation in this game.
- The “Pokedex” is a database (aka library) of Pokemon and Pokemon statistics within the game. Inside the Pokedex framework, kids are: analyzing various types of numerical and other data, building their decision making skills as they plan future choices based on the relationships Pokemon have with each other and the map, building real-life teamwork skills as they try to complete their Pokedex with the help of friends who own the game.
- More on the Pokedex: Wikipedia describes the Pokedex as “device designed to catalog and provide information” and “a portable reference tool“. Kids already have libraries in their video games, and are acting like little librarians…for fun!
- The main Pokemon releases (which we will get to) are playable fantasy fiction stories with you as the main character. Video games are a new media, and as such, traditional fiction genre forms for other media have reached games.
- The best resource for Pokemon players is Bulbapedia, which is an online Pokemon encyclopedia wiki with close to 16 thousand articles. If such a large body of information exists around Pokemon (and, since it is a wiki, it was written by the players of the game) it seems that there is a large amount of information flowing between players. That’s what schools and libraries are all about, communication and a flow of information!
- Making connections to students and library users is difficult. Catching their attention is one thing, and keeping their attention is another even more difficult thing. Pokemon will not only get their attention (tell them you caught a Giratina), it will keep it (building lesson plans and programming around the Pokemon environment is ripe with ideas).
What are the Pokemon games? There is confusion that surrounds what constitutes a Pokegame. For a video game to be considered a true Pokemon release, step one is it HAS to be released for a handheld system (Gameboy, GBA, DS…). Everything else is related material with a Pokemon logo on it, but not part of what we would consider the Pokecanon. And, to make things more confusing, Pokemon has three canons: the game canon, the anime (cartoon) canon, and the manga (book) canon. We are only dealing with the video game canon.
The canon has 4 generations, and a “generation” is the story that is being told within the game. In the canon, the “generations” are not chronological:
In 1998 Pokemon Red & Blue came out (in the USA) for Gameboy. Later, Pokemon Yellow was released. These games are all “the same”, in that they share a majority of content with each other and tell the same basic story. This is the way all the of generation releases have been handled so far. The Game Boy Advance games Pokemon FireRed & LeafGreen, remakes of Red & Blue, are considered Generation I even though they are based on the Generation III Game Boy Advance technology and gameplay.
Generation II consisted of Pokemon Gold & Silver, and later Crystal, released for the Game Boy Color. In March, the HeartGold and SoulSilver remakes will be released for the Nintendo DS.
Generation III are Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire, and later Emerald, all released for Game Boy Advance.
Generation IV is the current generation, which includes Pokemon Diamond & Pearl, followed by Platinum.
What are “Pokemon”? “Pokemon” are the little creatures in the Pokemon games. Think little bugs or snails. The player controls a “Pokemon trainer” who collects, trains, and takes care of the Pokemon s/he catches.
Isn’t Pokemon for kids? Yes, the franchise has been steered towards the “kid” demographic. The main releases do have many heavy narrative themes, in-depth statistical choices (via the Pokedex), long game-play hours, and a far fictional reach, so adults and especially teens play these games too. Because it is a “kid” game, non-players judge adults who play Pokemon, but after a proper understanding of the depth of the game, it is less embarrassing (LOL).
And the rest…
Pokemon’s influence on pop-culture doesn’t need to be brought up here. I’m going out on a limb here, but I don’t think there was anything more epic in pop-culture created in the 90s than Pokemon. Grunge-rock, the Lewinsky Scandal, and Seinfeld all pale in comparison to the far-reachingness of Pokemon and its continued influence on society.
Whew anyway hope this helps. This is obviously not everything pokerelated, so i’ll write a Pokemon 102 article some day.
OH wait one more thing! I might be the biggest Pokefan librarian in the USA! I’ve CAUGHT every single Pokemon in the Sinnoh Dex! And I have a Darkrai and Arceus!