Give Pokimon a chance

Ten-year-old Sean Levine talks about the limitless potential of Pokimon.

Published July 6, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

So you're a fan of Pokimon?

I love it.

Why do you love it?

A couple of reasons. One is that it doesn't involve death,
that's the main reason.

Pokimon can die, but when they're in battle, they don't die;
they faint. You can restore their health by bringing them potions, or bringing them to the
Pokimon Center. So it's not based on death. You don't just end.

Another thing I like about it is because you have to think -- you
don't just grab a gun and kill someone. There are weaknesses
and resistance, but you can't just kill a Pokimon.

In games like [James Bond] "007," all you do is just pick up guns and kill people.
It's boring and there's too much death involved. When you die [in "007"] the
blood goes all over the screen. Like, that's definitely not
something that's ... I'm thinking of putting "007" in the fireplace.

And what are Pokimon, exactly?

Pokimon evolve -- sort of like people, like kid to teenager to grownup.
They evolve either out of age or by what's called levels. The highest level is usually 150 --
but it's a really special Pokimon that makes it to that level. Most only make it to 100.

For people who don't know what Pokimon means, and just think that, "oh, Pokimon is that little yellow
thing with red cheeks," Pokimon is a name for the category of 250 different little
creatures that all have different powers. There's different types of Pokimon, too.
For example, a Squirtle is a water-type and a Charmander is a fire type, and types are weak to other
types. Like, for example, Charmander is weak to Squirtle because Charmander is fire, Squirtle is water.

Can you explain to me -- in simple terms -- what the game is

Well it's not just a game! It's a whole world. There's
TV shows, comic books, little figures and card games ... it's not just the Game Boy game.

But my favorite is probably the Game Boy game. And the card game. The goal is to get all 151 types of
Pokimon -- that's
the red and blue version. In the new versions there's 250 types of little creatures.
I like collecting the cards -- I have the red version and the blue version,
so I can get all the Pokimon I need.

Some Pokimon cards are actually worth a lot -- for example, if you have a first edition
Charizard, you can sell it for over 99 bucks.

The good thing about the Game Boy game is you can save it, so you can always play the same game again
-- if say, you're playing Pokimon and you think, "Mmm, I'm getting a little bit bored, I'm going
to play Pokimon later, not right now" you can save it and come back to it. So you can sleep happy
that night, instead of thinking, "Oh no, I erased everything." That's a really good thing.

So is warrior the highest level you can go to?

It's not warrior, it's master. Yes. It goes from fanatic to trainer to master.
Master knows every single thing about Pokimon. It loves every single thing about
Pokimon. And it does all things with Pokimon.

Do you have people you play Pokimon with regularly?

Yeah. For example, there was this one time and I was at a place and I was nervous and shy and
I found out everyone liked Pokimon and I became everyone's friend and they became my friends, because
I like Pokimon, too. So it's a good way to collect friends. A lot of people like Pokimon.

Which is your favorite Pokimon?

My favorite Pokimon is probably Pikachu. My favorite favorite is Gengar. Gengar evolves
from Haunter, out of a trade. I don't know why I like it. It's a ghost-type Pokimon, that might be why. I just like it. It's my favorite color: black.

Another thing about the ghosts is that they're not evil, like you would think. They're always trying to
be super-funny, like for example licking their eyes inside their mouths -- they think that's funny! And they
think you think it's funny.

Do any girls you know like Pokimon?

Oh yeah, boys and girls. Pokimon are not all ugly and mean and stuff. Some of them are. Some of
them are not. For example, if you come across Jigglypuff, Jigglypuff is very cute. It is
not very mean in its attacks -- well, it's not a very good attacker. And it can sing someone to sleep
with a beautiful song. And there's more than just Jigglypuff.

The most well-known Pokimon is probably Pikachu, that's one of the cutest.
Those red cheeks? They have two electric generators in the two cheeks. When it evolves to Raichu with
the Thunderstone, it triples its strength. But Pikachu is much cuter than Raichu, so not a lot of people
like to evolve Pikachu. On the cutest scale, Pikachu gets first place.

By Cynthia Joyce

Cynthia Joyce has been a writer, editor and Web producer for 20 years. A former Arts and Entertainment editor for Salon, she lives in Oxford, Mississippi, and teaches journalism at the University of Mississippi.

MORE FROM Cynthia Joyce

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