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A Parents Primer on Pokémon

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RALEIGH — You have seen the cartoon, and odds are you have bought the cards for your kids. Now they want to see the movie. What are we talking about? Pokémon of course.

So what exactly are these creatures?

" Pokémon just translates from Japanese to mean Pocket Monsters," says Chris Killmeyer, owner of Games Galore.

Pokémon started in Japan as aNintendovideo game. But it was not until Pokémon became a collectible card game that the craze took off.

To understand it all, you need to understand the Pocket Monsters themselves. They have names like Articuno, Zapdos and Gyarados and they have fighting power called hit points.

"You have to think of it in two terms: attack and defense -- so many punches that they can give, and so many punches they can receive. If they can give 100 punches, and the Pokémon they're punching can only receive 90 punches, then it has knocked out that Pokémon," explains Killmeyer.

The object of the game is to have stronger Pokémon than your opponent, but it is not that easy.

Some Pokémon require energy cards to win. Sometimes it comes down to the luck of the draw.

While not all kids play the game, that does not stop them from collecting the cards.

"The addiction breeds upon itself to try to collect all the cards, and have as many as your friends, or have more than your friends, or better than your friends," says Killmeyer.

The cards come in theme or starter decks, or in booster packs that sell for 3.29.

There are common, uncommon and rare cards that sell for up to $80 a piece.

And while collectors are hoping to get all 150 characters, that will not happen for a while. So far, the manufacturer has only produced less than half of them.

"They're going to make sure they spread it out as long as they can to get you to keep coming back to spend your $3.29 to collect all 150 Pokémon even if that takes one, two, even three more years to happen," says Killmeyer.

That is fine for the manufacturer, and fine for the kids who cannot get enough of Pokémon.

The producers ofPokémon: The First Movieare expecting another big weekend ahead. In its first five days, the movie earned $52 million at the box office.

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Laurie Clowers, Reporter
Keith Baker, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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