The birth of Pokemon began in the mind of Nintendo game designer Satoshi Tajiri, whose idea was based on early memories of collecting beetles and other insects in jars and imagining them fighting each other like the monsters in popular sci-fi movies. In 1996, the game, originally called "Poketto Monstaa" (later shortened to "Pokemon") was released in Japan for the Gameboy portable video game system. Its overwhelming popularity prompted the creation of an animation television series in 1997, as well as the collectible card game shortly thereafter. Then, in 1998 the Pokemon phenomenon crossed the Pacific. Warner Bros. produced a cartoon series which coincided with the release of English Pokemon trading cards and the American demand for Pokemon exploded.

For a good description of the game, one online source states, "(Pokemon is made up of) creatures who possess unique powers or special abilities. In the Pokemon world, human beings act as Pokemon trainers and capture as many of the Pokemon creatures as they can. The captured Pokemon then join the trainer’s team and help them capture other Pokemon, enabling the trainers to become “Pokemon Masters”. Pokemon battles have a rigid code of rules that do not allow dirty tricks or easy ways out. Also, Pokemon battles never end with a creature’s death. The successful end to a Pokemon match occurs when one of the battling monsters faints and is rushed to a Pokemon Center for recovery, or when it is captured by a trainer and put in a ball called the Poke Ball. Lastly, the Pokemon storyline encourages cooperation and teamwork."


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