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<i>Pokemon</i> Primer For Parents

If your kids are using words like Pikachu and Squirtle and Bulbasaur and you don't have a clue as to what they mean, you need a quick guide to the world of Pokemon, reports CBS This Morning's Hattie Kauffman.

A Nintendo game that originated in Japan, Pokemon has blossomed into an American craze, from the game itself to trading cards and anything else that carries the likenesses of their favorite characters.

In Japanese, Pokemon means pocket monsters. The object of the game is to become a Pokemon master by collecting and training all of the Pokemon characters.

"You try to train them and evolve them and try to make them stronger," explains 12-year-old Nicholas Meyer, "and you do that through battling, and the game is called experience points, and that measures how much they're going to grow after a battle."

Here are a few Pokemon characters and the special powers they possess:

  • Pikachu: A lightning bolt striker.

  • Squirtle: Shoots water.

  • Charmander: Shoots fire.

  • Bulbasaur: Shoots out vines.
"The whole fantasy of Pokemon is storytelling, with the kids at the center," says Chris Byrne, editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter. "They're not [violent]. They're trying to evolve and testing out their powers as they get more powers and move up to higher levels."

The two players (called trainers) actually are cooperating as they both try to help their Pokemon to evolve.

Byrne says children like Pokemon because of its collectability, but also because of the fun of playing it together. "It's about creating a world," he adds.

Nick says he's not a master yet, but he has collected 120 Pokemon.He would have more, but his brother once nuked his whole collection by hitting the wrong button.

Does Nick forgive him?

"Yeah," he says. "I do."