Pokemon trading cards: what are they?

Until a month or so ago, we didn't know what Pokémon trading cards really were but we had a lot of young customers and their parents and grandparents coming in to ask for them. It was time that we clued up and got some in stock! So what are they?

The Pokémon Trading Card Game is a collectable card game, based on the Pokémon video game series, launched way back in 1996 - you might remember Pokémon from your youth. The trading card game isn't computer based and is separate to the video games, but features some of the same characters. Trading cards are a bit like Panini stickers that you may have collected yourselves when at school? I was a Garfield sticker collector...smiley

Players buy Pokémon trading cards and try to collect all the characters in the range, trading and swapping with other collectors to achieve that. Some collectors, especially younger children, stick to the collecting and trading. There is a game you can play with the cards too! It's a complex battle between different levels of character cards - some beat others, some you need to avoid owning! Each Pokemon character is part of a 'type' of which there are 11, and they are all part of a hierarchy and played in different ways. It gets pretty serious; there are international Pokémon tournaments held for different age groups from under 10s to over 15s (yes there are some very keen adults who play Pokémon).

In Thrapston we're finding our Pokémon customers are from the local primary schools and are enjoying collecting and sharing, trading and discussing the cards they buy rather than playing the game seriously. It has become a playground fad! So is it just a drain on your child's pocket money, or is collecting Pokémon cards of any use to them? Here are some interesting thoughts from Dr. Patricia Anderson, an educational psychologist:

"Most kids collect something and this behaviour is so common....collecting things fits in with a child’s growing intellectual abilities. By making a collection, kids provide themselves with practice in these key thinking skills;

  • the ability to classify and group things. This is a key mathematical skill that is essential for scientific thinking
  • the ability to see distinctions, an important skill that comes into play especially in reading as they develop the ability to see differences between similar words
  • provides an exercise in acquisitiveness; a collection can exist for its own sake, so acquiring a new member of the collection is seen as good all by itself, even if the new member is not very attractive or interesting.

"So when your child bores you completely with a long discourse about the evolved forms of Pokemon characters, that’s a good thing - an essential cognitive skill"

Encouraging a collection is a good way to encourage thinking skills. Children eventually outgrow a particular collection, though maybe not the impulse to collect. Only if collecting seems filled with anxiety, so that it actually makes the child unhappy, is collecting a concern for parents.'

We also think collecting is a great social activity - getting children together with a common interest, discussing and reasoning, exchanging ideas and interacting with individuals they may not have spoken to before.

Jollys says "take an interest in whatever your child collects, even if you think the Pokémon characters are grim looking aliens and the names are so odd you wonder whether they mean something rude in another language!"

THE LATEST POKEMON TRADING CARDS ARE NOW IN STOCK AT JOLLYS - XY9 Break Point - as packs of 10 for £3.75 per pack.