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    The Pokemon Center 
    New York


    There is more to the Pokémon Center than shopping for exclusive merchandise and taking in the eye candy.  The Ultra Pokédex, Pokémon Trainer Gym, TCG display and playing area, and Pokémon Distributing Machine all contribute to the unique flavor of the place.

    Ultra PokedexNestled in a corner on the first floor, the fire engine-red Ultra Pokédex does indeed resemble a life-size Pokédex.  You can look up a wealth of information on any particular Pokémon:  how it looks in the anime/Game Boy/N64, its stats, video clip of some Stadium 2 action, TCG data, and so forth.  Not coincidentally, it is right next to the display of the 251 different 2-inch Tomy figurines.

    As you ascend the stairs to the second floor, to the left is the Pokémon Trainer Gym.  It is a game room consisting of two N64 consoles - the Special Pikachu Edition, naturally - and four Game Cubes.  In keeping with the name of the room, the ceiling is ringed by plastic models of the Pokémon League gym badges.  Stadium 2, Super Smash Brothers Melee, and Luigiís Mansion are among the games you can play there.  If you intend to test your skills in here, itís best to come before they institute the 5-minute time limit for the after-school and weekend crowds. 

    As of this writing, you cannot use a Transfer Pak or another controller with the N64 consoles there.  They are trying to overcome these problems, however.  Perhaps by the time you read this, it will be possible for you open up a can of whupass on your friendís pathetic Pokémon in Stadium 2 in front of total strangers. 

    You can also stick it to your friend in the TCG playing area, which consists of three tables that have specially marked surfaces for the cards.  The playing area is fenced by glass displays of individual cards.  Having never played the TCG, I cannot vouch for the scarcity of the showcased cards, but they do look nice.

    Pokemon Distributing MachineLast but definitely not least, there is the Pokémon Distributing Machine, which is right across the elevator and under the Animatronic Pokéball on the second floor.  If there is an open slot in your Gold/Silver/Crystal party, you stick your game cartridge in one of the four stations and the machine gives you a rare Pokémon, usually in an egg.  There is a periodic theme to the Pokémon being given out.  For example, the theme for the first two weeks of March was the swarming GS Pokémon with a special move that cannot be bred, like Remoraid with Amnesia, Snubbull with Lovely Kiss, Dunsparce with Horn Drill, etc.  Past themes include shiny Pokémon, the legendary birds from Red/Blue/Yellow, and Celebi.  It is possible, though at presumably miniscule odds, to get a Pokémon that does not follow the current theme.

    The themes and their duration are determined by Nintendo, who sends someone to reprogram the machine on Fridays when needed.  Nintendo also programmed the machine to give out one Pokémon per cartridge per week.  So if you want multiple Pokémon, or if you want one from previous themes, youíll have to try your luck with whoever is hanging around the machine and see if they want to trade.

    The store may set up other interactive events to coincide with crowds and promotions.  For example, when I went there Sunday (March 10), there was a table on the first floor for customers to duel an employee on their respective Pokémon Minis.

    Back to the second floor

    Pocket Monsters was not created by me.  It was created by Satoshi Tajiri and the crew at TV-Tokyo.  Pokemon is (c) Game Freak, Nintendo, 4Kids Productions, Hasbro, Bandai, and a ton of other companies. When you have a popular anime like Pokemon, lots of people own it so it's impossible to list every company who owns a piece of Pokemon.  No infringement of copyrights is meant by the creation of the web site.  All images were gotten from official websites (Nintendo, TV-Tokyo, etc.) unless otherwise noted (I don't steal images from other sites!).