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Game Boy's Pokémon Unleashed on September 28!

REDMOND, Wash., September 28, 1998 – "Here we are ringside at Pokémon Center with Level 12 Squirtle battling Level 9 Weedle. Squirtle performs a Bubble Attack. Weedle fires back with a Sting Shot, but it fails on the tough outer hide of Squirtle. Squirtle launches a Tail Whip, and Weedle faints defeated. Squirtle and his Pokémon Trainer earn 220 experience points and Squirtle advances to Level 13! Congratulations Pokémon Trainer as you strive to become the World’s Greatest Pokémon Master! Good luck!"

Already part of a thriving phenomenon in Japan where more than 10 million Game Boy units have sold in two years, American children now can join the Pokémon craze as they catch as many of the 150 Pokémon as they can. Pokémon, the multi-faceted, strategic, one-player game for Game Boy, launches nationwide today with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $29.95. A truly unique game, Pokémon is the first title to combine the adventure, character interaction and turn-based battles of a role-playing game with the ability to nurture, raise, collect, trade and battle pet monsters.

"There’s nothing like Pokémon on the market right now," says Peter Main, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president, sales and marketing. "The whole Pokémon phenomenon has mushroomed into a $4 billion industry in Japan, so we have high expectations for the product in the U.S. This is our biggest launch of a Game Boy title ever, including the already successful animated Pokémon television show, released earlier this month, and a number of products licensed to toy maker Hasbro."

In Pokémon, players strive to become the "World’s Greatest Pokémon Master" by searching for, raising and battling 150 different monsters hidden throughout the game environment. There are two versions of the Pokémon game – Red and Blue. While the versions are identical, featuring the same game design, some monsters only appear in the red version and vice versa in the blue version, requiring players to have access to both in order to collect all 150 monsters.

Players must journey through the vast environment – in a three-quarters overhead viewpoint – to battle and capture all the different Pokémon and defeat eight master Pokémon trainers. Players begin the game with one monster, and build the portfolio of monsters by weakening each in battle, capturing it with a Poké Ball, and by trading them with other Pokémon players and/or with computer-controlled trainers within the game.

Using a Game Boy Game Link* connector (sold separately), two players can connect systems and trade and collect new monsters. With systems linked, players may go to the Pokémon Center, to negotiate a trade or wage a Pokémon battle, as some monsters will not evolve until they have been traded.

A key strategy of the Pokémon game is deciding which monster to use in each battle; players will be able to begin the battle with one monster and can switch to another if they feel the match is uneven. A player may have up to six monsters available for battle at one time. As they become more experienced in battle, monsters will evolve and take on new characteristics, changing their physical appearance and adding new fighting abilities.

In addition to the Game Boy game, the Pokémon elements include a cartoon series syndicated five days a week in over 90% of U.S. markets; a new Hasbro toy line of all 150 characters launching in November; a massive, $17 million two-tiered Pokémon holiday promotion that kicks off in 5,000 Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants on November 15; a home video; a Pokémon comic book; and a strategy card game from Wizards of the Coast. Nintendo is supporting this launch with more than $14 million in marketing.

Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, is the acknowledged worldwide leader in the creation of interactive entertainment. To date, Nintendo has sold more than 1 billion video games worldwide, and has created such industry icons as Mario, Yoshi, Zelda and Donkey Kong. Nintendo manufactures and markets hardware and software for its best-selling home video game systems, including the 64-bit Nintendo 64, the hand-held Game Boy, and the 16-bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System. As a wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo’s operations in North America, where more than 40 percent of American households own a Nintendo game system.

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