If you want to play Pokémon online, but are looking for something a little more polished than unofficial flash games, the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online open beta just started yesterday.
Pokémon fans can head over to the official Pokemon Trading Game website to register, get their free pack, and start challenging other players around the world. Also, starting August 31st, decks and booster packs of the physical Pokémon TGC will start to include downloadable codes and scan-able images that will allow players to import the actual cards they buy straight into the virtual game. That means every card you buy (from now on) is already paid for online -- which is actually pretty cool.
And don't fret if you haven't bought a Pokémon card in years. Each new player will get free basic decks when they log in with an account on the Pokémon website. We'll be checking the game out ourselves during the beta, and will let you know what we think.
Given that this is a beta, the Pokémon Company says that some elements of the interface and gameplay could (and likely would) be changed, tweaked, or adjusted, so make sure to leave feedback at the support section.
Pokémon Trading Card Game Online will also feature the new Pokémon Black and White expansion pack, "Emerging Powers."
From the press release:
Pokémon TCG players who log into www.pokemon.com/tcgo have the freedom to learn, practice, and battle against opponents from around the world that features on-demand player matching whenever you want. The competition intensifies when players purchase Pokémon TCG: Black & White-Emerging Powers theme decks and booster packs and begin building customized decks online with virtual cards. Packs include codes that when entered into the online game unlock virtual cards players can use to enhance their decks for battle. The new expansion is one of seven that are now accessible in Pokémon TCG Online, including one complementary deck when players join and up to three decks players can earn at no additional cost to mix and match to create their own play experience without having to purchase cards right away.
"Fans of Pokémon TCG now have the freedom to battle against one another regardless of location, and that's exciting for the entire Pokémon community," said J.C. Smith, director of Consumer Marketing for The Pokémon Company International. "Everything Pokémon TCG players love about the game is replicated in a rich, customizable online environment, and our hope is that Pokémon TCG Online makes the game even more accessible to anyone who wants to play."
Pokémon TCG Online makes it simple and fun to organize cards and trade with others quickly and easily. A unique Collection Management Tool provides players easy point-and-click access to their ever-growing virtual card collection. You will never have to search long for a card to put into battle. Additionally, for players just learning how to build their decks, Pokémon TCG Online features deck-building tools, including an innovative deck-building wizard, to help construct personalized decks that players of all skill levels can call into battle. Trading of virtual TCG cards and items is a breeze as players can trade directly with one another or offer public trades on the spot. Players can expect the introduction of new items and features frequently.