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North American cover art
|Genre(s)||Virtual pet, Puzzle, Simulation|
|Distribution||1 × GameCube optical disc|
Pokémon Channel, released in Japan as Pokémon Channel ~Together With Pikachu!~ (ポケモンチャンネル ～ピカチュウといっしょ!～ Pokemon Channeru ~Pikachū to Issho!~ , lit. "Pokémon Channel ~Together With Pikachu!~") is a virtual pet video game for the GameCube, developed by Ambrella. Its focus is the adventures the player has with Pikachu, most of them involving a new television network. The game can be considered the spiritual sequel to Hey You, Pikachu!.
Professor Oak is developing a network that can be enjoyed by both Pokémon and their Trainers. The player has been chosen as a beta tester for the network, and is given a TV to watch the programs on. A television-loving Pikachu, seeing the TV being delivered, takes an interest in the TV and follows the Magnemite delivering it to the player's in-game house. As the network is to be enjoyed by both Pokémon and humans alike, the Pikachu becomes a beta tester as well. As the game progresses, the Pikachu grows closer to the player, and can be nicknamed early on in the game.
The game uses the GameCube's internal clock to count real time as game time. As days progress, more channels become available, including the serial Pichu Bros. show.
Players can obtain the rare Pokémon Jirachi in both the European and Australian versions of the game; it can be transferred to a version of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. After unlocking the full version of The Pichu Bros., Jirachi will appear, and the mini-movie will be shown above the campfire. After the movie finishes, Jirachi can be obtained from the menu screen. Doing so will also fix the infamous berry glitch in Ruby and Sapphire.
Pokémon Channel also includes a virtual Pokémon mini. Pikachu must find it under the bed before it can be played. The virtual Pokémon mini comes with a Pokémon Channel exclusive game, Snorlax's Lunchtime (known simply in the North American release as Lunchtime). The player may also purchase virtual demos of actual Pokémon mini games on Shop N' Squirtle.
The game received mixed receptions from critics. The main complaint from critics was over the game's lack of interactivity since most of the gametime is spent watching television. In addition to this, the fact that many animated sequences cannot be bypassed was found to be annoying, particularly when the player has already seen them or is familiar with them. The good reviews were more lenient on these points, stating that it was likely designed with younger players in mind.
X-Play was the most harsh on the game, considering it to be the 2nd worst GameCube game to date ahead of Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis. X-Play considers Pokémon Channel as an example for a game deserving a 0 out of 5 score, following the belief that Pokémon Channel is not truly a game because it really lacks a sense of interactivity. NGamer were also extremely critical of the game.
The reviews average out to a score of 53% which Game Rankings places at rank 283 out of 489 GameCube games as of November 2006. IGN rated the game a 5/10, stating they "can hardly find enough compelling gameplay to call this a game".