Stand aside Halo, Grand Theft Auto, Gran Turismo, and Madden NFL Football because this week, the latest installment in one of the world's top selling video game franchises has been released.

Pokémon Heartgold and SoulSilver for the Nintendo DS system went on sale this past weekend in Canada and the United States.

The games, which are expected to be massive sellers among the under 12 set, are enhanced remakes of the 1999 video games Pokémon Gold and Silver with updated graphics and sound as well as intuitive new controls that use the Nintendo DS touch screen. The games were first released last September in Japan and sold over 2 million units within the first six weeks of their release. Reception for the games overseas has been positive.

The games are bundled with a peripheral called the Pokéwalker, a pedometer that resembles a Poké Ball which can connect to the Nintendo DS game card via infrared signals (in a fashion similar to another Nintendo DS game Personal Trainer: Walking) and can "hold" a Pokémon. Walking with a Pokéwalker holding a Pokémon increases its experience and closeness, as well as the player's "watts," an in-game currency that can be used to catch wild Pokémon and shop for items.

HeartGold and SoulSilver can also access the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and are also fully compatible with Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum.

Since its debut over a decade ago, Pokémon has become the second most successful and lucrative video game-based media franchise in the world, behind only Nintendo's own Mario series.

Pokémon Heartgold and SoulSilver for the Nintendo DS system went on sale in Canada yesterday for $39.99. The game is rated E for everyone.

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