We were shocked by the gross errors in Mary C. Morton's Sept. 4 letter, "Pokemon: The Dark Side." She claims to have spent hours learning the game, but she clearly hasn't been paying much attention.

As others have observed, Pokemon never die in battles -- instead they "faint" and can be revived. And the battles are far from "brutal gladiatorial exhibitions." Anyone who plays role-playing games -- indeed, any type of video game -- will recognize the important part these battles play in the game. It may be a sport, but only in the sense that football or horse-racing is a sport.

When compared with other games, such as "Doom" or the popular Nintendo 64 game, "Goldeneye: 007," a game that involves running around shooting at realistic-looking humans (more points for shots to the head), it is almost laughable to accuse the cartoon-like Pokemon of any kind of violence. Pokemon battles never even show blood.

Also, in the TV show, the characters don't treat their Pokemon like fighting machines. They tend to develop close relationships with the animals, treating them like pets, even friends. The characters often go out of their way to take care of their Pokemons' needs. Players can even name each Pokemon.

If there is a dark side to Pokemon, it has nothing to do with the game itself -- marketing is the dark side of Pokemon. The TV show, the card game, the T-shirts, the stuffed animals and even a movie are all off-shoots of the original Game Boy game. Why is it that nothing today succeeds without its own line of action figures?

-- Amy and Jason Turner