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What is it that Professor Oak studies about Pokemon in the original US release? Is he just collecting names, or is there more to it?

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According to: http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Professor_Oak

He used to be a trainer, but then retired into researching pokémon. His lab is used to research Pokémon, unravel the mysteries of these creatures, and study their characteristics and behavior in a natural environment.

Pretty much to understand the varieties out there. Kinda like a scientist that only studies whales.

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As a side note, almost none of this has any bearing on the actual game, with the exception of Oak being a premise for the Pokedex. Is that correct? –  Moshe Jul 20 '11 at 0:04
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If I recall correctly, he eventually ends up giving you the pokédex to help him categorize all the pokémon you come across. You could argue that he does play a plot role in the game because you keep going back to him for information and he gives you some as well. So he has a "plot" role in the game, but as far as gameplay itself, no. –  Sorean Jul 20 '11 at 0:38

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