So over the next few weeks and months, Pokèmon will be making a bit of a return. I say a bit of a return as technically it never actually went anywhere, but with the re-release of the original trading card game on the horizon, special edition packages of Pokèmon Red, Blue & Yellow being bundled with special edition Nintendo 3DS and the hotly anticipated (if only by myself) Pokèmon GO! Game. With World Pokèmon Day fast approaching, February 27th will mark 20 years since the first games in the franchise were released (feeling old?) and it seems like the little critters will be back at the forefront of everybody’s minds!
When Pokèmon was first released (when I was a wee boy) it seemed to take “The West” by storm. Packaging up an Anime series, and trading card game and then electronic game from the same universe was the triumvirate of success. A three-pronged attack at the hearts and minds of young children everywhere inevitably meant a raid on parent bank accounts across the Western Territories. Now I must admit that I was thoroughly besotted with Pokèmon Red, Blue and Yellow. And that’s only a tiny amount of focus compared to the lengths and efforts I went to collecting the Base, Fossil and Jungle sets of the original card collections.
I have to admit that the draw of what came after didn’t have the appeal; Ruby, Silver and Sapphire etc just didn’t seem to interest me and the new generation of Pokèmon just didn’t strike a chord like the original “mandem”. Maybe my interests changed as that dark unknown of middle teenage years began to loom large? Maybe other franchises like Yu-gioh or Digimon seemed to take the shine off of it? I can’t really put my finger on it! But then it just seemed to tail off…
The urge to jump back in to the Poke-Universe has been stirred by its impending rejuvenation and re-release of the base set cards and original games. Nostalgia plays a huge part of wanting to return to the universe of Ash and Pikachu, but on the other hand I’m scared that revisiting the games might actually throw a negative light on a game(s) I feel so positively about.
My main concern will be time. Life is unfortunately getting in the way and I don’t think I will have the same time and energy now to plough in to the games as an 11 year old Mete-Critic once did. So it begs the question of whether an ‘adult’ version could be the perfect go-between. Now I haven’t actually planned this through so please bear with me as I spit-ball ideas from the far corners of the dome attached to my neck.
Biggest challenge to this idea would be the Pokèmon themselves and deciding whether to keep their origins routed in the cartoon style adorable pets or to give them a bit of a make-over and working with fiercer characters who could be easily identifiable to real-world inspiration? Could the main human protagonists of the game be younger or older and would this impact on the actual narrative or lore which accompanies Pokèmon games into becoming the best trainer in the game/world/universe? Would the length of game need to be addressed? Although the open world 40+ hour game seems to be just coming off its peak in current gen game software, would an adult Pokèmon game of equal size scare off potential gamers? Could an episodic structure mean that larger areas could be added as players progressed to allow increase in Pokèmon types or trainer challenges? Could Pokèmon GO! nulify some of these issues by meaning “trainers” can collect Pokèmon as they travel around and then upload them into their game to use? But then how would you capture them without using crrently held Pokèmon? Could online multiplayer take the form of home bases like The Tower in Destiny and missions be distributed to players who could collect Pokèmon on the way? Or following inspiration from The Division Beta, could you have the “wild” areas based as a separate game to be used to bolster your PokèDex in support of completion of the main story driven game?
The possibilities are ultimately endless; it’s just whether The Pokèmon Company wants to “catch” an idea and run with it…
Have any ideas of your own? Hit me with a Pokè Ball of your own @MeteCritic
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