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January 18th, 2013, 3:59 pm

PART 15 COMPLETE/The End is Nigh, Pt. II

As I mentioned in the comment earlier (cuzz I didn't have time to prepare a news post before class this morning), this was a really challenging chapter to write. But overcoming challenges is what makes us better, or something motivational like that. I don't really know. But yeah. It was tough. But it was important.

You know the rest of this. I'm a month ahead, next chapter starts tomorrow, I'm excited for it, blah blah blah...BUT WAIT.


IT'S THE ANNIVERSARY UPDATE!! (Please say that in Oprah's excited voice.)

That's right, everyone! The anniversary update is almost here, and it is going to be gigantic and fantastic and revolutionary and other cool adjectives! You won't believe your eyeholes! Only about two weeks to go! GET EXCITED.

And one more thing, just because it's not fun when people don't like me, and I really hate when they don't understand my actual opinion. My rant about Pokemon X & Y had a lot of sarcasm to it. Besides the fact that I've already admitted to totally getting the games and playing the crap out of them, my favorite Pokemon of all time is a clone, so can I really be hating on rehash designs? (Also, my theories on the X and Y and such were intentionally absurd.) My real point was that I want Nintendo to be more experimental with their games--all of them. Pokemon, Mario, Zelda... these are all very popular and very fun franchises. My big issue is that I don't feel like they really try to think of really NEW ideas, they just repeat concepts that are shown to work. They always make reliably-entertaining games, and they make a ton of money off of them, but I never feel like there's any spark of innovation in them anymore. I don't look at a new Mario game and think, "This is genius." I think, "Hey, more Mario. I like Yoshi."

Nintendo doesn't try to be Valve or Gearbox or Bethesda. They're unique in the fact that they've made so many cultural icons, but they also seem scared to branch out for fear of losing their core audience--children. But would it really be so hard for them to make something that kids can enjoy while still bringing innovation and emotional weight for older fans? Pixar doesn't seem to have much difficulty with that concept, and you have franchises like Batman that can go from the brick-busting absurdities of its Lego games to the fantastic stealth/combat balance of Arkham City to the political statements of Christopher Nolan's film trilogy without a single hiccup. I know these aren't perfect analogies because Pokemon is still primarily a video game franchise, but I really think they should reassess their position in the gaming world and try to branch out. They have almost twenty years of Pokemon under their belts, so it's not like they're going to ruin their ascension in the gaming world. They're already sitting comfortably pretty high up on the list, so now would be a perfect time to take some risks.

I realize they have spin-off games, but how innovative are they really? Aren't they all pretty much reskins of other game concepts? Pinball, Mystery Dungeon, and Nobunaga's Ambition (Had to do my research for that one) all existed before Pokemon. I will give them points for Pokemon Snap and Pokemon Ranger, because I can't find any significant precursors for them and they're the only spin-offs I consistently enjoy. Stadium is basically just a simplified version of the main series battling system with polygonal graphics, and I haven't played Colosseum but I can't really see how it's much different from Stadium, besides having more of an actual story and the ability to capture like thirty pre-designated Pokemon. I don't even know what's going on with some of the ideas like the typing game or whatever nonsense the Wii thing is, so I'm not going to bother there. The point is that even when they make spin-off games, they still end up being pretty derivative. I think part of it has to do with the fact that they've had the same creative team for each franchise for like forever. In Pokemon's case, I think it would be good for them to have some American or European designers come in and bring some fresh plot and species ideas to the table.

I want an actual plot, as well. Gigi and I argue because I insist the plot of Pokemon is irrelevant, and she cried over the ending of her mystery dungeon game. I am aware that each main series team has a different motive, and they all go about using Pokemon in a different way. But you still have a badly-named team that seems pretty incompetent and doesn't really make any sense no matter how much they explain their goals through monologue. I want something that sucks me in. It doesn't have to be as captivating as Bioshock or as grand in scope as the Elder Scrolls, but I would like something I can actually get invested in. Maybe I'm just numbed by the fact that the way they present the plot isn't immersive at all (essentially motionless sprites and simple scrolling text doesn't do it for me), but if that's the reason why the plot doesn't grip the player, they should try and fix that. And actually, I think the 3DS-style will improve that a bit. As much as I don't think the new graphics are very impressive, they bring you closer to the action and should help pull players into the story better.

I stand by what I said about the species designs being rehashes. I was completely serious when I said I was upset about Fennekin being Vulpix2. This has been an issue that's bugged me since at least the first designs for Generation IV came out, and each time I see new Pokemon announced I become increasingly less hopeful. If there are going to be 800 Pokemon for me to catch (and I do try to catch them all), I don't want to be able to dedicate an entire box to things that look like turtles. I like turtles, but between Torkoal, the Turtwig line, Tirtouga and Carracosta, and Shuckle, I can do without any more. Our world is filled with creatures and plants of all different shapes, and they all have interesting stories that can be incorporated into their Pokemon design. There are also plenty of designs that evolution/God/aliens/whoever is having the dream we're all living in hasn't thought of yet, so those are viable as well. I really think Nintendo should research a while before they sit down and start designing new Pokemon. Or, like I said earlier, bring people from other cultures in. Someone from Seattle might suggest a Sasquatch Pokemon, while someone from Sydney might make a great design for Eukoala (that's a koala Pokemon who wields weaponry made from eucalyptus leaves). Diversity is important in pretty much all aspects of society, so let's make the Pokemon team as diverse as possible. And, once our UN-style team has created a FANTASTIC batch of 140 more Pokemon, let's give them names that aren't Froakie or Yv..elv..wh...Skybacon.

Okay, I think that's all I have left to clarify, so let's close up this massive post. I'm not saying Pokemon isn't great, because I'm making a Pokemon comic and I have the vast majority of the games. I'm also not saying that they're the only franchise that lacks creativity and innovation. I don't like Call of Duty for the exact same reason. When I said I wanted Generation V to be the last of it, it wasn't because I don't love the series. It's because I'd rather cap things off with Genesect than keep recycling the same plot devices and same species designs until the franchise becomes so self-derivative it's just a joke, which is how I feel it's becoming now. I'm really not asking for much in the grand scheme of things--really, I just want the Pokemon team to take greater care in what they make, and I want them to be risk-takers. Video games are an art form after all, and art is basically defined by taking risks. I'm not saying they have to turn the franchise into some neo-noir detective series where the protagonist investigates murders conducted by Pokemon against abusive trainers or something as far from the main series as that. I just want to be able to look at a Pokemon game and get truly excited. I miss the magic. That's all.


Lockman, January 18th, 2013, 5:28 pm

Your favorite Pokemon is a clone? What's your favorite?

Zelkova, January 18th, 2013, 5:30 pm

Like these?

Haunshaul, January 18th, 2013, 6:49 pm

...Mewtwo. Mewtwo is my favorite.

Pokemontrainergigi, January 18th, 2013, 7:39 pm

@Haunshaul: I bet it's Genesect :P He's a clone (kinda) X3

Bre Ishurna the Wolf, January 21st, 2013, 1:23 am

Well, at least Chespin branched off from the Reptillian starters line.

I mean, it's a Hedgehog. Hedgehogs are adorable. There is already a hedgehog legendary named Shaymin, but Chespin takes the spot of Cute Grass Hedgehog Starter.

coldhotshot, February 1st, 2013, 10:50 pm

@Haunshaul: i love how you go on with this turtle thing:
"If there are going to be 800 Pokemon for me to catch (and I do try to catch them all), I don't want to be able to dedicate an entire box to things that look like turtles. I like turtles, but between Torkoal, the Turtwig line, Tirtouga and Carracosta, and Shuckle, I can do without any more."
but... you forgot SQUIRTLE

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