Chalk Talk - Pokemon Paradigm

In this edition of Chalk Talk we discuss Pokemon, it's highs, its lows and what changes (if any) should be made to this popular IP.

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Pokemon, this game has been with gamers for the better part of 17 years and over time has made attempts to evolve. But this got some community members thinking "Did someone press the B button?". There is clearly a great following for these tiny creatures that we are compelled to catch, but just as it is clear that there are those who love the game, there are also many who want and expect to see more from the ever evolving game.

We asked GameSpotters to consider the following and to articulate their thoughts in our Chalk Talk assignment "The Pokemon Paradigm".

The topics we asked them to consider were varied.We asked how they felt about the Pokemon game franchise at this point and if its decisions to continue to add more beyond the original 150 has been a positive experience, or perhaps the ever growing numbers of creatures to catch is bogging down the game?

Some users reflected on what they would do if they could revolutionize the franchise by rebooting it, how they would start over. And if they would you go back to the way things were with Pokemon Red and Blue or would you completely retool the mythos that's been created.

Here's what GameSpotters had to say:


- Pokémon – Still Catching them All - By: Scruufy
- Pokemon: My Childhood Buddy - By: Samparksh
- The Lost Spark of the Pokemon Series - By: g1rldraco7
- Pokemon Stopped Evolving! - By: AK_the_Twilight
- New ideas for Pokemon - By: Cloud_765
- Pokemon Keep and Drop List - By: AniMercury
- PokeDigmn - By: Rotherman2013
- Anybody Got No Time To Catch em All - By: benleslie5
- Pokemon: Onwards to Generation VI! - By: michaelP4

Next Assignment: Nintendo - Just the beginning?

Your assignment is to write up an editorial focusing on the Nintendo, their past, present, and future. Deadline to have your entries submitted is May 3rd, at 12:00pm PST

During the week that went by Nintendo held one of their many Nintendo Direct live streams. It left many users with an overall positive impression, however at the same time Nintendo once again ignited discussion and a great many flame wars. For this weeks Chalk Talk we will be taking a look at Nintendo. Need some Inspiration? Check out the forum discussion in our Writers Round Table.

Pokémon – Still Catching them All

By: Scruufy

My Pokémon adventure began when I was 12 years old. Being a budding fan of the television series I was ecstatic at the thought of capturing and commanding my own pocket monsters. I still remember returning to my Nan’s flat from town and holding the game-box aloft triumphantly, like Link discovering a boomerang in The Legend of Zelda. I tore open the packaging and prepared myself for the Poké-adventure that was Pokémon Blue.

I booted up the game and as the theme song began I was filled with indescribable joy, sprites darted across the colourless 2.6 inch screen of my original Gameboy, and I knew I was going to be the very best, like no one ever was! When Professor Oak presented my choice I immediately grabbed Bulbasaur and initiated my first battle. Although I doubt children today could tell the difference between my Bulbasaur and Missingno, I remember being overwhelmed by the graphics, especially on my little grey brick.

Considering the rampantly growing army of Pokémon today I find it slightly ironic that my first and favourite Pokémon was Bulbasaur, number 1 in the original Pokédex. To me those original 151 are Pokémon in its purest form. Each little monster was unique and could never be replaced, except maybe Jynx and Mr.Mime. I mean what was going on there?

Are we sure these “Pokémon” are not eccentrically dressed people?

Sadly as the franchise continued the Poké-pool has been diluted by many new monsters. Something many fans appreciated, but I personally would’ve preferred fewer, better Pokémon. Better is obviously an objective term, and it’s easy to say when it’s not my job to make them. Still each generation has given fans some Poké-gold; albeit topped off with numerous regurgitations of the original 150. I mean Pidgey, Spearow, and their evolutions, basically covered the bird Pokémon scene. Do we really need a new 3-step bird type for every starter town in the Pokémon world?

In my head, smaller additions per generation would probably work much better. Rather than a new 100 every couple of years, add 20-30, each complementing the originals. These could represent new Elemental types or combinations, such as Steelix, acting as the poster child for the new Steel type in the 2nd generation.

Instead we now have over 650 Pokémon (including those previewed from X and Y) and I wouldn’t blame anyone for considering many of these to be throw-aways. Most new comers to the ever-increasing Poké-library either replicate pre-existing beasties or fill a hole that really shouldn’t exist. I would honestly rather have no new monsters, if the alternative is creatures thought up when their creator was taking out his rubbish.

Please kill me, I shouldn’t be!

Lets change pace and discuss the gameplay. Each Pokémon game, from the Gameboy to the DS, has taken baby steps toward becoming a better and deeper RPG. Different Natures and Effort Values add massive variety between two similar Pokémon and give serious trainers some great tools to create an incredibly powerful team. Sadly though, for me, the reality is I’m playing the same game now as I did in my Nan’s flat around 14 years ago, just prettier.

You pick water, fire or grass, travel through highly linear environments, save your region (or world) from bad guys, and defeat the Elite Four becoming the next “very best”. On this note I always felt bad for Gary, or Blue if you prefer. He was the “very best” for about 3 minutes, and then the player waddles in and takes his glory. He probably didn’t even finish his victory speech!

It’s a shame Game Freak haven’t tried to aggressively shake up this formula, like making one protagonist a member of Team Rocket. One simple addition I’m surprised to see excluded is side-quests. If you consider the TV show, Ash Ketchum spends about 90% of each series roaming the world helping anyone with the slightest grievance. Your flowers aren’t getting enough water? Don’t worry, Ash will bust out his Squirtle and spend 30 minutes watering those suckers, and next week he will probably use his Charmander to replace a broken oven in a struggling restaurant.

I’m so glad we used your Thunder attack to bring power back to that orphanage. I’m sure we’ll get a Pokémon League badge next week…

With this in mind it feels like a perfect fit to have side-quests play a more prominent role in the Pokémon games. You may say they already exist, examples being bringing specific Pokémon to certain people, but I want drawn out experiences requiring substantial time and effort to provide decent rewards. It would feel natural to meet some roaming idiot who lost his rare Pokémon, after helping him find it he would recognize you as a superior trainer and hand over the beast before returning home to run his families flower shop, or some nonsense like that.

This, however, is a minor issue compared to the combat, which is almost identical to what Pokémon fans have been playing for years. Although I have no problem with turn based combat, especially as it suits the portability of the franchise, it has begun to feel stale in last couple of entries. In comparison, some recent games have shown how this system could be greatly improved, engaging the player much more. One great example is Level 5’s, Ni No Kuni.

For the un-initiated, Ni No Kuni uses an active battle system which lets the player move freely around the battlefield, you must still select attacks and other actions from a menu but it feels much more liberating. While playing it one of my first thoughts was how this could fit the Pokémon structure surprisingly well. I understand the beauty of handheld Pokémon games is their simplicity, a formula unlikely to change, but I ask, why can’t we have our cake and eat it too?

The gaming industry is surely big enough for different Pokémon games? The Mystery Dungeon franchise happily co-exists with Game Freaks entries without the fabric of reality tearing apart.

Let yourself imagine a new Pokémon game where the type or size of your monster dictates how many attacks it can perform in a turn, and have major impacts on its health or evasive skills. Snorlax would be slow but this weakness could be balanced by massive defense and health. In comparison Rapidash would be incredibly fast, and could quickly barrage the opponent with attacks. Seems simple to me. It would fit well in the Pokémon universe well and update the archaic turn based system.

If we’re talking about my perfect Pokémon game though, I would have to ask for 3D recreation of the original Kanto adventure. Travelling the world would remain largely the same, with some interesting side-quests added. The big difference would come in the battles, which would be closer to a fighting game with full control of the Pokémon given to the player. In my head every Pokémon battle would play out like using the Pokémon Trainer in Smash Bros Brawl. I would likely die before I stopped playing such a game.

A 2014 Pokémon title with battles like Smash Bros? I can dream can’t I?

As much as I would love these titles to force themselves into existence, I’m a realist. I understand why such changes don’t happen, millions of people around the world still love Pokémon despite its few innovations, including me. And every fan has their own opinion of where the franchise should go next, such as the constantly demanded Poké-MMO.

For now I’m going to just cut my losses and look forward to Pokémon X and Y. Stepping into the 3rd dimension is a big step for Game Freak and the core Pokémon franchise. My greatest hope is that the next generation doesn't go the way of Pokémon Colosseum, a title that bored me so much that I felt like the Nazis during the climax of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I apologize if this came across as me almost exclusively berating the Game Freak Pokémon games, that wasn’t my intention. Especially as they have provided me with hours of entertainment. I ultimately knew I would be buying the next generation as soon as it was announced, Pokémon has burrowed itself into my heart and little will change that. I’ll continue to pick up each generation and hope the baby steps continue, and perhaps one day the franchise will grow into something Poké-fanatics of all ages can get behind.

They can then join me in that ever-elusive challenge, catching them all.

Original Blog

Pokemon: My Childhood Buddy

By: Samparksh

I still remember the day I began my journey into the vast universe of Pokémon. I was 9 and had just got my first handheld console: the Nintendo DS. My main reason for the purchase of the DS was Mario, but a year after being exposed to Pokémon,I realized that my favourite game franchise had changed. After spending a year with Mario,I finally bought my first Pokémon game,the platinum enhanced-version of Pokémon: Diamond And Pearl.I didn't realize at the time that with the purchase,things would never be the same again.

I had completed the game with great pleasure and there was no looking back.My 2007 and 2008 holiday season went exploring countless other Pokémon games.I didn't just play Pokémon,I lived Pokémon.

I spread the Pokémon fever throughout my school.I remember at least five of my classmates buying a Nintendo DS after getting the fever.We used to talk about Pokémon throughout recess.But that was only the beggining. Very soon,one of my classmate showed all of us a trading card game of Pokémon.Next thing we knew,everyone spent their recess and between-class time(some even within-class time.Don't stare at me like that!!!) playing the trading card game.Even though the trading cards were eventually banned in the school,the fever wasn't destined to stop just yet.

Along the way,my Pokémon game-collection kept growing.Titles found their way from my wishlist to my game-collection quicker than they do nowdaays (how good we are at crying our way to a purchase when we are young). Titles like Pokémon Dash,Pokémon Ranger,Pokémon Ranger:Shadows of Almia, Pokémon Emerald and Pokémon Trozei kept my love for Pokémon intact.

The Pokémon fever just kept growing.I also spent a lot of money satisfying my merchandise needs.I had countless Pokémon t-shirts and wristbands.

In 2010, I bought my PS3.With it,I dedicated less time on Pokémon games and more on other gaming titles like Call of Duty.By this time,I had also started dedicating a lot of time on playing tournaments with my Counter Strike 1.6 clan.

I left Counter Strike 1.6 only a year later and bought myself the Nintendo 3DS with hope of switching my major attention to the various exclusive-franchises that Nintendo had to offer including my forgotten friend Pokémon.

But it was not to be due to two reasons.First of all,I continued to devote most of my time with my PS3. Secondly,any attempts by me to continue on the Pokémon venture didn't give good results.I bought the Pokémon Rumble Blast and the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon:Gates To Infinity but I was unable to relate with my past Pokémon purchases.There were hundreds of new characters,there were changes in gameplay and playing a Pokémon game didn't feel the same.So I continued to devote time to my PS3 and I rarely bought and played a Pokémon game.

I tried to watch the TV series of Pokémon but I left that too after a month or two.I switched to other games and almost completely forgot about my childhood buddy.

So that's the tale of my childhood buddy.We occasionally meet nowadays since he's changed a lot since the school days.I really do miss the countless hours of gaming that I spent with Pokémon.All I'd want from the developers is to make the entire franchise more simpler.I'll be trying PokéPark 2:Wonders Beyond sometime this year.I do hope that we can be good friends again.Because the fact is,I never quite grew out of Pokémon.

Original Blog

The Lost Spark of the Pokemon Series

g1rldraco7

Like so many Pokemon fans out there, I am one of the many who watched the anime when it first came to the US.I remember it clearly since it came out before Digimon and what got me hooked was the voices of the characters. Sure the pokemon were different and colorful, but the voice actors they chose really fit the characters right. Even though most of the episodes had an after achool feel to some of them, it was written well for a cartoon.

The saturday mornings I got up early to watch the new episodes even though my eyes burned after staying up. I did get into the card game and video games, but the series drew you in as you love the characters to death. Veronica Taylor as Ash Ketchum, Eric Stuart as Brock and James and Rachael Lillis as Misty were the gold standard. One moment that really got to me was the episode where they split apart and it still gets to me to this day.

I watched every episode and special from the first season to season eight where I believe the spark was lost. See during a podcast interview, Eric Stuart revealed that when Season 8 was done, new voice actors were already hired. The company figured they were saving thousands of dollars by hirng new voice actors instead of keeping the originals. See that greedy move right there is what made me stop watching the series, but I played the games though.

See I grew up with Veronica, Eric and Rachael as Ash, Brck and Misty in Pokemon and I hoped it would stay that way. When I watched the new episode of Season 9, I was heart broken when I heard them speak and that killed it for me. I know people get hired and fired, but the first eight seasons are the golden years of the tv series which is still going. It just doesn't feel the same and I can't bring myself to watch whatever or wherever Pokemon is now.

I know you're thinking I'm dumb for caring about this, but Pokemon can't recatch the spark it had when it started. Even though the tv series will keep going as long as people still watch it, FOR SHAME ON THOSE FOOLS!!!!!!!! For the podcast I mentioned, it is episode two of the AllTasteExplosion on Itunes, it's really good to listen to. No matter what the first eight seasons of the series are the best of Pokemon and nothing can change that!!!!

Original Blog

Pokemon Stopped Evolving!

AK_the_Twilight

I know I'm not alone in saying that Pokemon has quite a history with me and my generation. I personally have fond memories of going to class in elementary school with my Game Boy Pocket and Pokemon card deck in tow. We would always find lulls in the lessons so we could challenge each other whether through link cable or deck map. It was a time where it didn't matter who was president. All that mattered was which starter you chose in Pallet Town.

Fast forward 15 years and we're still playing, though not as obsessively. Pokemon's time in the spotlight has definitely shifted away in favor of games like Call of Duty, but you still hear about how Nintendo is releasing new games with new monsters, along with how well the series still continues to sell.

While I believe Gold and Silver had the most amount of gameplay/design progression for the series (with its double quest and real-time clock mechanics), 2003's Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire and 2005's Pokemon Emerald is where the series' creativity peaked. We were all introduced to weather, double battles, and most importantly, more Pokemon. I loved the new designs of many of the Pokemon in the 3rd generation; many had interesting combinations of types (one of my all-time favorites, Cacturne, was Grass/Dark). Creatures like lobsters, meteors and whales became influences on the Pokemon designs. You could really see the designers expanding beyond the flora/fauna worlds and really trying new ideas in making the Pokemon worth owning and battling for.

I was actually someone who skipped over Diamond and Pearl, but I returned to Pokemania with the remakes of my favorite Pokemon games, Pokemon Gold and Silver. I loved them, but once I bought Pokemon Black a year later, something definitely shifted. These Pokemon just plain sucked in their designs. Let's take a look at what is arguably the stupidest Pokemon design in the history of the series: Vanillish. It's a damn ice cream cone. Yup. An ice cream cone. It's here that the designs started to take a turn for the unoriginal, but if you need more proof, look at the characters Garchomp, Hydreigon, Druddigon, and Haxorus. These Dragon types have zero originality in their cosmetic design. Zero. They are dragons. Dragons in different colors, but dragons.

Over time, more and more Pokemon have been released, with each generation squeezing every last drop of creativity from the designers' skulls. With X and Y, we're exposed to another generation with new Pokemon, and the biggest offender this time is this thing:

Mewtwo has become something of an icon among Pokemon, earning himself movie stardom, fighting game recognition, and of course, the title of being the Pokemon to use your Master Ball on in the first two games. This thing, recently discussed to be a new form/evolution/mutation/clone/whatever of the famed monster, has gained skepticism at best, condemnation at worst. It's here where nearly everyone unanimously confirmed that Nintendo and Game Freak are out of ideas for Pokemon designs.

But cosmetic designs are only part of the issue. Pokemon has not made any gameplay advances since Diamond and Pearl. In those games, we were introduced to online battles, which have since become standard amongst the series. The routine of the quest remains in tact, and though the game is still as addictive as ever, we need something to break the routine. We need a twist. We need something new.

I'm not going to bore you with the buildup here, because what follows is inarguable. There is absolutely no reason that Nintendo shouldn't make a Pokemon MMO. You've seen the memes; think about a massively-multiplayer online Pokemon role-playing game on a console. Think of having hundreds of Pokemon in the wild including all regions, a single-player campaign with every trainer, Gym leader, and Champion, and online trading and PvP battles. Even those who play games like League of Legends, Guild Wars 2 or Call of Duty want this game. They may be trying to be cool and mature by saying they don't want it, but they're lying to themselves. They want it and they would pay good money to get it.

Nintendo has crushed this dream multiple times. They've repeatedly said that the series is suited for handhelds, while taking down any fanmade manifestations of this concept. But despite Nintendo's reluctance to make this dream come true, this idea continues to grow. With each pitch shot down, it comes back with bigger and more ambitious ideas.

The future of Pokemon is uncertain, but as far as the fans take it, this Pokemon MMO pipe dream will remain as the epicenter. This idea will not go away until it happens. Nintendo needs to understand that history has proven that Pokemon fans are dedicated and resolute gamers; they will stick by something no matter what happens to it. They've stuck through iteration after iteration of handheld Pokemon games with barely any significant changes to the formula. They've gone through a neverending circuit of Pokemon games and they will keep trucking until that light at the end of the tunnel is visible and achievable.

At one point, Nintendo will have to cave. They caved with online, they caved with HD, and they will cave with MMO's. At one point, the gaming culture will reach a fervor so unfed that the only way to satiate it is to give them what they want. Nintendo WILL come out with a Pokemon MMO someday, and once it's released, it will sell like hotcakes and Nintendo will feel like fools for not listening to their most diligent and obsessive audience.

Pokemon doesn't need new monsters to feel new; it just needs some risk.

Original Blog

New ideas for Pokemon

By: Cloud_765

It's a series that is one of the most unique turn-based RPGs gamers could pick up today. It's survived for 15 years. This year actually marks its 15th anniversary for American gamers. The series has grown over the years, with new regions to explore, Pokemon to capture, and trainers to battle. The spin-offs have given fans of the series new ways to experience the Pokemon world, with series like Pokemon Ranger and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. Being a longtime fan of the series myself, I can never help but imagine what the series would be like with new twists.

Pokemon began as a pair of monster-collecting RPGs in 1996 in Japan as Pocket Monsters Red andPocket Monsters Green. You play as a boy named Red from Pallet Town on a quest to become the best trainer and capture all the little monsters in the world. But you also have a rival, Blue (Green in Japan), who is the grandson of the starting town's professor, who is one step ahead of you at every turn. You even have to take down a criminal organization along the way. It was a simple formula that worked very effectively. Characters were portrayed well and the games had a good atmosphere. And this formula continued as the skeleton for every main series game that followed.

We're up to the fifth generation now, which is already coming to an end with the announcement of sixth generation games Pokemon X and Pokemon Y. Each generation of Pokemon has introduced some new things, but the games have largely retained the same flow and have yet to take large leaps in story and characterization, which has slowly turned some potential players away. Pokemon could use some fresh new ideas to help propel it to new heights.

Picture this: you keep the basic formula of having 8 Gym Leaders, and a Pokemon League with an Elite Four. But instead of the plot centering more on this "be the best" goal, the Gym Leaders are secretly all villains part of an underground organization which works similar to Team Rocket, and the Elite Four, who are without a Champion, ask for your help to get rid of them since they can't do it themselves or there could be a region-wide uproar. They're simply powerless to do much outside of try to find help. There's more plot involvement which uses the basic Pokemon formula. Rather than discard what makes Pokemon so simple but inviting, it could just be improved upon with a more engaging story.

Pokemon Black and Pokemon White are a great example of where a little bit of better storytelling can go; Team Plasma's attempts to control Unova and N's involvement in the entire scheme and being tricked by his own father all add interesting pieces to a puzzle that you get to experience. In the sequels, players got to see how all this turmoil changed Unova, from Team Plasma's splitting up to Alder's resignation as Champion. But it could have been even better.

But not to stop there, the atmosphere could be fixed to work with this new angle. Parts of the region look decayed, the environment is being tampered with as this villainous team is working towards its goals. The only safe havens are the Pokemon Centers scattered around the region, which are no longer in the cities but are found only on different routes to help drive the point home of a region in the midst of chaos.

Every previous region in the Pokemon world has felt very secure even with the bad guys running around and trying to cause trouble. If Game Freak really wants to write a good plot where there's conflict between the villains and the hero, they could add in atmospheric changes too. It could completely change the feel of the game, while keeping it wholely compatible with any other games and retaining the same formula that works so well. There could even be more Pokemon that look manmade which have been let loose to add to this. Your rival in this game could be the leader of the criminal gang for a plot twist! There's so many possibilities here.

After 15 years of Pokemon, I'm sure longtime fans are looking for something new. The spin-offs are a good sign of where we could see the main games look to for their next adventures. Pokemon Colosseum may not have been the best Pokemon game, but it had very good ideas for a story that could work in the main series as well. The main series could take a cue from Pokemon Mystery Dungeon and make the legendary Pokemon more involved in the plot. It's good to see that with other developers, the series is branching out with games such as Ranger, Mystery Dungeon, and Conquest, and this is something the Pokemon series really needs: branching out into new horizons.

The universe of Pokemon really is something that has a lot of potential that have been so far left untapped. If Game Freak can create a game like Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver, or Pokemon Black/White and their sequels, they can definitely stretch out even further and create a Pokemon game with story as powerful as a Final Fantasy title. And they wouldn't even need to ruin their game or change its structure at all to do it.

Original Blog

Pokemon Keep and Drop List

AniMercury

The venerable pokemon franchise is getting ready to release its next generation of games with Pokemon X and Y coming to the Nintendo 3DS this October loom to add to the 649 species.. We’re also looking at the 61 TC releases and a tournament scene that is only sitting below Magic: The Gathering and, in some places, Yu-Gi-Oh. On top of that, the anime adaptation of the franchise working through its 18th season and its 16th movie, it looks like the Pokemon train is still moving forward at a good clip, showing little, if any, signs of slowing down. So, then, what’s a franchise to do as it nears its next venerable installments?

I checked the clocks on my Pokemon games, having clocked over 1400 hours between all my version from Blue forward – only counting my portables (we’ll ignore Pokemon XD and the other conosole competitions for now) – meaning that I’ve spent almost a month straight playing the games to maintain my completed Pokedex. So, in light of that, I have a few thoughts regarding the franchise.

1)KEEP THE FORMULA To put it simply, the games are working following the base formula – a Turn based RPG strategy with a strong collecting element to it. This is one of the biggest ways in which the games have succeeded and one of the biggest draws to it. ANYONE can sit down and understand the mechanics in 5 minutes or less. I want my daughter, when she gets older, to be able to pull up whatever version of the Nintendo Portable is available and sit across from me while we play together and tell me all about her battles. Adding in more complex battle mechanics and strategies isn’t going to help the franchise – the formula works.

2)KEEP IT EASY TO TRANSFER ‘MON FROM ONE GENERATION TO THE NEXT. Again, this seems like a logical thing. I didn’t really *like* having to shoot all my Diamond pokemon with a little crossbow to get them to Black, but it worked and it was fairly simple. Personally, I’d rather see some kind of drag and drop interface, but I understand the need for a ‘game’ on Nintendo’s part.

3)KEEP THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE (GTS) – This is more a personal preference and there needs to be some revamping to the trade system (see below), but I do like the GTS and it’s tracker to see how far my ‘Mon have traveled to get to me. Additionally, I’ve had some friends translate the Japanese, French, Dutch, and German names some of my traded Pokemon have and we’ve had some laughs (yes, non native English speakers – we’re on to you!).

4)DROP THE MUSICAL –Again, this comes as a personal preference and will be argued about, but, personally, I know very few people who did anything with the Pokemon Musical aspect. The accessories are neat, and I hear it’s a big thing in Japan, but I’m not seeing it stateside. On the other hand, the Japanese market is pretty vital to the franchise, so maybe we can simply move it back a bit for the NPC’s. I’m glad it’s fun for some, but I don’t really want my trainer being harrassed every few routes with competitions for new accessories. Again, significant personal preference here.

5)DROP THE FRIEND SYSTEM – As it currently exists. It needs to be easier to add friends to your list and to create a community than how it is now with Friend Codes and confirmation processes. Personally, I would run something via the Pokemon Website and GTS forums where you can input codes and accept them through your Pokemon ID online as well as a shorter interface in game.

6)DROP THE GTS TRADE SYSTEM – as it currently exists. The options, right now, are restrictive and not conducive to a good trading atmosphere. Aside from all of the ‘untradeable’ pokemon that you will find present in the requests – the current system needs to be re-examined. The trades are cluttered with requests for Pokemon that cannot, or do not exist according to the games and, even if you do obtain one of these ‘illegal’ pokemon (via a Pro Action Reply or some such) the system doesn’t let it go in. We need a filter on the ‘deposit’ side as well so that they are not cluttering up the system with countless impossible trades.

There’s a bright future ahead for Pokemon, as far as I am concerned. X and Y look like they are doing something interesting with the graphics as an overhaul, and, personally, I am excited to see them come October. The Number One Thing Nintendo needs to consider with this generation, however, is a full on Console version of the Pokemon game. I know, I know, the previous attempts didn’t go so well, but there’s a reason for that. Pokemon XD wasn’t a ‘true’ Pokemon game – it was missing those mechanics that everyone knows Pokemon for. There were no wild battles, little true ‘capturing’ (ignoring the extremely limited selection of ‘dark’ pokemon and the baited pokemon), and simply too much of the emphasis placed on the new mechanics of the world. It didn’t ‘feel’ like a Pokemon game and it was treated as such.

We’re also not looking for a new Pokemon Battle Arena. I like Pokemon Battle Revolution – the attacks were rendered well and it got extremely challenging at the higher tiers. But, eventually, simply battling starts to get boring. I can only use Thunderbolt so many times before I get sick of it. Battling is not the ONLY thing there is to do with a Pokemon. The time has come, however. The Wii U is the perfect staging ground for a console level Pokemon.It’s seperate tablet screen makes a Pokemon game so much more viable. I could play it on the controller while my Wife watches TV – I don’t have to take up her time capturing my Pokemon and boring her to tears. Pokemon XD and Colloseum came close, but we can have a real, full Pokemon game on the Wii U (Pokemon Z? Pokemon U?!) and not have to worry about discomforting our families.

Not only that, but the tablet controller, when I have the TV to myself, can become a new interface. Just like the DS made controls that much more simple for the games, so can the controller. Instant access to my moves, my items, maybe a stat display or analysis ability – I can think of a dozen things to do with the tablet that could help the game. It’s time, Nintendo. Such a game could re-invigorate the tournament scene AND give us something that the fans have been clamoring at for many years. Just a few thoughts from a Pokemon fan for you to consider. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a PokeRadar that’s fully charged and a Landorus Forme to capture.

Original Blog

PokeDigmn

Rotherman2013

Pokemon is one of those series that stick with you. Whether you got your first Pokemon from Oak or from Juniper, you very quickly find out why so many people love Pocket Monsters, even today. Pokemon’s gameplay hasn’t changed a lot over the years, and while I think that’s a mistake, it doesn’t change the fact that they struck on a winning formula all the way back in 1998 (‘96 for Japanese folks). Pokemon’s creator, Game Freak, has improved its storytelling in recent entries, and while they haven’t changed the gameplay much in the core series, they have been wholly unafraid of trying new ideas in separate games, in a variety of different genres. Taken together, the Pokemon universe is vast and sprawling, and filled with plenty of tidbits to love. I’ll talk about some of my favorite things, and what I, personally, would try to change in the series.

Gameplay

Being the core of Pokemon’s success, the series’ gameplay seems like an appropriate way to start things off. The main draw of Pokemon is, of course, the collection of the little superpowered monsters. That being said, without the battle system and enjoyable progression and customization, Pokemon would never have achieved any notoriety beyond that of Nintendogs and similar titles. Its combat isn’t all that exciting: you pick one of four abilities, your opponent chooses one of four abilities, and some little numbers decide who goes first and who does more damage. It sounds rather boring, said like that. But then tell people that you can capture wild monsters, battle them against other monsters, grow their strength, and then enter into a worldwide tournament to prove that you and your monsters are the strongest, and the smartest. I get the feeling more ears will swivel in your direction, as they have swiveled towards Game Freak’s main source of income since 1996.

What makes the combat so deep is twofold: firstly, that there are just so many Pokemon. The sheer amount of them, even in just the first three games, is incredible, and allows for an incredible amount of combinations. The second factor is that, even amongst the same Pokemon, the stats can vary so wildly that there is a serious, competitive edge to be gained from catching a Pokemon whose stats are a couple points higher than average in one department. In the same way hardcore raiders in World of Warcraft and similar MMOs worry over the tiniest changes in their second-by-second damage, competitive Pokemon trainers work constantly to tailor their team of six to their strategies. It’s a small proof that Game Freak has built an excellent system when competitive play is so readily constructed around it.

Now that I’ve given one of my favorite franchises its due, I’ll share what I don’t like. First, the obvious: the gameplay has barely changed since it debuted Red and Blue versions. Dark and Steel types were added in Gold and Silver, and while I certainly don’t think we need more types, I would have been pleased to see some sort of easily noticeable change to the system. More Pokemon are great, but beyond collecting they only add more choices from which to build your team. The second thing I have an issue with are gyms. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love gyms, and the Elite Four, and everything we’ve seen since Red and Blue, but the game being structured around the gyms doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The most interesting part of Pokemon’s single-player is defeating Team Insertsomethingspaceyhere. It wasn’t fun to beat the Elite Four in Red and Blue, because you had already stomped Giovanni. The entire conflict came to a head, you came out on top, and then the game tells you that you’re not done, and that you still need to beat the Elite Four because that’s what the game said you were going to do at the beginning. I was absolutely ecstatic when Team Plasma and N stopped you from facing the Elite Four, forcing you to fight them and Reshiram/Zekrom instead. It was a wonderful change of pace, which was sadly dampened a bit by the fact that you could go back and face the Elite Four once you had gotten that darn “story” done with.

Story

The story in Pokemon has always been a bit light. As near as I can tell, the game thought it would seem a bit empty without a few antagonists, and so you were given a rival and an entire evil corporation to fight at the ripe old age of 10. It’s not totally uncommon in cartoons, and you do have half a dozen Pokemon to fight for you should you get into any actual trouble, but I still think it’s a bit strange that you’re forced to battle international crime syndicates who disband the moment you defeat them. This wouldn’t be so strange if everyone constantly used their Pokemon to harm people, because if you essentially disabled all of a crime syndicate’s weapons, they’re just a group of guys that… could still murder a small child. Okay, so Team Whatever’s motives and/or follow-through doesn’t really hold up under scrutiny, but I can forgive that. Especially in Black and White, the various Teams are responsible for the most engaging parts of the world. On multiple occasions, the Teams almost achieved world domination/destruction. It’s great, and exciting, and then you have to go back to fighting gyms to justify HM usage.

If I were to play with the story format, I would do a few things. Firstly, I’d age the protagonist up a bit, make him/her close to 18 (but not 18, because that makes him an adult, and that doesn’t play well with the kid demographic). This would provide a more realistic base for someone to fight crime, since a person’s mind and body would be nearing the peak of their development fairly soon. That first is the least important, but it helps set up the second bit: make the new Team the reason you leave home. I absolutely adore the notion of “going on your Pokemon journey,” but after 15 years I wouldn’t mind something with more meat on its bones. Have something complex as your reason to start out: maybe your father is the head of the Team, or was hurt by the team. Maybe both of your parents were captured, or if you really wanted to make the story more serious(ly Batman), you could have both of your parents killed by the Team. Then you could do a number of things with the story: have bosses that give HMs as a slightly more standard structure, have all of the gyms be enormous, trap-laden lairs of each of the heads of each division of the Team -- there are just tons of ways you could go if effort was really thrown into the story aspect.

Lastly, of course, you could do the thing that every fan has been wanted since Ruby and Sapphire came out: have a game that links every single region together into one, massive mega-game. I would be beyond pleased to see a Pokemon game like this, and would be willing to wait a couple years to get it. At the size a game like that would be, you’d be playing for days just to finish the main story, much less get through every region. It’s a futile dream, I know, what with the manpower and money that would be required to make a game of that scale, but that would really be the dream: a good story interwoven with every region in the game.

Graphics

Now that I’ve cleared the mist from my eyes, let’s talk about the last point: graphics. While graphics have never been groundbreaking for Pokemon, they’ve always been important, as even Red and Blue’s 151 Pokemon were all a joy to look at. My one criticism for Pokemon was going to be that the battles aren’t 3D yet, but the upcoming Pokemon X and Y have beaten me to the punch (although admittedly I have been hoping for a full, 3D Pokemon game since Pokemon Stadium came out). While Pokemon Stadium and the two Pokemon Colosseum games were both excellent extensions of the original formula -- and while Colosseum came the closest to replicating the original formula, it still didn’t scratch the same itch (the music was wonderful, though) -- I am very pleased to know I’ll be seeing a 3D Pokemon game for my handheld device very soon. They aren’t called “Pocket Monsters” for nothing.

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Overall, the Pokemon games have played a very strong formative role in my love of video games and my life -- I quickly expanded my vocabulary at a young age by playing Red and Blue, for example -- and I plan to continue buying them. Despite the refusal (or inability?) to change much about the core series, a strong sense of nostalgia and a genuine love for the series will keep me playing far longer than it really should. Criticisms aside though, Pokemon is a wonderful series. It’s just sad that it isn’t living up to its own massive potential.

Original Blog

Anybody Got No Time To Catch em All

benleslie5

Its one of those that you've likely lived through and enjoyed the series for what it is over the past 15 years. Started off on the Gameboy and then crawled its way to other Nintendo consoles from the late 90's up til the present day.

"Was one of these Pokémon made your childhood awesome?"

I've never played them when I was younger due to the fact that I couldn't really afford a Gameboy in the 90's, not only that I never really liked the animation for the TV series which was always on every Saturday mornings on SMTV thats if anyone else remembers that show with Ant and Dec and the series pretty much went huge straight after that. Most of my friends I know have played at least one of the Pokémon games either on the Gameboy or the DS, the series are like a JRPG game where you can use monsters to attack other monsters in gym battles or on field battles you can capture a Pokémon and then train it.

I've just recently started playing a Pokémon for the very first time, even though I'm not a huge fan of the games or series but a few of my friends have been begging me over the years to actually play one of the games. Started playing Pokémon Blue a month and after half an hour playing and having a Charmander as a starter Pokémon, I can see why every loved playing these games when they were younger and why the series is that huge for Nintendo gamers and fans.

"Did you have the time to play all of these games over the years?"

I know that the original series had at least 150 Pokémon on Red, Yellow and Blue and after that there have been more than 200 Pokémon in the games in general which is an awful lot to catch and I've seen hard-core fans trying to capture all and get everything all at once which must have been a huge challenge for them. The fun part about the series is where nearly all of the games you can battle over players over Wi-Fi if you have a DS if they have a copy of the game and trade stuff and it was also the same with the games on the Gameboy but with a cable which looked clever but a lot has changed since 1998. There have been remakes for the DS which were both Heart Gold and Soul Sliver which were both remakes of Gold and Silver on the Gameboy Colour, when Black and White were released they even had a sequel which were released not too long ago and this was the first time the series had an actual sequel for a game.

The series even had spin-off titles like Pokémon Snap, Stadium, Mystery Dungeon and even a Pinball game; and yet they have also been successful games when it came to sales. As I mentioned before I never liked the animation for the TV series but I have met the voice actress- Veronica Taylor at SUNNYCON last year she did the voicing for ASH in the series, everyone at the convention were really happy to meet her in person. I did feel sorry for her a little bit due to the fact that she said the same quotes over and over again "Pikachu I choose you" she was a nice person to speak outside of the show itself.

Even the Trading Cards played a huge impact during the years when it was that popular, £2.50 for a pack of cards and then the next day you take them to your school to trade or swap or worse end up in a big fight if you had a shiny card. Yes they did ban these cards in school during 2000 which I think I can remember from my classmates during school break. I didn't think anyone cared about playing the card game itself it was always trying to get the cool cards for your collection.

"What will the future hold next?"

With Pokémon X and Y being released this year for the 3DS, it makes me wonder what Nintendo will think of next. After seeing images of the newest Pokémon on Facebook I did think that the series is starting to run out of ideas when it games to games and does make you think are these games getting repetitive? Not only that I heard that a new Pokémon called "Mewthree" has already played an impact due to Mewtwo which was one of the original Pokémon in the series but a MewThree? C'mon Nintendo you do know stuff like 4 Chan are just going to throw awful puns towards it on the internet. But if my friends are happy and fans are happy with Pokémon X and Y you can tell that the series won't be going away for quite a long time yet, but I'll surprised if it reaches 20 years by 2018 if we get to live that long.

Original Blog

Pokemon: Onwards to Generation VI!

By: michaelP4

(My very first, ever, Pokemon… nostalgia is powerful, isn't it?)

The Pokemon adventure is one that I've been on more times than I can remember. I've played (and replayed, multiple times) every single game from Generation I to the present Generation V. Many a times I've heard "Oh, it's the same old thing all over again", and while that may be true, repetition is actually one of the Pokemon games' strong points! I for one, amongst millions of others, certainly hope it continues, as one of the best selling series of all time!

Although, let me define what I mean by repetition here. By repetition, I don't mean just the same old game with a few tweaks here and there, as that would be grossly misunderstanding the vast leaps and bounds made each generation. Generation I in itself, was revolutionary. You had 150 Pokemon, a relatively interactive, immersive and ever expanding world, where you can defeat all of the Pokemon trainers in the land to become the Champion… doesn't seem too great now, but back then, that was mindblowingly awesome!

With each successive generation, you are given lots of new Pokemon, a new world to explore and plenty of tough trainers to battle! We even had the introduction of double and triple battles! Not to mention all those really cool postgame features such as contests, world tournaments (Battle Tower/Frontier), rebattling stronger gym leaders, traversing to other exotic locations and I could go on! Also, let's not forget that the complex chess-like battling system was rebooted in Generation IV, adding even further to the already infinite amount of options you have to battle!

Honestly, I'm struggling to contain just how much change has occurred throughout the Generations, especially as each Generation in itself was radical. However, uniquely, the same old nostalgic inducing formula is used. You are a Pokemon trainer. You meet a Professor, who puts all sorts of ideas in your head to catch all Pokemon and collect all eight gym badges to become Champion of the Pokemon League! Oh, and of course, keep your rival in check and meddle in the affairs of the baddies!

This never gets tiring for me, and yet, some would argue that this is repetition. Really? Repetition usually implies tediousness of monotonously completing familiar tasks. Pokemon is oddly familiarly new, each time, however contradictory that sounds. If you were to ask me to change the core formula, I would definitely say no. Why? Because then it wouldn't be Pokemon. If you were to ask me to keep adding on to it, I would say absolutely yes!

I've heard the arguments before that there's too many Pokemon, whose designs are nowhere near the quality of the original 150. This is where I stand in stark contrast to being a nostalgic Pokemon traditionalist. Thankfully, in Pokemon games, it truly can be the more the merrier! Game Freak is able to increase quantity without decreasing quality.

Have a look yourself sometime at the new Pokemon designs if you want to see that actually, many of the new designs can more often than not, match and even beat the original designs. And we're just talking about designs here. In battle, the original 150 are far too basic nowadays, with most not being able to adapt to the power and ingenuity of the successive Pokemon generations.

This is why Pokemon as a series should continue. Adding more Pokemon, features and the occasionally needed reboot is what keeps the Pokemon machine oiled and working just like new. The tried and tested, and masterfully executed, core Pokemon formula is always alive, breathing for I hope for many years to come!

Onwards to Generation VI!

Original Blog

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