With the recent release of Game Freak's newest Pokemon installment, X/Y, I see this statement posed frequently. Although the phrase is often said by griefers and bridge dwellers, is it completely without merit? What are their reasons and are they valid points?
Arguably, children have and always will be the main target demographic for all things Pokemon. The main character is a ten year-old boy/girl who sets out on a journey to become the next Pokemon Champion (other adults in the games are surprisingly less ambitious). The plot for all Pokemon games can often be described as simple and light-hearted, with prominent themes of love and friendship. The stories are hardly complex, sometimes border-lining on the absurd, and feature little character development. You also face off against a criminal organization in each new iteration of the main series. These adult criminals give you key codes for defeating them and let children pass by and wander their HQ to foil their plans. Why? Because your dog-fighting team beat their dog-fighting team - that's why. In X/Y, the main villain calls you on your holo-caster to tell you about his malicious plans before he enacts them. It follows a classic cartoon-like plot of telling the protagonist their plans for destruction right before enacting them. At least Team Flare is polite.
Critics also cite the game's lack of difficulty. Considering the newly changed EXP Share, it is easy to zip through levels and over-level your Pokemon within the first portion of the game. While EXP Share can be turned off, making the player grind more does not indicate a higher level of difficulty. The Pokemon-type chart is just a more complex game of boldore-paper-scizor. Gym-Leaders use one type of Pokemon and can be swept with a single Pokemon if planned properly. Most Gym-Leaders, trainers, and rivals do not even take advantage of the 6 Pokemon cap. Most players can fill up their Pokemon roster within the first few gyms, but your rival is still using the same 3 Pokemon at the 6th gym. The Trainer AI is also nothing to write home about. I fought a trainer who used a move called "Power Trick", which swaps your Attack and Defense stats. There's nothing wrong with using this move, but I sighed with frustration when they pointlessly used it again immediately after. Pokemon fans would cite the self-imposed 'Nuzlocke challenge' as a challenging endeavour, but I will not comment on it since it is not a game-feature intended to be implemented by the developer.
However, the main story is not all there is to Pokemon. Most people fail to consider that there is a deeply established meta-game in the online community. At a closer look, the game features complex mathematical formulas when analyzing IVs. A Pokemon must have proper EV training, the correct nature, and a carefully planned move-set. There are different kinds of teams to build and even established brackets ranging from the Over-Used bracket to the unconventional Never-Used bracket. Each bracket features different ways of battling that can be fun and changes the way you look at otherwise useless Pokemon. Hardcore fans spend hundreds of hours perfecting various teams and using them for battle against their friends. The online features, in particular, favour an older audience, especially if you want to take online battling seriously. It takes a certain amount of dedication to wrap one's head around all of the finer points of breeding and the online meta-game.
X/Y, in particular, caters to old fans of the series, whether they have played the recent games or not. Those who were alive to turn on their Gameboys and load up their first game of Pokemon Red/Blue are most likely now in their 20's. Game Freak has arguably utilized Pokemon X/Y to entice old fans of the series to revisit their past roots. Game Freak has included the old 1st-generation starters, along with an abundance of classic 1st-generation Pokemon in the new games. The game certainly must bring back feelings of nostalgia for those who have not picked up the series for several years.
Who is to say what is "adult" and what is not? The game is rated "E for Everyone" and in my opinion anyone who needs to use the word "adult" as a tool for exclusion is not an adult themselves. One can more easily make the argument that "Barbie: Jet, Set, & Style!" (10/10 by the way) is a kids game despite having the same "E for Everyone" label. But these kind of games more blatantly try to cater to children only. Pokemon games do tend to cater more towards children because that is where most of their sales come from, and understandably so! Arguably the plot is written with a young audience in mind, but that is not an indication that they are meant for children exclusively.
Why let someone tell you what games you should or should not enjoy based on your age anyway? Games were not originally created with a specific target audience in mind. Decades from now, there will most likely be a much larger demographic of adults who enjoy video-games because that is what they grew up with and the industry is only getting bigger. If someone enjoys a game, then that should be enough merit for them. You wouldn't make fun of someone for doing a cross-word puzzle because it's for old people, would you? Let yourself be the judge of your own entertainment and go from there. Now if you will excuse me, my Barbie just unlocked a new wave runner.
Thanks for reading my first blog Destructoids! I'm still not sure what to call you...Leave a comment on your thoughts, upvote if you enjoyed it. You can follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexJWilkie for updates on my blog and some laughs!