Childhood is a part of life everyone often fondly looks back upon along as well as wishing to re-live those years. It's easy to see why, when you're a kid the world is still big, shiny, mysterious, fresh and unpredictable, it's an age where it's entirely plausible there's a secret portal to a parallel world under your floorboards or that a blue boxed spaceship could crash into your garden at any moment. As a child I was firmly sure that Dragons existed despite there not being a wealth of evidence to suggest so, the fact that they look bad ass and breathe fire was enough evidence for me. Just seeing what I thought to be a glimmer of a Dragon's tail once managed to set me off into extreme amounts of joy and excitement, looking back now it was probably just the tail end of a Kite that I saw but the point still remains!
So growing up is sort of like a really boring, dull and melodramatic tragic event, the world loses a bit of its colour and charm and you begin to stop enjoying the things you once enjoyed no matter how hard you try to continue or replicate certain joys and experiences. For me one of the great tragic losses was my love for the Pokemon series, to this day I still vividly remember the very moment of my introduction to Pokemon. There I was in school during show and tell in which one of my classmates showed off his Pokemon cards. This began some huge chain reaction within the classroom as everyone was immediately amazed by them, bits of card with a cool looking creatures on it? SIGN ME UP! Before I knew it Pokemon was everywhere much to the horror of my poor mum's suffering wallet.
I even have a strikingly fond memory of my young self sitting on the sofa in the early hours of Christmas day, the sun had yet to rise but the room was filled with a faint warm glow from the Christmas lights illuminating my much anticipated presents underneath, it was an incredibly peaceful serene moment. A near perfect moment only made all the better by the fact I held in my hands a Gameboy Colour with a copy of Pokemon Yellow in it which like many other children in the 90's I was entirely engrossed in.
This is a memory so powerful that I still remember running around in the patches of grass just at the entrance of Pewter City where I was levelling up my Pikachu excessively as I had not quite grasped the concept of the games mechanics fully. So instead of gaining a water type Pokemon to defeat the Gym Leader and Rock type user Brock I instead spent many hours running around slowly levelling up my Pikachu, to the point where simple normal attacks like 'Tackle' would easily take down the grandest of foe's.
I poured countless hours into the game and would eventually do very much the same with its sequels Pokemon Silver/Gold
and Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire
. But then something happened between the years of 2003 and 2007, I
grew into a teenager and that's when it all went wrong.
Now normally one would assume that the reason for the ending of my love for Pokemon was down to growing up and naturally detaching away from it all. This could be true but the thing is we see people all over the internet from all types of ages still massively enjoying the series, I even see people locally around me, the same age as me continuing to buy and enjoy these games, somehow building up insane amounts of excitement for every new release. Besides I'm not immune to the charms of things that aren't necessarily aimed at my age group. I love Adventure Time to the point where I sometimes struggle to go a day without humming the intro tune to myself. I'm also currently completely in romantic, passionate, erotic and lustful love with the cartoon Gravity Falls and will cut anyone who says a word against it.
Sadly though with each new Pokemon game release I become increasingly baffled, it's important that I don't come across as some snobby dick looking down on people because for me this is a genuine source of confusion, I struggle to understand how so many people can still get this worked up over the release of a new Pokemon game. Sure the franchise may not be as big as it once was but it still does pretty damn well for its self, hell the anime is still running!
So if it isn't a matter of age could it be a matter of opinion on the progressing quality of each game? Even that I struggle to agree with, despite my withering enjoyment for every iteration I've also bought every iteration. (except for any spin-offs and the recent B/W2 release.) In 2007 I was eager to buy something new to play on my DS and after a few hesitant considerations I decided to once more delve into the world of Pokemon with Pokemon Diamond
. I wasn't sure what to expect or wherever I'd enjoy it but I was hopeful and ready to love the series once again. Sadly the spark I was hoping for never came, the game wasn't badly made in the slightest and did have enjoyable moments but it never held any unforgettable precious moments. Perhaps I was expecting too much? After all it's a fruitless effort to recapture the emotional essence that one can only experience as a child but also my memories have a heavy cloud of joyful nostalgia, maybe I hyped this up too much?
Sadly again however I have reasons to doubt this notion as well as it only went downhill from there...
I told a small lie before, there was actually one Pokemon release I understood the excitement for, Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver
. Remakes of which were from my absolute favourite generation of Pokemon games, it advanced on the first ones in the best ways imaginable at the time. Back then the simple prospect of all new Pokemon and an all new place to explore was vastly powerful. With the addition of Kanto from the first game it truly had an insane amount of content to bite into and never failed eat away at my every waking hour. So surely I would gain great glee from playing these remakes? Obviously this ended up not being the case, I found myself re-living classic be-loved moments, none of which managed to light up my fire, once more I was crushed by the fact I was unable to love a Pokemon game.
I moved on and tried my best to come to terms with my moving on in life however like many people in the year of 2011 I found myself with a 3DS in the early stages of its life with nothing at all to play on the damn thing. With money to spare and desperate to play at least something on my 3DS I went ahead and bought myself Pokemon Black
...only to be even more disappointed. At this point I'm not even sure what's going wrong to stop me from enjoying these games. Again I must stress the fact I didn't find this entry to be a bad game either, none of them feel like failures of game making, they're all perfectly well made products, but maybe that's it, that's the key word!
These games stopped being something truly special to me, they ceased to be genuine creative experiences for me, now they feel like pale almost hollow products of a far off treasure I once adored. They all follow the continuing formula of add all new Pokemon to collect and have an all new land to explore. There's nothing overly wrong with that and it's not like they don't add changes and refinements to the games but it just feels so by the numbers now, so average, so dull! These aren't factors that have the power to wow me any more as its been done around 5 times already! I feel like there's no passion behind these games any more, which is a weird thing to say since this was a series that was plastered everywhere during its early days, you could argue its had elements of a soulless product from the outset.
Maybe the current me wouldn't have fallen in love with the Pokemon games if they had just been released now, maybe I would have found them to be soulless products at this age. Due to first experiencing them as a child I was shielded against perceiving them as hollow products thanks to a naive fresh mind. Because in the end every game is a product, no matter how much passionate love is poured into any game there will naturally and justifiably be an element of intent to make money. However the best made games are the ones that make you forget you're playing a product and let you believe in fairy tales once more.
So then what can Nintendo do to once more make me fall in love again?
Honestly I'm not even sure, maybe I should just make peace with the fact that the franchise no longer appeals to me like it does for so many other people, and hey all in all that's ok, I'm not mad at Nintendo about this, I'm mad at myself! Maybe I should stop expecting that same spark I once felt as a kid and just go into these games expecting a decent time. It's no longer going to be that special experience I wish it to be and there's not really anything I can do about that but I shouldn't let that get in the way of any potential enjoyment I can still get out of the series, right?
I do kind of hope that Nintendo do something crazy new with the inevitable 3DS Pokemon game, perhaps even propelling the series into full 3D graphics? I'd just love to see them go all out nuts with the next one, maybe even have the next entry on the Wii-U? For now though I'm going to fully distance myself from the series and give myself some time away from it, I won't be picking up Black/White 2 and I'll hopefully also put off future releases for a while. Then maybe one day I can come back to the series and fall in love once again, either that or I can wait for Nintendo to get off its ass and put the god damn original Gameboy colour and advanced games on the 3DS E-Shop, HURRY UP GOD DAMN IT! IWATA YOU PRICK STOP SCRATCHING YOUR FUCKING ASS AND PUT POKEMON RED, BLUE, SILVER, GOLD, RUBY AND SAPPHIRE ON THE E-SHOP YOU BURPING NIPPLE NIBBLING IDIOT!
...Ahh that's the passion I'm talking about!
(edit apologies for the accidental self fapping, bleh.)