I've been thinking this way for a while now, but I haven't gotten around to write about it. With the release of Pokemon X/Y, I think it might be the perfect time to start. We need more awareness about the rape that the Pokemon franchise is committing to our childhood. Yes, you heard me correctly. I know the hype is big now, and I know it's surrounding you with it's soft fluffy promises of 3D maps and mega-evolutions. But hear me out. I'm going to tell you a story and then you tell me if you see where I'm going with this.
A young girl at the tender age of 7 sits with a bowl of fruit loops watching TV before school. There is something she has never seen before. It is brightly colored and tells the story of a young boy, not much older than myself, who wants to set out to be a Pokemon master! Everyone leaves him behind to pick up this angry electric monster as his companion, instead of the cool thing his rival got. It didn't matter. In twenty minutes I watched Ash bond with Pikachu and become inseparable friends.
Over the years, I watched him struggle and I struggled too. I collected cards (I've got over 500 of some of the original released sets) and played Blue, because people told me Red was too difficult. I was a miserable excuse for a gamer back then, and I wasn't a very good trainer, but like Ash I kept trying. Eventually, I stopped watching the show (I'd moved on to newer and better anime, like G Gundam and Outlaw Star.) But I never stopped playing the games.
Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, Crystal, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Diamond, Pearl, White.
I greeted every new set of friends with a smile. When the original 150 were released and then expanded upon, it was always new and interesting. Torchic is a personal favorite. And my love for Espeon spans several conventions of running around as one (even a skit back in 2010.) I've got a level 99 Rayquaza that can kick all of your butts by itself. I've never cheated and I've kept as many as I could transfer up from the old games.
Ruby and Sapphire are my favorite, if you're curious. Why? They had the best maps, the best new set so far, and the generally I had the most fun. Come on! SECRET BASES.
Diamond and Pearl were okay, but they didn't hold the same joy that Ruby and Sapphire did. It seems to go downhill from there. Can I ever really forget the great blunder that is Black/White/Black 2/White 2?
Maybe I'm a different gamer now than I was back then. Hell, I'm definitely a different gamer now! But to watch Ice Cream and Garbage Bag Pokemon run free? This is just bullshit. This complete and total mockery of everything I ever loved is an outrage and it's time someone stood up and said NO! It is OKAY not to come up with a completely new range of Pokemon for every game. It's okay. Really. We promise. As fans, I'd much rather relive playing with Blastoise and Blaziken than a key ring, a candelabra or trash can. Stop insulting me.
Yet all of you are guilty too. You sit there and take it. You love the franchise relentlessly without fail or question. That's fine, but think about it for a second. Think about the cult you're wrapped up in. They've tricked you into thinking this is a good idea. You've actually started to believe that little key ring is cute. Or man, do you absolutely love that trash bag you've got. He's so powerful! Look what they've done to you. They're making fun of you and you're not noticing. They are stomping on your childhood.
I've had enough. I spent a long time debating about getting X/Y, supposedly the saving grace of the franchise. The ability to bring the game into the next century of gaming! A 3D world with more Pokemon interactivity than ever before. Sorry, I'm not impressed. I played Ni no Kuni a few months back and had a taste of what Pokemon SHOULD be by now. Your lame excuse for an updated battle system doesn't work for me. You make all these beautiful grandiose modifications, so many NEW things to provide a gateway, but you forget to overhaul the battle system.
We've been using the same one for what... 15 years? 15 years! In 15 years, all you've done is added some flashy effects and crammed more than one Pokemon onto the opposing side. Why are you so afraid that the fans will reject it? What are you afraid of Nintendo? We love you anyway. Haven't we proven it? We bought all your Wind Waker HD Wii U's. We bought all your Luigi merchandise. We still buy Pokemon Snap off your eshop. Why can't you trust us with something totally new? Why can't you trust us as fans?
I wanted something new. I wanted to see Pokemon go the distance. I wanted to forget the blunder of Black/White and immerse myself in your Pikachu-loving arms again.
For me, Pokemon will never be the same, but not in the way I was hoping it could be.
To my readers, to play a quick devil's advocate (and avoid any hurt feelings that may have arisen from my post) I understand some of the reasoning behind why they don't change the battle system. (I definitely don't understand the key ring, candelabra, and trash bag, but whatever... and if anyone says Voltorb or Electrode, it's not a valid enough reason.) First of all, the turn based system is a benefit to many people and a lot easier for their target market to work with. Second... well actually I summed it all up already.
TLDR; I don't think the Pokemon franchise is up my alley anymore. I'll just go back to my Animal Crossing town. (If you want my friend code, just let me know.)