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Teenage Pokemon: Breaking Boundaries


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Jonathan Holmes

Editor-in-Chief

1:05 PM on 12.01.2013

The Pokemon X/Y Special


[Teenage Pokemon is about that awkward phase between cute and cool, 1st and 3rd, young and old.]

It's common to hear that a new videogame "pushes boundaries". To break the rules, pave new ground, to break down the existing barriers between the player and the game -- some take it as a given that these are all inherently good things for a game to do. David Cage seems to think so. That's why he works so hard to use techniques not normally used in games to try to elicit "real emotional responses" in players. The developers of Pokemon X/Y seem to think so too. That's why they put so much stuff in their game designed to make the player feel physically and emotionally connected to the Pokemon world -- to break down the walls that separate us from the characters on the other side of the screen. 

Over the past few years, we've seen internet cartoons about videogame characters see success for breaking their own set of barriers. Defying concepts of  "good taste" and "acceptable behavior" are often seen as selling points for modern animation. Show videogame characters behaving like people do when they're playing videogames, and you've likely got a hit on your hands, especially if you show them hurting each other, getting horny, or both. Not only does it come off as edgy and rebellious, but it makes the viewer feel like the in-game avatars they've been inhabiting all these years really are them. Feed the audience's narcissism, and they will feel close to you and the thing that you made. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book.

But how close and intimate to we really want to get to our videogames? Do we want to get so close to them that we can smell them? Where is the line between "edgy" and "disgusting"? Explore these questions and more in a very special, very spiritual episode of Teenage Pokemon.




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