This year is the 20th anniversary of Pokemon! To mark the occasion, Nintendo is giving us a plethora of new Pokemon games, and, as opposed to what I said in the post about Pokemon Sun and Moon, these new games are widely varied. Yes, there’s Sun and Moon, which are standard releases, but then there’s also fighting game Pokken Tournament, a re-release of the original games on Nintendo 3DS, and although it’s not coming to America, Detective Pikachu. (Sadly, without Danny Devito.) And of course, there’s Pokemon Go, which I’ll be getting to in a second.
I remember playing Pokemon Red. In fact, it was the first video game I had ever played. To this day, it remains one of my favorites. But it wasn’t mine, my older sister owned it, and I was only allowed to play it once in a while. The first game I ever owned was Pokemon Gold, which I actually much prefer. Here was a new world, a colorful one, with brand new pokemon. The joy I felt in discovering this new world and new pokemon is unlike any I have felt from any kind of media since then (perhaps it’s just nostalgia telling me this, since I was only six years old when I got it, but up to that point, I had experienced no game like it.) And when I started Gold, I picked Totodile, and when I carried him with me through the entire game, an emotional attachment developed. Totodile, who later evolved into Feraligatr, wasn’t just a line of code in a game, but he felt like a companion, or a friend.
Pokemon is such a huge franchise. If it were only the main series of games, it would still be huge. But there’s the anime, scores of movies, and many spin-offs, and Pokemon has become a tremendous franchise.
With Pokemon Go, the adventure has come to us. All of a sudden, our world has become a world inhabited by Pokemon. As I said in a post about what makes Doctor Who scary, if a game, movie, television show, etc., has a way to change things about everyday life And sure, the servers go down constantly, there’s been traffic accidents, and one guy discovered a dead body, but there’s still plenty of great things that have come about from its release. IGN’s Terri Schwartz referred to it as the best fitness app out there, and people have been rediscovering the magic of Pokemon all around. Schwartz goes on to explain that Pokemon Go’s biggest strength is in the way it engrosses players and changes their routine: “Therein lies the brilliance of Pokemon Go: it gets you moving longer and farther than you would have planned otherwise, all without realizing you’re spending that extra time exercising.”
Pokemon Go, in theory, might just be the best Pokemon game to date, because it translates the thrilling adventure of embarking on a quest to “be the very best like no one ever was” to real life, making us change the way we do things in our everyday life.