Chasing the Yellow Rat

I’m still under the weather, and trying to discuss anything deeply philosophical isn’t sounding worth the hassle at the moment.  So, since I feel like writing something that is self-indulgent, I’m going to write about my long term addiction to Pokemon. 

I started with the series with Pokemon Blue.  I had received a Gameboy Color for the Christmas of 1998, so that would put me at 17.  Which was a bit old, I suppose, for the game was made with a slightly younger demographic in mind.  It didn’t stop me though cause it was really a blast to play.  The concept was new and fresh for the time, and the capacity for myself and some of my friends to beat the snot out of each other via the media of rodents and birds was surprisingly entertaining.

In time, I’d follow the series more or less faithfully.  I played Blue, Red, and Yellow from Generation I; Gold and Silver from Generation II; Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Fire Red and Lead Green from Generation III; and then Platinum, Pearl, Diamond, and Heart Gold from Generation IV.  So, for those of you keeping track?  That means I missed out on Crystal, Soul Silver, Black, and White. 

If you’re asking about some of the non-central games like Pokemon Snap, Trozei, and Pokemon Channel?  Meh.  Those games are okay I suppose, but I have no desire to really play them much at all.  The core games actually had game play that could challenge an adult mindset and hold interest for a more tactical mindset, and those other ones really directed themselves more to the original age range.

However, that tactical mindset and surprisingly meaty play curve? That’s why I keep coming back to the Pokemon games. You really can get as much out of them as you put into them.  The training and breeding mechanics have a surprising amount of depth, and the meta involved with team selection is much more vibrant then you’d expect.  I’d do go so far as to say that the meta involved in team creation, training, tactics and move selection is even more difficult to properly gauge then Magic the Gathering’s deck options…as while there are less Pokemon to work with then cards, the reasons why one would select a Raichu over a Jolteon are a bit more varied, as are the moves that each can use.

Now, the plot of Pokemon games is more predictable then a God of War game, without any of the characterization or depth.  In every one, you are trainer Nameless McGee, who wants to be the very best like no one ever was blah blah blah.  The mechanics, while complex, are often dated in their implementation.  A great example is the rather laborious experience point grinding that is required to get to the level cap.  Further, I find it really vexing that Nintendo seems to need to fill in the rosters of each generation with the same number of Pokemon no one will ever fucking use or with knock offs of more enjoyable versions. 

Pokemon always grips me, and it always seems to do so in the same way.  If you have friends into it, it can be one of those water cooler games that you can discuss for longer then you’d expect.  It’s a fun little romp if nothing else. 

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