Hey there PokéPurrs. Pokémon is hardly a new topic here at Lusipurr.com. Hell, even scrutinizing the appeal of the massively successful series is something that has been done here before. But guess what? I’m Ethan ‘Ethos’ Pipher, the General Editor and Co-Founder of this glorious corner of the internet. I am drunk with power and I will write about Pokémon if I bloody well want to!
The topic comes to my mind for a few reasons. The first being the most obvious: Pokémon Black and White 2 are due out in a few short weeks and ho-boy am I ever excited. I used to own near ten copies of different Pokémon games and while I have never sold a single one I do not know where any of them are anymore because of moves and lending and general negligence. This means that my usual habit of playing a Pokémon game on my handheld when I have nothing else to play is not a possibility. And that means that when I was at my local non-GameStop store, every used copy of every version of Pokémon tugged at my “impulse buy” cord. It is one of the reasons I barely go to this store anymore. It is a great independent shop with an excellent used game selection at better prices than GameStop would dare to think about.
However, a weak will and no money is not a good combination for browsing such a gamer paradise. It was extremely difficult to resist buying three different Pokémon games. I was able to do so solely because of the very close release date of Black and White 2. In fact, the only reason I was even at such a place was because I looking for a used N64 with my girlfriend who was looking to replay some of her childhood favourites. Because she’s a long-time gamer and she has more Zelda cred than me, I am always surprised to remember that she is not a Pokémon fan.
Although on the surface it appears to line-up with her general distaste for RPGs, I think that Pokémon is a rare series that tends to transcend the genre. Many RPG lovers do not care for Pokémon, and it also tends to be the one RPG series that non-RPG gamers will be drawn to. This made me try to remember what attracted me to the series in the first place.
I was certainly not a RPG fan at that point. In fact, Pokémon Blue was the first RPG I properly played. Even now at my most “gotta catch ’em all” phase, it is not the main draw for me, so it certainly was not at the genesis of my love either. Perhaps it is the wonder of knowing that there are dozens (and now hundreds) of unique creatures to discover. Perhaps it is the simplicity of the mechanics that grow more complex the harder one chooses to look at them.
Perhaps, like Zelda, it tugs at the notion of childhood adventures. A common way to poke fun at Pokémon is to point out just how young the silent protagonist tends to be when he or she sets out on his or her journey. Sure, from a realistic standpoint it is irresponsible to let a 10-year-old child loose into a world of wild monsters and evil corporations. However, as a child, these are the sort of adventures a young mind will conjure. Tackling problems that nobody would expect a kid being able to overcome is a great fantasy for a budding nerd. Tie that with themes of friendship, perseverance, and exploration and it becomes easier to realize why the Pokémon series resonates so deeply.
The wonder is so well-captured in each title with such a wealth of possibilities and mechanics that even with very few surface changes after fifteen years, it is a series that hardly ages. It is why I never get sick of new releases despite replaying old titles almost year-round.
The thing I constantly hound my girlfriend about is that she has only spent a very small time with the games. I feel like she has not had a true exposure to what is so captivating about the world and mechanics. However, I know that there are gamers who have given the games a fair shake and share the same apathy. So once again I ask you, LusiMons: what is it about the Pokémon series that either makes you filled with joy or indifference?