Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pokemon Black and White

I swear, I don't just sit around and think about Pokemon all day.

...I may be lying.

With only 22 days left until the release of Pokemon Black and White in Japan, there's a few things that I want to talk about. Specifically, the new Pokemon!

In Pokemon Black and White, you're now limited solely to new Pokemon until you've beaten the game. AMAZING! You mean I don't have to see another Geodude EVER AGAIN?

and yet...

Just like every other generation, we have what I like to call the "This Generation's Rattata" Phenomenon.
Each Generation, there are some Pokemon who seem to be replaced by a new Pokemon who's similar in size, stats, and availability within the games.
For instance, every generation has had a new Normal-Type Pokemon found on the first route the player travels on. (The last one there is Minezumi, of Generation V)

We also have "This Generation's Pidgey"... (Generation V's Pidgey is Mamepato)

..."This Generation's Caterpie" (the newest currently named Kurumiru)

Each of these new Pokemon are becoming more and more trite as we realize we're not being treated to a new Pokemon, but simply a rehash of an already-exhausted concept.

(We've also had a few more subtle pairings - for instance, Feebas and Milotic are often considered to be the Hoenn equivalent to Magikarp and Gyarados, with similar statistics but wholly different catch rates, availabilities, and purposes. However, this is more of an interesting bit of trivia and not evidence of a lack of originality. There are other Pokemon who seem to be casually offered answers to common complaints - for instance, Duskull seems to be an answer to the total lack of Ghost-Type Pokemon offered in the game, or Vespiqueen being the answer to the lack of formidable Bug-Types since Beedrill, but that's solely a matter of opinion.)

Well, Generation V is not letting us get away so easy. I've already shown you Minezumi, Mamepato, and Kurumiru, but let's not forget "This Generation's Zubat," Koromori.

I'm sure there'll be more, and we'll have a full answer just a few days after September 18th when the first nerd beats Pokemon Black and White (or, of course, a strategy guide comes out...)

However, I have to give GameFreak some props. Whether you like the designs of some of the new Pokemon or not, they're definitely original -or if not 100% original, they're at least likable. Take Moguryu, for example.

He looks like he could be "This Generation's Sandshrew," but he's adorable, and I'll be excited when I catch one.

There's also screenshots of a Pokemon based off of an Egyptian Sarcophagus, who, like the Unown, may be part of some ancient society found in the Isshu region which could be an absolutely fascinating element of gameplay.

I'll always have my ups and downs with Pokemon, but I'm really excited to see what they do with the next generation. It's hard to remind myself that, though I may be the consumer, this is their creation, and if I don't like it, then that's not their problem. I'm just one person. This is their creation, not mine. Whereas they should bear in mind who their fans are, they should also be brave and creative in their decisions and finished products.

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