Friday, March 18, 2011

Pokémon will consume your SoulSilver

A little while ago I brought a new Pokémon (gotta use that accent ya know) game. No, not one of the new ones, I will wait until the 3DS and/or the inevitable third version to be released for that. Instead I got Soul Silver.

The reason I got it in the first place was a rather silly one to be honest. See they were giving a Celebi at gamestop for a while and I really just wanted an event Pokémon (there is that accent again) for once. Thats it. Thats the only reason. See? Silly. I guess you could say I fell for Nintendo's brilliantly evil marketing stratagy. Simply make a game about collecting things and make some things so rare it's impossible to get them all without getting almost every game ever made, taking advantage of special marketing events, and/or trading with other people that own the game.

To be honest, I always thought the main series was just way to tedious and annoying. Until you get fly, just moving about the world is annoying on it's own. Your contently backtracking though the map, often with random encounters every two steps (though thankfully most areas confine them to tall grass, but still), and you consistently need to keep a number of HM moves available to get though most of the maps, taking away valuable space form your already limited number of moves.

Beyond that, most of the game is just battling over and over in order to gain levels or moves. Frankly they is very little skill or strategy involved. It is mostly just a matter of patience and knowledge, along with a little luck. Now a lot of RPG-like games seem to do this, and really it's not that hard to understand why. It gives the player a sort of feeling of accomplishment without actually expecting the player to have any real skills. But it's a fake kind of accomplishment really. It doesn't actually mean anything. And really, I don't think games should be played just for the act of winning or accomplishing something anyway. I think games should be played because they are fun or interesting. Dwarf Fortress for example, is not a game you play to win, but it's still worth playing. And I sure use that as an example a lot don't I?

I still am rather fond of Pokémon (cut and paste FTW) though. Partly it's because, even though they can look silly, most of the creature designs are cute and cuddly and I like that. Maybe I just see too much po-- er... fanart of them. It's also because some of the mechanics behind it are pretty neat. Like the type system. It's extremely simple yet just as flexible. I kind of think they should have a "light" type as a counterpart to the "dark" type though. Also while the old boring exp/level system is still there, there are also EVs, IVs, Natures and other subtle things that make the system a lot more interesting and complex. But honestly it's a bit too complex for anyone who doesn't know exactly how it works to really get ahead, which leads me into the last thing I want to talk about.

And the last thing I want to talk about is the Metagame. The competitive battles between different players. Honestly, I never liked competitive games. I hate sports, multiplayer FPS games, and all things like that. Maybe it is because I am no good at them. But really, I never liked the pressure people put on being good at them. And I always hated the elitist attitude of people who are good at them. Yes you spent months honing your skills so you could be good at some silly competition that shows off these skills. Guess what, all that proves is your more obsessed then other people. It's not anything to be proud of. For Pokémon (no, I am not going to stop with commenting the silly accent) it's no different. Spend months upon months looking up all the tricks, finding good pokemon with good IVs and moves, chain breeding them and training them up to level 100 again and again, and yeah, your pretty much going to win. But it doesn't prove anything except that you are a obsessive nerd.

Of course the irony is, if you brag about all that people will call you a nerd and a freak, but brag about how much training and how good you are at sports, and suddenly people think you are cool and want to sign a million dollar contract with you.