Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pokey Men


It’s kind of hard to be a gamer (specifically a Nintendo fan) and avoid Pokémon. Sure, it’s possible to having a genuine disdain for the games, but I very rarely come across those people who just flat out don’t like the series. Either they’re indifferent to it from not spending any time with it, or they’re avoiding it out of some pseudo-hipster ideal. My personal trend of individualism and ‘passive ambition’ strikes my stance on this series with full force. I’ve never paticularly been bloodthirsty enough in any type of traditional competition, mostly because I always become bored after a certain level of skill or refinement is passed (i.e. I detest being proficient at most things). Where Pokémon comes into play here is why I’ve never been able to get on the train with battling and the likes of the card game (I’d much rather watch people play when it comes to that type of thing).

Asking around reinforced another aspect of my ‘engaged niche’ and that was the arena of the series’ (as well as the anime’s) aesthetics. This explains why I’m currently sketching out 493 of the little fucks with a distinct impulse to avoid both the anime’s visuals and stereotypical depictions of the creatures. In fact, I’d go as far to say that I’ve been using a weird reverence to the actual sprites of the game as a sole inspiration. The rest is simply my own typical dark & detailed stylization compensating.

What never ceases to astound me in regarding these games is the simple range of people playing them (as well as their reasons for picking up the titles as well). However, at the same time --- I also find myself infuriated at the amount of dropped balls (no pun intended) that Game Freak/Nintendo has let loose regarding the series’ strongest muscle, its populous (ON BOTH SIDES OF THE GATE AT THAT). On the reality-based side, there’s no real efficient way for players to connect with each other (I’m disregarding any online endeavor Nintendo currently makes because it just plain sucks), which leaves us to our own devices. Sure, that may play up to the affinities of someone such as myself, but even I could be broken with the right Pokemon MMO, provided the big N steps up to raise their online attributes as high as the rest of their design principles.

On the fictional side, the Pokemon themselves --- while it’s not impossible to access every creature on one cartridge, the whole collectathon muscle becomes a very shitty mask to make money after a certain point. Nearly 500 of the little monsters and they’re all plagued by one of the series greatest strengths, its own minimalism. As I’ve highlighted before, I detest RPGS on a very general level, but have always loved Pokemon due to its own simplicity. The problem with that is the audience themselves has grown to match the game’s own development in shaping the world. Now that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when such a competition is created, we get problems like one of Pokemon’s largest: the main series hasn’t really changed since the first game. There are literally hundreds of ways to expand the game’s effectiveness without compromising its fundamentalism (e.g. god forbid I mention a console-based game in the main series which would remove technical excuses).

I noted with Earthbound last year that even beyond a superficial level, Pokemon is a ‘pretty tight cousin’ in terms of aesthetics, mechanics, and overall appeal. Hell, even the music is a similarly essential part of the game. Perhaps going back to analyze how the two series can positively influence each other (which even in Mother’s case would be pure perspective since no immediate future sequels are on the horizon) is what’s on the menu, but we won’t be eating that today.

Instead I think I’ll kind of end this post with that. To close with, I have six questions I want answered by someone…anyone (lie to me for entertainment if you must).

1 - “How is an individual Pokemon designed?”

2 - “Why is there no official Pokémon MMO?” (I actually found the answer to this somewhere and was incredibly unsatisfied with the crap I read so I’m looking for something else). If you tell me to go out and interact with people, kiss my ass.

3 - “It’s an incredibly charged question, but why are 70% of my ‘Pokefriends’ if you will --- female?”

4 - “The series is not just about the childish image surrounding the games, which are inspiring nubile passions…is it?”

5 - “Which gen was the most influential in terms of substantiating the series as it exists now?” [I’ve obsessively been in every generation with the exception of III, which I completely missed out on. Perhaps someone else can color my perspective a bit more.]

6 - “If you absolutely can’t stand (or are indifferent to) the series, why exactly is that?”