Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Oct 172018
 

Okay, today was supposed to be another horror post… but my copy of Claire: Extended Cut started crashing and I decided I wasn’t enjoying it quite enough to work around the crashes.

Instead, let’s talk about a Pokémon topic that’s been confusing me lately.

First off, I have nothing against the idea behind Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon Let’s Go, Eevee! Pokémon GO attracted many new fans, and creating a game to bridge Pokémon GO and the mainline series makes sense.

Create a Pokémon game that is similar to traditional games in the series, but with simplified mechanics and connections to GO, and use that to ease Pokémon GO players into the series to be ready for the next traditional entry. Will it work? I don’t know, but I understand the reasoning.

I’m more concerned about the fact that Pokémon X/Y and Pokémon Sun/Moon also simplified certain aspects.

Both were more linear than past Pokémon games, and Sun/Moon in particular carefully guided the player along. They felt simpler and easier. They lacked the more complex dungeons and challenges. And these were mainline Pokémon games, so who’s to say the 2019 game won’t be like that?

Whenever these concerns are mentioned, or when the Pokémon Let’s Go games are criticized, people using defend these changes by saying:

  • It’s a game for kids.
  • New players might be scared off by the complexity.
  • They need to be accessible games.

And all of that is fine, except… we’re talking about Pokémon! It was always a kids’ series, and it was always accessible.

People have started acting like the first few generations of Pokémon games were dense, hardcore RPGs that kids and new players couldn’t possibly understand. Where did this idea come from? Kids played the old Pokémon games. They had more challenge and complexity than the newer ones, but they were never ultra-challenging games.

So why act now like Pokémon suddenly needs to be simplified for the sake of kids?

I’m hardly a hardcore Pokémon player. I don’t play competitively, I never complete the Pokédex, and I rarely worry about the more in-depths elements like EVs and IVs and whatever else. But the recent games have lacked some of the challenge and sense of exploration and discovery that I enjoyed, and I hope the 2019 game is different.

What do you think? Could kids today understand the old Pokémon games? Are these changes actually being made for adults, with kids being the excuse? Was old-school Pokémon actually a tough, inaccessible RPG series after all and I’m just crazy?

And how do you think the 2019 Pokémon game will compare to past entries?

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  4 Responses to “Pokémon Was Always Accessible”

  1. And here I thought you’d mention Miyamoto like I did.

    So, I disagree with you on one thing. In terms of story mode, yes, the newer games are less complex because they are very linear and they always make sure you know that and go the right way.

    In terms to depth of the mechanics, the RPGs get deeper and deeper every new generation. Yet kids have no trouble with delving into that if they want to, based on the continued participation numbers of the Pokémon Worlds tournaments that The Pokémon Company holds.

    Note that Masuda is greatly simplifying Let’s Go to Yellow-esque RPG depth: No held items or abilities. If it’s meant to be a bridge between GO and the normal RPGs, then the normal RPGs are going to be changing a lot to have that gap filled…

    • I didn’t think of the Miyamoto comparison. 😛

      Ah, so the RPG mechanics are actually getting more complex on the competitive side of things? Since I don’t pay much attention to that, all I really see is the main story (which has been getting easier in general).

      When it was announced, I assumed the basic idea of the bridge was:
      Play Pokemon GO -> play a game that has some GO elements and some traditional elements -> move up to the traditional experience
      I assumed the traditional game would be more complex, and the Let’s Go games would mainly introduce the new players to the typical game structure, without all the gameplay mechanics.

      • I’m the more…creative one~

        Right, so people can obviously self-select how they want to play the game.
        And, to reiterate, the only reason people hatch thousands of eggs for the Pokémon they want is because that’s how Masuda designed it. Competitive players would much prefer it streamlined.
        Every generation they introduce one or more big shifts to the competitive scene, from special being divided into two stats and Dark and Steel, to abilities and natures, to the physical/special split and Stealth Rock, to whatever Gen 5 did (several new items and hidden abilities to old Pokémon to keep them viable), to Mega Evolutions and the Fairy type, to Z Moves…

        And a lot of the new Pokémon they add have very specialised moves and roles that change the metagame, big-league. In Gen 7, they gave a signature move to almost every new evolutionary family (and some old ones).

        Since there is compatibility going all the way back to Gen 3 in 2003, all of these additions never go away. It just keeps building on itself to be a big complex thing.

        Yes, that’s what the basic idea of the bridge was. But there are a lot of doubts from Masuda’s attitude that he won’t end up watering down the traditional game, too!

        • Do you think the increased complexity of the RPG mechanics and competitive gameplay is a good thing or a bad thing?

          Right, Masuda’s comment about it being a “starting point” is concerning.

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