You wake up; today is a new day…it’s different because on this day you become a Master. You head over to see the town’s professor while talking to the residents of your small little town that has no Trainer Gym to get a badge. Finally meeting up with a scientist, a relative or some entity operated by some common code. You find out the professor isn’t there. Tough nuggets. Is the game over? You paid enough for this cartridge, you move on through the leaves & are accused of being crazy for trying to get off in the world without a monstrous companion. Rushed back to the town’s lab by the professor who was on his lunch break, he breaks out old collected pocket monsters as his grandchild, your rival, waltzes in & picks the one that is super effectively powerful by nature. Eventually you fetch a Kindle-designed digital dictionary & start your journey. Before you know it you’re in a bug infested forest..catch one…congrats this bug pokemon will evolve in 20mins. Speed up the process, you’re at the rock dungeon that has been re iterated time & time again…hopefully you picked the water Pokemon on the desk. Soon you’re going to bump into you’re rival…he’s/she’s kicking ass. Don’t release your water pokemon against the grass bastard he chose just in case. 2nd picks always win.
Now this sounds familiar huh? It should, because if you’ve played every Pokemon title, not only are you used to it but you might as well program it. This has been the same start since the dawn of Blue & Red. I grew up during the start of the Poke Fever of ’96. I remember that morning when I woke up…about 7 years old…the first thing I see on my night stand next to a two day old cup of Welch’s grape juice…was a copy of Pokemon Blue fresh in it’s box. My brother says “here’s it for you”…my Gameboy Color never felt so abused (Until my bro got me Link’s Awakening DX from Funcoland…:) happy days)
I followed Pokemon for years, the last one I played was Diamond. I was tired. It hit me that the narrative is super repetitive yet for something to use the same exact approach & stay relevant through the times has boggled me.
Learning design systems, I always try to write my docs by giving a player a fresh system yet an addictive one. Pokemon is an RPG cross with a pet simulator; both are lite on the design. Every issue reminds me of Sports game only there is some space between the releases…I ask myself what changes between each iteration. Do slight tweaks provide balance, providing comfortably by never flawing the system for the long time player? Does the repetition give the average fan what they’ve become accustomed to instead of watering down the series?? Simple; what does everyone pick up this game!!? Why is it so f—king cool!?
Pokemon uses the “Jensen” (Rock-Paper-Scissors) design system, spanning about 8 elements. Everyone has a weakness. Someone in your team can be super effectively superior to another motherfuc*er. When a new batch of Pokemon is released, a few years later a new liter is spilled onto the next generation of little bastard children. Using a simple turn based system, with one pocket monster at play (I think it’s bumped up to three..IF!! the other player wants to use three against you).
RPG’s of today aren’t as relevant as they use to be in the 90’s heyday. In today they’re some system mechanics that juice the hell of design systems. NIS America, Atlus, Level 5…these are modern RPG teams that have bless the stage with great RPGs. In Pokemon you really don’t have a wholesome pet simulator. Many just stuff there mouths with rare candies & berries. The breeding mechs are even generic. When I was about 11, me & my friends use to play “Dragon Warrior Monsters” passing around the same cartridge like a cheap whore. The breeding mechs. Were so sweet! Most likely you ended up with another form of a monster rather than a smaller version of one of the Poke-Parents. There’s something that makes us wants to catch’em all. The idea of seeing our little pokebud evolve into some monstrous dragon shows growth not only in him but us. It’s our progress that we put into the little bugger, the TMs and HMs that we injected into the little bastard, the constant grinding by walking in circles in the leaves or cave-diving (FUCK-A U ZUBAT!!!). To salt a great gameplay system is to not make it harder to play but harder to understand when the player comes back around. It seems we already know what to do without the use a guide; the designer has set sort of a comic book like design, establishing elements so there’s no fear that things have change, different from most RPGs where the player has to learn a so much while keeping the system from the 1st in mind.
I believe its simplicity. The basic design of Pokemon is so simple, with average tweaks without salting the series. Anyone can pick up & play with purging ours into the gameplay. The designs of many RPGs change overtime. Final Fantasy has changed time & time again. If the last Final Fantasy a person played was 4 and tries to play X-2, he won’t be a Final Fantasy fan for too long. Every iteration needs a tweak & innovated system design yet too much could be salty & eventually someone finds themselves to a new fix. Pokemon has yet to change the main character’s background, or his age, his story in general. By keeping the system so accustomed to what the super fan is used to, they’re keeping the gold..the freshness. Pokemon is simple & fun & I can’t knock it. Black & White is on its way, will I be getting it? Nah, I’m waiting for Ghost Trick..word