‘Pokemon’ fan recognizes problems in games | Culture & Leisure
“Pokémon” is one of my all-time favorite franchises and one that has changed a lot over the past decade. I really liked the whole franchise, but I felt like that had changed since the release of “Pokémon Shuffle”, “Pokémon Sun” and “Pokémon Moon”.
At this point, I don’t even know which format I prefer with “Pokémon”. Today, I feel like it’s for me, but at the same time, I feel like it’s not because of the changes the franchise has had.
When “Pokémon Shuffle” launched on February 18, 2015, the change in the franchise didn’t have that impact. Mainly because the game also released that year was “Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon” on September 17, 2015.
“Pokémon Shuffle” was a puzzle game and “Pokémon: Super Mystery Dungeon” was a dungeon exploration game with a story. “Pokemon: Super Mystery Dungeon” has been released on 3DS, while “Pokemon Shuffle” has been released on 3DS and mobile. This is where the change started in the franchise, but there hasn’t been much of an impact overall yet.
In 2016, the change began to take effect at the level of the “Pokémon” franchise as a whole. Although “Pokémon Go” was released on July 6, 2016 for smartphones, it was a global phenomenon that brought people together by spending a lot of time outdoors.
This phenomenon didn’t last long as there is so much you can do when throwing Poké balls, invading gyms, and taking part in raid battles. With the arrival of fall 2016, “Pokémon Sun” and “Pokémon Moon” were released on November 18, 2016 for Nintendo 3DS.
“Pokémon Go” with “Pokémon Sun” and “Pokémon Moon” was where I felt the franchise was starting to change as a whole due to the success of “Go” as a mobile game. Mobile games are what people take with them on a daily basis, and Game Freak, the company behind “Pokémon,” wanted to capitalize on that.
I felt like it was a good year for “Pokémon” for both the mobile and console game market. “Pokémon Go” allowed people to start training, and “Pokémon Sun” and “Pokémon Moon” made changes to the franchise with the introduction of Trials, Totem Pokémon and Z Moves which replaced the features from previous Pokémon games. These features are Gyms and Mega Evolution.
2017 involved the release of a mobile game called “Pokémon Duel”, essentially a “Pokémon” board game. Released January 24, 2017, I felt like it was a Monopoly game for me. Unfortunately, “Pokémon Duel” saw its server shut down on October 31, 2019, and I haven’t played this mobile game much in general.
The main Pokémon games released on 3DS were “Pokémon Ultra Sun” and “Pokémon Ultra Moon”. These two games were released on November 17, 2017, and there has been another change for the market for mobile games and console games. This change happened with the Nintendo Switch release on March 3, 2017.
When Game Freak saw the popularity of Nintendo Switch in 2017, they wanted to capitalize on it at some point. They initially thought the Nintendo Switch would flop and end up like another Wii U at first. This made sense because third-party companies weren’t sure how to develop their games for the Switch predecessor, and the Wii U lasted from 2012 to 2017.
The Wii U marketing campaign was bad at engaging consumers, and Game Freak didn’t want it to be a “bad” idea. So they decided to test the waters of the Nintendo Switch by having Bandai Namco bring a game called “Pokkén Tournament” to the console by calling it “Pokkén Tournament DX”. This idea had worked well, getting over a million copies sold in March 2018.
In 2018, Game Freak decided to have games developed in-house for the Nintendo Switch, and it was a worldwide phenomenon. I felt like it was a good idea with the idea of “Pokémon Quest,” which released on May 29, 2018, both on Nintendo Switch and mobile.
In my mind, Game Freak struck the perfect balance in bringing mobile games to the console format, although it wasn’t perfect at first. “Pokémon Quest” was an action-adventure game with an art style similar to “Minecraft”. This mobile game recorded over 7.5 million downloads in its first week of launch.
Later in 2018, the game to capitalize on the success of “Pokémon Go” was called “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s go Eevee!” was released on November 16, 2018 for Nintendo Switch. This game made you explore the Kanto region, catch “Pokémon” in “Pokémon Go” format, and battle gyms. I liked the idea of these two “Pokemon” games because they felt a bit different than what fans were used to, and you were still in a familiar setting if you had grown up playing “Pokemon Red” and “Pokémon Blue”.
In 2019, I felt happy to be a fan of the “Pokémon” franchise in general. And the changes to it made me happy despite other fans opposing it. In terms of mobile games, there were two that came out that year. One was “Pokémon Rumble Rush”, which had a Nintendo Wii game called “Pokémon Rumble”. “Pokémon Rumble Rush” was released on May 15, 2019, before the servers close on July 22, 2020. I loved the art style and gameplay as I had nostalgic memories of “Pokémon Rumble”.
The other “Pokémon” mobile game released in 2019 was called “Pokémon Masters” and was released on August 28, 2019. “Pokémon Masters” played as a role-playing game with built-in Gacha game mechanics. Simply put, it’s all about cash games combined with role-playing elements and fan service in the form of ‘Pokémon’. The effort put into the 3D model clothing for the “Pokémon” trainers in “Pokémon Masters” was incredible, and the game continues today. I loved how “Pokémon Masters” developed the franchise’s lore, in general, and had characters that had never interacted before interacting with each other.
The only “Pokémon” game released on Nintendo Switch in 2019 was “Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield”, released on November 15, 2019. Unfortunately, it looked a bit lackluster despite being part of a new generation of franchise. I liked it for the music, but the gameplay was the same for me. At least I can finally play the game on my TV or on the go thanks to the capabilities of the Nintendo Switch.
A lot has happened in 2020 in terms of releases for Pokémon in general. And this is where I felt like the home console and the mobile versions completely merged. On February 12, 2020, it was the release of “Pokémon Home”. This service is available on Nintendo Switch and mobile, which allows you to move Pokémon from a storage system on the Nintendo 3DS called “Pokémon Bank” to “Pokémon Home” before you can send these “Pokémon” to “Pokémon Sword. “. and “Pokémon Shield”. I really like this service because it meant that I could see the “Pokemon” that I have had over the years on my phone now.
A remake of the game “Pokémon Mystery Dungeon” called “Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX” was released on March 6, 2020. It was a complete reimagining of the original “Pokémon: Red Rescue Team” released on Nintendo GameBoy Advance and “Pokémon: Blue Rescue Team” released for Nintendo DS. “Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX” played like a dungeon robot and filled me with a lot of nostalgia and made me cry a lot. It’s a spinoff series that gives me a lot of sentimentality.
Two DLC packs have been released for “Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield” called “The Isle of Armor” and “The Crown Tundra”. “The Isle of Armor” was a more story-based DLC released on June 17, 2020. And “The Crown Tundra” was a more exploration-based DLC released on October 22, 2020.
That finally brings us to 2021 with the release of “Pokémon Unite” and “New Pokémon Snap”. Again, two games with different mechanics and are a lot of fun in general from a gameplay point of view.
“New Pokémon Snap” was released on April 30, 2021, a remake of the original for the Nintendo 64, and is a game where you take photos of “Pokémon”. It’s quite relaxing, and being able to see your favorite Pokémon up close in high definition on the Nintendo Switch is amazing.
The game “Pokémon Unite” was released on July 21, 2021 on Nintendo Switch and later on mobile on September 22, 2021. The game as a whole played the same as a game called “League of Legends”. A fellow editor, Delaila Aguilar, spoke about the game in depth in a review of the journal’s third issue published this semester.
As for the things I don’t like about “Pokémon” going this route for home consoles and mobile games, I’m not happy with the way things are locked behind paywalls with microtransactions so you can access everything. It wasn’t too prevalent for “Pokémon” games released on the Nintendo 3DS, but it has become prevalent on games released on Switch and mobile.
The gameplay of each “Pokémon” game is unique, but it can be tedious at times, depending on the mechanics of each game. Another thing that I found was not working having everything for Switch “Pokémon” games locked behind paywalls to get all the content for a full gaming experience.
I don’t like how greedy Game Freak has become with “Pokémon”, but I do understand that the franchise has become so popular that it has to be to outsource its assets to other companies. Game Freak empowers businesses to provide fun spin-off gaming experiences for “Pokémon” fans like me.
In short, I may not like the route taken by “Pokémon” games from time to time. It may frustrate me as a longtime fan of the franchise, but I’m thrilled with the release of “Pokémon Brilliant Diamond” and “Pokémon Shining Pearl” on November 19, 2021 on Nintendo Switch. These games allow me to come full circle and explore my first “Pokémon” region, the Sinnoh region. I also hope things might change for “Pokémon” in the future.