Author Topic: Pokemon - Standing the Test of Time  (Read 1595 times)

NateTheGreatt

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Pokemon - Standing the Test of Time
« on: Thu, Nov 18, 2010 »
So I'm sitting here in my C++ class waiting for my professor to arrive, and the kid next to me turns to me and says "How would you rate Pokemon games at this day in age, against today's games?"

I thought about it, and I realized that I would probably still rate the game pretty high. Pokemon is still a very unique game, it's practically a sub-genre of its own.

Then I tried to abstract why. What makes Pokemon so unique? It has the basic elements of an RPG: open adventure, exploration, unique interactions throughout, and a strive for character improvement. Instead of strengthening the character you control specifically, you collect these unique entities with special and respectively categorized powers.

I was just wondering how you guys think Pokemon is seeming to stand the test of time? I'm trying to abstract it design-wise as much as I can.
"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Richard Kain

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Re: Pokemon - Standing the Test of Time
« Reply #1 on: Thu, Nov 18, 2010 »
Pokemon is the prototypical beginner's Japanese RPG. However, rather than tie you down to a specific story, it introduces Western RPG tropes to its structure. Your actual character is pretty much just there to have something to look at when your moving around the world. The "characters" are the pokemon you collect. There are 150 potential characters to choose from. Sometimes you have to go out of your way to add them to your party, but almost any of those characters can be "acquired," and then leveled up and grown however the player sees fit.

It is a strange mix of elements. One important aspect to take note of is that almost anyone can beat the game. The game rewards clever use of the rock/paper/scissors combat. But it also rewards mindless grinding. If you can't manage to master the combat, you can just grind until you're powerful enough to win that way. It provides a constant, clear goal that never seems out of reach. (catch-em-all)

I think Pokemon stands up quite well. It is a simple but brilliant mix of various elements, with a surprising amount of player freedom. It has earned its place next to Tetris as a classic that is as fun to play now as it was when it came out.

Panadev

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Re: Pokemon - Standing the Test of Time
« Reply #2 on: Thu, Nov 18, 2010 »
Well the Shin Megami Tensei saga shares a lot of the same characteristics you mention about pokemon: jrpg, world exploration, you collect your characters(instead of pokemon...demons), unique interactions with humans and demons too, a lot of reward for rock/paper/scissors strategy and reward from grinding your way. Also the first one appeared in 1987 more than 8 years before the first pokemon game. What I think made pokemon a really successful franchise is a combination of the characteristics above, having a low difficulty, being attractive to its target(young people) and specially the capability of interaction with other players with the link cable for trading monsters and fighting.

hyptod

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Re: Pokemon - Standing the Test of Time
« Reply #3 on: Sun, Nov 21, 2010 »
« Last Edit: Sun, Dec 5, 2010 by hyptod »

donto

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Re: Pokemon - Standing the Test of Time
« Reply #4 on: Thu, Dec 2, 2010 »
Then I tried to abstract why. What makes Pokemon so unique?

Gamasutra just put up an interesting article in a similar vein.
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/31659/Opinion_Growing_Up_With_Pokemon.php