Pokémon X and Y were both released as of yesterday, October 12th, and I was fortunate enough, or should I say brave enough to endure the onslaught of 10 years old who attended midnight launch at GameStop accompanied by their fathers who were clearly terrified at the fact that adults were buying a Pokémon game. I know Pokémon is usually viewed as a kids game, but we all know that it really isn’t. When Red and Blue version were released oh so many years a go, we were the kids running through bushes squealing like pigs in anticipation of a new Pokémon game (yes the kids at GameStop did do this). Anyway, my point is that many adults who have continued to play Pokémon have been doing so for years, so it’s only natural that we would want to continue playing the games that have captivated us since adolescence. Why then do so many people tell us that Pokémon is a game for kids? Why do they tell us that Pokémon is a thing of the past?
When I was growing up I was at the heart of the N64 movement. Nintendo was truly at the top of its game and there’s no denying that. It was a gaming company that truly did rule the roost when it came to gaming of any genre. It didn’t matter if you were a young child, a teenager, or an adult. Nintendo had something for everybody’s gaming desires. This carried over into their handheld market as well, with the Nintendo Game Boy. Even games like Pokémon had a more mature feel than they do today. I know that’s a bold statement, but games back then were less flowery than they were today, making those cute, cuddly Pocket Monsters seem more like…well, monsters rather than sweet and lovable companions. So, why the change in presentation? I like to think that as Nintendo has matured as a company, it has broadened its focus to encompass “family” as a central component of its gaming mission. Yes, games like Pokémon have only benefited from graphical updates (Pokémon X and Y look beautiful in 3D), but the mood of the games seems to have changed a bit as well. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I welcome change in any series that has built such an enduring franchise, but I also believe it is this change that has begun to foster criticism toward adults who continue to play Pokémon. We’ve transitioned into a new age of Nintendo and all we can do is stay true to ourselves because Pokémon is not a thing of the past.
Pokémon is where many of our handheld gaming careers began. When I think back to the 90s, the game I remember playing most was Pokémon Red Version. I played the hell out of that game and it is the reason I have continued to love and enjoy this enduring collection of wacky, sometimes ridiculous animals. Really, not much has changed since the 90s in terms of handheld gaming. The 3DS is really just a supercharged Game Boy when you really look at it. Yes, there is internet and yes, you can wirelessly connect to others, but many of the changes have only been within the methods to perform certain tasks with our handheld systems, not in the functions themselves. I guess what I’m getting at is that, if anything, the 3DS is actually a very mature handheld Nintendo product, but it has been revered as “childish” by many due to Nintendo’s current position in the gaming market. Kids having a 3DS is no different than a small child owning an iPhone. The only difference is in how the products themselves have been marketed. Because Nintendo has aimed for a younger demographic, it is the older fan-base that has become isolated. It is because of this that people find it strange when adults play games like Pokémon. This is unfortunate because it has been the older generation’s money that has supported Nintendo thus far, so it’s only natural to a bit frustrated when other people can’t respect that. Think of it from an investment standpoint. If you were putting hundreds of dollars into something you believed in, wouldn’t you want to get something out of it? If it’s something you enjoy, wouldn’t you want to feel free to do so? I think so.
I’m sick and tired of living in a world in which we let others dictate what we can and can’t enjoy in life. I don’t care if you’re a 10 year old kid, a 45 year old virgin, or the Queen of France. If you love Pokémon, then play Pokémon! Who cares what other people think. Pokémon is not a thing of the past, it is cross generational. It is something that resides in all of us because it has been part of our lives for so long. If anyone wants to criticize people for playing games like this on the 3DS or whatever platform you play on, then go ahead and criticize every single adult that plays childish games on Facebook, their smartphones, and their tablets. Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? Unlike many of the games on the platforms I mentioned above, playing Pokémon can be an extremely rewarding and social experience while also including an enormous amount of strategy. So, the next time someone tells you that “you’re too old to be playing Pokémon,” don’t be afraid to give them a piece of your mind.
-Ocarina of Time Nerd
- Pokémon Appealing To First Generation Of Fans With New Game And Animated Special (entertainable.wordpress.com)
- Press Start: Playing Pokemon X and Y as an adult is an interesting experience (o.canada.com)
- Nintendo Says Pokemon X & Y Early Sellers Will Be Penalised (mynintendonews.com)
- Game Freak Says Don’t Expect A Pokemon RPG On Wii U Or Smartphones (mynintendonews.com)
- Pokémon X & Y: why the series will always have a home on Nintendo handhelds (vg247.com)
- The Evolution of Pokémon (randomhavok.com)
- Pokemon X and Pokemon Y arrive on Nintendo 3DS October 12 (slashgear.com)
- Pokemon X&Y – video game review (mirror.co.uk)
- Everything is pokemon and nothing hurts. (thebeautyofexistence.wordpress.com)
- Review: Pokemon X and Y (destructoid.com)