Monday, January 24, 2011

Pokemon Problems

As some of you may know, I recently decided I was done with the main Pokemon games - perhaps indefinitely (see: link). I was OK with that decision. I just felt that what the Pokemon games had to offer was not quite what I wanted from them (more on that later).

Now, Pokemon Black & White are just around the corner. A lot of information on the game(s) has come my way lately. Some of it had me really excited. The interfaces, functionality and trading mechanics seem really refreshing and interesting. In fact, some of new details are so mind-boggling that... I can't say I fully understand them.

So this has me thinking: will I buy/play Pkmn Black and/or White? Was my hiatus from the world of Pkmn training really only going to be about three months!?

Well, I've been thinking about it a lot over the last few days. I feel this is a decision that requires a lot of thought since games aren't cheap, I have tons of backlogged games to play, and starting a Pokemon game is like willingly addicting yourself to crack.

So far, I've reach the following conclusion: I want to play and love Pkmn B&W ... but I do not believe I will do either.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that what I really want is a Pokemon MMO. It kind of boggles my mind why this hasn't happened yet. I know I've talked about it with friends and online friends many times over the last few years. It seems everyone wants it. There are even several fan-made Pokemon MMOs online (at least until Nintendo finds them, right? ^_^ ). Also, given Nintendo's experience and success with Animal Crossing, it seems like a forgone conclusion!

Think about it ... the single player Pkmn campaigns are basically designed to feel like an MMO. You set out on your journey towards mastery and along the way you battle, trade with and befriend other trainers who are also trying to become masters. Why should it be such a problem mixing NPCs with user-controlled players? Isn't the "community" aspect of Pkmn one of its biggest draws? Wouldn't an MMO enhance that aspect a hundred fold?

Now, Pkmn B&W takes steps in the right direction. Which is why I have been going back and forth about it. It seems that there is a local (read: Americans older than high school will never use it) wi-fi feature where players can visit each other's worlds and take on multi-player (read: not very important) missions together. It also seems that the trading features have been dramatically stream-lined so you can trade right from your box.

But, though I find these new features alluring, I still feel I will be left unsatisfied. It still will never feel like I'm training alongside anyone. It will feel how it's always felt... like many someone's are training in isolation and the only overlap in the experience are battles and trades that essentially exist in a vacuum.

I want to be able to say: "Hey, [your name], let's head to Shiny Shell Cove and hunt for some Flapadoodlers!" and then you'd say "Sure! Then you can help me grow some Shobble-berries and see if the Legendary Erktacoon is in the area this week!"
... and so on like that for a bajillion hours.

Alright, I think that's all I have to say on the subject for right now. What do you think? Do you want Pokemon to go in a more MMO direction or are you happier knowing everyone's world is their own? Do you think a Pokemon MMO will ever happen? If so, how would it be structured? Think they would charge a subscription or would we just buy a new "region" every year or so?


Greg Meyer said...

It's hard to say about wanting a Pokemon MMO, because I find it difficult to want to interact with complete strangers online. Granted, I have less of a chance running into the Dudebros of gaming with Pokemon, but I still prefer to interact with people I know. A Pokemon MMO would be huge, but Nintendo is probably afraid of all the predators out there.

As for if you should play the next one, I say play what you want. Wait and read the reviews of the game, and if it sounds like something you really want to buy, then go for it.

Another option is to wait for the Yellow, Crystal, Emerald, or Platinum version of the game. By then, you should be ready to play the next generation. After Gold and Silver, I didn't touch a new Pokemon game until FireRed. I hated the new stuff they added and put it down again. Then I came back with Emerald and I've stuck with it since.

coffeewithgames said...

I have never played a Pokemon game...except for maybe 1 minute on a store display...I have a very shallow hatred for the series, due to something that happened in the 90s.

I may have to write about I've planned to, but never done.

Mop_it_up said...

I lost interest in Pokémon because the games just don't change enough with each new version. Gold was the first game I played, then Blue and Emerald. The former is too primitive to be worth playing, and the latter just felt too similar to Gold to remain engaging for long.

So for me to get back into the series, it needs to have some pretty big changes. Simply making it an MMO isn't the solution for me, if it's still the same old game since Gold and Silver. I want real-time battles. I want a much better story than something so basic as "Here's a Pokémon, go be a champ for no rhyme or reason." I want an actually interesting world to explore.

Unfortunately, the things I'd like to see from the series are all a pretty drastic departure. Given as how they're content to rehash the same game over and over, and that it sells millions, they simply have no reason to try anything fresh with the series. I've actually enjoyed some of the Pokémon spin-off games more than the mainline ones, so I'm still hoping they'll create a spin-off similar to the type of game I want.