Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Why Pokemon Can Be Great











A lot of parents scoff when they hear the word Pokemon.   Spending that $50 every few years for a game you think is ridiculous chips away at your soul.  I can understand this.  However, I am here to change your mind about that.

Here's 3 good reasons to give the game a chance:

1. LITERACY.  The game requires you to read.  A lot.  You spend quite a bit of time talking to different characters to gather information and having different characters talk to you for battles.  This is great for reluctant readers because it is a game.

I will say this though, your child has to be able to read.  Do not buy this game if they have just started             reading because the game will only frustrate them.  But also pay attention and know when they are ready for it.  Below is an example of the sorts of sentences players will frequently be running into.
       

2. DIVERSITY.  That's right.  This game has got some diversity.  I remember back in the old days when the colour and graphics were so basic and all you could choose as a character was a boy.  You could name him, but it wasn't the same.  You wanted to make your character look like you a little.

And now you can.  You can be a girl and even a person of colour in the video game. 


But wait!  There's more because even characters you meet will be people of colour.  This is progress that I was not expecting.  It's a step in the right direction and I hope that the game developers will keep on that path.


3. IT'S CHALLENGING.  Pokemon may seem very childish because of the TV show and the cute creatures, but it is designed to challenge players.  You start out as a new Pokemon trainer and you're constantly learning the mechanics of the game over and over again.  Players also have to make critical decisions during battles (i.e. what pokemon to use  or what move to use).  

The whole point of the Gym Leaders is about testing the strength of the Pokemon the player has raised and their knowledge.  All Pokemon have their weaknesses and not being aware of them can be costly.  But being aware of them can win you the battle.

Pokemon also has such a diverse audience that includes a hefty number of adults.  If it were strictly a child's game, it would bore an adult within a day. 


I hope this post has opened your mind to the possibilities of  Pokemon.  The next Pokemon games in the series Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby come out in North America on November 21st.  


UPDATE: Sad news, everyone.  The character customization offered in Pokemon X and Y will not return in Omega Ruby or Alpha Sapphire.  You can still choose between a boy and a girl but choosing your skin colour is gone.  It is a step back in my opinion because it really gave fans a chance to experience Pokemon with a character that could represent them more fully. 

Ultimately, I do not know why the decision was made but saying that it was left out because it was game specific to X and Y or because this is a remake of an older game doesn't quite make sense.  They're just hollow excuses.


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