Pokemon Needs to Change

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The phrase “Gotta catch em’ all” has been associated with the Pokemon games for years…but is that really what these games should be about?  Or should the game be about forming a bond with your Pokemon?  With the release of Pokemon Sun and Moon on the horizon I have been thinking more about Pokemon games.  As an avid Pokemon fan since childhood I have always loved the new creatures and worlds that come with each new installment.  However, as I get older and have less free time I yearn for a BETTER Pokemon game not just a NEW Pokemon game.

Pokemon NEEDS to change to stay relevant in modern gaming.  With the rise of mobile gaming and handheld gaming on the decline Pokemon needs to add to its gaming mechanics to stay current.  Other role playing games like the Persona and Yokai Watch seem to be intriguing the public more then a new Pokemon game and this has me worried. With the latest installment of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire not many things were changed from X and Y and that is troubling for the future.  I want to explore some things that could improve the Pokemon franchise and could have old and new fans alike clambering for more of those crazy pocket monsters.

One feature that was introduced in earlier games is Pokemon natures.  Oh look you have an Sassy Pikachu…but what does that mean?  Essentially a Pokemon nature changes its stats as it levels up…but what if it did more?  What if a sassy Pikachu looked different from a brave one?  I think that if Pokemon looked different according to their natures then that would make catching Pokemon more interesting.  Everyone could have a unique experience catching the same Pokemon.  Oh look at my Pikachu it has a silly face!  Oh his Pikachu has an angry face.  It makes me care about my specific Pokemon and gives the Pokemon more personality.

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One of the reasons why the Pokemon anime was so popular was because of Pikachu and his many expressions.  These expressions gave the character life and made us care about him and his bond with his trainer, Ash.  This important part of Pokemon has not been present in the modern games.  This new feature could bring a whole new dimension to catching, trading, and breeding.

In Pokemon X and Y, Pokemon-amie was introduced.  This titular feature allowed you to deepen your bonds with your Pokemon by petting them and feeding them…cupcakes?

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If he is a ghost where does it go?  Woah.

No I didn’t make that up.  You can feed this ghost a cupcake.  This not only raised their bond with you but also made them fight more fiercely in battle.  Pokemon Sun and Moon has not shown any gameplay of this feature, which has me thinking that it might not be present.  Being able to form a different bond, however shallow, with your Pokemon was a big step for the series.  I hope that in the new game we get an updated version of Pokemon-amie that allows us to do different things to bond with our mons.

Remember Pokemon Gold?  Remember how your Pokemon would follow you around and you could see its face and check its mood?  WHY DID THEY TAKE THAT OUT?!  Fans have been wanting that feature back for years and I think that in a new modern Pokemon that would be an amazing addition.  Once again, this feature would allow you to have a stronger bond with the Pokemon in your party and cement that bond by being able to constantly see one of your party members.  The stronger those bonds the more incentive you have to play the game and strengthen those Pokemon.

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Why did they remove this?

Pokemon has been one of my favorite gaming franchises since I was 8 years old.  I have made friendships and made connections in the real world that have lasted years because of Pokemon.  All I am asking is for the game to use the theme it presents in its titles (the theme being making bonds with others and Pokemon), and make it essential to gameplay.  With new RPG’s being made every year it is hard for an older franchise to stay relevant without changing.  I hope that Pokemon in the future can make relevant changes to stay popular for a modern audience.  I can’t wait to see any of the changes that Pokemon Sun and Moon make.  See you all on the Pokemon Battlefield this November.

This article was written by Ian Preschel. He can be found on Twitter @IanWhyNot and for more thoughts on video games check out @OKBeastNow.

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