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Opinion Piece – Why The Original Pokemon Games Are Modern Masterpieces…

 

To me, Pokemon Blue is the game to beat and it always will be. Ask any gamer in our generation (20s-30s) and everyone has played one of the Pokemon games, and for a lot of us it’s the game that got us into gaming (well it is for me anyway). You’ll also meet a lot of people who wouldn’t consider themselves a gamer but have recently done a play through of Pokemon.

This is a completely personal opinion but I hope that some of you reading will agree with me… It’s Javier here, and I’m here to tell you why I believe Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow were, and still are modern masterpieces… Pokemon was so much more than a simple kids game and they had the cleverness to franchise the entire thing and make billions in not only games but also in trading cards and a series.

Pokemon was released internationally in 1998 which is when i got the game for my old Nintendo GameBoy (It was a big deal for my family at the time), this coupled with the boom of Pokemon cards in the playground and the anime series on TV after school every day made me obsessed as a child. And although it’s not a franchise I’m still actively a fan of I will still go back and do a playthrough of the original game (or at least a remastered version on an emulator) every now and again.

So why do I go back and only play one game from my childhood continually? Clearly nostalgia has a huge part to play (I’ve never played any games that have second generation or further Pokemon in them because I don’t get that same enjoyment) but the game itself is a masterpiece. Until this game I had only been playing games such as Mario and Sonic, I hadn’t experienced anything as big or in depth as Pokemon Blue and nothing will ever compare to evolving a Wartortle into a Blastoise for the first time.

Why is it a masterpiece? You may have read things like this before but the mechanics, the story and the world are perfect for an RPG and it’s 100% the reason why I’m as into video games as I am as an adult, and one of the main games that spurned a generation of gamers. If you think about the game play and world exploring in that game they’re still what many games use nowadays, certain areas being unaccessible until you’ve learnt a move or power to move the obstacle to access a new area. The turn based combat focused around elemental weaknesses and how much you had trained your Pokemon, I know this wasn’t original to this game but this game made it easy for kids my age, and trained us on the side with the training card game. Deciding which 6 Pokemon to take with you and planning what moves they would keep to better help you later in the game.

It made me the very epitome of an XP grinder, wanting to get my grass Pokemon up early on to take on misty for example was a big deal. This way of training your team up to take on an end of level boss (being a gym leader) was completely original to me and makes me play this game obsessively. If you really think about it’s hard to pick fault with the game, there’s not many points where you’re bored or it’s rubbish.

Then you have this great story. Except for a brief intro from prof oak you’re pretty much just thrown into this magical world where you get to have pets with powers, and you’re allowed to leave home at 10 years old. Although overall the main basis for the story is defeating the gym leaders , having Oak’s son and the rocket league alongside this create enough story to make you play for hours, and play the game over and over again.

A lot of games take elements of Pokemon in their games and I feel that games perhaps wouldn’t be as complex or entertaining (Or as far as they are) without this game. Pokemon made a bunch of kids who saw the gameboy as a distraction and turned them into hardcore gamers.

This is how it is for me anyway. I will do a playthrough of the original Pokemon every 3 or 4 years for the rest of my life and it’s 100% the game that turned me from a casual gamer into the man I am today, cramming as many games into my month as possible.

Anyway I’m off to go and do another run through…

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