6.06.2011

I Suck At Pokémon

 I think it is time we had a talk. You and I.

". . . When the Soviet Union was new . . ."
For all my love for Pokémon, I am ashamed to confess that I have never finished a game.  Not even one.  Not even Pokémon Snap, which is—according to Wikipedia—"fun, safe, easy to play, and of value to children"; "a wonderful game for all ages"; "innovative"; "has a lot of flash" (Hah! A pun! Kudos to Mike Floyd, former editor of the Detroit Free Press, for that snappy quip); "lacks depth to make it a great title"; and "bizarre."

I did play Yellow Version for a bit.  (It is, by far, the superlative version of the game.)  I even got as far as the Safari Zone, where I began running into so many random Exeggcute encounters that I quit the game and made myself an omelet, imagining those filthy, oblong buggers screaming out in 8-bit pain as they slowly sizzled to death.  Exeggcute omelets: possibly one of the most cathartic daydreams one could ever have.

#102 Exeggcute.  Best served sunny side up.

I haven't picked it back since.

Looking back, I often wonder why I never went on to beat the Final Four, capture Mewtwo, and then proceed with the logical ambition to capture every Pokémon in Kanto.  As I began another game and launched another futile expedition into the tall grass, which is clearly out of compliance with Kanto's Lawn Ordinance (wherein grass may not exceed a general height of twelve inches), I realized why.

Pokémon's tagline is "Gotta Catch'Em All!"  I ask: "Why do I need to 'Catch'Em all'?"  You really don't need to.

Now, there are (presently) seventeen types of Pokémon in the universe, correct?  The types give not only variety but serve as an instrumental game mechanic: one type of Pokémon may be not very effective at fighting another, while a different one may be super effective at the same job. Because different gym leaders use all sorts of different breeds of Pokémon: electric, water, ground, etc., you really need to have a couple of each type—unless you intend to handicap yourself tremendously.

(This is disregarding Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, where obtaining a Kadabra all but broke the game.  Psychics were so overpowered.)

That's around forty-ish. Forty. And I'm sure you could get by with fewer. (I should note that if you are playing FireRed or its twin, you need a prerequisite of sixty or so to enter Mewtwo's Cave or such other nonsense.)

However, this brings up a question: what is the point of Pokémon?  It seems to me that the rest of the game is just virtual stamp collecting.  You can capture a Diglett, but besides the occasional dig, he's just  You can collect a Jynx if you wanted to, but . . . okay, that's a poor example.  No one cares about Jynx.

I'm all about story, which is why I enjoy completing side quests in RPG's.  Even the little bitty ones.  This is because, for the most part, they add to the narrative of the game.  Doing a side quest for a person may reveal something about them that you previously were unaware, furthering their characterization (I'm reminded of the Kafei and Anju quest in Majora's Mask.  Another example?  Play Baldur's Gate II.)  Another may change your perception of a certain faction, such as Mass Effect's Cerberus, a radical pro-human collective.

Yes, some quests are simply filler, put there for no other purpose but to lengthen the game.  I do not support those.  And, as such, I do not endorse the idea of capturing every Pokémon.  I have better things to do . . . such as getting "S" ranks on every level of Bullet Heaven.

This is actually one of the easy bosses.

Maybe I'm blind to the spirit of the game.  Maybe I'm not the type of person who goes through a game, unlocking every single secret and finding every easter egg and unlockable there is.  If it suits you, fine.  I, myself collect coins.  To each his own.

Thanks for reading.

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