The next generation of Pokémon games, Pokémon X and Y, were announced last month. The two Nintendo 3DS games will be released in October of this year. The news got gamers buzzing because Pokémon X and Y will be the first of the handheld Pokémon games to be entirely in 3D graphics. However, as fans praised this new development, others decried the overall lack of change over the years and pointed out the series’ waning popularity.
The biggest change that is currently known is the change in graphics. Prior to the upcoming Pokémon X and Y, the player’s Pokémon trainer character was confined to a two-dimensional world. The new 3D graphics will be much more visually appealing. Not only will battles be more dynamic, but a 3D world opens up the opportunity for variety in camera movement and potential new forms of gameplay. Screenshots of the games reveal three-dimensional scenery reminiscent of Paris, implying that gamers will get to explore a French-influenced world. Not only are the graphics and framing much more interesting, but the game’s potential new setting also demonstrates that the series is going in a more inspired direction.
Some gamers have been critical towards Pokémon X and Y. They say that the updated graphics have come too late; why weren’t previous generations in 3D? Others mention that there are too many Pokémon now, and that the game has not improved enough over the years. Pokémon still has the same type of starters, legendaries, and gameplay. However, is that lack of change such a bad thing? The people who have spoken out against Pokémon are probably not the target demographic anyway. The games are first and foremost for kids who might not have played Pokémon before, so they will not care about the repetitive nature. As for the adults, many fans and even less enthusiastic gamers will appreciate the alterations that are being made with this sixth generation of games.
As THQ can probably attest, the video game market is a rapidly changing environment. Pokémon has a formula that works. Sure, Pokémon reached its peak a long time ago. Kids these days are not watching the series, playing the video games, or collecting the cards like they used to do. However, there will always be children enthralled by the competitive and collectible nature of the game, and they will want to catch ‘em all and be the very best that no one ever was. Pokémon still remains a strong presence in the video game world; in fact, it is likely the most popular handheld game out there. Even if gamers are not falling in love with the series as generations have in the past, fans will continue purchasing the new iterations because Pokémon is a nostalgic experience. The games are the ultimate comfort food of gaming; nearly every gamer out there is familiar with them, and even if one hasn’t played them in years, it’s possible to pick up a new copy and know exactly how to play. Pokémon might not be the flashiest toy out there, but it is a solid, reliable friend who just got a makeover.