Still Gotta Catch ‘Em All


Pokemon is the second most lucrative videogame franchise of all time, topped only by the legendary Mario. How could something that seems like a simple game about capturing animal-like creatures and using them to battle other people’s creatures reach such success? Well, maybe it isn’t quite that simple. When the first two Pokemon titles, Red Version and Blue Version came out in 1998, they blew up instantly and the world had to acknowledge that these games were something special. Pokemon games, when you take a closer look, contain elements of appeal which transcend age, gender, and culture. They’re simple enough for a seven year old to enjoy playing through the main storyline without much difficulty. They’re complex enough for adult players to spend hundreds of hours forming, and perfecting their team for competitive battles with opponents from all over the world. There’s something to be said for a game that’s well balanced on so many levels.

One of the more obvious things people like about the Pokemon videogame franchise is the element which appeals to the collector in us. The original games had 150 unique and interesting creatures to catch (well 151 if you were in the know) but over the years, that number has increased to a somewhat intimidating 720! So you travel through a virtual land riddled with unique locations to explore. Each environment yields the potential to encounter some interesting new Pokemon specific to that place in the game world. Any Pokemon you find can be captured, thus becoming a new companion on your journey. The more you use your creature to battle against others, the stronger it becomes. Most Pokemon, after gaining enough experience in battle, or by a variety of other means, are capable of evolving. Evolution in the Pokemon world is when a Pokemon essentially transforms into a bigger, stronger, usually cooler-looking version of itself. So if you’re really into collecting, or just can’t seem to stop playing, you’re encouraged to find, capture, and evolve them all!

Another thing these games get right is the aspect which appeals to the strategist in us. There are so many Pokemon out there, and they all have their own unique attributes when used in battle. They all have their own strengths, weaknesses, special abilities, and a pool of attacks to choose from. A team consists of only 6 Pokemon, and with so many options out there, creating the team that’s just right for you requires a lot of thought and research. After you’ve put together a team you’re confident about, you can challenge all your Pokemon-playing friends to prove that you’re smarter and more of a tactical thinker than they are. You’re also able to go online and challenge other Pokemon trainers from around the globe.

When it comes to Pokemon, the possibilities are limitless. Jumping into a world with those possibilities, that’s also entertaining and intellectually stimulating at the same time, this is something that appeals to quite a lot of people. Having obvious merit to such a large group of individuals defines the pop culture aspect of Pokemon. As stated by Jack Lule, “Popular culture is the media, products, and attitudes considered to be part of the mainstream of a given culture and the everyday life of common people.” I believe that a franchise with such a solid foundation and such a wide appeal will absolutely continue to prosper for many years to come.

The Evolution of Men

Traditionally, men did not pay close attention to their physical, or personal, appearance concerning grooming, looking and smelling good. Although in past years, for a man to “clean up” he must have been attending an event or social activity, or possibly someone of higher culture, but not the average heterosexual guy. Being considered masculine seemed to be perceived as just that, practicing manly traits and seeming unkept. Men worked hard, using their hands. That’s what “real men” did. He would not dare getting a manicure after a week’s work, or attend the spa to unwind and relieve stress. Traditionally, men were of power and back then supported their family and took care of home, he was the provider. His idea of an outfit habitually consisted of a pair of jeans, maybe Levi on a good day, and a tee, boots or sneakers. He did not wear oxford shoes on a typical day, maybe on an occasion, nor keep a collection of fragrances along his dresser.

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Today, that type of masculinity in a man still exists but with more edge and attitude. This modern male is a metrosexual, a term derived from the words metropolitan and heterosexual. This is the type of man who puts effort into looking good. From the style and cut of his hair, to his “OOTD”, Outfit of the Day, which most people label a hash-tag on any social media site, after posting a “selfie”, to finishing with his accessories and footwear to complete what is known in pop culture as “the look”. He is keeping up with modern time, while looking back to traditional masculinity.

There are many trends that support this movement. One popular one today is the “man-bun”. Of course, traditionally speaking men did not wear their hair in buns. That was left to women. You rarely saw a man with hair as long as a woman’s. It would surely not seem masculine one bit. An undercut though, is what men who had a nice grade of hair would sport years ago, and is still trending in today’s pop culture. But that is what the metrosexual’s role is today. To take a risk and defeat the odds, to be seen as a trendsetter, someone who unknowingly will set the stage for others. To show that rules are meant to be broken and limitations should not be set.

Many women have become major influences to these supporting trends, as they are seen walking the streets side by side holding hands with her male companion who is a participant of this movement. Some women can be fully supportive of the new aged man. There is no shame in either one of their games! Why should there be? Other guys are doing it! Celebrities and entertainers such as singer and songwriter Miguel is an advocate for innovative and well tamed hair. There is always innovation and something new. His pompadour or deep waves are always complementing his modern Punk Rock style and image.

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In recent years, the fashion industry has even taken a great spin globally in menswear. Men are being reintroduced to structure, color, textured fabrications and prints. These are concepts and inspiration that today are being taken from our past generations of designers and their runway shows, entertainers and musicians. Showcasing bold color schemes and remarkable silhouettes that were once a trend but as time progressed eventually died out. So today, we revisit suiting and topcoats, button down tops, tailored silhouettes, more structure and the elimination access fabric.

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The spa has become another trend quickly expanding. Primarily, men attend spas to relieve stress. Whether it is due to work, family or everyday life, men have made the spa become sort of an emotional outlet. They go and enjoy facials, massages, manicures and pedicures and even attend some fitness classes. Spas for men are designed to have a club like ambiance. A woodsy smell, no women in sight, a place where they can have bourbon oppose to tea or lemonade. Massage therapists who are beautiful and can work pleasurable magic with their hands. I am sure this would be every man’s dream.

Lastly, men’s products are essential to this movement. There are a number of leading companies that has also taken part of this movement of the metrosexual male, contributing to his wants and needs. Essentials such as skin and body care, including deodorant, soaps, shaving tools, etc. of brands like Dove for Men, Old Spice, L’Oreal for Men, Degree, Axe, Adidas, just to name a few. This enables products to be gender specific on what is being sold to men. Making it comfortable for not just both sexes, but for the male consumer, who is being introduced to new practices. Practices that are no longer viewed as a woman’s thing, but accepted as innovation and considered by some people modernly correct for men.

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In the article, “What is the Meaning of The Medium is the Message” by Mark Federman, Marshall McLuhan stated,

A message is, the change of scale or pace or pattern that a new invention or innovation introduces into human affairs. It is not the content or use of the innovation, but the change in inter-personal dynamics that the innovation brings with it.

With that being said, McLuhan’s words of wisdom go hand and hand with this trending topic. What makes us individuals is our own personal preferences and may not be in agreement with others. Not every man has to focus on looking or smelling good, or overall doing things outside of his comfort zone. Some men do not see the value of spending unnecessary income on clothing, products or services. Nor is it society’s right to accept the choice of someone’s values and beliefs, to each your own. However, I will say that all levels of respect is due and no one should have to feel less than who they are because of another persons disposition and ill manner.

It is safe to say that the world has become more male centric. If there were any doubt about it before, men are definitely more conscious about themselves today than ever, in their own practices of course. More observant and receptive to the new ideas and products distributed to them. Whether seen on blogs, social media or on the streets. Realizing traditional practices such as habitually grooming, attending spas, and having a great fashion sense are not viewed as feminine attributes anymore, creating less anxiety for men to engage and influence society.