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.

5 thoughts on “Still Gotta Catch ‘Em All

  1. This is one of my favorite topics because I am a Pokemon fan. It is a fact that the game is extremely interesting and fun to play with all the variety of Pokemon and evolution and all the new regions explore. Although Pokemon is fun, I definitely agree that it can be very challenging at times, especially when it comes down to the real competition. Some people thing that Pokemon is just a simple game for kids, but when it all comes down to it, it is all about strategy; and it takes years of training and studying how the Pokemon moves and abilities work most effectively to come up with the perfect team.
    Unfortunately, I can’t say that the possibilities are limitless for Pokemon, because it seems as though they are starting to run out of ideas of what Pokemon to create. The amount of new Pokemon they created in X and Y were pretty limited and the region wasn’t that interesting, but maybe its just that region.

  2. Good job. You make very good points, and as a long time Pokemon lover myself, I agree with you. Pokemon is nowhere near an important issue, and yet there are millions of people who love it. Also, Pokemon, unlike other things that may show up in pop culture, such as clothing trends, isn’t confined to one age group. Pokemon fans can range from children to any age. Again, good job.

  3. mclewis95 says:

    I LOVE POKEMON. These games sum up my childhood, who knows how many countless hours I spent playing these games. The open world, competitive battles with complete strangers and gym leaders, praying you weakened the wild pokemon enough so that you could capture them, and the strategic elements you had to endure to advance throughout the game is what made me fall in love with these games. I stopped playing after diamond and pearl came out, so I don’t know any new pokemon past that, but I definitely want to get a D.S. and play the newer games! As well as replay the old games. Hands down some of the greatest video games out there. Even if you didn’t watch the show or didn’t have the trading cards growing up, you will still love these games!

  4. I have to agree, this is one of the most popular topics that still hold up even to this day. Personally, What made me interesting in pokemon was the cartoon series. The fact that the characters going on daily adventures and meeting new friends and challenges really spoke to me as child. Especially the theme song from the first pokemon series really appealed to me, and a lot of fans as well.

    What made this article a good read is that you do a good job on focusing and explaining the gaming aspect of pokemon. Other topics of pokemon such as fanart, the anime series, and other inspirations already make this a gargantuan subject matter. With so many sub-categories to choose from, it would’ve seemed too much to handle. However, you narrowed it down and really explored pokemon’s impact on gamers. This article really shows your fascination of pokemon, and how it widely appeals to so many others as a whole.

  5. It’s funny. One of the reasons I dove back into Pokemon recently was because everyone I hang out with at AI also play Pokemon. The redesign of Pokemon X and Y had me thinking about it but my peers helped me make my final decision. But with everyone else, there’s no doubt that the new 3D graphics in X and Y had a big part in getting people back into Pokemon.

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