So with the latest release of Pokemon’s Ruby and Sapphire in clothes befitting the notable Emperor of legend and invisible clothing it seems the goodly folk at Game Freak are nothing if not consistent; why release an all new adventure, the thinking seemingly goes, when an old one slapped thick with new-gen graphics will bring just as much joy to the fans of the series and considerable coffer-filling in the big N’s back-pocket?
And if the latest numbers are to be believed plenty of people paid a pretty penny for the re-washed play of Pokemons of Alpha and Sapphire, countless grudges being revived and thickened like a scab in the arena’s of the internets, the virtual skies drenched by a storm of ‘Balls of both red and white in hue, with some having blue and – yes – even a dash of purple, too.
However, all is not well and happy in some corners of the web, and with more than one voice calling into question just how bad-off the developers have become for ideas (‘Is that an ice-cream Pokemon..?’) there appears to be plenty of folk who think a magnet was a perfectly acceptable anthropomorphous creature of electric and float in Gen 1 as well as confident in their own creative nous and big thoughts being nothing short of God’s own wisdom writ big on heavy stone slabs.
So with Nintendo unlikely to be dethroned from their seat atop the tables of the Dead Horse Beating Championship let us ruminate awhile on some of these points of possible Pokemon improvements being postulated upon in posts…
1; Cross Breed/Clone Pokemon
In like a bullet and a surprise to almost none, the most called for addition within the Poke-munity is also the most obvious; cloning.
As simple as it is ignored by Nintendo this one single change could be just the world shattering event needed to kickstart the series right up the arse, reclaim that feeling once felt from a fresh new adventure to tackle, ‘Mon to enslave, Gym Leaders to best and All of ‘Em to be Catch-ed.
For instance; what if you could clone a Pikachu and a Charizard? Together they would make a terrifying beast of destructive force legend would speak of in fearful whispers as a Charichu, a yellow Charizard as small as Pikachu whose electric flames are why CO2 extinguishers cost more than a Master Ball in Vermillion City.
A fully replete Pokedex would be a thing of the past, endless possibilities of second, third, or even fourth generation cloned Pokemon bringing limitless potential for some truly freakish looking beasts indeed.
Obviously, you would still need them to bear the base level of psychic, water, so on and such fairly strongly – if only for the sake of even handedness and keeping the game fun for those not in possession of a Professor Xaviermon of their own – but could allow a change of type if (for example) one of the Poke-parents was the result of two water types whilst the other a water and a psychic; rather than assuming water wins because ‘…three to one’, you could opt to go for psychic instead.
…a psychic that can control tsunami’s, y’know..?
2: Build Up Character Stats When Not Playing
Whenever the time comes to pause the proceedings of play why not put your now-Frankenstein-alike familiar into a Pokeball that, with your DS/3DS in sleep mode, it takes advantage of the Street Pass feature and turns your footsteps into stats?
So for every one thousand steps you take you level up one whole level, or a half mile helps increase the impact of your powers. Micro-manage the ‘Mon mite – focus on todays half mile jog to the drive-thru counting towards your HP level, tomorrows walk to the toilet and back saved exclusively for MP – and we could be looking at individual stats being buffed by treading some steps outside-ways once in a while.
Much like the touted special feature of the VMU from SEGA’s swan-song Dreamcast console being able to build upon stats whilst away from the game saves much in the way of grind and random battling, two key features of the game that rankle highly amongst the ardent and casual fans alike. By reducing the of time spent kicking Gengar in the fork umpteen times just to get you Poke’-posse ‘ard enough may, on the surface, reduce the play-time of the game; but as one hand taketh so too does the other giveth, the reduction of grind meaning more freedom to explore the caves sooner, check every last uncertain crook or shady looking cranny. Fearless, almost, in the decision to strike out on Route 66 like a seasoned pro, unknowing of what foes may await but slightly more confident of reaching the next city with at least one of your Pokemon in reasonable fighting shape.
An almost open-ended approach to the game would bring it more in line with something like Zelda, where no area of the world is off-limits to Link (barring essential plot-point specific routes or timed/puzzle-released items or rooms) as he wanders blindly into another Mario-trope of mis-adventure by way of Princess salvation, or GTA and its limitless side-quests, mini-games, pointless character pimping and prostitute punching.
Team-up with some town-folk besieged by the bad ‘uns, help them fortify their fortifications and level up their Pokemon by training them in party-style mini-games so favored by the Wii. Spar against them with your own mighty fighting minions and earn precious stat building Exp as you do, your own OCD approach to Poke-acquisition made easier still and more so by the beefing up of your own ‘Mon as they spar.
3: Play As Team Rocket/Token Bad Guy
Instead of beating the path of a learning Trainer why not be the foil to their future, the hair in the soap, the stain on the bed-sheet and be the wronger of doings laying in wait to tap some simpleton skulls and steal some shit!
You begin at the Team Rocket/Token Bad Guy base (much like you do in a regular adventure) and are told to ‘pick one of three’, train it to the hilt, and go forth to rule, conquer, tap skulls and, as noted, steal some shit.
Naturally you would be paired with a quirky side-kick of gravity defying proportions and/or hair of much L’Oreal pointedness to aid in the mission of misdoings – and would seamlessly bring two-player co-op to the table with a fatsome belly and crackling-ripe back skin to boot, apple sauce on-line play aplenty. Take China by force with a pal from Priestfield or make Mexico kneel with some Icelandic lad; even being able to co-op the main game with a friend on the sofa beside you would be something, and with the detestable example of how not to integrate a proper co-op experience writ big all over Resident Evil 5 (needing two people to flip two switches – with one being on the complete opposite side of the other – to open one door and progress to the next area of bullet nutters does not justify having all your good ammo and Health Sprays hoovered up by another avatar.
Present challenges that require a true two-player pairing, like employing a pincer-movement attack on an unsuspecting wanderer of the woods? Be like the Velocirapotor and cause a distraction here as your buddy-in-bad lies in wait up to attack there.
Throw a map into the mix and have one of the two go globe trotting to retrieve said treasure, the other clocking on with the mission of mischievous fight to meet-up later on, suitably beefed up and backed up by an entirely eclectic mix of ‘Mons. Bring cloning out for a spot of behind the shades shenanigans and who knows what mysterious machinations could go marching into the next city with you?
4: Re-challenge The Gym Leaders
Not just occasional encounters or in certain releases in the series; the chance to kick some pointed boot into the forks of the Gym Leaders whenever the fancy takes is not just a potentially easy way to raise your levels quickly, it’s also inviting to think of being able to bring the wrong end of luck to the heads of these badge wearing braggarts with each successively powerful ‘Mon.
Much like a barometer of badassery you could judge just how successfully ‘ard your Raichu has become thanks to this mornings Mac-cersises far quicker than wandering blindly twixt the flora and fauna ’til a suitable challenge presents itself.
Why not include the option of you becoming the in-house incumbent and defending your crown against those who seek to challenge the seat beneath your kingdom…so to speak.
Take yourself on-line and open yourself up to challenges from any and all; a visit to your city to battle for the leadership of your gym, take your crown as The Best for themselves to add as an award or achievement or other bribery-based reward.
5: Or Even Skip The Trainers Altogether
Yes, alright, I know and you know just why we have to send our pixel-self through the motions of leader beating, but lets ignore all that for just a moment and entirely the remainder of this idea.
To paraphrase the great Stan Lee; Every Pokemon game is someones first Pokemon game.’ Seasoned adventurers will know of the grind needed to bring at least one Pokemon up to snuff for the first ass-kicking contest in the gym; but not every gamer playing will appreciate the nuances of grinding the best part of an hour on the same handful of random battles before laying down their gauntlet before Gym Leader One.
Not a perfect way of play, I agree, and there would certainly be some nuances of enjoyment through achievement lost along the way – the satisfaction of smashing a smug face to smithereens is always something to be treasured – but far better than ignoring the game completely. How many minutes are needed for a ‘quick go’ of any of the Pokemon games – excluding Pinball, Snap, or any others that don’t really count?
By allowing players the option of simply ‘Passing Go’ and moving on with the game you present a simpler, more bubble-edged version for new comers to get to grips with. No, we didn’t have such luxuries Back In The Day, granddad; but we also didn’t have grown-up fans with jobs and lives and kids of their own who maybe don’t have the time needed to fully enjoy the experience, just want the story for now and will do the grinding next go-’round.
A few things that sparked interest amongst the internet but not enough to get anyone really mouth-frothing frantic included…
Team-Ball – a Poke-ball capable of capturing and holding more than one Pokemon. Useful for hordes and possibly carrying more than one Pokemon at a time. Opinion is divided whether the ‘Mon would simply co-habit the ‘Ball or merge together in a Jeff Goldblum Fly-esque grotesque creation.
Specific Trading – being able to trade a Pokemon of the level and stats you want via Wondertrade as you can through GTS (Read; ‘I’m sick of getting Magicarp’s!’).
The ceiling is simply not there when considering the many ways we each could improve this global multi-million pound empire of merchandise and money. And no doubt each suggestion would be as sound and true as the last, a differing take on a franchise now seeing its teenage years in the rear view mirror and whose future stretches only as far as the horizon.
And whether a familiar tale polished up or a whole new adventure waiting to be explored, I’ll still be there waiting in line on release day; stood shoulder to knee with the younger contingent in our Pokeball shirts, eye-level with those also ‘…at home in bed with a really bad cold…’