Welcome to another installment of MakeUseOf Gaming, where we take a look at an interesting topic in the video game world for you to make use of. This week I will be talking about Pokemon, and why the Pokemon games are not just child’s play.
People tend to think of Pokemon as being just for kids, but as I have mentioned in a previous article about Pokemon websites, I respectfully disagree. I started playing Pokemon when the first handheld games came out for the original GameBoy. I remember it being one of the very first video games that I sunk hundreds of hours into, and I remember loving every second of it.
Flash forward to today, and I am 24 years old. Pokemon Black and White have come to market recently, and while the changes to the games have been incremental, I still find myself with over 100 hours in play time in the new ones. There is not a single other video game franchise that I have come back to as much as Pokemon.
The Difficulty Of The Game
Pokemon has always been able to strike the perfect balance to be easy enough for a child to play, and yet deep and challenging enough for an adult such as myself to enjoy. Right from the introduction of the game, it is geared to teach you how to play, while actually letting you play at the same time.
The very early stages of the games consist of easy battles designed to get you used to the way the game plays, but as the game progresses the battles start to get more and more challenging. Kids can have fun running around the world and collecting Pokemon and even if the very end of the game is too challenging for them it does not matter, because they will be having so much fun playing either way.
The Hidden Depth
There is a dirty secret underground world to Pokemon that most players will never even bother to explore. This is the competitive Pokemon scene. In this world the game is not as simple as collecting Pokemon and fighting your way to the elite four. They are worried about what kind of battles their Pokemon participate in so they can properly level them up a certain way through EVs. When I was a little kid I had no idea that any of this existed, and that is the beauty of the system; you do not need to explore any of this to have fun, but if you are looking for a deeper experience, then the option is there.
Pokemon games are long. It is easy to invest well over 100 hours in a Pokemon game, and considering they cost half as much as a new game for Xbox 360 or PS3, this is a great value proposition. This is of course if you buy the newest Pokemon game. If you play the older ones you can easily emulate them for free, or buy a used copy for next to nothing. Any game that you can get many hours of enjoyment out of for extremely cheap is right up my alley, and Pokemon fits the bill perfectly.
Who doesn’t love being able to take something they enjoy with them everywhere they go? Well since every major Pokemon release has been on a portable Nintendo platform, that is not an issue. Pokemon is perfectly made for a portable system because it is the kind of game you can pick up and play for short bursts, or sit and play for hours on end. Either way, you will feel satisfied with your experience.
Just Downright Fun
All of these others reasons are great, but the most important reason is that Pokemon is just a fun game. I don’t care if you are 12 or 60, Pokemon has something fun in it for you. You like exploring? Check. You like interesting stories? Has that too. How about collecting? No worries. Oh you like fighting? Well that’s in there too. Pretty much every important thing that makes a game fun is in Pokemon.
If you haven’t played a Pokemon game since you were a child, I recommend swallowing your pride and going back and playing one again. I can promise you that you will enjoy it. Even if you just put a couple of hours into one of the games for nostalgia’s sake, you will not regret it.
Do you still play Pokemon games? Are you a Pokemon hater who thinks it is just for kids? Let us know in the comments.