10 Things We Love About Pokemon
With the release of the brand new Pokemon X and Y video game, we thought it would be fun that to look back on our years of catching and training our own little pocket monsters with this list of 10 Things We Love About Pokemon. And in looking back, one question kept our heads in a perpetual state of headache inducing Psyduck-like quandary:
Why do we love Pokemon?
We did some searching through the high grass of our souls to figure out why. After many random encounters with lesser answers to our question, we stumbled on the rarest and most powerful reasons for our Pok-e-njoyment. Luckily we had 10 Master Balls to snare each one and bring them here just for you.
The following is a list of the 10 Things We Love About Pokemon. Gotta read them all!
One of the 10 Things We Love About Pokemon is how gosh darn adorable they can be. Have a look at Pikachu and tell us that Pokemon aren’t cute enough for you to steal from the wild and enslave. They’re tiny monsters that can only communicate by saying their own name for goodness sake. Even the most unsavory of Pokemon are adorable in their own rite. They always have an irresistible smile, tufts of soft fur, or stingers full of venom. Different people have different assessments of adorable. It is often said that, “eyes are the windows to the soul.” In this case, they’re windows to our hearts. Each one of these little creatures has made us fall in love with them when we aren’t forcing them into life and death grudge matches.
If you’re old enough to remember the original 150 Pokemon, then you’ll remember the phenomenon called Pokemania. New games, cards, toys, and movies were met with an explosion of geeky fandom not rivaled until Pottermania. Even today, die hard fans still keep the faith by resurrecting their Game Boys and connecting cables, those wiry things we used before WiFi was even invented, to battle it out with 1st generation Pokemon. Legions of fans have stuck around through the release of 500 more Pokemon and they still want to “catch em’ all.” What does this mean? Simply that we aren’t alone.
Here’s a strangely endearing factoid for the otaku among you: The regions of the Pokemon world have corresponding analogs here in the real world. Translated, it means that you can visit the real world places that appear in the Poke-verse. You can actually go climb Mt. Silver in search of rare Pokemon, you just have to book a plane ticket to Japan and hike up Mt. Fuji. While most of the provinces are based on sections of Japan, the Pokemon area of Unova is modeled after Manhattan and even bits of New Jersey. Yes, there are Pokemon in New Jersey. (They all have fake tans.)
Where would this franchise be without it’s iconic battles? The scenes in the TV show are fraught with tension and emotion-searing injuries to your favorite Pokemon who always win and survive in the end. In the games, the fights are difficult and require a great deal of knowledge and concentration to make it through an encounter. The battles are part of what make Pokemon exciting. Each one of us can remember that swath palmed satisfaction we had after our first big encounter with a gym leader only to pull out a victory in the last remaining seconds.
Let’s be honest here, Pokemon is a bit of a nerdy kid’s power-mad fantasy. It is the story of the awkward underdog using his wits, strength of character, and a collection of tiny monsters to make his way through egomaniacal jocks and bro’s. What underdeveloped geek wouldn’t want an army of miniature, and not so miniature, creatures to do his bidding?
Pokemon was a way of wish fulfillment for scrawny kids, and we enjoyed every minute of it. Anything you wanted was just a throw and a command away. These industrious little guys had the power and know how to make you just about anything you wanted. Need a camp fire? Break out Charmander. Is it getting a bit too hot out? A water Pokemon is never far to cool you down. Sure, you made them fight instead of dealing with your own battles and differences yourself, but isn’t that what little monsters are for?
We couldn't have a list of the 10 Things We Love About Pokemon without talking about the cards, could we? Collectible cards are like crack to gamers and geeks alike. When Pokemon entered into the trading card game, fans started screaming, “TAKE MY MONEY NOW! ALL OF IT! WHO NEEDS FOOD?!”
The first generation of cards were hot collectors items and to this day still command a pretty high value. These cards were like cash for kids. Children on the playground were making shady deals under the monkey bars for holographics and evolved forms. More and more cards are making the rounds as more and more Pokemon pop into being. Just remember that if you have a mint holographic 1st Edition Charizard, you can pay off your mom's Lexus.
You can’t have a truly great franchise without some starring characters that wriggle their way into your heart. Ash Ketchum, aside from having a ridiculously obvious last name, was the everyman that each one of us could be. We were the bold adventurer slogging the the wild and ripping open booster packs in search of the best Pokemon.
Of course you needed your quirky and trusty companion Brock, if only to provide some comic relief. Then you had Misty, the requisite pretty girl with the huge temper. But, the real star of it all was undoubtedly Pikachu. That adorable voice, rebel attitude, and loyal streak won the hearts of millions and earned him the right to be the starting Pokemon in his own game. Even the villainous Team Rocket garnered their own fan club because of their over the top egotism and tomfoolery.
If you like collecting things, then boy is this the franchise for you. It taps into the collector in each one of us and dips a hand into your wallet without even an word of protest from you. You want every game, every card, every toy, every Pokemon.
We guess it is built into the slogan for the whole thing, but these games are a nightmare for anyone going for 100% completion. But where there is a nightmare, there is a challenge to overcome and that doesn’t stop people from trying. Collecting is innate in gamers and we tend to enjoy it. Whether it be special edition game releases or every artifact in Uncharted, we want to find it all and experience it all. Pokemon was one of the first games that encouraged us to keep looking and keep exploring to see if we could find and catch them all. Even if they insisted on making hundreds more of the little buggers.
Don’t you dare deny it! You can still sing the whole Poke-rap, can’t you? If you can’t, hit repeat until you can. Did you honestly think we wouldn’t include this audible masterpiece on our list? Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven are all revealed as hacks when their work is compared to this ultimate embodiment of musical achievement.
Set aside all other aspects of Pokemon. Set aside the adorable critters, lovable characters, collectible cards, and rap song. You’re left with the foundation of the whole Pokemon franchise. The games. They found one of the best RPG formula’s around and they’ve stuck with it, riding it all the way to outrageous success. You move through a lovingly detailed world collecting and battling little monsters in an effort to be the greatest there ever was. The random encounters kept us always guessing and on the hunt for more rare and powerful Pokemon. We studied our Pokedex for clues to defeat new and unknown foes. The battle system was simple, fast, and strategic. What more could you want? Sure, they’ve switched up the Pokemon and the locations a bit, but the soul of the games remain the same and that is the main reason on our list of 10 Things We Love About Pokemon why we still love the franchise.