6 Important Lessons That Other Games Can Learn From Pokémon X And Y

original14 496x360 6 Important Lessons That Other Games Can Learn From Pokémon X And Y

The Pokémon series is such a mainstay in videogames that it’s sometimes hard to perceive it in extremes. I don’t often think of Pokémon games as terribly innovative or terribly stale – rather, Pokémon is an ever-present entity in the handheld landscape that is always there for the taking when I desire it. At least, that’s how I felt before Pokémon X and Y came out.

For me, X and Y takes the best aspects of Pokémon and accentuates them. It addresses numerous issues that have long harried the series, and either polishes them to a sheen or revamps them completely. Perhaps most impressive on Pokémon X and Y’s brag sheet is its successful transition to polygonal 3D – an oft-tumultuous leap known to leave many-a-great IP permanently disfigured. Nobody executes the 2D-3D shift better than Nintendo, and no game in recent memory has infused itself with an added dimension as skillfully as Game Freak’s latest.

You can read my review for a more level-headed and in-depth verdict, but with my duties as an unprejudiced critic behind me, I’ve come to realize something else about the game – I’m not taking it for granted. Despite sinking hundreds of hours into Ruby and Sapphire, Diamond and Pearl, and then Black and White, the games began to feel like less of an adventure and more of a simple timesink. A fun timesink, but a timesink nonetheless.

Luckily, that trend has been bucked, and I’m enjoying X and Y more than any Pokémon game since the Game Boy’s Gold and Silver (and the excellent DS remake). Whatever it is that Pokémon does, it’s doing it in full force for its 3DS go-round, and there’s no doubt a whole lot that can be learned from such a seasoned and long-standing franchise.

So, without further ado, here are some things that gaming on the whole ought to take notes on when it comes to Pokémon X and Y, and the series in general.

Continue reading on the next page…


Quality Over Quantity

pokemon x y   starter wallpaper by arkeis pokemon d5qv7uj 670x338 6 Important Lessons That Other Games Can Learn From Pokémon X And Y

One of the first things to jump out at the casual series follower or bullet-point memorizer is that Pokémon X and Y doesn’t introduce very many actual new Pokémon. Though it initially sounds like an obvious negative, I think Game Freak’s choice to limit the number of new monsters to a modest 69 was a smart one. One of Black and White’s biggest criticisms was the downright silliness of some of the creature designs — something like Garbodor comes to mind — so taking things slow and interspersing the new guys with the old made everything that much easier to digest. Even Klefki.

Though it’s difficult to apply this decision directly to other games (since most games don’t introduce 150 new characters every few years), perhaps the answer lies within the odd non-comparison itself. It may not be labeled as such very often, but Pokémon is a yearly franchise. Yes, some years are just revamps of last year’s game with extra features, or remakes of editions that were released many years prior. But I think what Game Freak has done with X and Y is take the focus off of the numbers, and put it back on the experience. True, there are only 69 new Pokémon, but so what? This game is more than the sum of its Kalos Pokédex, and it’s this very approach that could stand to make yearly game franchises all the more fresh and creative.

Continue reading on the next page…

Previous Next

Makeshift Parenting

image 62413 thumb wide610 6 Important Lessons That Other Games Can Learn From Pokémon X And Y

Though it can admittedly come off as a bit cheesy or ham-fisted to older players, Pokémon games are absolutely loaded with life lessons and semi-preachy inhabitants, revealing exactly how your ought to go about living day to day Though these bouts of “work hard, make friends!” mostly just induce a smile and a nod from an older trainer like myself, they’re part of the fabric of the series and need to be there.

Hear me out – the first reason this works is because it creates somewhat of a paradox in the mind of the younger player (a large segment of Pokémon’s audience, remember). I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, it was always dead obvious what was “cool” and what was meant to be enriching or educational, and they rarely overlapped. It doesn’t take you long after entering kindergarten to realize that Transformers and Teen Titans are both a lot more fun and a lot less made-fun-of than what’s airing on PBS. This is unfortunate, but often a reality.

The beauty of Pokémon is that it’s something that is extremely fun, addicting, and even fashionable at the elementary and junior high age, yet also jam-packed with simple yet valid life lessons. Where a pro-tip like “always treat others with respect” might be met with a wad of Play-Doh to the head when heard from the average kindergarten teacher, kids will gladly swallow the same advice from the mouth Professor Oak without a second thought. Or one of his many arborescent cohorts, of course.

Continue reading on the next page…

Previous Next

Rope Them In, Then Hook Them

pokemon x and y review 1 639x360 6 Important Lessons That Other Games Can Learn From Pokémon X And Y

Underneath its cute and cuddly exterior, Pokémon games are notoriously known not only for their extensive metagame and thriving competitive multiplayer community, but also for the dreaded practice known as EV training. I won’t explain it in full here, but essentially what EV training is (or was) all about is strategically battling specific wild Pokémon to gain points known as effort values. Accumulating effort values for particular stats gives your Pokémon a sizeable advantage over those who hasn’t had the same tactical training, and EVs are often placed so that a Pokémon may either just survive blows from or just be able to knockout specific opponents in specific situations.

I could wax poetic about how clever it is to embed such an intricate system into such an accessible RPG for days, but I’ll refrain – EVs and their even-more-maddening counterpart IVs (don’t get me started) are old news and have been around for a while. What’s different with Pokémon X and Y is that Game Freak has gone ahead and taken advanced, previously invisible subsystems and made them visible to everyone via Super Training. Essentially, they took the super-secret techniques hidden inside an immensely popular game, and brought them to the rest of the game’s audience – all without changing how they work or angering existing EV and IV gurus (well, not too much anyways).

To me, this is almost like achieving the unachievable. Think about it – if Super Training successfully goes mainstream, you’ll have literally millions of kids, teens, and twenty-somethings not just blasting through the story, beating the Elite Four, and calling it a day, but actually investing in well-trained, powerful, competition-calibur monsters. Not only that, but once you’ve put hundreds of hours into breeding perfect teams from the ground up, you don’t just up and walk away from the series like so many normally do after a certain age. Short of maybe Call of Duty, I can’t think of any other series that can simultaneously sell so many copies and actively engage so many players with its more “hardcore” aspects, so here’s hoping Game Freak’s plan works out going forward.

Continue reading on the next page…

Previous Next

Everyone’s a Collector

Yveltal Pokemon X and Y 1920x1200 656x360 6 Important Lessons That Other Games Can Learn From Pokémon X And Y

Perhaps even more so than monster training and competitive play, Pokémon is universally known for its anime-propagated mantra of “Gotta Catch ‘Em All.” Though you might think that fewer new Pokémon this time around would make for a subpar collector’s experience, you’d only be partially right.

At this stage in the series there are over 700 Pokémon. 700! As fun as it might be for some to experience a full new cast of 150 each generation, if Nintendo were to keep that up it might actually become impossible (or at least hardly worthwhile) to catch ‘em all each and every time. Limiting the number of new ‘mon and filling out the rest of the regional Pokédex with old ones actually ends up being quite effective – it gives you both a sense of discovery in finding new creatures, and an almost parallel universe, deja vu-like feeling when encountering the olds ones.

To further alleviate the stress of tracking and hunting down over 700 elusive critters, Nintendo is introducing something called Pokémon Bank – a 3DS app that will let you store up to 3000 Pokémon in the cloud, and transfer them easily from game to game. It’s basically Bill’s PC on performance enhancing drugs.

Pokémon Bank isn’t out yet, but its compatibility will go all the way back to the original Black and White, and hopefully work with future games as well. If Pokémon Bank can guarantee it will work with all Pokémon games for the foreseeable future, catching them all will become a far more popular pursuit that can be taken on casually, across games. It will become something everyone will at least attempt to try their hand at, which is more than can be said about trying to get all 600-plus in previous games.

Continue reading on the next page…

Previous Next

Doing It For Sport

pokemonxy mp spot1 600x360 6 Important Lessons That Other Games Can Learn From Pokémon X And Y

With almost every Pokémon game preceding X and Y, the online aspect of the multiplayer would improve slightly, but was never really good enough to be considered full featured or robust. Local play was always easy with link cables in the old days, and IR connections made it even more simple in Black and White, but short of the Global Trade Station’s debut during the Diamond and Pearl days, nothing about the online Pokémon experience has ever been terribly convenient, never mind innovative.

What X and Y does to address this is essentially make all online operations easily accessible from the bottom screen via the Player Search System. Both online and StreetPass activities are accessible from this interface, and interaction with local friends or any other nearby players can be initiated at pretty much any time. There’s even a fun little system where fellow local players or folks on your friends list can receive timed buffs from you as assistance in dire scenarios, and vice versa.

The Global Trade Station is of course still present, and perhaps the most substantial change (and one that fundamentally alters how players go about catching them all) is the ability to request and trade for Pokémon who have not been added to your Pokédex. Some purists feel it makes things too easy, but I couldn’t disagree more – with over 700 hundred monsters, why wouldn’t this be possible?

If you think about how Pokémon‘s world works, would an actual, real-life trainer (the Pokémon anime comes to mind) honestly attempt to catch every single Pokémon by hand? It would probably take multiple lifetimes. Trading for rare, unseen monsters — whether for collection’s sake or to help build up your dream team — is an awesome addition, and the excitement upon notification that a requested Pokémon has arrived is just as thrilling as actually catching it in the wild, albeit different. Think of it like that feeling you get when an eagerly anticipated package arrives at your doorstep, as opposed to going to the store for the item yourself. Like it or not, there’s no doubt that it’s an extremely helpful feature when filling out your ‘Dex.

Continue reading on the next page…

Previous Next

Inter-Graphical Overhaul

2288173 pokemon x y Pancham screenshot 98777 screen 6 Important Lessons That Other Games Can Learn From Pokémon X And Y

And then there’s the 800-pound Mamoswine in the room – X and Y is operating on an entirely new and fully polygonal 3D graphics engine. Though it certainly won’t be winning awards or giving the folks at Epic Games nightmares any time soon, X and Y is that much closer to the ideal Pokémon experience you imagined as a kid.

From a more broad perspective, X and Y represents yet another Nintendo franchise making the successful leap to the third dimension. The publisher is notoriously adept at doing so – be it Metroid Prime, Super Mario 64, or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, it’s a process the company takes extremely seriously. Nobody wants what happened to Sonic to happen to them, and it’s a testament to Game Freak that they took the time and care necessary to avoid such a fate.

All said and done, Pokémon X and Y offers a rare blend of game elements, as do most Pokémon games. The difference here, though, is that the series has reached what is arguably its apex – a point where world discovery, advanced training, competitive play, and simply catching them all coexist in a delicate balance that few games manage to achieve. Pokémon will never win game of the year awards, nor should it. But as a veteran of the RPG space that has now been in business for the better part of two decades, one thing is clear – its makers, now more than ever, know exactly what they’re doing.

Promoted Content
  • Lahiri

    I agree but Garbodor is awesome!!!