I want to come clean about something. Not many people know this about me. It recently came out at work, and it's caused no end of grief from my co-workers. Still, I refuse to be ashamed of it anymore, so here it goes.
I like Pokemon. And I'm not the only one.
Before you judge me too harshly, I want to clarify this: I like the Pokemon games. That's it. I don't watch the anime or collect the toys or anything obsessive like that. I just really enjoy the game itself. I've been playing Pokemon Diamond over the past week. It's a fun little game, and I'm not ashamed to like it. I'm not alone, either; I personally know at least half a dozen people to pick up Diamond or Pearl over the weekend, not counting the thousands to go to the release event at the Nintendo World Store.
Pokemon gets a lot of guff for being hypercutesy and perpetuating Nintendo's image as a company that makes "kiddie games." Part of that is well justified, as the decade-long cartoonish hype hasn't exactly fostered an all-ages image for the game series. However, once you chip away at Pokemon's cute, colorful exterior, you'll find a solid, entertaining game that will provide many, many hours of gameplay. Pokemon might be really cutesy, but it's still a great game. I'm not the only one who thinks so, either; while GameSpot hasn't released their reviews of Diamond or Pearl yet, they've consistently given Pokemon titles scores of 8.0 or above since Pokemon Blue/Red (Of course, I mean the actual Pokemon games; side stories like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon or Pokemon Ranger don't really count).
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl don't really change much from their predecessors. They add better graphics and a few more features (most important, voice chat-enabled online play), but they still use the same 10-year-old formula: capture monsters, collect badges from eight gyms, beat Team-Whatever-The-Villains-Are-This-Time, etcetera. It's repetitive, but not necessarily a bad thing; Castlevania hasn't significantly changed its successful formula since Symphony of the Night. Both game series figured out exactly what works and ran with it. As long as the games are still fun, I'm perfectly fine with it.
Family-friendly games have a pretty terrible stigma attached to them, regardless of whether they're actually any good. Besides Nintendo's main, age-neutral properties, most kids' games are outright horrible adaptations of animated movies put out by Disney and Pixar. They take the property and turn it into a game with as little effort as possible. Let's face it, there hasn't been a really good Disney-branded game since the days of Ducktales on the NES and Aladdin on the Sega Genesis. To this day, Ducktales is a fun game that most post-adolescent gamers can admit is still enjoyable. And if you can't admit that, you're a liar. Uncle Scrooge using his cane as a pogo stick to jump on yetis was and always will be awesome.
I stay away from terrible kiddy games for the same reason I stay away from terrible violent games: because they're terrible. The age range shouldn't have anything to do with it. If a game is good, then play it whether it has colors and shapes or blood and guts. Of course, blood and guts can still be fun; I'm as excited about Suda 51's ultraviolent No More Heroes as I was about Pokemon Diamond/Pearl.
Any other adult Pokemon players who want to admit their guilty pleasure, then please sound in with comments! And if you're interested, share your Friend Code too. I'll go first:
Name: Will | Code: 3265 1484 1390
I have a Rayquaza, a Heatran, and a Giratina I'm willing to trade for an Arceus/Aruseus. Any takers?