Pokemon: Gotta Hate Em All

Pokemon Grookey

Is there a bigger gaming franchise in the world than Pokemon? One could argue it is still bigger than even the likes of Marvel and Star Wars outside of just gaming circles.

So when a new Pokemon game comes along it is a big deal. Not just to fans of the games, but fans of everything Pokemon. As it means a new Anime, comics, toys, plushes and who knows what else.

It is a big deal and that is all you need to know really. A Pokemon game doesn’t need to be the best of the best to achieve the goal of making a ton of money. It just needs to be serviceable to the point it can be marketed for everything else.

Yes that is a cynical view of something I have loved since first coming across it in the late 1990s. I’m not stupid though, I get that in a capitalist world the things we enjoy are designed to make money and I accept that. I accept I am part of the machine.

It is possible to also accept not having to like everything that is made. Not everything is made specifically for me. I know this is the case for Pokemon, because at no stage have I been consulted on any aspect of it.

Now, of course I am allowed an opinion, that is my right and I have a right to air it. But in doing so, I know I need to check how much entitlement I have.

Being 100% honest, no Pokemon game has ever been as joyful, as Pokemon Red (I wanted Blue in hindsight as Bulbasaur is the best), or later Yellow.

They have all been good, but for me those first games were special. Special because they hooked me into whole thing. So much so, my daughter is now obsessed with Pikachu as I was, thanks to my love for the series.

Anyway, Pokemon is huge and it has a global impact with each new release. It is that big. So onto the point.

Why do some people get so angry about things that seem so unimportant? Game Freak have made some decisions about the game design, the gameplay and the amount of Pokemon included in the game that have caused controversy.

Now don’t get me wrong, having looked at some of the cut Pokemon and some of the previews, I am a bit disappointed. That is ok, that is fine. There is no need to be happy with it. But what I don’t think sits right is some of the anger aimed at the developers for these decisions.

The ‘community’ has once again shown a dark side that we as gamers should feel a bit ashamed of. Aiming some awful vitriol at other human beings because the game they are getting isn’t as good as their expectations.

Expectations, that I believe we can sometimes make impossible to match. Somehow expecting 800+ Pokemon in the game all catchable and useable surely isn’t something that seems reasonable. But I have seen some demand this be possible (not everyone to be clear, just some).

Others going overboard about gameplay changes, visual changes and other minor things. Starting movements on Twitter such as #GameFreakLied to aim attacks at the developers. Some of the comments over the past days and weeks have been nothing but nasty.

The kind of hatred expected to be aimed at Activision Blizzard for the Hong Kong affair. Maybe even EA and Take-Two for the manipulation of vulnerable people with gambling mechanics in their games.

No, that is saved for not making the latest game in a long running franchise, with over 120 main games and spinoffs, the game they imagined. It is not meeting their expectations.

This could well be the worse game in the series (Spoiler: It wasn’t), maybe getting a Metacritic of less than 90 (I have another article about scores soon). I mean god forbid a Pokemon game might only be average (Spoiler: Ir wasn’t). I’ll let you into a little secret. Some of them are pretty average. That doesn’t stop them being enjoyable. Just like the anime, they are average but a ton of fun.

No one is immune to criticism and no one expects to be. So go ahead and critique the final game. Feel free to talk about and criticise the disappointing aspects, or even the whole experience. No one is stopping you and I am sure the developers themselves will even appreciate it.

But stop and think for a bit. There is a difference between criticism % discussion and out-right abuse. Being horrid to someone for doing something doesn’t help anyone.

Really hate the game? Vote with your wallet. Don’t abuse another human for not making it the best thing ever. Play something else, or go back and play the one you do like. Anything but aim hatred at one another.

I am not saying that a bad Pokemon game isn’t important because of all the other horrible stuff going on in the world. Because everything is relative to an individual. My own personal issues are inconsequential when compared to families fleeing Syria in fear of their lives. But that doesn’t mean my own problems aren’t super important to me,

Therefore I am not to tell anyone that they shouldn’t be super upset about the way a game turns out. Sure it doesn’t really matter to me, but I get because of where you are in life, it may be super important to you.

That though does not excuse some of the reactions and behaviour seen in some corners. No one has made a game specifically to spite you. It’s a game made with good intentions that may or may not be what you wanted exactly.

You don’t have to like it, but please, please remember we are all human beings and need to respect one another a little bit more.

By the way… Grookey is the best new starter Pokemon. Come at me!

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