Once upon a time, when the Game Boy Color was cutting edge technology, and I had a Game Boy Pocket because the two Classic models we had had worn out, I had Pokémon Red Version. Honestly, I don’t think I got particularly far – four, maybe five badges, and it’s not like the game ended there. However, I loved the concept. Cute critters, and collecting, and the strategy aspect, and the fact you could just spend some time levelling to make things later easier.
One problem was that I couldn’t find people to trade with, what with being shy/messed up/whatever.
Three generations of handhelds later I heard the latest games of the series enabled interaction via the internet. And, well, the graphics are a LOT better, but still very close to the isometric SNES RPGs that I’m used to from back when, with only some added 3D effects, as opposed to all-out 3D graphic, which I find confusing.
Then comes the DSi, with an SD slot – hell knows what that can be used for other than the 0.3 megapixel cameras that are built in – and such a really nice matte finish, and, yeah. Cue me getting a DSi and Pokemon Platinum as a late birthday/early Christmas present for myself.
Of course then it turns out that if I had waited another few months, I might have gotten the “next” generation as they came out. Well, they’re remakes of Gold and Silver, but, well, shiny! (And I didn’t play those, anyway.) That got me reading up more in the series history. What got remade with polish and tweaks as what is kinda interesting. Since I’m a visual animal, here’s a graph:
A generation of Pokémon games always starts with a pair, which are identical apart from the bit that some of the critters can be found in one, but not the other, to encourage trading. This is followed later by a retooled version, which has tweaks like improved graphics, a different set of pokemon, altered/added dungeons or story elements, whatever.
The very first – Red & Green – were released only in Japan. The improvements in their retooled version Blue were used for the out-of-Japan versions Red & Blue. After the anime became a hit, Red & Blue got mixed-and-altered into Yellow (and somewhere an arts teacher is crying). Yellow was a game for the Game Boy, but got additional support (ie predefined colour palettes) for GB Color.
If one occurrence is a pattern already (hey, it worked with Blue being the new-and-improved combination of Red & Green), HeartGold & SoulSilver won’t get a combined version. On the other hand, the DSi is relatively new, so maybe DS-compatible stuff will stick around longer.
Either way, I get the impression that one Pokemon game can keep you occupied a long, long time. Breeding (added in Generation II) sounds fun, and so is growing berries (the “plant them yourself” bit was added in Generation III), and the Underground treasure-digging game is a horrible, horrible timesink (Added in Generation IV). And that’s just stuff to do on the side, as opposed to plot and level grinding. And if I get bored of that, I can try to figure out the Contests. Whee, I guess.
Ah… does anyone here play those games, too? What with the friendscodes, and trading and such…