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Pokémon Special: Choices in Video Game History


Nothing has changed in 2019.

They have passed twenty years since 5 October 1999, which marked the first, fateful choice of a starter Pokémon in the history of video games. Do you remember how difficult it was to decide? They were all three so cute (of course, pixel permitting), and then which of us understood something about who was the strongest? And the mechanics were so simple: fight, capture, grow and evolve Pokémon, teach them new moves, and outrun your rival by becoming a Champion.



In a way it was the beginning of innovation.


To learn more:
Without the eyes of amazement: In search of Meltan A monochrome and pixelated game, with rather simple gameplay and plot, yet at the beginning it tried to be seen "on the piece". Just Pokémon, on that square brick of a GameBoy, was carrying a prototype of online multiplayer in gaming history - he was the only one on the handheld device to exploit something like this. Swap Pokémon and battle a friend with a team of your choice by simply connecting a cable from one console to another. Despite the rudimentary graphics, even those processes knew how to be in their own way incredibly detailed. Perhaps his being a bit rudimentary in everything, then, had given rise to ten, one hundred urban legends - like the City of Numbers or the van, or the red Tangela that appeared only in a fight against friends and that marked the end.

How many memories in a single cartridge (two, three and so on) ...


We brought them all with us into the next generation, after a change of color to yellow and also a change of scenery, which resumed the events of the animated series by putting the famous electric mouse (yes, Togedemaru) in tow. There we were even more amazed, because that pixelated world with 8-bit soundtracks was finally all colorful and came to life. Even at night, this time!


And then the Pokémon eggs, the chromatics, a brand new railway line that connected the two regions known to us (and which for some reason could not even be seen with binoculars in the first) ... Then we arrive at a post-game with surprise, because a looking back today it is surprising that the Pokémon League becomes a connecting hub between two entire regions belonging to different titles. In short, a post-game that looks a bit like a New Game +, where you literally have to go back to where you started with the aim of challenging ... yourself. Yes: now the tea of ​​the past is a legend, and will remain so in the days to come.

Was it possible that the ideas were already finished then?

As we progressed, it is true, for almost every novelty something has disappeared. Get rid of Pokémon that move slightly at the start of the battle, and away those that follow you: this costs you the arrival of the weather and the influence of the same on the team. Then away too, so now you can use specific moves to influence it only for the battle in progress, and while we have also removed the cable: now you can connect wirelessly to the internet to exchange and fight. The birth of the competitive game, which makes Pokémon titles an ordinary fighting game (but let's not joke, it's Pokémon) and makes games much worse because a few moves to use against others always hurt less than before. Then we grew up, indeed we already were.


And here we are: twenty years later...

Let's skip a few generations on purpose and here we are, with a virtual monocle on one eye studying the fruit of someone else's work. The wolf loses its fur but not its vice, they say, and in fact for exceptionally better graphics and a little more integrated multiplayer in the game we lost things we liked - Mega Evolution for example, or the Sun and Moon Poké Passes. After all this time we are well studied and we know how to find defects. Veterans of Pokémon GO, where for a Pokémon to really look like in the real world we play on servers that we don't like at all, because a decent game starts to suck because of them.


The fact is, every Pokémon game, every generation, has always been a matter of choice.

Not choosing a Pokémon to start with. Not even a choice of which version to play. These things can now always be had both - money permitting. The real, tough choice in Pokémon video game history è whether to play, and often the first thing to say "I don't like". Like any other game, saying that Pokémon has always been objectively good or bad, boring or fun is our choice, and we're already there. wrapping the head long before the bang for months and months.

Because it is unacceptable that in 2019, now that even Nintendo can have hallucinatory graphics, Blastoise still fires from the belly instead of from the cannons, that each different attack makes the Pokémon move in the exact same way and that in Sword and Shield Wingull flies in a straight line without flapping your wings. A mechanic like Dynamax is trivial and boring, compared to Mega Evolutions which are spectacular. Stadiums instead of gyms? Outrageous as much as the tour of the islands and the tests of the aforementioned Sun and Moon.


Now it's up to Sword and Shield ...

But the point is that of Sword and Shield we don't know anything yet - let's hope, at least. We have been given a lot of trailers, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. The Pokémon experience has never been based only on new mechanics, but on emotions: the thrill of playing together, discover together new places and new creatures, fight and exchange both Pokémon and urban legends (even if by now they would be debunked five minutes later).


The games of the old days are and must remain old experiences, locked in a cave full of glorious memories. Just like the Red that Millennials adore madly, which today is still quiet and thoughtful but looking a little more affable. If we really liked the good old days so much, then let's try going back to Johto - not the revisited, the original one. Let's go back to that dark cave, walk it all over and knock on the shoulder of our past self: let's challenge it again, and if we win let's ask him what has really changed.

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