JOYSTICK: Pokemon is not just for the kiddies anymore

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, March 12, 2011

It’s time to catch ‘em all. Again. For the 47th time.

Pokemon Black and White came out last Sunday. The latest iterations in an incredibly lucrative game series follows the same formula as all the others: catch animals, use them to fight other animals, become the best animal fighter of all.

The game is incredibly catchy (pun intended) and, frankly, appeals to a wide age range since it started 15 years ago. Black and White continue the tradition and, surprisingly, shake things up more than any other Pokemon game.

Email newsletter signup

Not only do B and W add another 150 or so Pokemon (bringing the total to about 650), the game actually has a decent plot. I’m not talking about the standard “go questing, beat the stock bad guys and face off against your rival” storyline previous Pokemon games use, although that’s still in B and W. What makes these games unique amongst Pokemon games is that it makes the player feel like the bad guy.

You read it right: You’re basically the bad guy.

As players progress through B and W, they (semi-spoiler alert) must defeat Team Plasma members, whose ultimate goal is the liberation of Pokemon from humans. Aside from being the videogame version of PETA, Team Plasma raises valid points about Pokemon’s entire reason for existence: Players basically force animals to fight each other. And that’s not cool.

Of course, the game works its way around this idea, but the fact is playing through this game will make players stop and think about the inherent morals of the Pokemon universe, something the other games simply don’t do.

Aside from the self-deprecating story, the latest iteration doesn’t add much that wasn’t already there, which is OK, since the games simply add more of the same challenges people enjoy. The new Pokemon look a bit more mature and less cartoonish, and the new legendary Pokemon are quite simply awesome.

Despite being geared towards kids, the latest Pokemon games will appeal to the older players out there and could give people who’re skeptical about the Pokemon craze a reason to try it out.