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The evolution of Pokemon games through the ages

June 28, 2018 — by Dhriti "I lobe Mumbai" Datta0

Close your eyes, back up, and get ready to sink into a pool of nostalgia. Remember the buzz the Pokemon trading cards, the games on the OG Game Boy and the television show created? Pokemon infiltrated so many avenues of our childhood, and it continues doing so even in the technology-riddled world of 2018. The development of tech has certainly given it a boost. The AR capabilities of Pokemon Go and the immersive 3D gameplay of the new age Pokemon games like Alpha Sapphire or Pokemon Sun are great examples of this. With the advent of Nintendo’s new, handheld device, the Switch, the possibilities are quite literally… endless. Now, let’s mix nostalgia with the present, shall we? Pokemon games today follow the same RPG-style gameplay. The main premise and objectives of the games remain the same. What’s changed though, are the mechanics of the game, as well as the appearances and battle style. Let’s have a look at the changes the world of Pokemon games has seen over their eventful existence.

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Pokemon Red and Blue released on February 27, 1996.

Pokemon Appearances

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Charmeleon, a well-known, fan favourite looks disfigured and unrecognisable.
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Charmeleon is looking a lot more like himself here

It’s almost comical how much the Pokemon appearances have changed over the years. Familiar fan-favourite Pokemon were barely recognisable owing to their pixelated appearance that often had no resemblance to television counterparts. The intricacy and attention to detail of Pokemon appearances in the newer games are highly superior. You can now actually see the Pokemon use their attack moves with three-dimensional visuals. The newer appearances have added life to the our energetic, little Pocket Monsters.

Graphics

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Black and white, two-dimensional. The games sure do look dated now.
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The graphics simulate the real world, getting us one step closer to our Pokemon.

The OG Pokemon Red and Blue were monochrome, 16-bit graphics games and sported a 2-D, flat viewing experience. The graphics changed substantially in Fire Red/Leaf Green and also added colour to the games. Epic Pokemon showdowns in the previous games were bland and lackluster, with the character merely standing in front of the legendary beast. In games like Ultra Sun/Moon, there are visually stunning cut-scenes that will make OG fans marvel at their evolution from their previously simplistic, unembellished looks. Watching our character gaze at Necrozma in a spectacular cut-scene in Pokemon Ultra Sun/Moon is a glorious sight.

Pokemon Types

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Three new types were added through the generations: Dark, Steel and the most controversial…fairy.

Remember scrambling around your good ole’ Pokemon Guide to figure out what ‘type’ is strong against the big, bad Gym Pokemon. Pokemon types have grown and evolved over the years. The original games had 15 types, the games now have 18. Doesn’t seem like a huge difference right? It is when you have to remember how it does against every other damn type of Pokemon.

Level of difficulty

Is it just us or has the difficulty level of Pokemon games taken a serious dip since their inception? Games like Pokemon Emerald have a couple of points where multiple players have expressed their frustration of getting lost. One particular deceptive point was finding Team Magma’s hideout in Pokemon Emerald that was hidden in an unexpected area of the game. The clues were in fine print and were often lost in the obsessive button-smashing of the ‘A’ button. The newer games have multiple indicators that make it obvious to the player of where to go next. You kids have it easy these days! The fifth generation of Pokemon games also introduced Doctor trainers that would heal up your entire team during particularly strenuous parts of the game. Gone are the days of hustling your arse to the nearest Pokemon Centre, when your last surviving Pokemon is poisoned.

Character

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Back in the day, the Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow were set by default to a male character and you could not change it. If this lack of choice were to show up today, there would be a massive outrage, we’re sure of it. Fortunately, this changed in Fire Red/Leaf Green. You can now pick either a male or female character. Customisability of clothes was added to the newer games, giving players the ability to change the look of their character. Maybe in the future, we could possibly have the option to customise our skin colour, body type and other physical character traits. It will be a nice additional feature for people of colour. And as we all know, games with a greater degree of customisation and player autonomy over the experience are always more fun to play.

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The OG games did not allow you to pick your gender. Sexist, much?

Miscellaneous

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Pokemon Contests and the newly added, Battle Royal kept the game fresh for seasoned players.

The overall aesthetic of the Pokemon games has been drastically altered since their birth. Bug and glitches, that were predominant in the Game Boy days, are a rare occurrence now. Daily events have also been added to the games in a small way, yet it incentivises Poke-fans to check into their game every day. The games also have additions like the Pokemon Contests and Battle Royal that serve to be a method for players, to further lengthen the game that they have spent a few thousand rupees on.
The ‘pocket-monster’ games seem unlikely to bid adieu to the gaming universe anytime soon, and boy are we glad about that!

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