Most Requested Pokémon Games April 24, 2013Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
While at this year’s Quinni-Con I had the pleasure of speaking to Michael Hecht, better known to the internet as 1KidsEntertainment, the creator of the Pokémon ‘Bridged series, and several other popular abridged series on the web. During our Q&A, we had a discussion about all things Pokémon, and I mentioned the fact that I didn’t like that Nintendo hasn’t yet released any of the first generation Pokémon games to the Virtual Console service on the Nintendo 3DS. Immediately, OneKids started bringing up a wide range of Pokémon game ideas he wished Nintendo would make, but hasn’t.
I started to think, if there were some game ideas that both he and I badly wanted to see and Nintendo hasn’t produced them, just how many other ideas do fans have for future games? Well, put on your Pokémon Trainer hats! Without further ado, here’s some of the requested Pokémon games!
Pokémon MMO – This was the first thing that OneKids blurted out when I asked him about Pokémon games he wanted to see, and it’s very easy to imagine why its such a popular idea. The Pokémon world seems ripe for a massively multiplayer experience. In a normal Pokémon game you can explore a wide land and visit all the cities and towns in it. As you travel through the wilderness from town to town you battle and capture the region’s Pokémon, and challenge other trainers as you try to become the greatest Pokémon Master. However, in a normal Pokémon game you and your captured Pokémon will accomplish this task alone. You can battle and trade with others in real life who also have a Nintendo handheld, but only in designated areas, and they cannot join you on your quests. Given the large scope of each of the games, this is pretty disappointing.
Now imagine playing through a game’s story along with people from all over the world. You would not need to take on the world alone, in the spirit of the Pokémon animated series, you could choose to travel with companions that were being controlled by actual people on their own systems. You could create your own character from the ground up, choose their appearance and clothing to look however you wanted. Heck, the game could let you pick your allegiances as well. Perhaps you can choose to be good natured heroes or join a sinister group like Team Rocket or Team Galactic. Once you’ve set up the game, you can find a group of companions with similar goals and travel the world, trading, battling and capturing however you see fit.
The hardware of both the 3DS and Wii U seem ready and able to make this leap. The 3DS and Wii U have online capabilities through WiFi and are compatible with most modern wireless routers without the need of a DS WiFi Adapter. Nintendo is already hosting a beta for the first MMO game on the Wii U in Japan, so the hardware can without a doubt support an MMO. In fact, both platforms have a lot of great features that would work well in a Massively Multiplayer experience. Each 3DS and Wii U controller features a camera and a microphone which could allow online voice and video chat with other players you meet in the game. This is perfect for online interaction. Since both systems are also dual screen native and offer touch screen controls (something that could be used to give the platforms an advantage over the PC), you could use the second screen for chatting or managing your friends list, or do other creative tasks. You could manage your inventory during gameplay, or play mini-games to help you progress.
What are the odds we’ll see it? I would say less than 25%. With the Nintendo Network designed the way it is, its very likely that it could be used to host an MMO from either the Wii U or 3DS. The problem is, as far as I know, Nintendo has never made an MMO before. MMOs have a very different set of requirements for its game design than a regular single-player retail game with a multiplayer component does. On top of that, while a 3DS owner may very well have 24/7 Internet access at home or at Nintendo Zone hotspots, if a 3DS user takes their handheld away from a trusted hotspot to play, since the 3DS lacks a cellular modem like smartphones have, they won’t be able to play the Pokémon MMO until they got back into an area with Internet access. Most of the time, the 3DS’s WiFi capabilities are used for local battling against other people in close proximity, you wouldn’t be able to do this in an MMO.
When you play an MMO, you need Internet 24/7, and that can’t be guaranteed on a mobile platform without a cellular modem. The 3DS is something designed to be played on the go while away from the Internet. However, that’s just an issue the 3DS would have. The Wii U has a different issue. Nintendo’s portable platforms have always been the platform of choice for the latest Pokémon games, and the chance such a new flagship game in the Pokémon series would be released exclusive to the Wii U may rub some fans the wrong way. However, the Wii U would likely be the prime platform for such an endeavor, and I’ll talk more about why later on.
If you would like to see a glimpse for yourselves at what a fake Pokémon MMO would be like, check out Suede’s reviews of the first Pokémon movie.
Pokémon PC Game – Lets face it, a lot of kids out there can’t afford to buy a brand new Nintendo console or handheld system, but almost everyone already has a PC. The PC will always boast the most powerful system specs for any console, and can take a wide range of forms from desktops, laptops and now tablets. Here’s a platform you can develop your game on that would have absolutely no limitations. You could have the greatest graphics your artists can imagine, and not have to worry as much about performance. You could have more people inhabiting the towns, dynamic weather and lighting, more dialog options when speaking with NPCs, and more Pokémon to capture and battle! Oh, and save games can also transfer from system to system if a player has decided to upgrade their computer for a faster one down the road.
The keyboard and mouse combination can offer a great control option for an RPG designed around it, as it can offer plenty of buttons. However, you can just as easily plug a USB joystick in and play that way if you prefer. Most computers nowadays are already Internet connected as well, and can offer players 24/7 Internet access, making online multiplayer a natural feature. You could keep a friends list to have a regular group of players to battle or trade with. And software updates would be very convenient to the player. All in all, it could be a great option from both a design and a consumer’s perspective.
What are the odds we’ll see it? Next to zero. Nintendo has a long history of denying developers the chance to bring their games to the PC, with the exception of simple licensed games like Mario Teaches Typing. The most famous denial was after John Carmack discovered how to make a side-scrolling engine work on a then modern 386 PC, and tested its capabilities by replicating the entire first level of Super Mario Bros 3. After that, id Software went through the difficult process to port the rest of the game in order to show Nintendo they had the technology that could bring their games to the PC, but Nintendo was not interested, and instead id Software used the technology to make Commander Keen.
It is highly unlikely Nintendo would allow one of their biggest handheld franchises to get a new game specifically for the PC. It’s more likely we could get…
A full Pokémon Generation Adventure Game on Wii U – This is an idea that I’ve seen requested online quite a lot and I felt it important to represent here. People have wanted to see a full-length Pokémon game on their home consoles since the days of the Nintendo 64. Since the Wii U is their dominant platform right now, I’m going to talk about seeing this on the Wii U. Lets face it, not everyone likes to play games while on the go and while today’s handhelds may have some great hardware in them, they’re nowhere near as powerful as the home consoles are, and the handheld screens can’t render resolutions as high as your HDTV can.
With the increased graphical power and resolution, playing these games would be like seeing Pokémon for the first time all over again. You’d practically be seeing the world with fresh eyes. The game may have to be retooled for the switch, but I could imagine being able to explore towns in full 3D from a third person perspective. It would also be great to see all the areas we remember from the earlier games on this new platform. Many people created fan art and 3D models for all kinds of environments in the Pokémon games to show what it could look like on your HD console, and they have looked phenomenal!
You wouldn’t just have the chance to see Pokémon in glorious HD, the Wii U controller would work great as well. Nintendo has been experimenting with dual screen adventure games on consoles for years now. Even back in the GameCube days you could plug a Game Boy Advance into a controller port and keep track of things like your inventory while playing games like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles or Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures. You could use the Wii U controller to pull up your map to help you navigate, manage your inventory, or my favorite option would be to use it as a fully interactive Pokédex! The possibilities are endless on the Wii U!
What are the odds we’ll see it? Less than 10%. The problem is Pokémon games thrived on the fact they were games that could be played on mobile devices. The whole gameplay for the games were developed around mobile use. Because of this, it was easy to trade and battle other trainers from their own mobile devices using a Link Cable or later WiFi. A console experience is totally different than a mobile one. You can’t really bring your console on the go.
On top of that, from a game design perspective, this is one heck of an ambitious idea. In fact it might be too ambitious. Nintendo usually releases at least two versions of a new Pokémon game, each with a different set of Pokémon to find in certain areas, and while that doesn’t work too bad for a game released at a price of $40US, that strategy may not fly for a full priced retail game. But they may need to do that to recoup the cost’s of the game’s development. Even if the development team just adapted all of the currently existing Pokémon and environments to a HD console game, this game could take years to develop and test! Will the Wii U still be around or will we be in the next console cycle by then?
And now, the most likely request…
Pokémon Yellow/Blue/Red on Virtual Console – Sadly, the games that started Pokémon fever are long out of print. The new Nintendo platforms no longer ship with a Game Boy Advance slot, like the original DS had, preventing 3DS players from playing original Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games. Well, those are the platforms the original Pokémon games shipped on! On top of that the original game carts, if you can even find them and get them to work, required a battery backup in order to keep a save in memory. A save not only held all your game progress but also all the Pokémon you spent so long capturing. Well, the batteries on these original game paks have long died with age, and its risky to replace them. Without a working battery, playing the game without being able to save your progress isn’t a lot of fun. Well, none of this is a problem for games released through the Virtual Console.
The Nintendo eShop Virtual Console on the 3DS has been a great opportunity for 3DS owners who can no longer play these classic portable games, You can conveniently purchase and download selected games to your 3DS’s internal memory for a pretty reasonable price of around 3-5 dollars US. Once you have it downloaded, you can play it whenever you want, no need for a game pak or separate battery. All your game data saves will stay on your 3DS’s SD card, and if you plan to upgrade your memory, you can transfer your save data through your PC without much of an issue. The 3DS’s screen is also far superior to that of an original Game Boy, and that can make the old games look better than you ever remembered.
What are the odds we’ll see it? 50-50. This one is really a crap shoot. I think the reason we haven’t seen this on the VC yet have more to do than just the cost of developing it. As of this writing, Nintendo hasn’t been able to replicate the function of a Link Cable for Virtual Console Game Boy games. For example, Tetris cannot make use of the Game Boy version’s extremely fun 2-player mode when playing it on the 3DS. Since 2-player support through link cable was so essential to the Pokémon’s catch it all philosophy, Nintendo may just decide to wait on releasing these games for the 3DS until they can replicate the function of a Link Cable on the 3DS.
On top of that there may be another reason the original games aren’t being rereleased and that is Nintendo may want to avoid restarting a controversy. The original Pokémon games may not be coming to the 3DS because of the Jinx controversy. I really don’t want to go into it but if you want to know more check out Suede’s review of the Pokémon TV series episode “Holiday Hi-Jinx” for all the details on that. However, this may not be as big of an issue, as I have seen that some of the games featuring the Jinx’s original appearance were slightly altered when they were rereleased on the Virtual Console like Pokémon Snap, so Nintendo could take the option to simply alter the Jinx’s appearance to its current form.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. This is by no means a list of games I feel Nintendo or The Pokémon Company must produce, just a simple list of games that I have seen requested by fans of the series. This list does not include any Pokémon games that have either been announced already or sequels to Pokémon games that have already been released. Three months ago I would have included a 3DS native Pokémon 6th-generation game on this list, but Nintendo has already announced Pokémon X and Y are exactly that and are coming in October, so there’s no reason to include that. I’m also not going to include a request for more sequels to the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon or Pokémon Ranger series, as one of those has just been released, and its likely more are coming down the road.
Did I include a request you may have? Post a comment with your thoughts!