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File Upload 3/8/2019

The Hawks Squawks: The Pokemon Method

Written by Colter Hawks 8 March 2019 The Hawks Squawks is a series of weekly articles, giving myself a platform to let my mind run free. Articles can stem from either a positive or negative position on the topic of the week. Keep in mind these are opinion pieces and I will definitely say things you may not agree with, even though you should... I’m kidding, but I am open minded and my opinions could change, which will lead to me either updating the initial article, or I will address it in a new one. Topics will include specific aspects of video games, the industry itself and esports. At the end I’ll have a question for you with the info on where to discuss that with me. This week Nintendo announced the newest addictions… sorry, additions, to the Pokemon IP with, Pokemon Sword and Shield for the Nintendo Switch. The two games will become the 34th and 35th installments to the core series (24th and 25th if you exclude remakes). The 8th generation of Pokemon will take place in the Galar region and although we don’t know a lot of information yet, we do know the three starter Pokemon and that the games will release this Fall. The three starters are Grookey, Scorbunny and Sobble. Grookey is a monkey looking grass type, Scorbunny, as its name suggests is a fire type bunny, and Sobble is a chameleon like water type. Pokemon Sword and shield will be the first original instalments on the Nintendo Switch after Let’s go Pikachu and Eevee released later last year. So why am I Squawking about this? Mostly I am because I’m partly annoyed, impressed and excited. Pokemon games have always had the unique model where they release in twos, and almost always gaining an additional game for each generation of Pokemon. The plot on each game is the exact same and the only differences between the games is the pokedex and a few detail changes in the story. For those who don’t understand the term pokedex, simply put the two games have slight differences on what pokemon are in the game. Although the majority of the pokedex is the same, the differences are typically between rarer type pokemon and most importantly the difference between the game’s two Legendary Pokemon which usually grace the cover of the game they’re in. This model has been the common practice of the core series since the beginning. It’s really an impressive feat. Nintendo and Game Freak, the developer of the game, successfully found a model to rake in more cash while giving the consumer basically the same product. I think it shows just how passionate Pokemon fans are. I’m not saying everyone who plays these game buys both editions, but there are definitely some who do. I owned every third generation game (Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald), and I probably put about 300 hours into each of them. I was in elementary back then. I would probably say I played Pokemon FireRed the most. If my memory recalls correctly, I had about one thousand hours played. Back to my point though, Each edition of the game for its respective generation of Pokemon offers just enough differences to keep you playing. I would say that more often these days gamers only buy one edition. I know that’s the case in my social circles. They choose the game that has most of the Pokemon they want and they stick with it. This is completely fine and it doesn’t break Nintendo’s model with the games because even if players aren’t buying both editions, it opens up another door. As I stated before, the Pokemon community is very passionate, and having two games builds a social platform. Prior to the Pokemon Bank, someone who has game ‘A’ may try to find someone with game ‘B’, that way they can trade the pokemon the other doesn’t have access to. I’ve done this in the past and what ends up happening is you play the game together. Essentially, having two games can lead to potential friendships because of that inconvenient but effective paywall. Which then comes back to my annoyance. It’s 2019 and more than ever we here talks of cross-platforming and integration. Everyone wants to play with one another and be on equal footing. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have one game? I think yes, if nintendo thinks that players are only buying one edition. Before, since the games only allowed one save file, I would say it was worth buying both games to have one game to be your main profile where you have everything, while the other game was for collecting exclusive pokemon and sending them to your main profile, as well as replays and anything else. However Let’s go Pikachu and Eevee offered multiple save files, making that mindset kind of obsolete and I expect Sword and Shield will also support multiple save files. Pokemon even has a real esports scene and I think if Nintendo and Game Freak would shift to only having one game, they could really develop a good online esport. I’m annoyed because that doesn’t look like something they want to create or support. Nintendo wants tomilk out as much money as they can and it’s our fault. If we the gamers would take a stand an only buy one game, Nintendo will see the stats and maybe they will be persuaded. They could combine the differences of each game giving the player options to choose from which will change different aspects of the story. Maybe one day we’ll see that, but for right now, I’m just excited to see the next game. More importantly to me, I’m glad to see the new games are going to be on the Nintendo Switch. I sold my 3DS back around christmas and I’ve had a Pokemon itch for quite awhile. I could pick up Let’s go Pikachu, but I’m too busy with other video games at the moment. I’m hoping Pokemon Sword and Shield will scratch this itch in the coming Fall. I would also love to see progress towards online eSports. The ranked battles need to be more than just Win/Loss stats, and there should be a matchmaking rank. There should be stats on favorite pokemon, pokemon win percentages, average win/loss times, etc. How can we know who will be “the very best that no one ever was” if we don’t have these in depth stats? I truly believe Pokemon can be a great esport, especially on the Switch with the new animations and graphics, it’s more exciting to look at than ever. Again, we still don’t know everything Nintendo and Game Freak have in-store for these next installments but I’m sure we’ll learn a whole lot more at E3 this summer. Question: Do you think Nintendo should get rid of the two game model or should they keep it? Why? Tweet me and let’s have this discussion. Hashtag your response with #ThePokemonMethod Twitter - @The_plaTpus @midwestesports1