04 February, 2011

Top 5 Reasons Why Pokémon is the Best Game Series Ever

Pokémon is not my favorite game, because there are the Donkey Kongs, Zeldas, Spider Solitaires etc. Still, it is the best game series ever created, the best RPG you can find and a magic formula for which alchemists would die. Read on to see why.

1. It is portable
Pokémon was born on the GameBoy and, despite some appearances on the N64, NGC and Wii, the series have stuck to the handhelds. I’m not talking about Snap, Stadium or anything like that. I’m talking about Blue, Crystal, Gold, Diamond, Black etc. And Pokémon knows how to be portable.
Nowadays, it seems to have become fashionable for DS or PSP games to be crafted as if to home consoles. They have super elaborated plots, forty minutes long CGs, 3D or isometric dungeons, and all of this is great until you notice that all of this suck when you are on the subway, without much time and controlling a pack of polygons with no decent analog stick (will NGP change this?).
But not Pokémon. It is a truly portable game, proud of being portable. And it has a dozen features that ease your life, make the whole experience a lot more enjoyable and that have turned the series into the best ever. For instance, take abilities like Fly, Surf or even Cut or Dig. They let you quickly go past certain paths, avoid fights etc. Plus, you get to save anytime you want, there are no cutscenes, cgs etc.
I do not mean to say that portable games are necessarily better than non-portable ones. Probably, it’s the other way around. What I am saying is that a game must know to what kind of platform it belongs and it must work on such platform. A PC game cannot be equal to a console one, as well as a console game cannot be equal to a mobile one.

2. It is annoying, but only when it wants to be
There’s only one thing worst than random battles in RPGs: RPGs without random battles.
Theoretically, RPGs with no aleatory battle should be an evolution, but in fact, this games, in order to oblige the player to fight, need to have maps that look like corridors. Furthermore, while someone could argue that it is senseless for someone just strolling around to be teleported, out of the blue, to a different map where you’ll fight a number of opponents. However, there is no more sense in touching a strange figure in World map and being teleported just the same, finding out that the strange figure was actually three or four enemies of different types and sizes.
But Pokémon has found the perfect way to balance this.
When you walk on the grass, you might fight. When you walk on the road, you won’t. This is not only more coherent than any other method (after all, there’s a bigger chance of meeting wild animals in high grass), but it also allows the player to fight whenever grinding is needed, and ONLY when grinding is needed, unless the games wants to force you to fight — in which case there will be no way around the grass. Even the fights against other trainers are easily foreseen by the player, who can prepare before entering the rival’s eyesight. Other than that, there are the caves and water paths, where the player will know beforehand that what he’ll be facing, so he can pack up items, level up etc.

3. It has the best battle system ever
Just think what you want. It does.
I don’t even know how many pokémons there are anymore, but do the math: it’s hundreds of them, each with specific abilities, attributes, skills, weaknesses, move sets etc. Then you only get to choose six. Add the limitation of only four moves your pokes are able to know, plus the required HMs, such as strength, rock smash and similar ones, which will take room from actually useful moves.
The result is probably the most strategic battle in videogame history (even if one can play it with no strategy at all).

4. You wanna be the very best
Ok, there are gyms, badges, the League. But anyone who’s ever talked to professor Oak in the beginning of Red/Blue, or who’s ever heard the opening song for the anime series knows better: the goal is to catch’em all. You wanna be the very best. There are so many things to do, so many pokémons for you to evolve, to teach different moves, with EV’s to deal with... In the game link cable times, when you had to get two gameboys together to fight your friends or even to get a few pokémons, this was already great. Now, with online playing, it’s huge! It’s not enough to grind your pokes to the highest levels. If you want to win, you need a balanced party, a smart strategy, good use of pokémons from each element etc. Which leads us to:

5. It is a complex game, but not a boring one
That’s right. Pokémon has a complexity level that I’ve never seen in any other game. The “true” players (or should I say “trainers”?) are concerned of things like IVs, EVs and other stuff I’m not even sure what they mean. The right time to evolve, the king of attitude to have in battle etc — all this really matter for the ending power of the pokémons. If one wants to get into the game, it has plenty of room for it.
Nevertheless — and that is the beauty of it —, if you don’t want, you’ll be just fine by just grinding your Charizard, as long as you are satisfied with beating the League and not fighting online.

And these are just a few reasons why Pokémon has a marvellous formula that works perfectly every time. Now, Pokémon Black/White is coming out and a few changes have been reported. I’m sure they be just as great. Pokémon’s never given me reason to think otherwise.


  1. Honestly, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Pokemon was my childhood, and now I realize why I loved it so much.

  2. Indeed. I had never stopped to think about the reasons why I liked it, but Pokemon was one of the games (and animes) that defined my chldhood.