We begin with a description of the scene: a young boy or girl is summoned to appear before the local academic–a worthy who goes by the nickname of ‘the Pokemon professor’. This sylvan-surnamed individual dispenses a pet–aligned generally with water, fire, or grass–to the excited child. In the process, a whole world of opportunity is made available, for now, with the power of Pokemon to aid him, the youth can set out into the wild. There, he will do battle with countless other Pokemon, enlisting a few in his party, and becoming stronger through chasing the rest away in combat. But Pokemon are not the only concern with which our intrepid hero must contend: adults, motivated by greed and malice, seek to destabilise the security and peace of the world. The hero will find himself caught up in that struggle, forced to face down two parallel sets of goals: his own effort to prove himself in the Pokemon League, and the necessary task of defeating those who would endanger or oppress others for the sake of private gain. Along the way, he will have the support of family, friends, and allies–for the hero will encounter many people in the course of his journey. By proving himself, he can depend upon their support later on. Friendship is key: between a trainer, his Pokemon, and his friends.
Since the release of the original Pokemon in 1998, the story formula related above has remained more or less unchanged. New Pokemon have been added, along with new modes of gameplay, new mini-games, new side-stories, and new anime episodes which expand upon the world. Yet, with each release in the franchise, Pokemon has remained steadfastly true to the original story: a tale of self-discovery, burgeoning friendship, and the realisation of the value of cooperation. Pokemon neatly straddles the line between the concepts of individual exceptionalism and the power of collaborative accomplishment. Additionally–most recently in Pokemon Black and White–Pokemon has tried to address issues of complex morality regarding its own subsumed premises: is it just, after all, for the world to be so dependent upon Pokemon? Or are we as critical players exercising our own form of cultural imperialism by attempting to judge the fictional culture of the world of Pokemon by the standards of our own culture’s morality? Is it even possible for us to evaluate Pokemon by its own standards?
Now, fifteen years on from the original release in North America of Pokemon Red and Blue, the Nintendo 3DS has received its first entry in the franchise: Pokemon X and Y. In addition, these most recent games in the series are the first ‘main series’ Pokemon games to be presented in 3D. Other games in the franchise have used 3D environments in some way or another, but never to the same level as in Pokemon X and Y.
With these innovations have come challenges unique in the history of the franchise: have the programmers and developers properly anticipated those challenges? Have they incoporated these innovations in a way which is beneficial to the presentation of the game? Or, do the new features and gameplay mechanics actually detract from the simplistic and basic premise of the Pokemon style?
Use the comment thread below to discuss your approach to the game, challenges you have faced, tactics you are employing, and what you are getting out of your playthrough. Do you feel that the presentation of Pokemon X and Y has changed for the better relative to the preceding games in the series? Are there aspects of the game that you would change still further, or that you would hold up as an example of what need not be changed? How has your experience with other Pokemon games shaped your impressions of the most recent release? Do you have any stories about your first Pokemon experiences? Tell us in the comments!
The aim in this playthrough is to complete the entirety of the game in four weeks. For our first week, we invite users to wrest control of the first three gym badges from their holders. However, feel free to join in, even if you are behind on the playthrough. Anyone and everyone is invited to participate, regardless of game format, speed of play, or familiarity with the series. Tell your friends!
Without further adieu, it is our very great pleasure to invite you now to join the The Starlight Megaphone staff members, guests, and readers as we select a starter, meet with a Pokemon professor, and indulge in 3D Pokemon battles in The Age of Revolution: A Pokemon X/Y Playthrough!