Captured Evolution: The Prohibition of Pokémon Growing Up

Before you go out your home in the 1998’s Red Pokémon and BLUE—The first set of localized games in the franchise’s already wide, borderline-unimaginable proportions — gives you the option to interact with the TV set. Click on A button on your Game Boy produces this text: “There is a movie on TV. Four men were walking on the railroad. I’d better go too. ” This is a reference to Stand Up to Me, the 1986 film based on a short story by Stephen King about preteens who venture into the woods to find the body of a missing man — and its relationships to your future adventure become clearer over time.

Stand Up to Me rooted in nostalgia, not in the 1950s (when the story took place) but for young people in general and in particular in contrast to this unique fellowship. This is a story that cannot be told by adults. As adults, we are too burdened with responsibility and self-awareness to accept the kind of journey that children in Stand Up to Me keep going. So are the trips in most Pokémon games, trips that only a 10-year-old can do — war trainers, stop the evil, capture them all. These are goals that are not complicated by things that age has thrown at us. Pokémon isn’t a franchise about growing up like the part of the lens we look at the world as kids, one full of play and dreams.

But those who have enjoyed Pokémon since its early years have grown up. There are now many generations after them, whether they are young adults or children, who have experienced it all for the first time. They were amazed at the imaginative simplicity of the games and the now elevated state of its popularity, thanks to megas like Pokémon Go mobile game, the new installment SWORD and taming, interest in the future Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and the re-emergence of the Trading Card Game to topics and broader cultural relevance. These new players probably haven’t touched it yet red and BLUE. Their only relationship with Pokémon is the here and now.

Both sides of the fandom are huge, leaving the franchise’s perceived goal in a chaotic state. Is it intended for older fans, whose responses to the series range from deeply nostalgic to desperate for progress? Or is looking at the Pokémon Company only aimed at newer devotees, those who have yet to discover the ins and outs of addiction that have ensured Pokémon’s popularity for over two and a half decades? One of the main attractions of the franchise, with one of its big pitfalls, is that little has been done to keep fans loving it all the time. I don’t mean it in the sense of the maturity of its stories. Giving Ash Ketchum, the lead character in the anime, a goatee, or filling the games themselves with strange rage, is a silly way to get the sudden attention of an elderly host. .

Pokémon, however, enjoys the comfort it provides — with each new installment essentially serving as a soft reboot of the series. This is why Ash Ketchum will remain forever 10. He is intended to represent every new kid who enters the series for the first time. And this is why — in the past Arceus announced — any changes to Pokémon games mechanics, difficulty levels, or game designs are added for the best.

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