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backwards through the megaphone

maura @ 10:39 pm

I had thought we were finished with Pokemon, but one of Gus’s pals brought a game magazine on the bus the other day, and Gus read a review of the new Pokemon game Black and White (out now in Japan, not til the spring here in the US), and now he’s hooked again.

It’s not that I hate Pokemon. I do think there are lots of great things about the game, both the video and card versions. There’s memorization — the characters have endless stats and attributes — and organization — in this case, the Pokedex, which indexes all of the creatures you find. There’s math (especially in the card game) since the basic mechanic is 2 characters battling and the one with higher hit points (which can, of course, be added to with powerups and the like) is the winner. And there’s lots of reading, too.

But I do feel like the Pokemon universe is, well, thin. And based more on accumulating stuff in the physical world than many other games. He has a giant pile of cards that he never, ever uses anymore. Indeed, the card game is much more complicated than the videogame, and when he was young enough to want the cards he couldn’t really grok the gameplay. But of course he begged for them when he was into collecting them, endlessly poring over them and strategizing trades with pals.

The videogames, too, encourage real life consumption in a way I don’t like all that much. Often multiple versions of essentially the same game are released simultaneously, and sometimes they only differ in color (e.g. Emerald, Ruby, Sapphire) and a subset of creatures. So even though you’re collecting creatures virtually, your kid will still beg for more than one version of the game.

I guess we have time to deal with this, since the new game isn’t out for a while. But I’m sad that the newfound knowledge of this game has pushed him back into the Pokeverse. His birthday is coming up — maybe one of the new games he gets will drive all those Pokethoughts right out of his head.

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