Hello readers, I come again to you to discuss another franchise I am an avid player of in fact it's the first RPG I ever played. Pokemon! Some of you older wizards might be like oh that "fad" series from the late 90's I thought they stopped it. Well I can assure you the series is not over it's never been stronger the fan base has crossed into all age groups now. Give me your time I'll show you just as you have come to see the challenge and sheer fun of Wizard 101 that Pokemon has given since September 1998.
It all begins with Red and Blue the games that launched a multi-million dollar franchise. The basic story for Red and Blue (Green if you had the Japanese version which I did ;) ) you as a young trainer set out from Pallet town to journey across the Kanto region catching Pokemon your ultimate aspiration become the best trainer ever by becoming the League Champion. Simple yet effective what made kids the world over love it was you trained your Pokemon however you wanted and trained the one's you thought were best.
It's what creator Satoshi Tajiri wanted the freedom to collect the Pokemon you wanted. It's what he did growing up in Japan as a child he collected bugs and as an adult wanted to implement this into a game but instead of bugs he along with close friend Ken Sugimori created the original 151 Pokemon and thus game genius was born.
As the many years have gone by many aesthetic and gameplay changes were added to the games. Such as the Night and Day feature,Berry Growing, Effort Values, Individual Values,Shinies, Contests, and Animated Sprites.Stories have been added as the games have matured from stopping two warring factions raise ancient powerful Pokemon to do their bidding to stopping a crime group from stealing Pokemon for their nefarious activities.The game at it's core however has remained the same catch and train as many pokemon to complete your Pokemon Encyclopedia or Pokedex for short and beat the Pokemon League to become the Champion. This as noted by gamers became boring after awhile the stories were non engaging and ended quickly with any subplot's after the main storyline being a joke.
Let's take a look at the stories from each game and shown how each one has changed the series.
Pokemon Red,Blue,Yellow,and Green (1996,1998):
You started as a young trainer in Pallet town and went to Professor Oak to receive your starter PokemonStory was simple here catch Pokemon and become league champion while stopping the original baddies Team Rocket who were stealing Pokemon for their leader Giovanni to use for his evil purposes.
Pokemon Gold,Silver,and Crystal (1999, 2000):
You once again start out as a young trainer in New Bark Town in the Johto region you go to Professor Elm. to receive your starter Pokemon. Team Rocket returns as the main antagonists this time they are reforming in the Johto region after they disbanded 3 years earlier when the you the player in Red and Blue destroyed their operations in the Kanto region. This time you drive them out of Johto then as usual continue your journey to catch all that can be caught and become League Champion. The only real Subplot comes in Crystal version as it centers around the legendary Pokemon Suicune finding a worthy trainer to fight it and a trainer named Eusine who is obsessed with catching Suicune. Also the fact the 3 legendary beasts Raikou,Entei,and Suicune were created by Ho-oh when they were killed in a fire and revived by Ho-oh.
Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald (2002,2003,2005):
Here we start to see more development of the story however complaining about the series dated game play started to surface albeit being a success selling 13 million copies.
You start out as a young trainer in who has recently moved to Littleroot Town in the Hoenn region and you get your starter from Professor Birch. The story here revolves around Team Magma and Team Aqua 2 groups of extremists who believe Land is more important then the Ocean and the Ocean is more important than land respectively. You as the hero are tasked with stopping both teams as they attempt to awaken the ancient Pokemon Groudon and Kyogre who in the ancient past fought over the land and sea and were said to have been involved in the creation of the Hoenn region. Unfortunately you fail to stop either team and the Hoenn region is at risk of being destroyed as these Pokemon war with each other. Alas there is a third Pokemon Rayquaza who in the past was able to quell both Kyogre and Groudon you find Rayquaza who puts an end to the fighting and take out Team Magma and Aqua who in remorse return the power they had taken. Ultimately however your goal is to catch all the Pokemon and become League Champion.
The only side stories here are Deoxys a Pokemon created when a virus on a meteor mutated after being exposed to Earth's atmosphere and the Regi trio who were sealed up by humans cause their power couldn't be tamed and their chambers could only be unlocked by the worthy who could control them.
Pokemon Diamond,Pearl,and Platinum (2006,2007,2009):
Here we see Nintendo give the game a major update graphically and game play wise. The story is much better however short and plausible side stories start to form.
You start as a young trainer in Twinleaf Town which is in the Sinnoh region a region that's far away from previous regions of Kanto,Johto,and Hoenn. After hearing a report of a mysterious "Red" (Shiny for those versed in Pokemon) Gyarados you go with your friend to investigate at Lake Verity near your hometown you encounter Professor Rowan and his assistant Dawn who seem to be searching for something. You notice the professor has left his suitcase when you are attacked by wild Pokemon. Your only option at this point is to use the Pokemon in the professor's suitcase which he later gives to you. You start out your journey to become the League Champion when you must stop Team Galactic and their deranged leader Cyrus who's aim is to control the legendary Pokemon Diagla (Time) or Palkia (Space) or Giratina (Matter) (depending on the version) so that he can destroy the known world and recreate it in his image,without emotions so there is no conflict among humans and Pokemon. So the player must find the Lake Guardians Azelf,Uxie,and Mesprit (Pixie Trio to fans) who were created by the Alpha Pokemon Arceus they are said to have given man Knowledge (Uxie), Emotion (Mesprit), and Willpower (Azelf) only they can stop Cyrus from controlling the Pokemon and thus destroying the world. It seems Mesprit had at the beginning of the game chosen you for this destiny and you stop Cyrus and Team Galactic.
Subplots are many here but mostly take shape in Pokemon Platinum with the addition of Characters such as Looker who is a detective trying to put a stop to Team Galactic and Charon who is a scientist one of the Team Galactic Commanders (Others were Saturn,Mars,and Jupiter) takes over as Leader when Cyrus is defeated he is stopped by the player and arrested by Looker while attempting to capture the legendary Pokemon Heatran in Stark Mountain. Charon is also credited with discovering and naming of the Plasma Pokemon Rotom when as a child he discovered Rotom when it infiltrated his toy robot. Another side story present in all versions is the story of Regigigas who is creator of the Legendary Golems Regice(Ice Age), Regirock(Stone Age), and Registeel (Iron Age) who are present in Pokemon Ruby,Sapphire,and Emerald. The story goes Regigigas was so powerful he could move continents one day he created the trio out of Ice,Rocks,and Iron in his image however his worshipers believed he was too powerful and he was sealed away while his creations went to the Hoenn region where they were eventually sealed up in stone structures as well only the worthy can unlock the doors (Which are messages in Braille) and capture them.
All this lore has added depth and an interesting story however this could be completed within one day after the main story line and it became apparent that all we fans could do was train nothing more. I come to you now however that this has been dispelled with the newest editions to the franchise Pokemon Black and White due out March 6th, 2011. While at it's core your main goal is to catch all you can and become League Champion. I am happy to say the story has been re-imagined,side stories are abundant, and it's so utterly new that the game will only feature Pokemon from the new Unova Region which is based off not areas of Japan as previous titles but off of New York.
I won't go into plot line cause I don't wanna ruin it for others as I've known it since it's Japanese release (Click here if you want to know though --> Black and White Story). However I can say it's definitely a fresh start for the series and has aggregated a Perfect score on many gaming sites notably Famitsu. I wanted to talk of this cause of the apparent lack of appreciation lots of us see from fellow players. J. Todd Coleman stated takes 1 month for each new area to be developed and I hate to see players undermine such work it takes and that is put into each zone. I myself did it in this post but to show you how undeserving we can be but that the beauty of it is if we wait the goods will be delivered.
The similarities of both Pokemon and Wizard101 are apparent both allow you to control an alternate self and do or in Pokemon's case train whatever you want. Both have underlying complexity that most don't see at first W101 deck strategies,player stats, pet stats, Pvp and Pve interaction, and finally story for Pokemon it's Move sets,Natures, IVs,EVs, Team construction, and finally story as well. Think about it for a second as you progressed in W101 from WC to CL the story became different and more immersible from stopping the Gobbler King to Saving an entire world from being overran and it's magic being stolen by dark powers. the same thing is present here a young trainer who's only goal is to become the best ends up saving the world from being split apart by distortions in Time,Space and Matter. So in closing I say appreciate it cause as while we live in our world we play in theirs and it's the little things like a small piece of lore or that added detail in the Trial of Spheres that make games like this truly memorable. where we came to get away from the mundane and instead forged relationships and bonds with fellow wizards as we battled our way to victory over the forces of darkness.
(I deliberately excluded Pokemon FireRed, LeafGreen, HeartGold, and SoulSilver as they are remakes and although they added to the lack of the stories in Pokemon Blue,Red,Silver,Gold,and Crystal they aren't truly new additions to the series although I'll say if you want to experience an awesome as heck game go out and buy Pokemon Heartgold or Soulsilver.)
Until next time your friend,