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Fifteen Years Later, I’m Still Excited to Catch 'Em All

How Pokémon plans to recapture its audience in its Sixth Generation.

I was in Elementary School, at the young age of 7 when I first discovered Pokémon Red and Blue. Many people around my age will tell you similar stories about how this series first drew them into gaming. Traveling a huge world, collecting cute and cool monsters. Watching them grow and evolve. Trading and battling with friends via link cable. Everything about it kept the game alive whether I was at school, or summer camp, or at a local park. It was a feeling that not many games have been able to replicate, and now it seems X and Y are evolving the series itself even further in new and interesting ways.

With any kind of change comes a fair amount of praise and criticism. Sure, the mechanics have basically remained intact since the beginning, and each generation brought about new areas and Pokémon to discover, but some grew tired of the formula. I too began to grow weary of some entries, like the most recent Pokémon White 2. I didn’t like the designs of the new Pokémon, and I felt that the environments didn’t interest me as much as they once did. I felt, for a moment, that maybe I was just growing out of Pokémon. It was a reality that I didn’t want to believe was true, but as I forced myself to finish Pokémon  White 2 I figured that it might be the time to hang up my Pokedex for good.

Then Pokémon X and Y were announced.

Pokémon X and Y are doing something pretty special to rejuvenate the series for veterans, while still appealing to newcomers. This is part of the magic of Pokémon X and Y and if the Pokémon Company can fully capitalize on all of its promises, they could turn out to be the best yet.

First, as always, is the new roster of Pokémon. One of the gripes I personally had with the Generation 5 Unova region was that the Pokémon weren’t desirable. While there were some exceptions, I wasn't excited to capture many of the new Pokedex entries. If a player isn’t driven to capture new Pokémon, then most of the drive to play is lost. Generation 6’s  Kalos region Pokedex is still incomplete, but the Pokémon revealed so far already have me excited to jump in and start catching. From the starters like Froakie and Fenniken to the just plain awesome additions like Tyrunt and Pancham, I’ve already got ideas for new teams.

These new Pokémon are cool, but one of the more interesting aspects to the formula is what they have done with the older ones. In what I believe is a move to recapture the Pokémon veteran, they’ve introduced Mega Evolutions to the mix. Mega Evolution puts a new twist on older Pokémon by giving them advanced and immensely powerful forms. While these new evolutions aren’t permanent and require the use of items to work, it completely changes the way the metagame works. This benefits not only the casuals, who get to experience fan favorites like Mega Garchomp and Mega Blaziken, but it strongly benefits the avid competitive scene as well. Mega Evolution gives players a trump card that can change the flow of battle. However, it's not a free win: only one Mega Evolution can be used per battle, so this could be predicted by your opponent if you fail to assemble your team correctly.

Mega Evolutions are a prime example of what Pokémon X and Y are doing right for the series. Mega Evolutions are new, and could very much be a game changer in the competitive scene. Newcomers get to experience these for the first time, while veterans can get excited to see some of their old time favorites obtain new forms. I was ecstatic to find out that my favorite Pokémon, Blastoise, is getting a Mega Evolution. Many others that I know who grew up with the series are also excited to see some of their favorites gain new forms. At the same time, I hear kids at Toys R Us just as excited as I am to experiment with these new Pokémon.

This is only a piece of what makes X and Y so promising. There are many other additions that we longtime fans have been waiting for. Many of these things are minor, but together they make a huge difference. For example, running is default now, and no longer needs the running shoes. Riding on Pokémon allows you to jump up ledges that you can normally only jump down. Upon capturing a Pokémon, you still gain experience as opposed to having to sacrifice experience for a capture. And, you can customize the look of your trainer. These improvements are long overdue.

The competitive players get a few additions as well, with the addition of Super Training. Pokémon X and Y are adding new features and mini-games that allow people to EV train with more ease than ever before. EV’s (Effort Values) have been easily missed by many players and even those who know about them will attest that these stats are tedious to account for. Training the Pokémon to reach their maximum potential was always a hassle, but the new additions in X and Y may streamline the process just enough so that more players could possibly train up powerful teams.

Sure, not everything about X and Y is guaranteed. The game could have drab environments, easy difficulty or a lack of overall personality in the long term. It’s all speculation, but regardless I’m very excited to dive back into the world of Pokémon. The new additions both show me that there is still much new that can be added, but the things I’ve grown to love have stayed intact as well. If anything, those things have gotten better over time.

Pokémon X and Y come out on October 12, 2013. Are you excited for the next wave of Pokémon? Let us know in the comments section!




10/06/2013 at 06:34 PM

I am excited!

I always liked Pokemon when a was kid, thanks mostly to the anime, but sadly, even if I did played some of the games, I never owned them. Thankfully, now that I have a 3DS, I can catch up with some of the games and i'm enjoying Pokemon again.

The thing is, I will get either version, but first I need to catch up with some games before diving in the bandwagon.

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

10/06/2013 at 06:44 PM

definitely. If you dont have em, Heart Gold/ Soul Silver, Platinum, and any game in the Black/White series are good. They give a good range of the series leading up to X and Y.


10/06/2013 at 06:49 PM

I will get them. Once I finish Diamond, I might get Platinum and Heart Gold at the same time. Then to Black and to finish, White 2.

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

10/06/2013 at 07:02 PM

not bad. should be fun! if you want an extra challenge, or wanna try something different, try a Nuzlocke run. if you dont know what that is, look it up. its pretty interesting!

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