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Pokemon Black/White Mall Tour Coverage

Pokemon…it’s Japan’s effort to control the minds of people all over the world…and it’s working! If you aren’t familiar with Pokemon(If not, you have fucking problems.), here is a little history:

Created in 1996 by Satoshi Tajiri, Pokemon was originally released as a pair of inter-linkable Game Boy RPGs. As it stands, the series is the second-most popular and known series in the world, next to the Mario franchise. Yes…it even beats out the Final Fantasy series(Sorry fans!). Pokemon stands for Pocket Monsters in Japan due to the fact that most things in Japan are usually romanized contractions. Now, the concept of the games is actually quite simple. Since I don’t feel like typing it all out, I’ll let Wikipedia explain it:

The concept of the Pokémon universe, in both the video games and the general fictional world of Pokémon, stems from the hobby of insect collecting, a popular pastime which Pokémon executive director Satoshi Tajiri-Oniwa enjoyed as a child. Players of the games are designated as Pokémon Trainers, and the two general goals (in most Pokémon games) for such Trainers are: to complete the Pokédex by collecting all of the available Pokémon species found in the fictional region where that game takes place; and to train a team of powerful Pokémon from those they have caught to compete against teams owned by other Trainers, and eventually become the strongest Trainer, the Pokémon Master. These themes of collecting, training, and battling are present in almost every version of the Pokémon franchise, including the video games, the anime and manga series, and the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

In most incarnations of the fictional Pokémon universe, a Trainer that encounters a wild Pokémon is able to capture that Pokémon by throwing a specially designed, mass-producible spherical tool called a Poké Ball at it. If the Pokémon is unable to escape the confines of the Poké Ball, it is officially considered to be under the ownership of that Trainer. Afterwards, it will obey whatever its new master commands, unless the Trainer demonstrates such a lack of experience that the Pokémon would rather act on its own accord. Trainers can send out any of their Pokémon to wage non-lethal battles against other Pokémon; if the opposing Pokémon is wild, the Trainer can capture that Pokémon with a Poké Ball, increasing his or her collection of creatures. Pokémon already owned by other Trainers cannot be captured, except under special circumstances in certain games. If a Pokémon fully defeats an opponent in battle so that the opponent is knocked out (i.e., “faints”), the winning Pokémon gains experience and may level up. When leveling up, the Pokémon’s statistics (“stats”) of battling aptitude increase, such as Attack and Speed. From time to time the Pokémon may also learn new moves, which are techniques used in battle. In addition, many species of Pokémon possess the ability to undergo a form of metamorphosis and transform into a similar but stronger species of Pokémon, a process called evolution.

In the main series, each game’s single-player mode requires the Trainer to raise a team of Pokémon to defeat many non-player character (NPC) Trainers and their Pokémon. Each game lays out a somewhat linear path through a specific region of the Pokémon world for the Trainer to journey through, completing events and battling opponents along the way. Each game features eight especially powerful Trainers, referred to as Gym Leaders, that the Trainer must defeat in order to progress. As a reward, the Trainer receives a Gym Badge, and once all eight badges are collected, that Trainer is eligible to challenge the region’s Pokémon League, where four immensely talented trainers (referred to collectively as the “Elite Four”) challenge the Trainer to four Pokémon battles in succession. If the trainer can overcome this gauntlet, he or she must then challenge the Regional Champion, the master Trainer who had previously defeated the Elite Four. Any Trainer who wins this last battle becomes the new champion and gains the title of Pokémon Master.

Pretty simplistic, right? So, that’s the history and concept of Pokemon. At first there were only 150 of these creatures. With the upcoming release of Pokemon Black/White, the amount of Pokemon available will be: 649 That’s a lot to collect! Anyway, now that you know the history, let’s get to the Tour!

The wonderful people at Nintendo put this little shindig together and it is currently touring certain malls in certain states. This is a publicity promotion to commemorate the upcoming release of Pokemon Black/White(release date is March 6th, 2011 in the US and March 4th, 2011 in Europe). The event concept was rather simple: Pick up a brochure at the “Information Desk” and within that brochure are 5 individual blank spots. In those spots, you are to get stamps from booths around the mall called “Stamp Rally”. The attendant at the booth will stamp a certain Pokemon from the new game onto the brochure, and then you proceed to the next “Stamp Rally” booth. Once all 5 are collected, you head to this area I call the “Prize Wheel Station” where you proceed to wait in an incredibly long line(That grows longer by the minute) for a chance to spin a prize wheel. The prize wheel has a variety of different things on it, but most of it is Pokemon-related swag. If you didn’t want to participate in the the Pokemon Stamp Hunt, you could purchase swag at another booth, but in my opinion(and several others) they overpriced….oh I don’t know….EVERYTHING? Seriously, 10 bucks for a Pokemon plushie the size of my fist? Get the fuck outta here with that nonsense! Anyway, aside from the swag you could mosey on down to the GameStop in the mall where you could download a Pokemon that was available for the event. If I recall, I believe it was a Shiny Celebi. Here was the crowd outside of GameStop all downloading their new Pokemon:

It may not seem like a lot, but believe me when I say it, the crowd kept expanding throughout the day. Some of the scheduled events were free access to the newest Pokemon movie, opportunities to trade and battle, being able to check out some of the new features for Black/White as well as getting your picture taken with some of the newest Pokemon. Now, I personally found this funny. They had people in Pokemon suits(Probably on a Prison Work Release Program) and they would stand there and let you take pictures with them.

The group I attended the event with kept commenting on the shittyness of the costumes and how they could do MUCH better. In all honesty, they could! I’ve seen a majority of their Cosplays, and I have always been taken back by the amount of heart, soul, passion and effort they put into these costumes. Sure, Nintendo may be able to hire great costume designers for their events, but nothing surpasses the amount of time and dedication one person puts in when it comes to creating a costume. Those Cosplayers have my greatest love and respect! Here is an example of the creative wisdom that are Cosplayers:

That’s right, kids….that is TRUE Fandom! Even people who don’t Cosplay or have never done it(Me included) can still thoroughly enjoy Pokemon to a high extent!

Another I thing at the event was interview people. Most people would ask, “But Beau, you sexy man-beast, why interview people at all?”. Well, part of journalism is getting opinions from outside sources instead of always offering your own. I touched on a few important things with a lot of different people and I found out some very interesting things:

-Everyone who I spoke to has either played the game since it’s debut or for an extended amount of time. I have come to the conclusion that the average Pokemon player has been a fan of the game and has been playing it for over 15 years. That’s a long time! I, myself, am a HUGE Mega Man fan and I have been devoted to that series since the day Mega Man came into this world(That would be December 17th, 1987)! So, I can definitely relate to being devoted to a particular series.

-When I asked people what got them into the series, a good majority of them said it was friends or relatives. That makes sense, considering that “word of mouth” is considered the best form of advertisement. So, it doesn’t surprise me that popularity of the game can spread faster than a wildfire when it starts with family, then moves on to friends and finally everyone else. Makes sense, right? A few of them said that the Trading Card Game and the TV Show got them hooked on it as well, and of course that makes sense as well.

-I decided to bring up something different during the interview. I asked if other fans and themselves would love to see Pokemon ported to the Nintendo Wii. Now, I am not talking about the shit that is already on there(Pokemon Battle Revolution, Pokemon Rumble, etc.), no. I am talking about putting an actual adventure that are usually put on the DS. Think about it for a second. Look at the capacity of a DS cartridge. Now, look at the capacity of a Wii disc. Notice the size difference? Nintendo and Game Freaks could easily put a full-on Pokemon adventure game on the Wii! Even going so far as to put all 6 current regions(Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sevii Islands, Sinnoh, and the newest region, Unova), let you get all your badges and be able to catch all 649 Pokemon with space left over for whatever. On top of that, you would be able to Battle and Trade over Nintendo WFC and utilize the Wii Motion Plus capabilities by using your Wii-Mote to “throw” Pokeballs and issue battle commands. Nintendo and Game Freaks would make so much money if they would take a step back and analyze this concept! However, there were a few people who said they would rather keep it on the DS. That’s perfectly understandable, considering you would want to keep it in the tradition of the game being called “Pocket Monsters” and the DS fits in your…well, pocket. But, the masses have spoken and about 95% of them want to see a full-fledged Pokemon game on the Nintendo Wii!

In closing, I want to state that even though the Pokemon franchise continues to grow, eventually it will die. I hate to say it, but Nintendo/Game Freaks will eventually run out of colors. Honestly…would your REALLY wanna play “Pokemon Fuchia” or “Pokemon Gray”? No thanks. If I want to see depressing shit, I would watch Chasing Amy. Regardless, the Pokemon franchise continues to entertain people of ALL ages and races. Sure, it may seem “cutesy-artsey” to some people, but if you have a strong passion for RPGs, then give this game a try. You might just end up liking it!

Until next episode…

2 Comments

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  1. N. Russell says
    April 30, 2012, 10:27 AM

    What’s PokieMan?

    Reply
  2. Melissa Williams says
    February 28, 2011, 12:07 PM

    As always Beau good review! I have been sucked in a few times ( jay even too ) I dunno honestly what I see in it but I was REALLY into it when I was yonger.

    Reply

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