Pokemon Go Ruined Pokemon for Me

As a young child, I was part of the generation that was swept up with the original Pokemon. I had dozens of cards which I kept pristine in a collectors book, and I had tiny little action figures of Ash and Misty which I played with while I cuddled with Togepi, a stuffed version of an egg creature from Pokemon, who trilled when squeezed.

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(photo credit: amazon.com)

I was obsessed with Pokemon, but there was one problem, I was not allowed to watch it. My parents were very strict about what I was allowed to watch, and Pokemon did not make the cut as it held no educational value. So I played with the merchandise but never saw the original source, and as time went on, I moved on to other toys.

Fast forward over a decade later, and I read an article about a new Pokemon game coming to my phone, where I can catch Pokemon in real life! I downloaded it as soon as it was available, and I was overwhelmed with nostalgia as I watched the Pokeball bounce around on the loading screen. I was a bit nostalgia-drunk from the experience, and realizing that I am now an adult who can do whatever I like (haha not really), I decided to finally watch the original show that had been banned to me all those years ago. Netflix had caught on the trend so the entire original series was available to watch on the platform. So I popped some popcorn and settled in for what I expected to be a pleasant experience dripping with nostalgia. As the title song played, I nodded along smiling. As the show progressed, the smile slowly faded, and even nostalgia could not save it.

I hated it. That’s right. I hated the show. The Pokemon were extremely cute, but I could not help but cringe as they were forced to fight each other, often resulting in an injury severe enough to land them in a Poke-Hospital. These cute little creatures were captured only after they had been weakened by battle, and they sat in a Pokeball until the Pokemon master let them out to fight other Pokemon. If these had been animals, I would have called the police for animal cruelty. Indeed, what I felt like I was watching was the equivalent of cartoon dog fights. Even though it was entirely fictional, I couldn’t help but feel sick on how the Pokemon were treated, and how they still were so loyal to the person who captured them.

I cried watching the show. Yes I admit it. It may seem ridiculous, but this scene (starting at 8:45) had me balling like a baby. I quit watching the show soon after.

The Pokemon Go game lost all appeal to me soon after. I admired the concept, but every time I caught a Pokemon, I saw poor Charmander desperately trying to keep his flame dry while waiting in the rain for the master who abandoned him (if Charmander’s flame goes out he dies). So ended my love affair with Pokemon, my quest for nostalgia brought on by Pokemon Go only lead to pain and disappointment.

 

Fiction Interrupted

The game Braid seems to be at once a parody of Mario Brothers in the form of a modern realistic story (what with the essential objective of saving a princess), and simultaneously this beautifully crafted fantastical world. Indeed the whole game seems to hinge on this tension between reality and fiction. This is best illustrated in the contradicting visual of the game. While the setting is a scene of clouds, castles, and beautiful greenery, our protagonist, Tim, is dressed in a business suit featuring a tie and everything. Another hint of reality seeping into this world, are the poetic but ambiguous story lines we get at the beginning of each world. While Tim speaks of rescuing a princess, the themes of forgiveness, isolation, and most significantly, regret, speak to a more serious adult tone. This tone seems only to be emphasized by the puzzles which form pictures of what appears to be a sad, dark home-life. As mentioned previously, regret seems to be an essential part of the plot, explaining the emphasis in the game of being able to control time, and therefore fix the past over and over until it is done right.The game seems to be more of a dream or a psychological coping mechanism; I can’t help but feel that Tim is using the game as an escape from his reality, in a way similar to those who play the game wish to escape real life.braid_screenshot11