If you’ve ever heard someone like Rhianna Pratchett talk about writing for video games, it seems that a video game writer’s job is to weave a story around a set of mechanics and kind of hope for the best. Doing a good job in this industry means thinking outside of the box and being flexible with your narrative. On a completely unrelated tangent: If you’ve been awake for the past fortnight, you will have seen every games media outlet losing their minds on and around the Pokémon GO hype train.
I, like many people, have been playing Pokémon GO a fair amount over the past few days. Although you could fry an egg on my iPhone 4s during a gym battle, I have rather been enjoying the social aspects and periods of exercise that come packaged with Niantic’s fun, new app. Whilst I think that there are many things that could be added/fixed, I feel like I have nothing to add on that subject. I have, however, been musing over an interesting thought. I feel that Pokémon GO, by design, has one of the most intriguing and enjoyable story progressions of any of the previous Pokémon games. The story arc in question is my very own Pokémon adventure. No more am I confined to walking in a circle around various, linear regions. Now I can go anywhere in the country and find new adventures for myself! From meeting new trainers at a Pokéstop in the north of England, to a bunch of young people engaging in some very heated banter around a gym in the town centre; I feel as if Pokémon GO has one of the best Pokémon stories to date. One all randomly generated off of my own meanderings. It’s almost like the best open world RPG in history.
Now all of this has got me thinking. I know that Game Freak (the studio behind the Pokémon games, for those not in the know) have always a bit apprehensive when it comes to straying out of the shallow waters of creative storytelling. It’s easy to see why. This formula sells and it sells big. But what if what if the next Pokémon adventure strayed away from this conventional tale... What if, for example, the next Pokémon game was penned by, say, my hand? Like a Pokeflute to the Snorlax of plot developments; I thought I'd throw my two cents in towards the moulding of a Pokémon master.
I have nothing against re-releases, but even the idea of playing Pokemon Sapphire forever seems ghastly.
- Open Your Eyes and Seadra.
You wake up in bed. A grown man or woman. Your Pokémon adventure thus far is a mess of failed gym battles and loss of money. After years of hardship and struggle, you have turned to a life of Pokémon related crime. Ever wondered what life is like for a Team Rocket grunt trying to rise through the ranks? Now is when you find out, first hand. Starting off as a lowly errand runner, stealing Pokémon from unsuspecting trainers, you rise through the syndicate and uncover a terrible plot. One day, you get caught in the act of criming and are recruited by an Officer Jenny to infiltrate the higher echelons of Team Rocket, ultimately throwing a Pokéball themed wrench in the works of the entire operation. Your actions save countless Pokémon and everyone is eternally grateful... after a short spell in prison. You can’t escape a rap sheet the length of a fully grown Gyarados just by doing one good deed, but hey √¢‚Ç¨‚Äú you’d probably get a heavily reduced sentence or something. Five years with good behaviour is a small price to pay for being the bad guy! Do you reckon they have Machoke prison guards in the Kanto region? Not only would this game differ from the norm, it also teaches people that you shouldn't do crime! Naughty!
- Animal Tentacruelty.
Ten year olds are given a lot of responsibility in these games, which always works out surprisingly well in the Pokémon universe. Why so many minors grow up to be upstanding citizens is a question we should be asking! Perhaps we can learn a lot from this virtual social paradise. Anyway, one such strapping young scamp sets off on his/her Pokémon journey and runs in to a group of Pokémon trainers/rights activists. Our hero discovers that these people are working to stop Team Rocket experimenting on Pokémon. You see, Team Rocket have discovered a way to supercharge their Pokémon; putting them in a state of permanent mega evolution, but at a cost. Any Pokémon suspended in this state are in constant pain, their rage driving their power. Our intrepid young character joins this band of Pokémon-based freedom fighters on a journey that sees them overthrowing this diabolical operation and ending this strain of Pokémon cruelty! Go you! Whether or not Nintendo would be up for such levels of social commentary (touching on animal rights, etc) would be a questionable topic of discussion, though. The way I see it, if Pokémon Black and Blue can do so well then Nintendo would be daft to not follow in PETA’s footsteps right? Right? Okay, stop looking at me like that.
Once my Oddish hits level 6000, you'll all be sorry. Just you wait.
A child wakes up in a caravan. Faint sounds of a crowd cheering can be heard from outside the room. YOU OVERSLEPT! GAH! Running outside, you see that your parents and the rest of your travelling troupe have already set up their little travelling show and are halfway through a performance. Sprinting in to the tent, you see your Father in the ring, battling Pokémon with one of the locals. After the fight, he comes up to you, smiling and teasing you about your lie-in. He decides that it’s time for you to start taking part in the show and offers you one of three Pokémon. For the rest of the game you travel around the various cities, exploring the towns and battling those who wish to volunteer in the travelling Pokémon Battle arena. It's all fun and games until one day. Team Rocket, ever present, appear and steal your Fathers um I don’t know prized Ditto or whatever it is he uses in the ring. A grand tale unfolds where you leave in the middle of the night to take back your Father’s Pokémon. On return, you face your Father in a friendly battle on the last night of the show. You beat him. You kick his ass. Father laughs, seems happy and decides that it is time for him to retire. At this point you. the player, assume the headline slot in the travelling show, continuing the family business and kicking ass across the continent. Maybe you could choose where the show goes afterwards, allowing endless play once you’ve finished. Other players could battle in your arena over Wi-Fi connection, as too could you travel to theirs. Fun for all the family. Especially the Father. He still takes a cut off the top. Freeloader.
You wake up in bed. A typical Pallet Town morning. Mom is standing there, ushering you out of the door to start the Pokémon journey you have been waiting your whole life for. You leave the house and PLOT TWIST; you were the child’s mother the whole time. This game consists of you sitting at the kitchen table waiting for your child to come back and visit, which they inevitably never do. No-one ever thinks of the Mother in these games. You’re all dicks. WE'RE all dicks. Sorry, virtual Mum. Thanks for those sweet running shoes.
Of course, the Pokémon franchise is brilliant fun as it is. We do, of course, have the spin off games like Mystery Dungeon and Colosseum to give us a break from the norm, but personally; I would love to see more Pokémon titles follow this idea. Any game with the Pokémon name attached to it is going to rake in the Pokédollars and so I ask you this, Nintendo: what have you got to lose? I mean...besides artistic integrity, of course. Anyway, you know where to find me if you want me to pen the next one Call me
Are there any Pokémon game ideas that you’ve been sitting on all these years? Post them in the comments below! Stay tuned for “Pokemom“, set to drop in September 2017*.
*Totally gonna happen tooootally tooooooooootally...not...