I Wanna Be the Very Best – Cartoon Logic
Pokémon is 20 years old. Pokémon is 20 years old! What happened? Where did all the time go? For someone who has followed the world of Pokémon fanatically since I got Pokémon Blue on December the 25th 1999, this anniversary had made me feel old. Before you know it, Pikachu will be getting a job, starting a pension and filing his first tax return. Are Pokéballs tax-deductible?
Anyway, this twentieth anniversary year has so far been pretty good for Pokémon fans. Pokémon GO looks pretty cool, and I’ve already got stuck into the rerelease of Pokémon Red on 3DS. (One sentence review: it’s still brilliant and is probably one of the most playable ‘retro’ titles in existence.) If you’re not feeling me, don’t forget that Pokémon has had an undeniable cultural impact. From its humble beginnings as ‘Capsule Monsters’, a six-year project that a bunch of bug-collecting nerds worked on until their company, Game Freak, was nearly bankrupt, Pokémon has become the second biggest selling video game franchise of all time. Its total sales of 277 million copies beats Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and The Sims, and in turn is only beaten by the Mario games. Trains and planes have been decorated, Pokémon have appeared on the front of TIME Magazine, and the Pope himself has issued edicts on Pokémania.
My spectacles aren’t totally rose-tinted. I’d be the first to admit that the games are far from perfect. In essence, each one of the 22 games that came after Red and Blue are actually the same game with some new Pokémon thrown in. The plots are identical. Get a starter Pokémon from a Professor, tour a region, collect badges, defeat an evil team and beat the Elite Four. Every. Single. Time. (Why do the bad guys always halt their plans for world domination when you defeat them in a Pokémon battle, by the way? That’d be like if Dr No gave up trying to blow up American spacecraft after James Bond had beaten him at rummy.)
Whatever you think, I still love Pokémon. Maybe it’s because I’m a collector at heart (I’ve got 719 of the 720 currently available Pokémon on my copy of Pokémon Y). Maybe it’s because the Pokémon games are about striving to do better. Game Freak’s philosophy (“To give the people of the world enjoyment, fun and discovery by continuously creating games of superior quality, and to encourage bravery, hope, kindness, dreams and an adventurous spirit”) sums that up nicely. Whatever it is, I’m understandably super excited about the final part of the anniversary celebrations; the release of two new games, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, at the end of the year.
We know virtually nothing about these games at this stage, so I’ve got little to add. Instead, maybe this is a good time to resurrect the Blackadder Game of Cartoon Logic columns old. In that game, you had to come up with titles for new Blackadder series. In the Pokémon mod of this game, you have to come up with new titles for Pokémon games. The rule is simple. You need two titles, preferably ‘poetic opposites’ (like Black and White, or X and Y, or Red and Blue, or Gold and Silver). Here are some suggestions:
Pokémon Sky and Pokémon Earth: It might be fun to imagine two alternate versions of a new Pokémon region, one built amongst the clouds and the other far below the surface. That would definitely give the games a shot of originality in the arm.
Pokémon Hot and Pokémon Cold: These could heavily feature ‘Fire’ and ‘Ice’ types, and would be a good opportunity for a big load of new Pokémon in these categories. The game mascots could be legendaries locked in an eternal war of heat versus cold.
Pokémon Night and Pokémon Day: Obvious sequels to Sun and Moon. One game could be set in a realm of perpetual daylight and the other in one of eternal night. Could be fun.
Pokémon Left and Pokémon Right: A war has broken out between left handed and right handed Pokémon trainers. New Pokemon could include a Steel-type based on scissors that has two alternate formes depending on the game it’s caught on. (Ok, I’m struggling now.)
Give it a think and see if you can come up with any fun ones. If nothing else, you get bragging rights when Game Freak eventually releases your idea in fifty years. If they keep going, they’ll get there eventually. Let me finish by reminding you of Pokémon’s most important life message; a motto of hopes and dreams that anyone can follow, a phrase that will go down in history as one of the rallying cries of our generation:
I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was. To catch them is my real test, to train them is my cause.
This week, the Trumpsday Clock moves forward to FOUR MINUTES to Trumpsday. Super Tuesday only confirmed Donald Trump as the Republican Frontrunner. He won seven of 11 states. I’m increasingly finding it difficult to imagine a world in which Trump is not the Republican nominee; at this stage, only Ted Cruz seems to have a hope of challenging him. But Trump has not won. He still has to face Hillary Clinton in November (Bernie Saunders is looking evermore unlikely). He’s basically beaten the eight Gym Leaders, and he has a strong team of Pokémon, but he’s has still got to take on the Elite Four to become the Champion. More Caucuses on Saturday. Stay tuned.