Relax, its just Pokémon.

For the record, it’s pronounced Pokémon. The é sounds like the first e in Résumé. The last ‘mon’ sounds like ō in the English word, Rose. The last letter, “n” has longer vowel like a short humming sound “une” or just simply ポケモン。if you want to sound old school, it’s ポケットモンスター。 It seems that everybody is repeating content from Wikipedia about the history of Pokémon and Satoshi Tajiri so let’s just stop and discuss the misinformation about the “Pokémon GO Overnight sensation” articles, it really starts back since 1889 if you want geek out about it but lets get to the basics.

Was Pokémon successful before GO? Of course, they sold over 280 Million units worldwide.  That doesn’t include movies, trading cards, and other licensed products. Let’s combine that with Niantic’s augmented reality game known as Ingress that had over a million users and some help from Google and other financial investors like Soft Bank and MUFG but there was a split in 2015.  So now in 2016, Pokémon GO is released in Australia, USA, and New Zealand. You get a location based mobile game that is augmented reality and combine that with one of the biggest video game pop stars to set the stage. What will happen next?

This technology becomes a new enabler for Pokémon and the gaming industry. Ingress was fun but there wasn’t any familiar faces behind the game. Is it important to have a familiar face on a game app? Have you seen the number of those shiny looking 3D faces at the Google Play store? They have that shiny pixelated 3D template look, its like these companies all hired one graphic designer to do all their games. There’s arguments that its about nostalgia as the only reason for it’s popularity but I think it’s a combination of good technology, a fun game, great characters, and a lot backing from Nintendo to a new generation of gamers.

So does it end there?

No. Pokémon surpasses Facebook, Twitter and the numbers are growing within a few days.  There’s a lot of better articles out there, I just got tired of hearing so much misinformation about the “Overnight sensation” stories and think its unacceptable for critics that have have never played the game to be discrediting a game that has been around for over 20 years.

A fairly short topic but I wanted to let everyone to know from a gamer’s point of view, I think it’s a fun game here in the US.  The server crashed a couple of days ago but it’s getting a lot better.

Follow all the safety laws, share the sidewalks, put your phone down when you’re having a conversation with someone, don’t spit in public, turn your volume down when you are playing in public. Be polite to elders, if someone loses their wallet then return it to them if you find it. You know, take your shoes off when you enter a Japanese home, alright, it’s just Japanese etiquette 101 after this point.  Actually been reading about how young kids playing Pokemon at the park are littering and causing a mess.  Don’t litter while playing Pokemon. wait, don’t ever fucking litter no matter. This isn’t a problem with Pokemon but just a simple look at basic etiquette, alright moving on.

Well I’ll probably stop playing Pokémon after a couple months because I got stuff to do.  I would like to see Super Smash Brothers GO and a few other titles but I don’t think it will be as successful as Pokémon.  Let’s see what our gaming future looks like? I want to be a part of it because it’s a part of my life and love gaming.  I’ve read a lot of non-sense and speculation about how dangerous the game is a ton of bullshit that goes with any hype, Relax, it’s just a  game folks.

As a gamer I liked Pokémon as a kid but also played lots of other titles in NES, Famicom, SNES, Genesis, N64, Gamecube, XBOX, PS1, PS2, PS3, Steam, Android/Apple app games and it was all fun.  It depends on the game but I love role playing games the most.  For me, a game sucks or it’s fun and easy to play.  Most of the kids in my neighborhood would usually play the e-sport games (NBA/MLB) or FPS (first person shooters), I thought those games were lame or overly aggressive.   Oh look, you got a touchdown, shot a enemy with a gun, or kicked a ball to score a goal in a video game and then have that repeat for 300 hours. You can also go out there in the real world and play the actual game of real sports if you had the means to do it.  Man, I wish I had dragons and monsters that would help me fight epic battles across the world and different galaxies but since that’s not possible realistic or financially possible in real life (unless you you owned Disneyland).  I guess my second option is to play video games or watch a movie.

I remember watching that Southpark episode about chinpokomon and thought the “Test marketing” skit was hilarious and valid in today’s scheme of marketing. It’s dry humor but it dives into the psychology of kids trying to become the popular one at school or just trying to fit into society.  Do you remember the movie, “Big” with Tom Hanks? That should give you a funny view about video-games or comic based Marketing, and it’s really simple if you see the game or toy, play the game, like the game, then buy the game…and if you don’t?  Then go away and move on to other priorities, you’re just not a part of “it”.

At any rate, I can imagine how exciting is it to be a kid again and you have have a new PS4, XBOX1 or Steam but you’re stuck at home and want to go outside. You see all the kids or teenagers at school on their mobile phones playing battle games or “made for app” games like candy crush, angry birds, fruit ninja, clash of clans, or some kind of fighting game, but what do you do when that’s exhausted or repetitive?  So what else is there to do as a kid besides video game apps?  There’s apps like Snapchat where you probably watch another kid fall off their bicycles, some silly pranks, or watch endless amounts of teens taking selfies but that gets old really fast too. What else is out there?

I remember playing Dragon Ball, Yu-Gi-Oh, Katamari, Zelda, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, and so much more but I look back and realized that it was really old technology compared to what’s out now.  The old games had terrible graphics and those characters relied heavily on a strong storyline and content with so many cool characters and magical worlds that could test your imagination. It was better than watching a movie sometimes.  Some of the sounds and music played in these old games are memorable (very nostalgic), they stood out.  I feel like modern app games today are rushed together, cheap and filled with a bunch of mundane characters with no personality, useless ads, tacky music, and boring stories. The thing that people want is an experience. A great experience can cost a lot of money or can be absolutely free (walking up a hill and watching the sunset) but that’s what people want.

I think Nintendo made a wise choice by waiting for all the millions of cheap and free games to flood the app market and run its course. Let’s look back at Atari with cheap games and a lot of wacky consoles that came out and ultimately crashed their market in 1983. Gunpei Yokoi dreamed of making virtual reality games in 1990 but launched a really bad prototype in 1995 due to lack of technology. In 1995, Nintendo was making VR headsets when the coolest mobile phone game at the time was “Snake” on Nokia. The game “Snake” sucks compared to the games that were available on consoles. Look at it.  Nintendo was making Donkey Kong Country, a 16-bit pre-rendered 3D game and Yokoi was trying to make a VR headset while this is the game (pictured below) was a popular choice on cell phones.

At the end of a good video game, you want to feel happy and fulfilled. You want to clear a level that drove you crazy but you know that the process was fun and  challenging. Nintendo made a lot of pretty lame games as well but they had fun heroes, dynamic stories, fun soundtracks, cute characters and overall great game play during it’s peak.  Old gamers had analog controllers with a d-pad and at least 4 buttons and these control pads evolved into wireless controllers with at least 8 or more buttons and now we’re back to the one finger swipe games that require repetitive finger gestures. Where is the fun with all the new app games?

Today, popular app games feel more like a copy&paste template and often restricted to a finger swipe or a single tap and I understand the concept and limitations, I get points but where’s the story going and which new characters will I meet? Does it evolve and mature or loop back towards the first level?

I played Angry birds and Fruit Ninja when it first came out and then got bored of it after a few days.  It got repetitive and stale.  After a few years, I saw that Angry birds made a bunch of themes and spin offs (Halloween, Christmas, Space, Star Wars, etc) and that’s where I felt like it was making the same mistake with the entertainment industry of re-hashing old ideas or forcing out sequels. This is when you know a product’s life had ended and the business cycle repeats with a new face with the same old ingredients and consumer placebo effect.

I love a good fantasy or sci-fi movie like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Marvel but when it becomes a transplant of market-driven product hacks. It annoys me. I like Legos and Star Wars but I don’t want every Lego product with some other company brand on it, let my imagination do its thing. Harry Potter Legos, Transformer Legos? Really, let the idea of Transformer Legos resonate for a second, you’re designing and building Lego blocks so they can transform into something that is pre-designed into something that a company designed.  That doesn’t make me feel like creative person or even a customer but more like an employee building your product for sake of branding.  Then there’s a Lego Batman video game. How about just Batman and leave it alone, and why did they make a Cars 2 video game for XBOX when the movie sequel was terrible and ranked low in IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, the demand isn’t there. It’s not only a wasted investment but a waste of natural resources.

In all fairness, Nintendo contributed to a number of terrible live action movies as well like the Mario Bros film and the Wizard!  Do you remember when they used the film’s version of Koopa in Mario?  That Koopa didn’t look anything like the video game version.  Most of these films based on video games are garbage and usually score below 50%.

Bowser (top right) looked like this in 1990

This is the Bowser film result in 1993: NAILED IT.

It’s true that some of the video-game based movies made millions, some broke even, and some lost half their budget, but at end of the whole ride; nothing phenomenal has been made. You’re going to look back at these classical video games movies and it won’t make any sense, the acting is b-role,  and everything is incoherent and forced in an hour and 30 minute timeline.  You can probably invest money in other technologies at that point.  Well…I thought Mortal Kombat wasn’t terrible but I think a good video game is the interactive movie experience if you have a good director, charming characters, cinematography, nice story, and a proper game design. Well I’m being a little coherent by mixing video games and a live action film but I think it’s fair to say that everyone is free to create their own amazing and delicious recipe but sometimes there’s reason why people don’t eat ice cream with ketchup.