Pokémon is evolving into a bold new direction that challenges much of what it once was. Some fans are even asking if this is the same franchise that we have loved for so long. In this newest generation of games, some of the additions have surprised long-time players. When compared to previous games, developments like dual evolutions, trial captains, and even Ultra Beasts, make Pokémon: Sun and Moon surprisingly unfamiliar to older fans. Given that many of the changes stem from the first generation of games, perhaps older players shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it.
The Alolan Transition
While players understand the return of first gen Pokémon in Alolan forms — the legendary Prof. Oak even has an Alolan cousin named Samson — older fans are feeling like something is missing. Something integral to the older games. Alolan forms are prominently/predominantly first gen Pokémon given new typing and abilities.
These are the classic monsters we’ve adored, but have been given a new variation. Some of these, like Alolan Meowth, have been given new design features and the dark typing. A major improvement to the first gen Pokémon lucky enough to receive Alolan forms is a new power level. Overall, it seems like Alolan forms are the very direction developer GameFreak needed to head to revitalize older Pokémon.
For fans who have been around for the first three generations, there is much to love about Pokémon: Sun and Moon. It should be noted that the Alola region seems oddly similar to the Orange Islands. Fans can only rejoice now that these new regional specialties have been included. It’s something they’ve long anticipated since Ash challenged the Island chain in the anime almost 20 years ago. Both chains provided us with unique first generation Pokémon, which is something to tie fans to the aesthetics of Orange Islands and the Alolan region. In the anime, they had unique coloration and abilities. In Alola, we are given even more region-specific variations of Pokémon that wasn’t technically feasible in the first games.
Older Fans Love Their Mounts
Even more exciting is the use of mounts. Fans have long hoped for the ability to ride their favorite Pokémon, which were only in previous games in limited forms. Better still is the use of high-quality graphics to deliver a strong sense of realism in Sun and Moon‘s expanded rideable beasts. The updated mount system introduces a whole new level of interaction, allowing players to delve into the Pokémon world with a new depth of realism and uniting us with our beloved creatures. While never presented with this system before, longtime Poké-fans can look forward to it as a way of interacting with Pokémon.
Fans widely regard these new features, mounts, and typing as positive. However, the question remains: will this be enough to keep older players interested?
Always Changing and Growing
Among the masses of new changes in Sun and Moon, trainers must remember we are in for new, more exotic times. We are in the times of new Pokémon, Ultra Beasts, and even the Aether Foundation. Gyms and their seasoned leaders seem to be completely replaced by Trial Captains, as well as the seeming loss of the series’ bosses, the Elite Four. Yet while these are two of the biggest staples of the games, there are other features missing, such as legendary trios that were once considered standard. Even the standard system of multiple evil team admins are being replaced by Team Skull enforcers.
So a few major questions arise: Where do we, as older, more attached fans belong? Where do we have our say, and how can we fit in? These questions are not easy to answer because they do not have a single answer.
Pokémon is one of the biggest gaming franchise in the world, right up there with the ever-popular Mario games. Most versions have easily sold millions and millions of copies. Pokémon: Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire and X and Y have been in the Nintendo 3DS eShop’s bestsellers category since their release years ago. It makes sense, then, that a franchise would continue to follow the formula that’s worked for 20 years.
Fans old and new have been receptive to the changes made to Pokémon GO which has broken six world records and is predicted to make over one billion dollars in just six month. These new games could herald the beginning of a new era for the franchise. Not surprisingly, Pokémon: Moon has already reached top selling status on Amazon.
Embrace the New Pokémon Developments
Let’s face it: change is scary. And changes stemming from properties we held close to our hearts as kids are even worse. However, as a generation of fans that have more experience and knowledge, we cannot give up hope. If we want to be the voices calling out our frustrations, anger, and even fear, we should put that aside and embrace these new developments. That means as much as we don’t want to, we need to give these new games a chance. We should read about them, become informed, watch YouTube videos, and gain experience playing the games.
We are the gamers that made Pokémon popular. We need not give up on that drive. To those who have played many games, there is a unique style to our fandom. Amid the Pokémon world expansions, we need to register our voice by adapting with the changes. If you are an original fan considering buying the games, you should, even if for no other reason than as a nod to your childhood passions. If you haven’t picked up a game in years, then maybe this is when everything changes.
Pokémon Sun and Moon are merely our next stepping stones to our dream games. We must simply take the steps necessary to be a part of these new adventures.