Old Pokemon and Soul

something i've become steadily aware of in recent years with the franchise is how its general feel has changed. more specifically, i think over time, it's lost a lot of the soul from the older entries. i still really love pokemon, and by no means do i think that the franchise was 'ruined' after generation one (i don't even think generation one is the best generation!!) but it does feel lately like there's something missing. i think this problem isn't unique to pokemon at all, i think it's something that most long-running franchises face eventually. part of it is just personal preference, and, yes, the blinding effects of nostalgia, but i also think some of it is fueled by corporations and the way they are.

old pokemon (games and shows alike) had a very palpable soul to them, i feel. how do i describe 'soul' in this context? it's a little hard, but i'll try. there was this sense of childlike wonder and mystery everywhere you looked! there was also this sense that the people making it genuinely liked what they were making and wanted to make something great. we all know the story about how ken sugimori was inspired by catching and battling beetles in his own childhood. i think that idea shines through in older entries. to be fair, i think pokemon did a great job of keeping this sense of wonder for a very long time, even into the 3ds era of the games. i think pokemon sun and moon, although vastly different from the older games, were fantastic examples of games with soul.

i'm far from the first person to point it out, but i think pokemon's main issue right now is that the pokemon company is holding profits at a higher priority than making great content. this has always been true, for pretty much every corporation under the sun, but it's been especially glaring lately and it makes me nervous and a bit pessimistic... i don't want to come off as the stereotypical pokemon fan that just hates pokemon, but it's good and healthy to critique the things you like. i think this is a point worthy of criticism. i worry about the pace and profit motivation of the pokemon company for a more important reason as well; everyone working on the game. developers shouldn't be rushed and overworked to get a game out faster. in the end, it benefits no one but the people at the top. "A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad," is a pretty true quote that is often (incorrectly) attributed to shigeru miyamoto. (it actually probably came from a 1997 issue of gamepro magazine, but that's another story for another day.)

i can really only hope that the pokemon company will get out of this slump and fix their production model, both for the suffering quality of the game, but especially for the staff behind the show and the games. even though i'm quite sad about the original pokemon anime ending, i think making a new series with fresh ideas and faces is a good way to go. i also think the experimentation we've seen in the most recent games is a good step, although there's more that needs to be done and more time that needs to be taken. in the meantime, though... i think so many of the old games and episodes still hold up, and will forever hold that whimsical soul within them.