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Individual Values: A Pokémon Feature - Week 78: Drawing Circles, Spinning Off

Jonathan Higgins

Welcome to the seventy-eighth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday.


Victini will be available via the Nintendo Network from September 1st through 24th. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all!





Drawing Circles, Spinning Off


Love or hate Pokémon GO, I think it“s to blame for a few trends, as of late. If you haven“t heard--the Nintendo 3DS was the number one best-selling hardware for the month of July--up freaking 80% from last year. Pokémon ORAS, and even Pokémon X&Y--games from two years ago or longer--made the sales charts as well. It“s clear that the success of the mobile app has driven people to The Real Deal, and that“s exactly what Mr. Iwata set out to do with the initiative to bring Nintendo into the mobile space. Cool deal, right?


The other thing it seems to have done is give Nintendo a shot in the arm, when it comes to releasing any Pokémon game they can on the Virtual Consoles across the globe. In the past month, North America has gotten all three Pokémon Ranger games on the Wii U Virtual Console--same goes for Japan. Europe got Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, as well as Pokémon Snap. [And I can reasonably predict, since there“s been a Ranger game released here every two weeks, that we“ll get Snap on September 1st. Hope I“m right!]




That“s what I“ve been up to in my spare time, lately. Hanging out with my Ukulele Pichu friend in Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs. While I“ve played all three games in the Ranger spin-off series, Guardian Signs is the only one I beat. I think, by the third game, the formula was refined enough not to turn me away with its...circle-drawing complexities. And the puzzles, story, and overall appeal of the premise was probably at its best after two previous attempts. But hey. Having a Pichu that played a ukulele didn“t hurt it at all.


As soon as Pokémon Snap releases, we“ll have every current kind of spin-off available on current generation Nintendo hardware, with the exception of a Stadium. The 3DS has two Trozei-style games in Battle Trozei & Shuffle, respectively. It“s got Pokémon Rumble World and Pokémon Puzzle Challenge, too. There“s even the old TCG Game Boy Color game, even if it lacks needed multiplayer capabilities. And there“s Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, of course.


The Wii U has PokéPark available digitally, Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire, all three Ranger games, and [eventually] Pokémon Snap. I...really don“t think I“m missing anything, do you? That“s a lot of extracurricular things to do in the world of Pokémon. It[”s impressive how versatile the brand has proven itself to be over twenty years, even if they“re sorely missing a platforming game.


I think the Ranger series is among my favorite of their endeavors. Don“t get me wrong--I obviously love Mystery Dungeon & Snap. But the Pokémon Ranger games, despite their flaws, offer up a unique kind of puzzle-solving gameplay. Battling could probably use an overhaul, especially if they ever make one for a system that doesn“t have an innate touch-screen or stylus. But, if you take away the drawing and just look at the Ranger “world” for what it is--it“s the closest thing the franchise has to an adventure game. Even if the stories all feel a little juvenile, they still capture the “point” of the Pokémon games. The way these Rangers thank the Pokémon every time they release them back into the wild is just one small indicator of that.


Honestly--I“m not sure how Ranger gameplay could translate to a console without a touch-screen. But I“d be willing to see a new Ranger game through! Ranger, Snap and Stadium are the three bigger endeavors I think could warrant a brand new retail game, to be sold at stores and what-not.





But I“m curious why we haven“t seen a new Pokémon Pinball entry in so long, most of all. That kind of endeavor could end up mitigated to the eShop, but there“s certainly potential. Even if they did choose to make it a full retail game: it could start out with a limited number of Pokémon, and offer the old tablesand older Pokémon tooas DLC, like the Zen Pinball games often do. I can“t imagine designing intuitive pinball tables and bonus levels would take huge chunks of staff and development time. Of all the spin-offs we“ve seen come and go, the lack of a new Pinball game leaves the biggest question mark in my head.


Maybe I“m just too nostalgic for my own good.


Is there any particular spin-off that you enjoyed most of all, among all the currently available ones? Am I off my rocker about Pinball? Heck, did playing Pokémon GO compel you to pick up one of the newer [or older] mainline games and get back into the series, like the aforementioned numbers indicate? I“m interested to hear your thoughts.

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