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Why Do I Play Pokémon?  

by Josh Max - February 1, 2012, 8:36 am PST
Total comments: 6

Why do you strive to be very best?

I recently found my SoulSilver version and decided it was time for me to set out on yet another adventure to become the best trainer. As I booted up the game, erased what data was on there (shedding a tear for some of my old friends) my roommate asked me something.

“Why do you even play Pokémon? I don’t see the appeal of it.”

I stopped for a moment. I didn’t quite know how to answer that. 

“It’s not about the story,” my friend answered, “it’s about something else. It’s about the world.”

“No, no. The stories are pretty good.” I added. “But... everyone sets out on their journeys for different reasons.”

I then realized that there are scores of reasons to pick up Pokémon. Some people strive to breed the perfect Nidoking and spend hours upon hours hatching eggs until they get one with the perfect nature. Then they must make sure it has the maximum amount of EV points and has the perfect move set, making it the closest thing to the “perfect” Nidoking.

Others will, in fact, play for the story. “What’s Team Plasma up to? Am I the bad guy?”  “Did I actually kill Gary’s Raticate?” “I will stop them from destroying the world!” The stories have gotten progressively better and more engrossing as the years have gone by. Each game’s story is better than the last (arguably) with bad guys wanting more and more from the Pokemon of legends. Some people set out to defeat the bad guys and are content with their partners once the story has ended.

Then there are people like me. When faced with this question I had to give myself a minute to think about. “Why was I playing SoulSilver again? Why this game?” And it came to me. There are people out there, like me, who just strive to be the best trainer they can be. Team Rockets will come and go, but champions are forever chronicled in time. Granted, everyone eventually faces the Elite Four and the Champion and will face great challenges along the way. But that’s not what I aim for. I aim to defeat Red, the strongest trainer of all time. Some people say Cynthia could give him a run for his money, but I disagree. He was THE Champion, the most powerful trainer in the world, and he will wait atop Mt. Silver for the next worthy opponent. I play this game to be that opponent. Some people strive to be the best, like no one ever was. And is that so bad?

The desire to grow stronger with your partners to reach your goals, that’s why you play Pokémon. It’s something that can resonate within each of us and that’s why these games are so great. If you don’t believe me, start up an old game of Pokémon and see what happens.

Talkback

Mop it upFebruary 01, 2012

The first game I played was Gold. I asked myself this question when I played through Blue. Then again when I played through Emerald. And most recently, when I played through Platinum. I imagine I'll wonder the same thing when I play through Black or White.

However, unlike you, I never found an answer. The stories are minimal, basic, and uninteresting. The stat building is stupidly handled. Too many things (catching, breeding, natures) are left up to random chance. There is still a ton of untapped potential in the series, but it'll probably never be realized, especially if the games continue to sell as well as they do.

And yet I play on. Such is the nature of Pokémon.

ShyGuyFebruary 02, 2012

I don't play Pokemon, so I can't even guess why you play.

xcwarriorFebruary 02, 2012

When people ask me why I play Pokemon, there are three main reasons:

1) I love RPGs. And you get to pick from now more than 650 Pokemon in that RPG. And they all can be customized with over 30+ moves a piece.

2) What other RPG can you create your own party and battle it out with friends?

3) And with a few other exceptions, how the hell else can I train up a bunch of massive dragons to take over the world?!

ShayminFebruary 02, 2012

I play because it's my default game and fills in gaps when I'm not really in the mood to play anything.

I used to play competitively back when that meant dodgy web-based simulators or sending commands to bots on IRC chats. Once they went to the 3rd gen stat system though, it became too much min-maxing for me to handle when I was working/going to school.

Now I mainly fill the role of a catcher and take the Pokedex-filling part seriously. I intentionally keep 2 DS-capable devices around for self-trading since I want to do it on my own.

CericFebruary 02, 2012

When I started to play Pokemon was back at the very beginning when my friend told me "Hey, you should check out this show where these little monsters fight in the morning."

Yes, my friends this was when the show aired at off times like 6am in the morning and the Game had only ever been released as Pocket Monsters in Japan.

My mother bought me Blue and my brother Red.  Which I immediately start to sink time into.  I like pushing the odds.  Developing a relationship with my crew as we trained to be stronger.

My mother from that point through Gold and Silver just pre-ordered the games for me without me even asking.  I spent much time with those game leveling up my crew and having the quirky story.

After that though I have bought some of the later ones but I can't say I've put as much time in all of those combined as Silver.

There just to many Pokemon to be a master of in all the later games with so many Pokemon I also get disheartened to only find like 10 for the first few hours of the game.  The basic catching aspect haven't changed.  Simply put the series really hasn't evolved enough for it to get its hook into me again.

Though I'll leave with this thought.  Why I like the original Pokemon is really the same reason I like this Retroactive with Fire Emblem.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterFebruary 06, 2012

I raise Pokemon competitively, especially once I found how EASY it was to get the desired nature, and stats. But what really keeps me going is sitting through that massive Pokedex and trying to figure out what really unsuspecting creature I can use to wreck havoc among everyone else.

Sometimes I really can't stand the hard core competitive players. If only because of how serious they take everything. I look at those formulas, the calculations and all that jazz and it's just too much. But I generally love using a Pokemon that most people hate or has a design most people can't stand.

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