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Pokemon Snap Adventure

by Justin Nation - September 9, 1999, 7:16 am EDT

Justin discusses what he'd like to see in a "Dolphin" version of Pokemon Snap.

Imagine yourself walking through a dense jungle, carefully trying not to rustle the leaves all around you. Among the dense sounds of insects making their rounds all about you there is a hint of something else. Training your ear more carefully you hear an unusual call off to the right. You move slowly in that direction, trying to remain safely within the cover of the vegetation so you don't betray your location to the creature you hope to catch a glimpse of. Finally you seem to think the sound is close enough that you stop to pull out your trusty binoculars and begin spying through the trees. There, high in the trees, you spot it... the elusive Pokemon you have been searching for. Slowly you pull out your camera, and strain to get a picture of...

As an experiment in something new Pokemon Snap opened some eyes with Nintendo's trademark creativity once more but now it is time to consider how to move this new creative line forward. The first thing to go when considering a sequel to this title is the fact that the game was played on rails. Given that this game was the first of its kind the lack of opportunities for player initiative were acceptable, but in order to make a larger gaming experience with more room for puzzle-solving and exploration the ideal mode of play in the sequel would be akin to a first-person shooter. Imagine a setup similar to Goldeneye in this right, holding your camera with a telephoto lens and zooming to 10, then to 50 times magnification to get a glimpse of a magnificent Pokemon high in the trees.

The thing is, this a mere singular experience among the many you would have within the overall adventure. You start as a wanna be world-famous Pokemon photographer, on a deadline to photograph all of the world's Pokemon for a magazine contest. The problem is, when you start out all you have is some humble equipment that will be good for a few shots, but that will quickly have to be replaced by something a little more substantial. How will you ever succeed? Finding that out would be part of the fun...

    Basic Features:

  • A minimum of the original 150 Pokemon from the Red/Blue series

  • A very wide array of locations in which to find the Pokemon you seek. Many specific Pokemon would be in their appropriate environment but there would always be a few hidden surprises to be found along the way

  • An RPG-like upgrade system where as you take better shots of more obscure Pokemon you get to choose different areas to improve in both your equipment (zoom amount, different shot modes (night vision), higher shot capacity, etc), and your character (stealth, jumping, etc) The player would choose for themselves what to improve when, making for a more diverse experience from person to person

  • Adventuring in both daylight and at night, possibly also including differet weather conditions, all contributing to the availability and visible activities of different Pokemon

    Extra Goodies:

  • Certainly with Internet support you could have contests to see who can find specific Pokemon and get the best picture of them, possibly even having code-unlocked areas released on the site separate from the game for people to compete in

  • Utilize an internal clock in order to have time or date-specific events happen in the game... migrations, feeding schedules, springtime hatchlings?

Justin says: Honestly I think that given proper care and nurturing a title like this could be a very big deal. Really the primary weaknesses of Pokemon Snap were its short length and its "on rails" gameplay. Conceptually, even though the game dealt with the exceedingly cute Pokemon, the game is very intriguing and even sort of addictive. The thought of participating in a photo safari from the safety of your living room is a good one, and if the idea were taken more in this adventure direction I really think it could start a legitimate sub-genre somewhere. Add in that it is a 'shooting game' of sorts sans the violence and Nintendo really may have something here. Sure picking off that Jigglypuff at 200 yards with a sniper rifle would have its own visceral appeal but how much less satisfying would it be to capture them perfectly in your lens? Nintendo is on to something here and I think they'd be foolish not to consider pushing it to this next plateau.

Rick says: Surprisingly, Pokémon Snap was an incredibly fun title ... just not worthy of a purchase. Within ONE rental period I had "captured" all of the Pokémon. I still had a little way to go on the challenges, but this is little replay value.

A game like what's described above would be ideal. Longer in length, more free-roaming, and the ability to improve your picture taking skills. Maybe a "shooting gallery" training mode where you can practice taking snapshots.

Or, considering the popularity of "fishing controllers" as of late, have a light gun ... but in CAMERA form. Oh my god, I think I just hit on something ...

Anyway, as you can see, there is tremendous potential in continuing the Pokémon Snap tradition.

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