Yes, I Am Justifying My Gaming Habit

Hello, and welcome back to this complete mess the blog.

As a writer, I am Inordinately Fond of video games. If you want to know why, then my only answer is, why wouldn’t I be? My preferred genre of writing is fantasy, and many video games are done in a fantasy setting. I have an Appreciation For The Craft Of Others and I like to see what they do with it.

But more importantly, I play video games for their story. Some of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever heard come from video games. When I say “beautiful,” I don’t mean inspiring or happy, although those do occasionally happen. I mean beautiful in their ability to produce a strong emotion in me, the gamer. When a game’s story can cause me to become emotionally attached to the characters in it, I experience their sadness, their anger, their joys and frustrations. I mourn if and when they die, and I celebrate when they succeed. A Good Video Game, in this regard, is very much like a Good Book, or a Good Movie.

Popularity in a video game does not always suggest quality— but this is also true of books and movies. I personally can’t stand Nicholas Sparks books or movies (A Walk to Remember is okay, but I’m not like, attached to it), but they are highly successful and Sparks is probably a billionaire or something. Video games are similar. The GTA games (Grand Theft Auto, for those of you not familiar with the series) are very popular, but there’s no quality story content. You drive around, you steal people’s cars, you shoot people. I admit I haven’t played them because 1) they do not interest me, 2) they are excessively violent, and 3) I am very, very broke. I’m not judging anybody who does play those games— you do you and I’ll be happy for you. But they aren’t for me, because character and story are my number one priorities when I’m looking for a game to play.

This brings me to my point of interest: I’m here to explain my immense love for Nintendo’s Pokémon™ franchise.

If you read the title of this post know me in real life, you probably saw this coming. I haven’t exactly been shy about my love for the Pokémon games, and I’m relatively new to the series. I’ve been playing for maybe five or six years— my first game was Pokémon Pearl (for Nintendo DS), and I was about eighteen. I had a few extra bucks and I went to GameStop and bought it used for twenty bucks. It took me a week and the help of Lord Google to figure out how to delete the previous owner’s save file so that I could actually play and save my progress.

Fast forward to now: I have a Nintendo 3DS— I bought it used and I can tell that I will probably want to get a new one within the next few years; but it is in excellent condition. I have a few games that aren’t Pokémon games, but I have nine main-series games: Pokémon Blue (released in 1996; digital re-release on Nintendo eShop for 3DS in 2016), Pokemon Pearl (2006), Pokemon Platinum (2008), Pokemon Black (2010), Pokemon White (2010), Pokemon White 2 (2012), Pokemon X (2013), Pokemon Alpha Sapphire (2014), and Pokemon Sun (2016).

I love all of these games dearly. Each of them has a plot which causes me to Reconsider Things I Take For Granted. Pokémon Blue (and Red, Green, and Yellow) teaches a subtle lesson about choice and manipulation; Pearl and Platinum (and Diamond) discuss the ethics of destroying the world to start over versus making the present one better. Pokémon Black, White, and White 2 (and Black 2) discuss the treatment of Pokémon— the games can be described as glorified cockfighting and have been criticized for promoting it, but there are also questions about the free will of the Pokémon themselves (within the scope of the game, obviously, the pixels do not care IRL). Discussing the issues in-game is a very mature approach to dealing with criticism, and it opens up conversations for people to have in real life. Ideals versus truth is also common theme for Black, White, and White 2: do we deal with the truth, which can be ugly, or do we deal with ideals, which are sometimes unrealistic? And is there a way to do both? Pokémon X (and Y) is, again, about destroying the world versus making the present one better, and how to share what you have so that everyone can benefit. It also has a strong focus on friendship. Pokémon Alpha Sapphire (and Omega Ruby) takes a slightly different direction— it could be interpreted to be about ecoterrorism but it’s more about making sure that your method of changing the world doesn’t hurt others, a lesson we can all take to heart.

Pokémon Sun (and Moon) has my favorite story yet, and I have been nothing but pleased by this game. It’s about teamwork, as all Pokémon games are; but it is also about choice and independence, and standing up for what you believe in. It is a story about breaking away from the emotional abuse of a narcissistic family member while still trying to love them; it is a story about healing and friendship, and it is a very, very strong story about trust.

(The starters, Hau, and Lillie. Lillie is the best character in this whole game. If you don’t agree you can FIGHT ME.)

I really think you have to play the games, to understand what I mean. I could explain the entirety of the plot to you, but that would make for a very long post and would take away a lot of the fun of your own discovery. Maybe you read this and you never play the games; maybe you read this and decide you want to save up for a 3DS. Either way, the Pokémon games are a series of stories about choice, independence, friendship, and trust— and in my very humble opinion, they are the best franchise of video games in existence.

P.S.: I’m about twenty away from literally owning all eight hundred and two Pokémon. If anyone has a Diancie they don’t need, I would be immensely pleased. I’m a Trainer, okay? Gotta catch ’em all.


If you’re looking forward to seeing this blog in the future, consider following. If you want to see Occasional Pictures of My Face and Food I Have Made, you can follow me on Instagram at hypotheticalelephants. If you want to see me being a Whiny, Immature Human, you can follow me on Twitter at sadINFJwriter.


 

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