This year is a landmark one for Pokémon; the popular catching-and-battling series is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the release of Pokémon Red and Green, and there are subsequently lots of events – both from The Pokémon Company and fans around the world – happening all year long! With the actual day of the Anniversary (27th February) approaching, one such event is Pokémon Month over on McKenna Talks About Games, which includes posts, videos, music, and more; I recommend you go and take a look! Part of this is a tag, getting people to answer various Pokémon-related questions. As a fan of the series, this seemed a really fun idea, so here I am, with my reply to the tag! You can get involved too – the one rule is that you link to the original post where McKenna set out the idea of this tag, which I am gonna do right here. It was the tag response from Meghan Plays Games that brought this to my attention, so here is a link to that as well. Right, let’s go!
What is your favourite Pokémon?
Arcanine! There are several lots of canine-style Pokémon, but for me the fiery, majestic, and loyal qualities of Arcanine stand out. In addition, Arcanine is so adaptable, with stats and a moveset that can fill the role of physical or special attacker, physical or special defender, support, a Sun team role… With how often I have Arcanine on my team, that keeps things fresh! Mostly though, it is the endearingly strong, friendly, and caring personality of Arcanine that makes them my essential Pokémon partner. I literally have an “Arcanine Army” box in Pokémon HOME where they reside…
What’s your favourite Pokémon game?
The Nintendo DS games Diamond/Pearl/Platinum are by far my favourite Pokémon games, with several reasons why. For starters, the environmental design of the Sinnoh region is incredible, with the daunting Mt. Coronet splitting it like a seam down the middle and a delightful contrast of flower-filled fields, mysterious caves, bustling cities, and plenty more. It is a joy to navigate, for example on the ambient, snow-covered trek through Mt. Coronet to remote Snowpoint City in the north, or when opening up routes to the waterside cities of Canalave and Sunyshore. Pair that with, in my opinion, the pinnacle of the series’ sprite-based visual approach and a phenomenal soundtrack (seriously, listen to Route 209), and you get a warmly sensory experience. This beckons you onwards to discover a fantastic new set of people and Pokémon as you train your team and go up against the villainous Team Galactic. Also, these games supplied an adventure to sink into during a time in my life when I really needed that. Diamond/Pearl/Platinum are my favourite entries in the franchise and second only to The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess in my list of personal favourite games ever.
What’s your favourite Pokémon generation?
After that last question, it is probably not a surprise that my answer for this is the 4th Generation! Not only did it include Diamond/Pearl/Platinum, but also the magnificent remakes HeartGold and SoulSilver that meticulously modernised – and added to – the 2nd Generation source material of Gold/Silver/Crystal. Brilliant brand new games and detailed love letters to the past; the 4th Generation had each side covered.
What’s your favourite Pokémon type?
Steel! One of the new types (along with Dark) added for the 2nd Generation, Steel soon became my favourite, to the point where I would start doing runs of the games with only Steel Pokémon. Part of it is also the trainers connected to the type, from my favourite Pokémon character, the Olivine City Gym Leader Jasmine and her signature Steelix, to the Hoenn Champion Steven and his signature Metagross – strong, humble, and determined characters that I am inspired by. Furthermore, the designs of the Pokémon themselves stand out with defensive stylings that can weather lots of hits; I have always been someone who leans towards this sort of playstyle, and Steel fits this. My favourite Steel Pokémon is Jirachi! In any new generation, Steel is the type I am most eager to see the new additions for.
Are you looking forward to Diamond/Pearl Remakes?
Again, from my thoughts on Diamond/Pearl/Platinum written above, you may be able to predict that this is a delicate topic. As I hold the originals in such esteem, I am extremely cautious over the idea of them being revisited, especially as I found Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire quite underwhelming. Do we really need remakes? Or is the demand from fans one that originates from an expectation of remakes after FireRed/LeafGreen, HeartGold/SoulSilver, and Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire? I do not necessarily think that the visual update would be an improvement, as the pristine sprite work on the DS could be seen to have less rough edges than the 3D world of Sword and Shield. Plus, the possibility of how they might add the Wild Area and Dynamax features of those Switch games could backfire. Now, potential remakes do not make the originals disappear, and if the new versions were lacking, I can go back to the originals; still, if remakes do happen (and it seems increasingly inevitable), I hope that they are done to a high standard. Therefore, I am mixed on this subject – I would certainly be excited and play remakes, though I would go in with a bit of apprehension.
What’s your favourite villainous team?
There are actually quite a few I like, from the classic schemes of Team Rocket, to the epic clash of Teams Magma/Aqua, and the thoughtful questions brought up by fighting Team Plasma. However, again, for me it is Diamond/Pearl/Platinum that have the best villains: Team Galactic. This space-themed team is led by Cyrus, who believes that to fix the issues of the world and bring new order, it must be cleansed – to achieve this end, Team Galactic embarks on several criminal plots, including harnessing the power of Legendary Pokémon. Admittedly it is not the most original motivation for a villain(s), yet by telling it at a quick pace with a characterful supporting roster of Commandos and Grunts, it is effective; the latter provide a lot of humour along the way through how unaware they are of Cyrus’ reasons. Indeed, Cyrus is a fascinating character, as despite having a Team built around him, he is very isolated and disconnected from them. Meanwhile, a mix of Pokémon types (with an emphasis on Dark and Poison) keeps fights challenging, whilst the music – from the rocking Grunt theme to the poignant backing track when confronting Cyrus – contributes a palpable sense of energy. That mix of fun and drama is why they are my favourite villainous team!
What’s something you’d like to return to Pokémon?
Over the Generations, a bunch of great ideas have come and gone too quickly. Some of my contenders for this answer are tied to the longevity they bring – features such as the VS Seeker and Pokémon World Tournament are a riveting way to let you battle characters again, though I will say Sword and Shield did a superb job in this area with the Champion Cup and the range of rematches it offered, and we even got fresh tag-team dynamics in the Galarian Star Tournament that was part of the second DLC, The Crown Tundra. Therefore, as the series has recently been on top of that, I am going to say Ball Capsules from the 4th Generation! Being able to customise the effects of how your Pokémon would appear in battle was a neat personal touch; one that would be even more prominent now in online play. Perhaps they could be brought back in remakes… ?
What’s something new you’d like to see in Pokémon?
After playing so much Pokémon Masters, I realise how much untapped potential is in the character backstories and dynamics; on that mobile release, there are so many gems of conversation that either reference other games or uncover new information on characters – more of this in the main series would be absorbing content. Imagine if prominent characters each had their own individual side story to follow, where you helped them in some way and got to know them better. That would be a very pleasant addition, building the lore without needing a world-domination plot to foil, instead showing characters in new, maybe more informal, scenarios where you can get to know them better. If more action is needed, then you could add in tag-team battles that emphasise the bonding vibes.
What’s your dream Pokémon crossover game?
With the sheer amount of spin-offs the Pokémon series has had, this is quite a tough question… I was thinking Fire Emblem, but that would be similar to the turn-based strategy Nobunaga’s Ambition/Pokémon crossover Pokémon Conquest. So, instead, I ended up at Xenoblade Chronicles – for starters, the idea of a Pokémon game in a larger, more open world, with Pokémon roaming around, is one a lot of people would like – and the main series is even already moving to with the Wild Areas of Sword and Shield. Not only would an Xenoblade Chronicles-style Pokémon game (Pokémon Chronicles?) have that, though, it could also revolutionise the battle system. One of the key selling points of the Xenoblade Chronicles series is the real-time combat, where you plan moment-to-moment how to position yourself and efficiently deploy the moves available. This could be naturally adapted to Pokémon in exciting ways! Different members of your party and/or your roster of attacks could each be separate Pokémon, and the effects of chaining combos – which result in effects such as topple and break in the Xenoblade Chronicles series – could instead be paralysis, sleep, etc. You could even tie that (or the diving-for-loot aspects of Xenoblade Chronicles 2) into catching Pokémon. The whole experience would feel very anime-esque: you would be improvising more in combat, and exploring more when out of it. Overall, I think it could be an innovative take on both franchises!
What should the next Pokémon region be based on?
For the final question, my answer is India! Pokémon has been great at leaning into the real-world inspirations for each region (even if there are some stereotypes… ); the colourful, vibrant, and historical Indian culture would give the series yet another distinctive reference point, from which to create a Pokémon game that looks and sounds like no other. Environmental design could be incredible in the utter variety and contrast: there could be busy cities, impressive temple complexes, breathtaking landscapes… For the story, too, set pieces could be tied to festivals such as the vividly colourful Holi festival. There would be so much room for creativity when designing new Pokémon, too – the religious figures and rich wildlife spring to mind. Dancing and music are a key part of India; it is tantalising to imagine the musical themes that would be composed, and it could even be an opportunity to bring back Pokémon Contests with a fresh look. My imagination goes stratospheric when considering how much could be done with an India-inspired Pokémon game (I have not even mentioned food yet!) that it is almost daunting to think about. My main point, though, is it would be amazing.
That brings an end to my tag post! I may have gone into quite a bit of detail on some of them, but what can I say, when I start talking Pokémon, it is hard to stop, aha! You can let me know any thoughts on the questions (or even your own answers) in the comments, and once again, thank you to McKenna Talks About Games for starting this tag! Have an amazing day!