I’m a person who believes that more Pokémon is never a bad thing, so when I found out that Nintendo is releasing Pokémon Alpha Ruby and Omega Sapphire, I was super excited. Feeding off the nostalgia of long time fans of the series, while also appealing to younger audiences, Pokémon is usually a pretty reliable success. Even when minimal changes are made, people still look forward to an upcoming Pokémon game with barely contained excitement. I’ve bought nearly every Pokémon game with the exception of Black and White 2. There’s just something about trapping hundreds of sometimes cute, sometimes badass (Tyrantrum, anyone? It’s a dinosaur. With a beard.), sometimes downright baffling monsters in mechanical balls.
Pokémon has a way of capturing your imagination, whether you’re 10 or 26 (no shame!). Some people might get tired of the same old, but they still hold out hope that the next Pokémon title will give them that former spark.
The story, for the most part, is background noise. Instead, you, the trainer, can create any experience you choose. For those of a competitive spirit, you can raise a team of vicious, meticulously trained warriors and see how they fare against other trainers, often in real life. Maybe you’re a completionist and your main goal is to painstakingly catch every single Pokémon. Or MAYBE you like buying cute ribbons for your Pokémon and dressing them up. Maybe. There’s something for everyone – a way for anybody to create the sort of experience they want.
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire were some of the earliest games in the series to really open up. We got Pokémon Contests, weather effects, natures which effect how your pokémon performs in battle (important for the competitive scene), and most importantly secret bases. Because, really, who doesn’t fantasize having their own special secret tree house or cave or grass hut to fill with plushies and furniture? These were the games in which I first took a step back and began to explore all the other myriad things I could do in a Pokémon game.
I have a lot of confidence that Nintendo and Game Freak can do a wonderful job with these remakes. Based on the hugely positive reception of Pokémon X and Y, and the fantastic Soul Silver and Heart Gold remakes, I think there’s little reason to believe we are bound for disappointment. The 3DS is an excellent platform for the next Pokémon remake, and what better choice than Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire? Pokémon is a self-perpetuating success because there’s nothing else quite like it, and each person’s adventures in Kanto, Kalos, or now, once again, Hoenn are unique.