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HeartGold and SoulSilver or: How I Learned To Stop the Nerdgasms and Love What I Have

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by , 9th May 2009 at 10:57 PM (603 Views)
I'd like to go into a somewhat expansive overview of my opinions on the early ramifications of the introduction of Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver. While I could do this in one of the many threads on the subject, I've decided to post it upon my blog, if only to allow people to view my longer opinion if they please, rather than putting it where it would be impossible to simply ignore. Here you will read my over-analysis and my futile attempts to be satirically biting. Read at your own risk, as I cannot be held responsible for you choosing to read my less-than-well-written drivel.

Well, they've been announced. After years of speculation the awaited remakes of Pokemon Gold and Silver are soon to arrive, and the unified orgy of hopes and prophesies of quality has hit full-force.

I've always found it intriguing that we humans never learn. Especially the variety of humans who are members of forums like these. Fanboys and fangirls are nearly all the same. They may try to exude an air of cynicism in everything they say and do, but when it comes to their most cherished of franchises they can't help but be idealists. Shaken to their very cores by the announcement of a new addition to a beloved franchise. And if that announcement comes with the tiniest shred of evidence (which in this case came in the form of mere seconds of gameplay. . .if you can call that gameplay) that fan hit the jackpot. He/She now has evidence, minuscule as it may be, to back up their touting of the inevitable awesomeness that is bound to come. Don't get me wrong, I'm not attacking the fanboy or fangirl, as I am one myself. I am simply pointing something out that I find humorous about the culture surrounding us.

With the sudden impact the Internet created, fans galore jumped on-board to share ideas and criticisms. Soon they realized that, online, they would be able to receive information faster than ever before. As soon as someone who knows someone who has a relative who overheard someone say they knew someone who told them some kickarse top-secret information about the future of a franchise, the fans would be able to know of these obviously factual statements almost instantly.

Fast forward to today. Where the buzz surrounding the announcement of Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver culminated with these revelations:

This is what has everyone excited? The three Johto starters with updated artwork and a video of the protagonist of the game walking around a windy New Bark Town with his Pikachu Chikorita at his side?

It isn't that what was given to us was anticlimactic, it just isn't worthy of unified giddy joy. If there is anything I've learned in my short life it is that having expectations as high as some seem to have for these games will inevitably result in one of two things:

1) One will find that the games didn't live up to their excessively high expectations, creating a false sense of disappointment in what could be a great game. This creates the annoyances of the world, who hold high expectations for everything, if only to have an excuse to complain.

2) One will fool themselves into thinking a horrible (or even decent-above average) game is the most fantastic piece of user-controlled art they have ever seen. This, of course, is the breeding ground for the consumer whore. (Of course, I have no room to complain about consumer whores, as I am, quite obviously, one myself.)

If there is anything I know (or at least think I know) it is criticism. One of my chief rules when reviewing a film, game, etc. is to not have any expectations sway my critiques. (Because, you know, so many people rely on my opinions and recommendations that I'd be letting down all two people who may or may not regularly read my reviews that I post in various areas across the web.)

This is why I have learned to never trust the fan's review. It either much to critical, or much to adoring. The fan can never review a film as a film, a game as a game, an album as an album, etc. It is as if their fandom makes it detrimental to themselves to give a fair and balanced criticism of the piece they are reviewing.

This brings me back to HeartGold and SoulSilver. It has only been a few hours since the above images and video were released, and there is already an almost unified consensus on how amazing these games are going to be. Look at what was given to us through a logical eye:

* New Starter Art - This was to be expected. Updated artwork of the Johto region starters. Nothing special about them. Sure, they look real purrrrrrty, but they are just the principle drawings.

* Short Gameplay Clip - This seems to be what has everyone abuzz. Not only is it in Johto and with updated graphics, but *gasp*, they have added the ability to walk with at least your starter in some capacity, or at least more so than D/P/P.

While this is an intriguing trip down memory lane, I see nothing in that video that justifies a preconceived consensus. The music is badarse, which makes that section of the game promising, but other than that we got some walking. Some walking.

Again, this is not to say I wanted more out of what we received. If anything, I was surprised by what they gave us on the first televised revelation of the games.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't be excited for the game, as you can, and probably should be. Just don't let it sway your opinions on it. You all (or at least most of you) are intelligent enough to distinguish brilliance from mediocrity.

Look at FireRed and LeafGreen. It was a good game. A great one, even. It would have been better had I not owned my copy of Blue and Yellow, as FR/LG feel like they do not offer enough extra features to warrant the price tag.

This is what I fear may happen with HeartGold and SoulSilver. I fear that the inevitable pretty-penny I'll have to relinquish in order to play these game won't be worth it when I could spend less on getting a refurbished copy of G/S/C. Being on the DS will help its prospects. This was one thing that disappointed me about FR/LG. With the DS on the horizon, I would have much preferred seeing the Generation I Remakes on the DS, even if it subsequently pushed back Generation IV, or had been in Gen IV, which would have pushed back HG/SS. FireRed and LeafGreen, both as a concept and final product are brimming with wasted potential.

This is where HeartGold and SoulSilver differ from FireRed and LeafGreen. In concept these will be great alternatives to the original Silver and Gold, but it all comes down to what is delivered. The potential is there for something that is both a welcome counterpart to the previous games, as well as a well-made guinea pig for Generation V ideas. The problem with this is Nintendo/Game Freak have shown their tendency of under achieving with projects in the past, knowing they will make money regardless. HeartGold and SoulSilver have the potential to be the Pokemon games for the DS, but only time will tell if that comes to fruition.


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  1. Trainer-c's Avatar
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    Very nice overview.

    The Pokémon Sunday reveal was pretty much exactly what I had expected it would be. The one thing that did surprise me was being able to hear a little bit of the New Bark Town remix.

    I am going into this expecting a remake of GSC, with some minor tweaks and additions. So while I am fairly excited about the games, I am not really expecting any big revolutions.
  2. The Jean Genie's Avatar
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    Yes, it didn't seem like much in the end – it would have been more titilating had a very excited person from the Pokemon Company leak it a few days before hand. Or even made it so obvious with the balls of gold & silver dangling over everyone's heads last Sunday (no crude, risqué pun intended)

    With two regions though, what can go wrong? Especially if they keep the boring, lessened Kanto as is …

    Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
  3. TPJerematic's Avatar
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    This wins JUST for the Title. Dr. Strangelove references always win.

    But you do bring up some good points.


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