The Pokémon series has always had its fair share of controversy behind it. Whether it’s the controversy over Jinx, the infamous Porygon episode, Lavender Town, or simply the ethics of Pokémon in general, there is always some sort of debate going on over this family friendly game series. Rather than talk about the more deeply ethical debates, I’ve decided to break down a constant addition to the Pokémon franchise – remakes. With the addition of “Omega Ruby” and “Alpha Sapphire” coming in November, the Pokémon franchise will have a total of six games that are purely remakes. A lot of people I know scold Pokémon for this, saying that they aren’t being original and are simply re-using old ideas. I strongly go against this theory and believe that the Pokémon remakes are some of the best additions that this franchise has to offer.
Let’s start with the original remakes, “Leaf Green” and “Fire Red”. These games are remakes of the very first Pokémon games “Red” and “Blue” (the name of “Leaf Green” instead of something about blue is because in Japan, they had “Pokémon Green” instead of “Blue”). Technically, these games didn’t change much from its predecessors. In-game, the only additions are a tutorial mode and a loading of what you previously did when you boot up the game. These games can also work with “Ruby”, “Sapphire” and “Colosseum”, allowing you to obtain more Pokémon than in the original games. Gaming enhancements such as abilities and natures did not originate from this game and rather came from “Ruby” and “Sapphire”. The main appeals of these remakes are the smoother mechanics and art style. While many fans of the first generation of Pokémon love it for its nostalgic art style, its nice to see a game be remade in a new art style. The music and Pokémon sprites were also re-designed for this game. While people complain that releasing these games is unoriginal, they often forget that these aren’t the only games from that generation. “Ruby” and “Sapphire” are also part of the third generation. Not only did these remakes help change with the technology of that time, but they serve as great additions to the franchise as well as great games on their own.
The next remakes in the Pokémon series are “Heart Gold” and “Soul Silver”. These games had many more advancements than “Leaf Green” and “Fire Red”, mainly because they were released much later. The most obvious advancement is the graphics enhancement. Since these games are for the Nintendo DS, they have the same graphic style as “Platinum”, “Diamond” and “Pearl”. While these games also carry over the same slow battling style, it’s still another refreshing change to the original second-generation games. My favorite addition to these games is the ability to have your first Pokémon in your party walk behind you. While you could have your Pikachu walk behind you in “Pokémon Yellow”, the ability to have any Pokémon follow you around is a really cute touch, and one that I hope they implement in future games as well. A physical addition to these remakes is the Pokéwalker, a device that works like a pedometer. You can add one Pokémon to the device at a time from your game cartridge. Walking around with it will actually help increase its level and happiness. Like “Fire Red and “Leaf Green”, other in-game enhancements had come from the other games of the same generation. However, once again a debate spurred upon the release of these games. Many Pokémon fans get angry at the franchise for releasing remakes of older games rather than creating something new. If you’ve ever tried to write a story, song, or draw something, you’ll know how hard it is to come up with ideas. For an entire company, they not only have to come up with ideas, but ones that are liked within the entire company that they know they can work on and sell. It’s hard to expect them to do this year after year, and yet they do. So instead of being bitter that the Pokémon franchise releases remakes instead of new games, fans should be happy that the company is creating great new ways to enjoy the classic games that they all enjoy, as well as advancing to fit the technology of the time.
I’ve already written about why I’m excited for “Omega Ruby” and “Alpha Sapphire” to come out (which you can read here). With the upcoming release of these remakes, the same debate is being brought up yet again. My point stands: remakes serve as great games on their own. While the general concept might stay the same, it’s great to see a classic game redone in a new style, technology, and console. If you haven’t been giving these remakes a chance, I highly suggest that you try them out for yourself.