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Shiny Blastoise

Yesterday I came down my stairs to find a package waiting for me on the mat next to the door. Excitedly I opened it, already knowing it would be the shiny Venomoth Pokémon card that I had ordered for my collection. As I slotted the card into the folder containing my very nearly complete collection of the 151 original wizard of the coast Pokémon cards, (including a very lovely shiny Blastoise), several thoughts struck me at once. Firstly, at what age does Pokémon card collecting become no longer acceptable? (Then again, some people collect stamps, and Pokémon cards aren’t that different to stamps right? At least Pokémon are more interesting.) Secondly, I began to question why Pokémon is still able to captivate a man in his early twenties. Nostalgia? Partly. Mostly, however, it is because the Pokémon games are some of the finest hand-held RPG’s in existence rivalled only, in my opinion, by the original two Golden Sun games.  Since the release of Red and Blue in Europe in the mid-nineties, Nintendo have had the formula spot on. The game is a perfect blend of clever battle mechanics, exploration, NPC interaction, questing and an outstanding soundtrack loved by millions. This is a feat which has been attempted by other hand-held RPG’s but has rarely been achieved. What makes the Pokémon games stand head and shoulders above the rest, however, is the capturing and collecting aspect of the games alongside the nurturing, and raising, of your Pokémon and watching them evolve. No other game I have played has managed to make collecting and levelling up anywhere near as fun and immersing as the Pokémon series. So, despite some of the questionable Pokémon designs of the last generation, I am hugely looking forward to seeing what Nintendo will do with X and Y on the 3DS. The addition of a new type and the opportunity of seeing all your favorite Pokémon in gorgeous 3D visuals will hopefully make X and Y a wonderful installment in the series. In the meantime, I can always hope to lay my hands on a shiny Charizard for my collection as I unashamedly indulge my collectors urge. 




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