Pokémon's ORIGINAL National Dex Controversy - Tama Hero

Pokémon's ORIGINAL National Dex Controversy - Tama Hero

Show Video

So, let’s talk about Pokemon Sword and Shield. At E3 2019, Junichi Masuda confirmed that not  every Pokémon would be available in the then   upcoming Sword and Shield games, effectively  killing the National Dex. See if you’ve never   tried to complete a Pokédex, most Pokémon games  have two. There’s the regional dex, or just the   Pokémon you can get native to whatever region  the game takes place in without trading outside   of those games, usually around 100 to 200 Pokémon,  and then there’s the national dex, which includes   Pokémon from other regions you have to get either  by trading from other games that take place in   other areas or transferring up through past games  through things like Pokémon Bank or Home. For the   most part only shiny hunters really ever try to  complete the national dex because there’s like   over 900 Pokémon now, and the only reward in most  games for getting them all is the shiny charm,   which boosts your odds of running into shiny  Pokémon. But even a lot of people who aren’t  

shiny hunters do typically move up a few Pokémon  outside of the regional dex into each new game,   be they old favorites or hard to get event mons,  or competitively optimized Pokémon they want to   try in the new meta. There’s a reason they can  charge for products like Pokémon Home, there’s a   sizable dedicated group of Pokémon fans that have  been with the series for decades and have held   onto their coveted Pokémon and moved them up into  each new game. And there are even some weirdos   like me that actually do like trying to catch em  all in every game just for completionist sake,   or experimenting with unusual team builds for  the main story by trading Pokémon across games   into regions they don’t normally appear in. But  now it seemed that this tradition was finally  

ended for good, and you would be limited to  whatever Pokémon appeared in the wild in the   new games with absolutely no opportunity for  any others being traded in. And indeed when the   games were released there were only 400 Pokémon  available. For probably most Pokémon players,   especially new players arriving to a new and  unprecedentedly popular console like the Switch,   they didn’t really care, because they were willing  to see who was in the game and just use what was   available. But of course the people who were upset  by this were already extremely dedicated to the   series, and were really vocal about their distaste  at such a large chunk of content being omitted.   This controversy was rather tastelessly dubbed  “Dexit”, a reference to another very 2019 thing,   the EU Referendum vote that had resulted  in the UK leaving the European Union,   also known as “Brexit.” Of course  one of these things had real world   consequences impacting the real lives  of real people and the other was about   some virtual creatures in a video  game but what are you gonna do.

Now maybe the fans wouldn’t be so upset  about the National Dex getting cut if there   was a good reason to have fewer Pokémon, but the  justification Masuda gave for this at the time was   “higher fidelity graphics” and “higher quality  animations” and Shigeru Ohmori said that they   rebuilt all of the models for every Pokémon in the  game from scratch. This was a huge PR mistake and   is probably the reason there hasn’t been a lot of  interviews from the devs leading up to the release   of any other Pokémon game since. Graphical  quality is an extremely subjective thing,   and to a lot of the most upset people, no graphics  or animations would ever be good enough to justify   cutting Pokémon out of the game. A lot of people  would be willing to go back to 2D sprites if it  

meant having their favorite Pokémon in the game  again, and even if you made the most gorgeous   immaculate game ever, some detail could still be  scrutinized to find some kind of low resolution   texture, or some people could just flat out  dislike the art direction. So of course,   because of this Sword and Shield were heavily  ripped to shreds by these fans on this basis alone   and now you had people complaining not only about  the missing Pokémon but also about tree textures.   And this was by mostly fans that had been with  the series from the beginning and would probably   otherwise not care that much about what the  game looked like because let’s face it this   is Pokémon we’re talking about. Soon this bled  into all other areas of the game. The game wasn’t   long enough to justify cutting the Pokémon.  The game wasn’t hard enough to justify it.   The list of things that were not good enough  about Sword and Shield got longer and longer,   and nobody could have a real conversation about  it because the problems being named themselves   weren’t the real reason that these people were upset. So there was of course backlash to the backlash  

and the fandom was divided into two camps,  Dexit Truthers and I guess people who just   wanted the truthers to shut the **** up  already and let them enjoy the game. A   lot of people found the histrionics tiring as  they became less and less about the national   dex and more and more about just Sword and  Shield and everything about them being awful. I’m gonna get back to that later, because there’s  definitely more to the story of the 2019 dexit.   But while this is the first time  in recent memory we’ve dealt with   such a dramatic change to the series that  involved cutting Pokémon out of the game   and the controversy that came with it, this has  actually happened once before, and I think maybe   we can learn something about where current day  Pokémon is headed by looking back at the past. Some of you may not remember this, but In  2002, at the time of writing 20 years ago,   Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire were released. And when  these games were released, they did not include   backwards compatibility with the previous games,  effectively cutting players off from the National Dex.

Sound familiar? Whether or not they could  have found a way to make that technically possible   between the GameBoy games and the GameBoy Advance  games has been hotly debated for years now,   but the simple fact is that suddenly a majority of  the Pokémon that we knew from Kanto and Johto were   not there. Only 135 Pokémon were available between  the two versions out of the 386 that existed, and   for the first year or so there was no indication  of whether they’d be returning or not, and a lot   of players were in the dark about whether or  not the missing Pokémon were even programmed   into the game’s code and just inaccessible. Even  though the franchise was still in its infancy,   it was the first time that a new game was  released without backwards compatibility   at all with any previous version, and with the dex  bigger than it ever had been, there were basically   two ways that this could go. They could give it  a clean break and not make any effort to add back  

any of the Pokémon that weren’t in the regional  dex of Ruby and Sapphire, or they could release   more games that included the missing Pokémon  to make it possible to “catch em all” again. With the benefit of hindsight, we know of course  that they chose option B. But the way they went   about it is both dramatically different and eerily  similar to the way the way that things went in 2019.

Part 1: Deja Vu Now one major difference between today's dexit and the original dexit is what the video game   market was like at the time, and the landscape  of gaming in 2002 was a very different place. It’s funny to imagine that once the money  making strategy was to stuff games with a   ton of content and make them as long as  possible. Today it seems like games try   to get away with offering as little content  for as much money as possible. But back then,   the opposite was true. Longer, beefier games with  more content made more money. What changed? Well,   people today have very convenient channels to  play games, you can download almost any title   at any time through legitimate means,  console adoption is commonplace and the   rental market has been entirely bulldozed  by the availability of content on demand. But not that many years ago, game rental from  a retail chain was something a majority of   people who played games did. From  the early 80s to the mid 2000s,  

game rental was a $700 million market. In a report  from the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2006,   the CEO of GameFly stated “Almost all gamers  rent games, that’s a fact that everyone in the   industry is aware of.” Early on, the majority of  game rentals came through chains like Blockbuster,   and for $6 you could rent a game for 3 days  and then return it once you had your fun,   compared to the $30 or $60 it would cost to  buy a game outright. But in the mid 2000s,   more companies were joining the order-by-mail game  rental business as well, like GameFly and even   Overstock.com. So even though we know now that  this was not something that would last into the   future, at the time of the development of Ruby and  Sapphire in 2001, game rental was a huge market   that developers saw basically none of the revenue  from, and it was threatening to get even bigger. In Japan, game rental is illegal. In 1984, the  Recording Industry Association of Japan teamed up  

with several game developers and the Compact Disc  & Video Rental Commerce Trade Association of Japan   to lobby the Japanese government to ban video game  rentals. But in 1989, our pals at Nintendo, who,   need I remind you, own a 32% share in the Pokémon  Company International tried to sue Blockbuster   over game manual photocopies of all things,  in a bid to get game rental banned in the US.   The House and Senate ruled that game rental  itself was perfectly legal in the United States.   Banning rentals in the US was a bust. So when  games were brought over from Japan, a lot of  

times they were deliberately modified to be longer  and more difficult so that players could not beat   them during the lifespan of a game rental, and  would be incentivized to actually buy the game   in a manner that the developers would see the  profits from. Rentals were cheap, but they would   get more expensive if you wanted to play longer  than your allotted 3 days, either from overdue   fees or from renting it again, and if you wanted  to rent it again you had to compete with everyone   else who wanted to check out a popular new game  for the few copies available at your local store.   So if your game necessitated more than a 3 day  investment of time, you could basically force   players to inevitably purchase a copy. Even if the  games were designed in Japan, the US is obviously   still a huge market that no one wants to lose out  on. Case in point, Working Designs. In the 90s,  

there was a localization company headed by  notorious edgelord Victor Ireland that was one of   the few companies localizing JRPGs and Action RPGs  at the time for western audiences. Working Designs   made a bunch of “improvements” to every game they  brought over, usually tweaking them to make them   significantly more difficult so that they would  take longer to beat. Ireland himself has explained   in numerous places across the internet that the  motivation for these changes was to avoid losing   money on rentals and game returns. Enemies would  take more hits, deal more damage, healing items   would be rarer or more expensive, and the list  goes on. For some games puzzle solutions were  

changed or hints were removed from the game,  not only to make it take longer to solve them,   but also to encourage players to buy first  party official Working Designs guides for   the games. A rather hilarious example of this is  the game Exile 2, where a rather innocuous middle   of the road action RPG accidentally became  one of the hardest games ever made because   a last minute change to the code resulted in an  exponential increase to enemy health and damage,   sometimes to the point of being a 3300%  difference from the original Japanese version. Now this may not have a lot to do with Pokémon, as  Pokémon games don’t receive this sort of massive   overhaul during localization. For the most part  the content of the game including difficulty is   the same across all releases of the games in every  market around the world. And when Gens 1 & 2 were  

developed, the assumption was that there simply  wasn’t an audience for JRPGs outside of Japan   anyway, so they didn’t worry too much about  this rental issue. However by the time the new   millennium rolled around, Ruby and Sapphire were  developed as the very first mainline Pokémon games   with a global audience in mind. And it was also  the first time that the plan from the start was   that the generation would contain multiple games  in order to fill back in the missing Pokémon.  

So, the generation three games were designed in  particular to avoid the pitfalls of the US rental   market and to add back in the Pokémon that were  lost in the move to the GameBoy Advance somehow.   These two problems that GameFreak faced moving  into gen 3, game rentals costing the franchise   money on sales and the national dex needing to  be added back to the series basically had the   same exact solution. You can still finish  most Pokémon games to the Elite Four in a   weekend if you are very dedicated, but what is  something you can’t do in that amount of time? Fill out your national dex. Part 2: Costs Before we get into exactly how GameFreak  went about walling off content to keep   players from renting the games, let’s  first take a look at that national dex   problem and how they resolved it by adding  Pokémon back to the series, shall we? In Generation three, after Ruby and Sapphire,  over a span of three years they released 5   more games to fill in the remaining missing 184  Pokémon, making the total 7 games, Ruby, Sapphire,   Colosseum, FireRed, LeafGreen, Emerald and XD  Gale of Darkness. You technically only needed to own a minimum of 4 games to complete the Pokédex, but  you needed at least three different consoles   and two different accessories, plus a memory card  if you are going for the lowest number of games   you need to get a full dex. A GameBoy Advance  system was $99.99 at launch, and you needed two,   same goes for the SP, a GameCube was $199, a GameCube  GameBoy Advance link cable was $11,   I can’t find price info for the GBA link  cable so we’ll assume it was also around $11,   Pokémon Leaf Green was $40, Ruby was $35, and  Pokémon Colosseum and XD Gale of Darkness were   $52.99 each. A GameCube Memory card was  another $11. So in total, to complete the  

Pokédex yourself with the fewest number of games,  you were required to spend a minimum of $612.96.   There were price drops along the way so  depending on when you were able to amass all   this stuff the total might have been a hundred  dollars lower at $512.96. There was no Wi-Fi,   and you don’t have any control over the people  in your personal area and what their hobbies are,   so the only way you could guarantee you could fill in the  dex yourself was to spend the cash. The cheaper   option would be to cut the Gamecube games out altogether and actually buy all 5 of the GameBoy Advance games, plus the two GameBoy Advance systems and link cable, which would amount to $395.98

but also would necessitate multiple complete playthroughs of Fire Red, Leaf Green and Emerald in order to get all three Johto starters and Legendary  Dogs thanks to the games only having one save   file each. But no matter how you slice it, that  is an enormous premium for some digital creatures. For some context, in the following generation, gen 4,  Diamond and Pearl were missing some Pokémon that   you could only get by transferring up from the  GameBoy Advance games, but through the release   of Platinum, Heart Gold and Soul Silver, within a  span of 3 years all of the Pokémon were available   on the DS again without requiring you to own any  older games at all. In theory you could even get   the Regi’s without the Pal Park if we count the  limited time events over Wi-Fi. So they managed  

to accomplish this with a mere 5 games in a short  amount of time. Granted you do actually needed to   own all 5 games and participate in limited time  events to complete the Pokédex by yourself in this   gen without the Pal Park at all, if we get into  mythicals you could add another game to this list,   Pokémon Ranger. But because the Wi-Fi connection  was introduced, while this Gen was active you   really actually only needed to own a single Gen  4 game if you could arrange trades for everything   you were missing over the internet. Doing it  all alone wasn’t the only option anymore if you   didn’t happen to know anyone who had the game, and  because you could trade as soon as you got the Pal   Pad in-game, it was super easy to find eligible  partners. Heart Gold was actually the first time   I ever personally completed a national Pokédex  because it was really simple to get all of the   Pokémon I was missing over the internet from  strangers and friends far away. And Wi-Fi was   basically as free as your internet service, there  was no paid Nintendo Online at the time, so if   you had a DS, an internet connection and one game  you were set. The minimum you needed to spend was  

essentially $184.99 for one DS and one game, plus  your monthly internet bill, or I guess not even   that if you wanted to walk to McDonalds to trade  on their free Wi-Fi, which is what I mostly did. So if the big difference between the cost of the  two generations was the introduction of Wi-Fi and   the accessibility of trading partners, we can see  why it was so important for GameFreak to lock down   the one thing players could do to bypass the need  for purchasing additional games if the national   dex was what they were going to leverage to  encourage full purchases of the games instead of   rentals. Trading! If you could rent the games and  trading worked the same way it did in Gens 1 & 2,   you could pick up say Fire Red at Blockbuster,  get a Charmander, trade it to your Ruby at the   first Pokémon Center, and then return the game  without feeling the need to buy a copy. Or rent   Pokémon Colosseum for that sweet set of Espeon and  Umbreon, trade those over, and return the game. So   GameFreak, having apparently thought of this, made  it so you had to complete the game or even 100%   complete the post game content before you could  trade into or out of any of the games that were   released after Ruby and Sapphire. In Colosseum you  have to beat the game to the credits roll to trade  

and purify any Pokémon you wanted to move out,  or if you wanted Ho-Oh, you have to beat the entire Mt. Battle   Post game area and purify 48 Shadow Pokémon. In  FireRed and LeafGreen you had to beat the game,   catch at least 60 Pokémon to  unlock the national dex, AND   complete a multi part post-game quest to give  the Ruby and Sapphire to Celio in the Sevi Isles. In Emerald,  

you need to have beaten the Elite Four and entered  the Hall of Fame, and in XD once again you need to   have beaten a very long story mode to the end  credits and purify your Pokémon to trade them   in or out. Each of these requirements demanded  somewhere between 10 and 30 hours of playtime   to unlock trading at all. This made it impossible  to just rent the games for the Pokémon you wanted   because the games could not just be beaten in a  weekend. For all those Pokémon you were missing,   a full purchase was required to be able to put  in the time demanded of you to unlock trading. If we wanted to be charitable and assume  that GameFreak intended for players to   just trade each other for the Pokémon that they were  missing instead of one player doing it alone,   GameFreak and Nintendo would actually lose  money if wide access to trading partners were   available and the GameCube games were no longer  the simplest way. Whether it was on purpose or  

just a side effect of the way this was all  set up, trading with another human who had   the games became much less of a possibility than it was before. There were now so many hurdles to trading   at all for two players that the stars would have to  align perfectly for it to be even possible.   The completion requirements in every game to trade  outside of them and into another version basically   cut your chances of finding a trade partner in  half twice. First, the chances that you’d find   anyone at all were pretty low in this  era as Pokémon was in a bit of a rut sales-wise   comparative to the rest of its timeline. It wasn’t  like it was in the first and second generations   of games where pretty much every kid on the  playground had the game, it was much more rare.   Second, you would have to own versions that were  compatible without trading restrictions, which   if that was the case you would not be able to get  more than the typical version exclusives because   none of the Pokémon you were missing would be  in a game you could easily trade with and Third,   if that requirement wasn’t met, the requirement  was that both of you would need to have completed   the game to the point that you have circumvented  the trade block and are able to freely trade in   and out. On top of that, you couldn’t use the link  cable that you already had to trade Pokémon from  

the Gameboy games, one player would have to also  own the new GameBoy Advance proprietary cable,   or you would have to both own wireless  adapters. So with all of these factors,   it was very very unlikely that you’d be able to  trade with another human being often enough to   get all of the missing Pokémon, or even just some.  Most of these games were lengthy, some were way more   difficult than past games in the series, and the  average age of the player base was much lower than   it is 20 years on, where an entire generation of  players has grown up with the series. The odds of  

meeting another kid who had the patience to get  that far were lower than contracting PokéRus. If   you wanted all three of the legendary dogs without  starting over with a new game in Kanto and 100%ing   the entire game again, if you couldn’t  find another person who also had done   all of that work to get the other two  dogs AND was willing to trade you one,   the only option was dropping cash on a GameCube  and all the accessories and Pokémon Colosseum.   And investing even more time in that. Same goes  for the Johto starters, if you didn’t want to   fill the entire Hoenn Regional Dex 3 times in  Emerald, you had to get and beat Colosseum, or Mt. Battle in XD Gale of Darkness.

Unfortunately when you put such a high premium of  time and money on something, the result is that   a lot of people are just going to be shut out.  While this system was designed to take advantage   of the most dedicated players, it also negatively  impacted people who just wanted to use, like,   one or two Pokémon that weren’t available in  whichever version they got. For example, Ditto   wasn’t available in Ruby & Sapphire, so unless you  got lucky enough to get a female starter Pokémon,   you couldn’t breed eggs of your starter and  trade them to your friends to even just get   Swampert if you started with Blaziken. Say your  favorite Pokémon was Umbreon and you had FireRed   and LeafGreen, which were the first games in the  Gen that finally had Eevee available. Well those   games don’t have an in-game clock, so you can max  out Eevee’s friendship and do all that work but   it will still never evolve unless you can finish  the post game quest, trade it to Ruby or Sapphire,   start all over from scratch raising its friendship  up because it will be reset to zero from the   trade, and then evolve it. Or of course, buy and  beat Colosseum for the Umbreon they give you,  

which by the way was locked male so you couldn’t  breed for more Eevees without Ditto. If your   favorite Pokémon was Houndour and you really  wanted to use one in Emerald during the story,   and you happened to have a Houndour in your  FireRed version, you couldn’t trade it over early   in the playthrough without also owning a GameCube  and Pokémon Colosseum as a pass between since   it is the only game that lets you trade Pokémon  outside of the regional dex into Emerald.    And by the way, that ONLY works for Emerald.

It ended up being really limiting. If you had Emerald  and your little brother just got Leaf Green,   and you’re like seven years old and you had no  idea about the trade restrictions because your   parents don’t know anything about the games  they got you, these are the only two games   you have and you can’t trade until both of you  beat the game. It’s really funny to read back in   the Serebii Forums from 2005 and see little kids  posting like “why can’t I trade my brother” and   the coldhearted mods just replying “you just have  to beat the entire game first, unlock the national   dex and finish a lengthy two part post game quest.  Good luck six year old!” So it wasn’t just freaks   like me that wanted to get every Pokémon that  lost out, it’s pretty much anyone who wanted to   interact with the trading system on even a basic  level. You meet up with your friend after school,   you have a Pokémon that they want, but they haven’t  found the Sapphire to give to Celio yet.   What are you going to do? You only have that  moment in time to play together, you're a kid   so you’re not in charge of your own schedule, you  may never get another moment in time when you’re   together with your friend and both of you have  your GameBoys and a link cable. So what do you do?  

Go online and look it up? Serebii existed back  then but it’s not like every family even had   internet access at the time. Shell out money  for a guide book? Just to find out how to trade   with your friend once? I guess you just can’t  trade today, better hope it works out some time   in the future and that your friend is still  interested in beating the game after this. All this is to say, rather than  incentivizing trading as a solution   they really just incentivized spending a  lot of money and spending a lot of TIME so   that you couldn’t get around the “spending the  money” part by renting or trading with friends.  

And if you had neither money nor friends  you just didn’t get your favorite Pokémon,   good luck in the next life kid, sorry you  lost the Pokémon lottery this time around. Or of course you could do what a lot of kids did  do and just pirate the games. I’m not kidding,   this was widespread even when the games were  new, a lot of kids ended up playing the games   entirely on emulators. Or investing in Action  Replay for a mere $20 instead of spending all of  

that time and money. Or buying cheaper pirated  carts because even at $35, it really adds up   when you end up needing 5 or more games and a  bunch of systems and accessories. But GameFreak   even apparently accounted for this and implemented  safeguards against cheating devices. For example   in Ruby and Sapphire, there are checksums  in Pokémon data that if found to be invalid,   or tampered with, causes the Pokémon to become a  Bad Egg instead. These bad eggs can’t be hatched   or deleted, so too many of these things and you  won’t be able to even play the game anymore.   If you get one in your daycare, you can't use the daycare anymore.

There’s a flag for data tampering that is  flipped by any code that doesn’t account for   it that causes invisible Bad Eggs to appear  in your PC, even things like just faster   leveling or walking through walls. In FireRed,  LeafGreen and Emerald, the game uses Dynamic   Memory Allocation to scramble sensitive memory  areas around, so if you try to tamper with one   area you end up tampering another. For example, wild Pokémon encounter codes often corrupt the TM pouch in FireRed,   or a code for one Pokémon might end up causing a  completely different Pokémon to spawn. Pokémon  

like Mew and Deoxys will always disobey you if the  met location data doesn’t match that of the event   Pokémon. So not only did they not want you to be  able to get the Pokémon you wanted legitimately,   they also went out of their way to stop players  from being able to cheat to get them. I obviously can’t prove without a doubt that  the reason for the trading restrictions in   Gen 3 was to circumvent rentals, this is  not something GameFreak or Nintendo has   ever mentioned or acknowledged. But given that  this was not an isolated practice and that a   lot of JPRGs were starting to either be built  this way from the ground up or localized   specifically to circumvent the rental market,  it seems reasonable to me to believe that the   generation 3 games trading restrictions  in particular were an anti-rental move.  

And ultimately they actually ended up negatively  impacting even people who were willing to buy in   and own all the games. The fact that it was  not just one game that had these restrictions   but 5 games out of 7, the fact that you had to  invest both hundreds of dollars and hundreds   of hours of time to finish all of these  games to the point of being able to trade,   ended up loading the burden of some people  renting games onto the shoulders of the   players who bought them. And for what? What  was the benefit players got out of this? Part 3: Two Versions Pokémon, since the very beginning, has  always required more than one game to get   all the creatures. This is nothing new.  So let’s start with a simple question:   Why? What motivated this decision in games like  Red and Green back in 1996? The link cable existed   previously, but it was used primarily for versus  play in games like Tetris, no one was using it for   trading. The concept of trading items or anything  was not a thing in video games at this point.

Well we know this story by now. Satoshi Tajiri  and Ken Sugimori were playing Dragon Quest,   and Sugimori got a duplicate of a rare drop that  Tajiri needed for his party. The two thought,   "well, wish we could trade." And lo, Tajiri  did see the value in a mechanic like that,   the fun in trading commodities with other  players, and so when they were developing Pokémon   around this concept, they sought out the GameBoy  specifically to use the cable for this purpose.  When they pitched their idea to Nintendo, Miyamoto  was skeptical about how they could motivate   players to use the cable to trade, especially in  a less popular genre like RPGs were at the time.   So Miyamoto, because of course it was Miyamoto,  came up with the idea for two versions,   each with a few monsters that the other version  didn’t have. Nowadays we know this trick as  

a blatantly money grabbing tactic, but at the  time they actually stood to lose a lot of money   on this idea. It was untested, if other games  had even done it before it was not a success,   Pokémon was not a proven concept, RPGs were very  niche and frequently disappointing sales-wise,   and there was no established audience yet. Two  versions meant twice the unsold inventory if   the game bombed and nobody bought it. But the  gimmick was originally about the mechanical   value added by trading first and foremost so  it was apparently worth the financial risk. Now for the next question: What is the  value? What does trading add to the game?   What is the underlying goal  of a mechanic like this? I think what Pokémon offers, among the  many things that make it a unique game   compared to others in its genre, is the  huge variety of party members you can get,   and the ways that you can combine them to  get different results. Who a trainer is is  

defined entirely by which Pokémon they use,  and you can have a different experience each   time through most Pokémon games by trying the  same challenges again with different Pokémon in   your party. The party building in these games  has both an expressive roleplaying function,   building who your character is through these  decisions, and a tactical function. Different   parts of the game can be easy or hard depending  on who you choose to tackle them with. And of  

course you can fully optimize your party for  battling your friends if that is what you’re into. Trading primarily is a tool available to the  player specifically to aid in this process.   Yes, trading to collect all the Pokémon and  studying them is the main goal of the game,   it’s what Professor Oak asks you to do from  the second you are given your first Pokémon,   but I think the amount of effort this takes in a  lot of games is out of the grasp of most players.   You don’t get any tangible reward from doing  it, probably because they realized that shutting   players out of a real valuable reward on  the basis of not buying all the games and   equipment they need or not having anyone to  trade with was not a good look. So there’s no   mechanical benefit to completing the national dex,  at least not in these early games. Instead  I think the main benefit of trading is  

empowering the player to have more options  for party members during the main game,   or for competitive play with friends. It gives  you the freedom of playing outside the gamespace,   to use your community as a resource to secure  items and Pokémon without being limited to what   is available to you in the game at that moment.  Or if you do invest money in more games to do this   alone, it’s a way to incentivize you to do that  with the positive reinforcement of independence,   you can do it without anyone’s help, which is  a little lonely but in a way its own kind of   fun. And there is nothing in most Pokémon games  to stop you from getting ridiculously powerful   Pokémon before the first badge other than the  consequences of Pokémon not obeying you if they’re   too high level for where you are in the game.  You can still try to use them whenever you want,  

breaking the game balance however you want, and  the only limitations you have is how much you can   tolerate your Pokémon using the wrong moves  for a while or taking a nap during battle. It is a convenience feature, the convenience of  being able to get that rare thing your friend has   two of without grinding for it, but it’s also  just absolute freedom to build your party   however you want, whenever you want. All you need is either a friend or the cash to get whatever it   is you’re missing from another version of  the game. And at the time of Gen 1 and 2,  

Pokémon was such a hit that finding someone  to trade with even before WiFi was simple. Of course, because Pokémon was a hit, Nintendo  and GameFreak did move twice the product they   otherwise would have. And then three times  the product when Blue was released. And then   four times the product when Yellow was released.  Each version featured marginally more content,   but not so much that they were  developing an entirely new game.   They were simply able to charge players  again for the same game multiple times,   and this was the business benefit of this  strategy. And this was really only able to  

happen because Pokémon did end up being an out  of the blue runaway success. We have seen other   game series try the multiple versions thing and fail over and over and over again in the decades since. But of course   Pokémon took advantage of being successful  enough to bank on this and only expanded   this tactic in the years since, raking in  the cash for minimal effort or new content.

So obviously there is a benefit  to the player in this setup,   and a benefit to GameFreak and  Nintendo. Everybody wins right? In Generation 3, the way trading is restricted,  the player no longer gets the benefit of trading   as a team building tool, because in all  of these games except Ruby and Sapphire,   by the time you unlock trading there is  no game left to play. Colosseum, Fire Red,   Leaf Green, Emerald and XD Gale of Darkness  all have limited walled gardens of Pokémon   available for their main stories and there is very  little incentive to use the trading system at all   because it’s nearly or actually impossible to  trade for something that would make an enormous   difference in how you play the game during the  actual game itself. Once you finish the post game,   who cares if you can get the Pokémon you want?  What do you get to do with them at that point?   The freedom, the role playing aspects of trading  were sold out in order to safeguard the series   against losing money on rentals and game returns.  So in Gen 3 specifically, this strategy only   benefits the companies making the games and the  benefits to the player were removed. Because you  

can’t use it for team building, trading can only  be about completing the National Dex in gen 3,   which really only helps GameFreak move more  units and doesn't mechanically contribute to the players   experience of the games. Players are really only  motivated to want to finish it at all because of the   lack of Pokémon available in most of the games,  but rather than rewarding that drive to get more   options for team building, it holds the Pokémon  themselves for ransom behind trading restrictions.   Instead of a way to positively reinforce buying  more games with the same rewards as past games,   it instead negatively reinforces having only  one game by limiting the players freedom,   and trading is treated as a privilege only those  who have the time and money to spend can afford. And this was in the one generation that you  couldn’t transfer Pokémon into from other Gens   either. Transferring Pokémon between games has  much of the same appeal as trading, it really  

amounts to the same mechanical function. More options for team building. Being able to transfer up a Jigglypuff with Nightmare & Perish Song from Gen 3 to Gen 6 for example was an awesome expressive way to team build and role play. The more resources you have available  for tailoring your party to something character   building and unique, the more unique moves,  unique Pokémon, the more unique combinations you're   empowered to make, the more benefits to the  player there are of Pokémon being set up in this   way with multiple versions. but this only   works if they actually are resources. If you are  going to ask players to spend a lot of money on a   lot of versions of the same game, they’ll only  happily keep going along with it if they feel   like they’re getting something out of it. It  only starts to feel unfair and exploitative,   players only really notice that it is set up to  benefit the company more than them, if they’re   still asked to buy multiple versions but the  expected mechanical benefit isn’t actually there.

Which leads us to the present day. I thought that GameFreak had realized the missteps  they took with how they handled Generation 3   as they didn’t try to do something like this  again in the series for a very long time.   Once WiFi was introduced, they stopped leaning so  hard on trading as the wall that they’d use to keep   players from renting, and then the rental market  collapsed with the advent of video on demand, so   it stopped really being an issue. Sure they still  did things like this here and there, but nearly  

always Wi-Fi gave players their own work arounds,  so the imbalance didn’t seem as severe.  Even when Sword and Shield were released nearly 20 years   later with Pokémon missing, I didn’t get obvious  red flags from this, because I didn’t see how this   could possibly be the same as Generation 3. I wanted to  wait and see how the rest of the Switch generation   played out. Maybe we could avoid this problem  if the Pokémon just never got added back at all?

Well, we now have Sword, Shield,  Let’s Go Pikachu, Let’s Go Eevee,   Brilliant Diamond, Shining Pearl, and  Pokémon Legends Arceus. That is 7 games,   and two more are on the way. And guess what?  None of them can trade with games from other   regions without using Pokémon Home as a pass  through, if they all even got Home support at   the time you’re watching this. I think if Generation  3 was previously the most expensive Generation,   Gen 8 easily surpasses it with the sheer cost  of how much these games are new and additional   online services you need to pay for. Even just  owning a Switch and one copy of each of these games,  

that is $769.92 if you paid full price. There  are Pokémon that you can transfer into Home   from other generations that still do not have  another game on the Switch they can leave Home   into, although assuming Home support continues,  Scarlet & Violet seem likely to close that gap. But the thing that really set off alarm bells  in my head is the fact that these games all   require save data on the system of all of  the other Switch games to unlock things,   to necessitate purchases of all the games  to get all the content. Which isn’t so bad,   you can just borrow the game from somebody, create  save data and give it back right? Well, recently,   they announced that you would need COMPLETED save  data of Pokémon Legends Arceus on your Switch   to get Arceus in Brilliant Diamond and Shining  Pearl. And that’s when I realized history is   repeating itself. Except this time, Pokémon  isn’t responding to a market trend that's  

2022-06-21 02:00

Show Video

Other news