The Pokémon series is loved by many players around the world. Ever since Red and Blue asked us to choose between squirtle, bulbasaur and charmander on the Game Boy in 1996, pocket monsters have attracted countless fans. But with around 20 entries in the main series, and with a few previous titles sparking heated debate, fans are starting to ask questions and consider what it would take to make them reconsider their commitment.
One fan put it succinctly: ‘What would it take for a Pokemon game to be objectively bad?’ They then began listing a list of titles that had shaken the reputation of the video game series. “Sonic 2006. Modern Madden. Fallout 76. Mighty No. 9. Mass Effect: Andromeda. Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite,” they wrote.
“Names that strike fear into the hearts of game developers. Nobody wants a game to end as a disaster,” they continued, before summarizing their question: “What would it take for a Pokémon game to be objectively bad? Something so bad that it’s synonymous with failure and is hardly playable or enjoyable. And would its complete collapse force Gamefreak/The Pokémon Company to change?”
Of course, “objectively bad” can be a loaded term in itself. For example, there was a big debate sparked by Pokemon Legends: Arceus over its graphics. On the one hand, many thought that Game Freak could have done more instead of having the visuals so weird, while on the other hand, many defended the developer on the grounds that the graphics don’t matter (to simplify the whole matter).
But Arceus’ below-average visuals didn’t seem to detract from its sales, and as we head into Gen 9 with Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, due out later this year, the above question has piqued fan interest in how the games have evolved. and will continue to evolve.
“The main series formula is so simple yet effective that just following it all the way to the T is a guaranteed success. So the only way a main series game can hit Sonic 06 bad levels is to be so flawed that it’s literally unplayable”, argued a nousername191.
But a ClownPrinceofLime retorted: “I think that’s part of the Pokémon problem. The formula means that any Pokémon game that comes out and goes will always be good enough. But 9 generations from now, if they follow this formula, they will only be good enough.”
SwissyVictory stated that even a bad Pokemon game is a good game and that the developers would have to get it seriously wrong to ruin it for most players. They then proceeded to list the conditions for such ruin:
- Forced Nuzlocks would ruin the experience for many people.
- Making the game overly difficult where even the best players can’t get through a gym without training for a few hours beforehand.
- New Pokemon without inspiration and/or just adding the Pokemon people don’t like.
- An extremely long and confusing cave that you have to memorize to get through. Bonus if it’s full of annoying Pokemon that won’t let you run away and use moves like self-destruct. This fits in well with forced Nuzlock.
- A scene where your starter gets cancer and you have to let go.
- All characters are extremely annoying. Imagine everyone is as bad as Hop and the royal twins.
Another commenter added that perhaps microtransactions make a Pokemon game objectively bad, if players need real money to buy ‘mons or Pokeballs. Now that would be crap.
The question certainly generated an interesting and lively discussion, and you can read the full thread here. In other Pokémon debates, fans discussed which features would make or break Scarlet & Violet for them.
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