Both Pokemon Black and White release this weekend, so I figure I'd start off with a review of how I felt about the previous iterations of the series.
Pokemon has a very stable style, every new version comes with minor upgrades that doesn't change the central thesis of the game at all. Although now that I think about it, a central thesis might be the one thing Pokemon lacks, but what it lacks in focus it more than makes up for by having an eclectic mix of attractions. For the player that needs a constant grind it has battles that you can pay little attention to that constantly improve your team. For the completionist it has tiny secrets tucked in corners and the ability to revisit old areas with new abilities to access previously hidden areas. For a child it has an easy to learn rock-paper-scissors system of battle that lets you cheese your way through battles and still feel like you've earned your victories.
But it might have the most attraction for a collector. Someone who sits down with a new Pokemon game and obsesses with finding every creature possible. Not many hand-held games offer something that a player could pick up and play for two-hundred hours and still be earning new rewards.
I find myself buying each new edition for a variety of those reasons, though I always lament the lack of an over-arching story and the stigma that comes with buying a "child's game".
I've recommended Pokemon games to both newbie players and veterans of RPGs, and not one of them has ever told me they regret playing one.
Have you ever played a Pokemon game? Did you enjoy it? Will you be picking up either Black or White this weekend? Leave a comment and let me know!