Thursday, September 24, 2009

Our Children Must Be Bred To Master Pokemon

Since I got a pretty positive reaction from my post last week about raising a child, I thought I'd say a bit more about that most blessed of childrens' fantasy entertainments: Pokemon.

When I was growing up a misunderstood little nerd in a small town, I had lavish daydreams in which I obtained joyous revenge on those kids (and teachers) who tormented me. I fantasized that, when they picked on me, I could summon a swarm of killer bees to terrify them.

Yes, that's right. Killer bees. Can you imagine anything so lame? So faceless and uninteresting? It makes me wish I could travel back in time to beat up my younger self and take my lunch money.

Happily, 21st century children are spared such indignity. When they feel put upon and need an imaginary friend to fight for them, they are provided with an assortment of AWESOME creatures. Whether you want your spirit animal to be a dragon, a yellow rat that can shoot lightning out of its ass, or a pink, orb-shaped pop singer, it's there for you. And you can get a card with a picture of it. And a stuffed version. And watch TV shows about it.

Do you think anyone would watch a half hour series about a swarm of killer bees that wandered around and learned valuable life lessons and made honey and occasionally totally stung some farmer? No. I don't either.

Remember, we live in the 21st century now. We don't grind our own wheat or make our own clothes or lance our own boils. Why should we make our own imaginary monsters? Especially when the Japanese will do it for us for entirely reasonable prices.

Pokemon provides both the awesomeness of loyal monster slaves and plenty of food for the child mind's odd desire to memorize long, meaningless strings of information. (Pokemon are the baseball statistics of the new millennium.) This odd world is the best thing we have provided for children since vaccination. If you don't understand the appeal of Pokemon, you don't understand childhood.

16 comments:

  1. Very true, Jeff. All I had to remember as a kid were dinosaur names.

    Always glad to see a reference to Jigglypuff, that deadliest of pocket monsters and dearest to my heart.

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  2. I remember always wanting to play a pokemon game at school, then years later when I finally got one a year or two ago it was a borefest.

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  3. Haha!! I use to play the original Pokemon Gameboy game back in high school! We use to nickname other kids with Pokemon names. Let's see, there was Rattata, Jigglypuff, Beedle, Machamp, and bunch of others I can't remember. My favored pocket monster was Gyarados. Total pwnage!! I would still play the games today if they would only add Ling-Ling!!

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  4. I would totally watch the killer bee show.

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  5. I dunno, I always found Killer Bees pretty scary. I think it's that whole "how do you fend off a swarm?" thing. That, and watching some movie - The Swarm, maybe - at waaaay too early an age.

    On the other hand, I'd happily conjure an army of atomically-enlarged giant ants, so not all my childhood movie experiences were bad...

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  6. Man, Pokemon came out when I was in university and I remember looking at it and thinking, "This is the lamest thing ever. It will never last."

    Fifteen years later, it's still around. This is why I never went into marketing.

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  7. So true, so true. Being nerdy is so much more acceptable now than it ever was, too.

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  8. Why Pokemon! I would rather think of a shaper, summoning creatures which are way better!
    :P

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  9. Aw, c'mon Jeff! I'd be thinking you'd want the kid to follow right in your footsteps -

    Just drop a DS and a copy of The Dark Spire or another diamond-hard RPG into the playpen and see what happens...

    g.

    (that's also an ass-backward hint to think about porting some of Spiderweb's stuff to a portable system at some point - hint. hint. hint).

    PS: I keep meaning to interview you for my own blog (fanboydestroy.blogspot.com), but:

    a) you already have so much to say here, so it would be a bit redundant.

    and

    b) I'd pretty much be interviewing someone who thinks almost exactly as I do (except I haven't made a game yet - I'm merely an idea man...)

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