Hello, my dear PUCLonians! We’re back once again with the Fluff, and we’ll be speaking of other things we want to be back. Each Generation of Pokémon games had its signature quirks, big and small, and some of them got lost on the way. Some came back later, some never did.
Ever since the first trailer, we’ve had Sun and Moon presented to us as the culmination of a journey that started in 1996 with Red and Green, and while of course they are building on the solid framework of all previous games, there are a few small gems that were dropped along the last twenty years that I’d bring back for Sun and Moon in a heartbeat. So, for this pair of articles, Snag and I will be picking only one lost feature from each Generation that we would love to have back in Gen VII. Let’s dive in!
Gen I: Pikachu’s Reactions
Since Gen I had the burden of introducing, oh, the games themselves, most “features” found in those games are more like the basic building blocks of Pokémon, and thus they’ve been retained in all subsequent titles. But one particularly immersive detail that we never quite got back was the ability, in Pokémon Yellow, to “talk” to Pikachu and see its face as it reacted to us.
You talk to me all the time. And I make plenty of faces at you.
I know, Whimsicott, but not in the games, right? And stick your tongue back in. Pikachu having a mood dependent on how long it had been with you and on what was going on in the game was a surprisingly complex deal to me when I finally bought Yellow a while back. Pikachu falling asleep when the Jigglypuff in the Pewter City Pokémon Center sings, and you having to wake it up before it follows you again, is one of my favorite Easter Eggs in Pokémon. I haven’t played through much of Yellow yet (you know me and finishing games…), but I know I loved having my partner Pokémon show not-entirely-scripted feelings.
I really wish they could bring some of this back in Pokémon Amie: say, having your Pokémon look uneasy when you enter a place that’s dark or uncomfortable for them, or having it look happy if it’s in its preferred environment, or if you’ve just won an important battle.
But that happened in HeartGold and SoulSilver, didn’t it?
Kind of. Yes, the feature did return, and the Pokémon following you did a lot of cute things, but the descriptions felt random most of the time, and there’s really nothing like seeing a Pokémon’s actual expression looking back at you form the screen. I guess I’d want the two things and Amie combined into a perfect interaction with your Pokémon!
Don’t worry! Even if no one does it in the games, I’ll cheer you on from here!
Thanks, Whimsicott… but please, get off my head, I can’t see the screen through your fluff. Which reminds me of the honorable mention for this Gen: the ability to mow down tall grass by using Cut outside of battle! It was a really neat feature and it would be cool to have it back.
Gen II: The Time Capsule
Gen II was, perhaps, the one with the most distinctive “personality” of all. In spite of being a sort of expansion to Gen I, it had so many quirks and details, and everyone has such fond memories of it, that I am infinitely saddened by the fact that I never got to fully experience it when it came out.
You’ve barely touched this copy of Crystal you bought…
Well, at this point, the chances they’ll release Gen II on Virtual Console look pretty decent to me. Might as well wait for that so I can actually keep the Pokémon from it, right? In the meanwhile, let me dream about something we haven’t had since Gen II: the ability to trade Pokémon back to a previous Generation.
After the Gen III overhaul, we were only ever able to send our Pokémon forward. Today, as I thought about all the Poké Miles I should spend before the Global Link for Gen VI goes down, I realized that all the battle items and stuff like that I will get will do me absolutely no good for Sun and Moon. If I buy an Ability Capsule, I won’t be able to send it forward, and furthermore, I won’t be able to bring even an old Pokémon back from Alola even for just a moment to use it on them. Gen VI and Gen VII will share hardware and models and probably all stats and related mechanics and all that, yet the official website states that Pokémon from Gen VI will be able to be brought to Sun and Moon through Bank in the same way as those from the Virtual Console Gen I titles (so, on a one-way street). And I’m left here, sighing about lost opportunities (and Poké Miles). Honorable mention goes to getting Rare Candy from shoving Berries into a Shuckle.
Gen III: Actually Different Versions
I had a hard time coming up with a feature from Gen III that I wanted back… and then I realized it wasn’t because Gen III didn’t bring good features; on the contrary, it was because it brought a ton of great ones, which then never went away! So I couldn’t really think of a game mechanic for this one, but one thing that Ruby and Sapphire (and, OK, their remakes) had pretty much an exclusive on was two (in fact, three!) versions with plots that were actually different. Of course, the skeleton of the story stayed the same, but having swapped villain teams (or both, in Emerald) and different types of catastrophes you have to save the world from was pretty darn cool. The version exclusives list was also thematically appropriate (even more so in ORAS), and all in all, I’d argue Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald are the games more worthy of you owning all versions.
Not like you ever buy just one any more, but yes, on principle, I’d agree.
I don’t think it’s just a random fact that we got the multiverse theory in the Gen III remakes: those games, most of all, inspire such thoughts about alternate timelines, and you know I’m a sucker for that stuff. They did try to bring back some actual differences in Gen V, and Sun and Moon seem like they’re doing something with version differences besides having different Pokémon available-
– I see someone got on the hype train about that. I’m glad. But we have no idea if the actual plot will be any different, and I really, really hope it is.
It would slightly justify all the money you’ll spend on getting both versions. Slightly.
Yes. But mostly, it would be really, really cool. Honorable mention: actually different trees for different Berries, since we lost those with Gen VI, and I really liked them.
Gen IV: The Poké Radar
Yes, I went there: I did not pick Pokémon following you from HG&SS. Frankly, with the 3D world and the models, there’s no way they could do Pokémon sizes justice (although having Alolan Exeggutor’s lover body following you around while its head disappears off the top of the screen would be priceless). Plus Pokémon should have models for their respective types of movements, and… you know, it would be cool, but maybe on a hardware, say, another couple of Generations from now.
A surprisingly sober and realistic analysis from you.
Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all day. Anyway, since I’m such a serious person, what I want to bring back is SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINY ‘MONS! WHOOO!
… of course.
We got the Radar back in Gen VI, so there’s actually a chance we get it back in Sun and Moon, too! I’m pretty hyped about that. As everyone and their brother and their kitchen sink knows, because I whine about it constantly, I have never encountered a full odds shiny Pokémon. All of my shinies were worked for (Masuda Method, DexNav, Poké Radar, chain fishing, I’ve done them all), and I’d very much appreciate having the chance to keep doing so. I like the Radar because it’s hard, but it gives you an almost guaranteed shiny as long as you work for it and do it well. Honorable mention goes, of course, to the running shoes toggle button from HeartGold and SoulSilver. That thing was heaven distilled into a small rectangle of pixels.
Gen V: The Memory Link
No, it’s not just because all of the scenes triggered by the Memory Link were mostly about how N thought my character, aka I, was the Combee’s knees.
Although I’m sure that helped. Oh, N, you dreamy, dreamy human…
It’s that… it’s good enough that we got actual sequels, but the Memory Link feature was amazing to me. Being old and antiquated like I am, it still blows my mind a tiny bit that a video game can change itself according to what you did in a previous, different game. Having this implemented in my favorite video game series, regarding my very favorite plot, character and relationship was… like Christmas, really. I’ve always been a fan of TV shows over movies because I love the little callbacks and references and nuances you can build over the years. I can only imagine what you all felt when you got to the top of Mount Silver unspoiled, and met… yourselves, from the previous game.
You really should have restarted Silver back then.
I blame my 19-year-old self for depriving me of that emotion, yes. My point is, there’s a ton of potential impact in something like that, and, to paraphrase an old TV show, we totally have the technology, dudes. So please, Game Freak, bring it back? Honorable mention for Gen V goes to Challenge Mode… but it would have to be implementable at the start of the game!
Gen VI: The DexNav
Seriously, the DexNav is so. Darn. Good. It looks funny, it lets you hunt for shinies and Hidden Abilities and Egg moves, it’s incredibly immersive… what could possibly be better about it?
I can’t think of a thing, really.
Let’s face it, in the real world, only a few Pokémon would stay still and hidden until you stepped into the patch of grass they’re in; you’d totally be able to spot the bigger or louder ones from a few paces away, like with the DexNav. The fact that you sometimes see the tail of the actual Pokémon sticking up and shaking is adorable and amusing, as a bonus. And why should Pokémon with Hidden Abilities be relegated to out-of-game locations? Gen VI did it right with hordes and the DexNav. I know I’ve talked about all of this before, but I’m a really big fan of it. Thing is, I really doubt it’s coming back for Gen VII, since it’s a) a Hoenn thing, and b) still grid-based. But oh, I’m going to miss it. Honorable mention for Gen VI… well, most cool features I’d have asked for (character customization, Super Training, riding Pokémon) are coming back and we already know about it, so I’ll say… Wonder Trade! We haven’t heard a thing about it so far, and while I have a hard time imagining they won’t bring it back, I’d just like to be sure, you know?
How about you, PUCLonians? What would you bring back from old games? What would you want condemned to the oblivion of time? Let me know in the comments and remember to check back next week for Snag’s opinions on this in Anything Goes!
Until next time,
The Fluffiest Whimsicott