As foretold by prophecy… and a month in review coming up segment… my daughter and I each found a Pokemon title for our Switch under the Christmas tree yesterday. She got Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and I got Pokemon Shining Pearl, the remakes of the 2006 Pokemon titles that moved the series off of the single screen GameBoy hardware and onto the new Nintendo DS devices.
That is where we started our Pokemon journey when, in anticipation of another long airline flight to Hawaii, my wife sent me out to buy a DS and a few games to keep our daughter occupied on the trip. I spent a lot of time with my then young daughter reading the things she could not yet manage and became enamoured with the title myself and ended up with a Nintendo DS Lite and a copy of Pokemon Diamond for myself. That cobalt blue unit, which I still have on the bookshelf behind me, and which still runs just fine, might be the best piece of hardware I have ever gotten from Nintendo; compact, with a sharp screen and a long battery life, it was a nice design.
Of course the question is whether of not, after nearly 14 years, my daughter and I can find joy in a Pokemon title that is an echo from the past.
The Switch Lite isn’t the DS Lite, or even my handy 2DS XL. It is larger, a bit awkward to hold, only has a single (if much larger) screen, and has noticeably less battery life than any of the DS series units we have owned. (And still own. In addition to the DS Lite and 2DS XL I mentioned there are also a couple of 3DS XLs, a DSi, and DSi XL somewhere around here. I just need an original model DS to have the foundations of a DS museum.)
Honest Game Trailers goes after the game pretty hard for being a remake without much in the way of change.
And there is the odd art style which tried to capture the charm of the original pixel-focused art style in a high resolution format. Here is what it looked like back then.
And here is a glimpse of it in the remake.
But you know what? It is all working for me so far. The charm, the light story where an ten year old child is allowed to wander the world with just a kiss on the cheek and a “stay safe!” from his mom about two minutes into the game… as compared to the ponderous, goes on forever intro to Pokemon Sword & Shield… and the rather simple game play, that is all a bonus for me. I am happy with it.
There are, of course, a few changes. The mechanics of the switch demanded some, so your Poketech smart watch now grabs the corner of the screen as opposed to owning the second screen on its own. Experience share is now party wide by default from the start, as in Sword & Shield, rather than depending on the experience share item being held by a single Pokemon.
We will see if that spirit lasts. The pandemic times have also been the years of the remakes for me, with things like WoW Classic, Burning Crusade Classic and, Diablo II Resurrected, all of which I have enjoyed to some extent. Why not some old school Pokemon?
I am already in possession of the first gym badge, so I will have to see how far my daughter and I get.