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Monday, April 23, 2007



Yep, the latest installment in the highly profitable Pokemon franchise is due to hit the Nintendo DS this week. I don't expect that they will do anything to break what works in the game, mainly the need to complete one's collection of the digital critters that populate the game's landscape and cultivating the same critters to win confrontations that occur in the game. These concepts have been borrowed for use in other games. Some work well, some not so well. One of my favorites was Zoids, where you salvage parts from battles to improve your own stable of robot dinosaurs.

The core of these games is the fact that you use these creatures to fight other creatures like them. Which is all well in good, but sometimes the justification for having these fights gets downright silly. Having folks compete in sporting competitions makes sense, but to use the exact same mechanic to deal with people threatening you doesn't. In pokemon world, when a nasty villain attacks you, both parties resolve their dispute in a gentlemanly way by letting their surrogates fight for them and abiding by the results of the combat. Indeed, in Custom Robo Arena, there appear to be gangs of thugs who use robots to rob people, and the only way to defend oneself is to have your robot fight theirs. If your robot wins, the thug slinks away. Doesn't occur to anyone in these games to take the direct approach? I mean, if someone attacks you and you've got a fire-breathing dragon in your pocket, wouldn't you use it against the attacker? But I'm rambling.

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Is that a fire-breathing dragon in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?
If I had a dollar for every time I heard that...
Is that a dollar in your pocket...
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