I can’t recall a Christmas I’ve looked forward to more than this one. As a kid Christmas was euphoric. It was a culmination of an entire year’s worth of good behaviour, with some interim caveats of delinquency to break up the otherwise exemplary attitude of my year. But as you get older the “magic” of Christmas fades. Cynicism thrives, the innocence of youth becomes tethered by the necessities of maturity and Christmas, well Christmas is just an excuse to eat, drink and frankly socialise with family members you avoid for the other 364 days of the year. But this year, this year is different. My daughter is 3 years old. She’s boisterous, incessantly defiant of her loving, nurturing and unashamedly handsome father’s “just” authority, but mostly at this time of year totally beside herself at the prospect of a jolly old fat man with a raggedy white beard and a penchant for breaking and entering. Delivering gifts to children because of some arbitrarily defined set of rules, designed to blackmail them into behaving, that has become a customery tradition, one she doesn’t fully understand.
Her excitement for Christmas is positively infectious. Seeing her bounding out of bed to inspect the leftover mince pie and milk left by Santa brings such satisfaction. Watching how genuinely aghast she is by the sudden appearance of Christmas presents under the tree because some fictitious pilgrim covertly infiltrates households across the globe to leave gifts for the good is delightfully wholesome. With kids the magic of Christmas is restored. A congruent reminder of what it was like for us when we were their age. The boundless possibilities that adolescence presented us. So this Christmas embrace the facade, disgard the cynicism that afflicts our miserable everyday lives and indulge, gorge and celebrate the irreverence of Christmas. With copious amounts of your favourite libation to accompany you. Remembering to of course drink responsibly. At least until the kids have gone to sleep anyway.
Have a very Merry Christmas! Especially my little princess.
“Evolution is change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the expressions of genes that are passed on from parent to offspring during reproduction.”
The Pokemon series has adhered to a similar method of genetic mutation, by advancing the games gradually over many, many centuries. Slowly, with a methodical, barely noticeable innovation Pokemon has expanded on its biological framework with vast exolorable lands, excessive animal mortality rates, a generic adventuer looking to be the very best and a discerning catalogue of beasts, bugs and hideous malformed creatures so extensive you will literally forget most even existed. So how does “Pokemon Lets Go” improve on the years of ample progression that has preserved the status and longevity of the series despite its key demographic maturing through the years? Well it doesn’t really. At least not in the way many would be expecting.
What Pokemon Lets Go does is exploit the most powerful utility in the human subconscious: nostalgia. Projecting itself as an evocative walk down memory lane for those of us old enough to remember playing the original Red and Blue variants, while at the same time introducing new players, most likely the children of the aforementioned parents that invested hours into the originals. It’s manipulative pandering and frankly I love it! Adults will familiarise themselves with the region quickly, remarking on the striking comfort of their environment. Remembering the exact geographical location of every Gym in the region. Cursing the encumbering number of trainers that impede your expedition through Veridian Forest. Celebrating your eventual ascendancy to being Kanto’s most prominent Pokemon trainer and vanquisher of the nefarious Team Rocket.
There seemed to be a preemptive concensus that this game would fail. That worthless Pokemon Go elements would somehow blight Pokemon’s inaugural arrival on the Switch, or at least anticipating it. Its vexing really that a community so vocal about the series habitual stagnation would feel inclined to desparage a game that not only provides a familiar experience with a pleasantly implemented capturing system for mature fans who haven’t played the series for years, but also introduces a simplified gaming experience that new younger children can play.
Pokemon Let’s Go feels like the perfect composite of old and new, and an appropriate game to introduce my daughter too. It certainly doesn’t present the player with any considerable challenge, at least not one that can’t be negated by an advantageous level or type advantage which some purists may find unsavory. On the surface Pokemon Let’s Go may appear shallow to those regularly acquainted with the franchise over the past decade, almost antiquated in design. But that’s the point. Its a game that relishes in simplicity, captivating an audience long since departed from the series, now reintroduced after years of absence and almost certainly accompanied by a young prodigy to share in the joys of becoming the very best, like no one ever was.