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July 24th

Pokemon Go | ZAM Robert Rath considers the possible social futures of Pokémon Go.

  • Pokémon Go Is Bringing New Yorkers Together | Kotaku Cecilia D’Anastasio highlights a short video documentary about the Pokémon Go phenomenon which praises it for creating a sense of commonality between people, while also showing the darker side of fantaticism.
  • Jocks without Borders | Real Life Mag A compelling essay about the imaginaries of sport and e-sport. Side note: the illustration at the top of this article is rad as hell and I want it on a shirt.
  • “There is a deep-rooted tendency…

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    July 19th

    Kept you waiting, huh?

    Much like how Kiefer Sutherland replaced David Hayter, I’ll be filling in for Zoya this week, so welcome to This Week in Videogame Blogging! Let’s get started:

    Pokemon Go

    The flavor of the month, Pokemon Go, drove the majority of both website and real-world traffic:

    Pokémon Go Succeeds Where it Counts | Unwinnable

    Harry Rabinowitz starts things off on the streets of New York, as the population took to the streets to catch Pokemon and exchange smiling faces.

    Pokemon Go: Developers Drop the Pokeball on Accessibility

    Elsewhere, things weren’t so sweet in Pokemon Go-land, as Erin

    February Roundup: ‘Buddy Systems’

    …is that for all the emphasis Pokemon places on social activity, until Pokemon X and Y, there is no effort to create any relationship between the player’s avatar and their pokemon. Jennings muses about how appropriate the pokemon-amie system originating in X and Y is, comparing it to Mattie Brice’s Pokemon: Unchained challenge from 2013. From Jenning’s article:

    But I wonder if players would feel increasingly uncomfortable with the violence of battle if the opportunities to develop emotional attachments expanded. I wonder what a Pokemon game would look like if bonding were the central concern, rather than combat. I wonder

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    September 30th

    …efforts would work. Usually they don’t.

  • And that’s totally normal.”
  • Cross-Generational Catching

    With Pokémon hitting the 20-year milestone in the west, there’s been lots of reflective writing on the series. In particular, I was interested in these two contrasting viewpoints, each in their own way looking at the games’ evergreen accessibility and prioritization of a more casual, less-experienced audience.

    • You’re never too old for Pokémon – Polygon Petrana Radulovic advocates for what makes Pokémon accessible and engaging at any age.
    • It’s OK to be too old for Pokémon – Polygon Cass Marshall looks at the upside of…

    August 14th

    …Magazine Taylor Hidalgo expresses the value of Pokemon Go, in the opposite direction to how you might expect such a review to be written.

  • What ‘Pokemon Go’ and ‘Skyrim’ Have in Common | PopMatters Nick Dinicola highlights game design techniques that encourage a sense of discovery.
  • “The compass in Skyrim was meant to point us towards interesting locations. Lots of time and effort went into designing that world, and the developers wanted to help us see as much of it as we could. The PokeStops in Pokemon Go might not have been designed with that same specific intent, but…

    May 13th

    …Challenge’ of the Pokemon RPGs. In the standard game, Pokemon faint once their hit points are depleted; in a Nuzlocke run, they die, and therefore must be instantly released, never to be seen again; if your whole team falls then I’m afraid it’s game over. […] the Poke-universe takes on a whole new air of morbidity. It stands to reason that if your Pokemon die upon fainting then, surely, so do your opponent’s. Therefore, hundreds of Pokemon must die in order for yours to prosper, adding a layer of moral ambiguity to an otherwise light-hearted game.

    Marcus Pettersson is likewise…

    September 4th

    …Burford highlights how the narrative systems of Pokemon and Digimon lend themselves toward very different statements about the nature of trainer-creature relationships.

    “What sets Cyber Sleuth apart from Pokemon—and what ate up so much of my time—is the way it lets you digivolve and de-digivolve your mons. With Pokemon, evolution is a linear affair. Sometimes, you might have an evolution that requires more than just experience, like a stone that forces an evolution, but there’s not much to it beyond that. Cyber Sleuth has specific level requirements and routes. One mon involved around 15 different digivolutions and de-digivolutions to…

    November 24th

    …the affable, creepy mask and into a microcosmic symbol of late-capitalist rot.

    “The capitalist hellscape of the Pokémon universe has led to branded balls being shamelessly peddled at large stadiums that are already dominating the economy of Galar as a single chairman reaps all the benefits. It’s more than a little strange. Why, in a world where Pokémon battles are commonplace, is there a need for a Poké Ball mascot, of all things?”

    Plugs

    • DEEP HELL is creating WRITING AND ENTERTAINMENT | Patreon DEEP HELL is one of the sharpest critical outlets I read in this line of…

    May 24th

    A trio of quality readings on games and the feelings they leave behind.

    • Heart Container-An Ocean Apart in Mid-Winter: How A Fold Apart and A Summer’s End Guided Me Through the End of My Relationship – Uppercut Caitlin Galiz-Rowe talks through the hurt of long-distance relationships via a pair of affective and empathetic love stories.
    • Mystery Dungeon Highlights How Pokémon Doesn’t Understand Pokémon | Into The Spine Stacey Henley finds Pokémon‘s thematic messaging about friendship and loyalty at odds with its cutthroat mechanical design, but also finds an absence of that tension in spin-off games free from the min-maxing