Here's a caveat before we begin: this Rare Article is going to be a little unconventional, but I think it's something that you'll enjoy.
From its inception Pokémon has always been a social game. It was envisioned as a game for people to get together, trade, battle, and have fun. The ideal of Pokémon is a beautiful one, getting gamers to work together to achieve goals. While many other games at the time of Pokémon's creation focused on single player experiences, Pokémon encouraged friendship. Many of us have fond memories of back in the day, trading Pokémon with our friends.
Fast forward almost thirteen years, to 2011. While Pokémon remains the second most successful videogame franchise of all time, behind only the behemoth Mario, one would think that there aren't as many Pokémon fans as there used to be. It seems that people are more likely to claim to be fans of Legend of Zelda or maybe something a little more hardcore like an FPS franchise. So how is Pokémon still out selling all of those other franchises if there don't seem to be that many fans?
The cause of this perception lies in the simple fact that many fans are embarrassed. People are ashamed to play Pokémon. Many fans, especially teenagers, are afraid to be judged for their Pokémon obsession, and they retreat to the internet, where they can find likeminded people.
And there is nothing wrong with that, of course. Saying so would be a bit of a contradiction, because this is obviously one of those internet communities I was just talking about. Online Pokémon communities are awesome. We get to meet people who share similar interests and compete against players at our skill level.
But let's face it. That's not the only reason we retreat to the internet. A lot of people do consider it a kids game. And it does get a little embarrassing when someone gives me a weird look after spotting my Pokéwalker. Or when I explain to people that my trip to Indianapolis isn't just for vacation, it's for a Pokémon tournament. Or when I... you get the point.
This is a call to arms. To all of those silent Pokémon fans out there, let your voices be heard. Do not worry about being singled out. Your numbers are immense. The reason Pokémon is looked down upon as a franchise is because its fans are silent. The reason its fans are silent is because its looked down upon as a franchise. Let's break this endless cycle. Pokémon is supposed to be a universal, collective experience. Find some new players. I'm sure they are out there, and you probably already know some of them. You just don't know that they play Pokémon. Walk around playing your DS. You will probably find someone. If that doesn't work, buy a friend the game and make them play it. Most likely they owe you a favor anyway. Once they are hooked, play it together in public. Let people know what you are playing. If Pokémon is truly the #2 franchise of all time, chances are a fan will spot you playing.
Do as Justin Timberlake did when he famously said, "I'm bringing sexy back to Pokémon." Okay, maybe I misquoted a little. Either way, let's make our obsession known and make Pokémon a social game again. If we work at it, we can make it as brilliant as it was when we first started. Let's start a revolution.