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pizza box

Pokemon-style Game

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There is something fundamentally addicting about Pokemon. I am not entirely sure what it is, but I have some compulsion to complete this large collection of monsters where each has its own unique capability and purpose. Yet the more I play, the less unique these monsters seem to be. Pokemon has a great concept and a large assortment of monsters, but the combat system seems to downplay this uniqueness of the different Pokemon. Many times the battles become one-hit KO’s if you have a superior type, so victory is more a function of the pokemon’s type and level than any of the pokemon’s unique abilities. I am considering the possibility of creating a game that involves the collection of a large number of monsters, but has a more involved strategy element. A game where each monster has some basic attributes, but also a relatively unique feature that allows it to stand out amongst all other monsters. Also, instead of one on one (or two on two) battles, each fight will utilize the strengths of all of the monsters in the party, resulting in some interesting combinations and strategies. I just wanted to get your opinions on a few questions: - Do you think that Pokemon is an attractive game because of the large assortment and uniqueness of the monsters or because of the storyline/gamplay/etc.? - Do you prefer short and simple battles (paper/rock/scissors, one hit KOs), or would you prefer longer battles that involved more strategy? - If there was one thing you could change about Pokemon, what would it be? Thanks for your replies!

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Original post by pizza box
I just wanted to get your opinions on a few questions:

- Do you think that Pokemon is an attractive game because of the large assortment and uniqueness of the monsters or because of the storyline/gamplay/etc.?

Everybody has different tastes regarding what games are attractive, but I think that the Pokémon games start from a rather well developed RPG base (with an unsurprising but reasonable plot, lots of exploration and tactically interesting combat) and add a huge collecting and pet caring element that increases player persistence, play time (before the onset of boredom) and replayability.
Due to the almost miraculous quality of the overall design and of every detail, games that could have been a boring mess are more appealing that more traditional adventures of similarly great length.
This is not enough to make Pokémon a success; the valuable and interesting interaction with other players probably caused a lot of network effect.
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- Do you prefer short and simple battles (paper/rock/scissors, one hit KOs), or would you prefer longer battles that involved more strategy?

Pokémon battles are long and complex enough, but every occurrence of species A vs species B tends to be very similar; the mass battles you have in mind would presumably dissolve this problem.
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- If there was one thing you could change about Pokemon, what would it be?

Reduce the amount of treadmill "training" and randomness: at many points raising one's pokemon to a high enough level for the next main battle or getting a needed pokémon takes tens of random encounters with wild pokémon or with the same wandering trainers. I understand that many players can be thrilled by having their pokémon evolve or improve, or by finding a rare pokémon, but for me the "farming" periods after and before making actual progress are a mere filler.
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- Do you think that Pokemon is an attractive game because of the large assortment and uniqueness of the monsters or because of the storyline/gamplay/etc.?


Definitely not the storyline, there's nothing great there. I think the array of playable characters/monsters is pretty cool, specifically for a console based system where most other rpg's would only see you being able to choose from 6 or 7 different characters. Makes it more customizable and that's always a strong selling point. The gameplay's good at first too, but yeah definitely becomes a grind later on. Would be nicer with more variety, especially if you're presenting it on a non handheld console or pc. They started doing that with a couple of the newer ones, adding beauty contests and stuff, gives you that little bit extra variety, and adding minigames always appeals to a larger audience. There's no reason you couldn't add something like monster races or such.

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Original post by pizza box
- Do you prefer short and simple battles (paper/rock/scissors, one hit KOs), or would you prefer longer battles that involved more strategy?


If it's console/handheld based the standard console rpg battles are fine cause it attracts a more casual gamer. If it's on pc it could do with a more strategic layer. What about tactical turnbased strategy battles more akin to final fantasy tactics or age of wonders? Your monsters could have differing powers that impact on the terrain/environment/weather at a more significant level then too.

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Original post by pizza box
- If there was one thing you could change about Pokemon, what would it be?


I'd like to see a bigger impact of the player on their monsters, the standardized stat progression I think is the leading cause of the grind. What about equipment, tatoos or just being able to focus training on one area more than the others (ie. user set training schedules or how about the type of attack used the most determining stat raising on level up)?

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Great responses so far, thanks a lot! So it seems that Pokemon's success is due to a combination of a variety of different aspects put together in a very high quality fashion, yet a lot of the gameplay still comes down to a grind.

This was actually the main reason I was interested in creating a Pokemon-style game. I really enjoy the series, but it seems like the battle system is very slow and clunky with long intros and battle sequences so that leveling up becomes tedious. This may be to accommodate for the younger audiences, but it doesn't appeal to me and takes away from the experience. Streamlining the battle sequences or maybe even a real-time combat system may help alleviate some of these problems. Another idea could be just to remove levels entirely and put in another indicator of experience, such as new abilities.

Another direction I wanted to go in was a move towards more mature monsters. Pokemon was a great game and the monsters were all very interesting, but I think that the same concept could be applied to a different genre. I think it would be interesting if the monsters you were trying to capture were intended to be scary or intimidating, such as Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, etc (these are just a few popular monsters, but the idea of the rest would be the same). These monsters have a very rich history with tons of literature to draw from, so I think it could add a whole new element to the game by adding depth to the lore of each monster and maybe even requiring some research to figure out how to capture them.

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I would love to see some kind of remake/redo of Mail Order Monsters... published by Electronic Arts(1985)... if that is where you are leading to on this one.

I like teh pokemons because I'm into the number crunch game... I don't want my party of beasts to look or act like ANY other party out there... that would be the customization aspect in console rpgs that appeal to me. My kids like it cause they are pretty, and they understand the cartoon more.

I always throught that pokemon, in general would work really really well in an isometric envionment... that would make the "tactics" of the monsters a bit more important.

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I always throught that pokemon, in general would work really really well in an isometric envionment... that would make the "tactics" of the monsters a bit more important.

I was just thinking the same thing not too long ago. I was also thinking that a Culdcept styled game with the pokemon license would always be a riot as well. :)

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Original post by pizza box
This was actually the main reason I was interested in creating a Pokemon-style game. I really enjoy the series, but it seems like the battle system is very slow and clunky with long intros and battle sequences so that leveling up becomes tedious.
Streamlining the battle sequences or maybe even a real-time combat system may help alleviate some of these problems.
A good observation, but I think you should stop at brief non-boring animations (just enough to acknowledge the moves and to reward the player with graphics), possibly with a more complex structure than the Pokémon combat screen (maybe a 2D view of the playfield).
Realtime combat would be an obstacle when the player needs to calmly plan, assess monsters and calculate outcomes.
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Another direction I wanted to go in was a move towards more mature monsters. Pokemon was a great game and the monsters were all very interesting, but I think that the same concept could be applied to a different genre. I think it would be interesting if the monsters you were trying to capture were intended to be scary or intimidating, such as Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, etc (these are just a few popular monsters, but the idea of the rest would be the same). These monsters have a very rich history with tons of literature to draw from, so I think it could add a whole new element to the game by adding depth to the lore of each monster and maybe even requiring some research to figure out how to capture them.

It would be a huge amount of work to make something more complex and less believable than Pokémon. Traditional monsters are likely to be camp, unconvincingly described and unjustified; pokémon are cute and coherent.
Researching monsters in more depth than consulting a database belongs in a game where they are protagonists, not troops, more or less along the lines of the Call of Cthulhu RPG where a whole campaign could revolve around killing a single vampire or sorcerer.

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