Looking Forward: Forever Speculating

Outlook and speculation from a lifelong die-hard.
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  • Wednesday, September 15, 2010

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This column has been written by Pat Hessman. It expresses the views of the columnist, not necessarily those of Bulbagarden networks.

It all leads up to Saturday. Pokémon Black and White are released this Saturday, but you already know that. You’ve followed the news each week, and even if you haven’t, you probably noticed the countdown ticking down ever closer on the Bulbapedia front page. The games won’t be released stateside until next Spring, but the information floodgates will be opened. We’ll see every single new Pokémon, we’ll know all of the new features, we’ll know the new moves. Forums everywhere will ignite with discussions, praises, and arguments about Generation V. Flame wars like we’ve never seen could be waiting to erupt and burn this side of the internet to the ground.

Welcome to a new Pokémon journey.

Some of us will take to our Japanese DSs to play the games straight out of the gate. Another group (myself included), will bore so deep into internet articles on new features we’ll be trapped in a Bulbapedia mine collapse and have to eat our fellow man to survive. Chances are we’ll know everything there is to know about the games before we rip the plastic off of the package. That brings up a question on my end: the information volcano is about to erupt, so what does that mean for a column boasting being about “Outlook and speculation”?

The imminent Japanese release of Black and White may invalidate the purpose of this column now, but that doesn’t put speculation to rest. Black and White are the beginning, not the end. I’ll bet a year’s worth of my college tuition they won’t be the only main series games of Generation V. Even if the speculated Ruby and Sapphire remakes never materialize, a Third Version seems as inevitable as death and taxes. Then there is the future of the fandom and the metagame. We have no idea how these games are going to affect how we view the franchise as a whole. Even after we see every new Pokémon and their move sets, we can only guess the effects they’ll have on the competitive battling community until the fights themselves begin.

This is the great thing about this franchise: it has, like the titular monsters, evolved over the years. Notice I said franchise, not just the games. It’s a constant, never ending cycle of change. The experience of being a Pokémon fan is more than playing the games. The experience comes from playing with others, taking part in fan communities, making your own thoughts and theories about it all. I’ve spent the last two months speculating about the games through this column, but I know that I can’t even begin to try to predict what the Pokémon experience as a whole will be like with the advent of Generation V. That’s the beauty of it. The excitement and payoff comes from the journey, not the destination.

So this is my farewell to this column. Originally I had planned to keep going until around the American release of Black and White, but sophomore film classes are dictating other uses of my time, so I’ve decided to end coinciding with the Japanese release date. It’s been a great experience writing for Bulbanews these past few months. I’ve loved reading the feedback, and I even am thankful for my detractors in the discussion threads each week. So I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bulbanews for hosting my column, and thank the readers, for, you know, reading.

Cue the sad music.

I’m not done yet though. I thought I wouldn’t end on such a somber note, so there’s one more article coming from me for this column. Stay tuned next week for the biggest flamewar inducer of them all: Top Ten Lists. YeOldeJacob and I will rank the top and bottom ten Generation V Pokémon after we’ve seen them all. Until then, farewell!

GodofPH, AKA Pat Hessman, is a Film student at Montana State University and writer for the MSU Exponent. He has a blog, Raptor Rants, and has decided he wishes he could throttle people who will fondly muse on memories from Red and Blue but say they never played any other games in the franchise.

Looking Forward
By Pat Hessman
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