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Can we catch ‘em all?

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{{Article|
type=editorialop-column |
picture=Prof_Carolina.png |
caption= |
weekday=TuesdayWednesday |
day=285 |
month=1011 |
year=2014 |
time=0114:1011:0131 |
discusstype=bmgfnone |
discusslink=170139 |
sourcetype=exclusive |
sourcename=8bitbecca |
sourcelink=User:8bitbecca |
user=Rebecca Hernandez-Gerber |
userlink=User:8bitbecca |
tagline=Versions, remakes, and media archaeology in PokémonGeneration I |
blurb=In the firstsecond of seven articles, Pokémon Professor and Archaeologist Becca takes you on a journey into theGeneration world ofI core series games through the lens of media archaeology and media specificity. }}
{{CategorizeIn|Games|1011|14}}
 
'''“''Pokémon''“Tajiri ishad somethinga younovel do,idea: notto justutilize somethingthe youtsushin readkeburu or[Game watchBoy orLink consumeCable] for ‘communication’ instead – for exchanges between players in which the objective would be to barter with, rather than eliminate, an opponent by training monsters.”'''
- Anne Allison, ''Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination''
 
DavidTwenty Buckinghamyears andago, Julianmany Sefton-Greenplayers first encountered a video game through its advertisement campaign. Nintendo, in particular, was notorious for tightly controlling advertisement through censorship of unwelcome critiques in Japanese gaming magazines. This control went even farther in the United States, where the company-run {{bp|Pikachu’sNintendo Global AdventurePower|’’Nintendo ''Pikachu’sPower’’}} Globalessentially Adventure:functioned Theas Risea andsubscription Falladvertising ofcampaign. As a result, marketing controlled how players understood their games. Nowhere is this more obvious than in {{bp|Generation I|Generation I core series Pokémon''titles}}'''.
 
[[File:Prof_Carolina.png|thumb|YourBefore residentapplying Pokémonmedia Archaeologist]]archaeology methodologies to these versions, it is helpful to look at Nintendo’s advertised descriptions of versions.
 
We are being studied[[File:GenIOfficialVersionTree.png|thumb|Generation That1 isOfficial aVersion simple fact. Pokémon and its fan base have been discussed in everything from seminal works on convergence culture to understanding children’s media consumption. Throughout media studies, various groups have studied Pokémon fans to grasp how our base has adapted to the large amount of data found within the franchise. Yet in the nearly twenty years of being studied, fans have rarely done the opposite and used media studies tools for their own benefit.Tree]]
 
InAccording manyto waysNintendo, PokémonPokémania fansbegan havewith anthe advantageJapanese overrelease manyof other{{bp|Pokémon fanRed groups.and OurGreen franchiseVersions|''Pocket focusesMonsters: onRed'' and ''Green''}} for the infinite{{bp|Game powerBoy}} ofin knowledge1996. WeA don’tminor just collectrevision, {{bp|Pokémon; weBlue collect PokémonVersion (Japanese)|''dataPocket Monsters: Blue''.}}, Likewas released later in the same year as a livinggift to loyal {{bp|PokédexCoroCoro Comic}}, eachsubscribers. oneRed ofand usBlue soakswere uptranslated as much knowledge as weinto canEnglish, andwith whenno thatother knowledgechanges becomesmade tooto muchthe forgames one personthemselves, weand turnreleased toin communalthe storageUnited suchStates in 1998 as {{bp|BulbapediaPokémon Red and Blue Versions|''Pokémon Red'' and ''Blue''}}. ToSome beadvertisements anoted Pokémonthe fanexistence isof toa besecret immersedthird inversion aknown cultureas thatGreen requiresin disciplineJapan, study, andbut teamworklittle to tryno andinformation bewas thereleased veryon bestthat title. ThatOnce wesuccessful havein sothe muchUnited funStates, whileanother gatheringyear thatpassed knowledgebefore onlyFrench, provesItalian, the resilienceSpanish, and abilitiesGerman thistranslations franchiseof hasthe togames were released in offerEurope.
 
SoThe let’spopularity turnof the tablesanime aseries bitthroughout andthe useworld onehappily mediasurprised studiesNintendo, theorywhich decided to helptreat usits infans ourduring struggle:the medialong archaeologywait until {{bp|Generation II}}. ThisTherefore, field{{bp|Pokémon attemptsYellow|''Pocket toMonsters: understandPikachu''}} mediawas throughreleased itsin technologyJapan ratherin than1998. itsRenamed content,{{bp|Pokémon orYellow|''Pokémon ratherYellow: toSpecial processPikachu contentEdition''}}, throughit was released in the lensUnited ofStates ''mediain specificity''1999 followed by Europe in 2000. ForAll example,of let’sthese sayinternational weversions wantedwere tomarketed studyas exact translations of the Northoriginal AmericanJapanese releasetitles. ofThough these versions were all compatible with the new {{bp|PokémonGame RedBoy andColor}}, Bluethey Versions|''Pokémonwere Rednot Version''}}designed for that system.
 
[[FilePlayers soon discovered that Nintendo’s statements did not mesh with reality. In Japan, players noticed that {{bp|Pokémon Blue Version (Japanese)|''Pocket Monsters:Red_EN_boxart Blue''}} was a significant departure from the previous versions.jpg Graphics received a major overhaul, and a number of glitches were neutralized. Players with access to both the Japanese and North American titles discerned that the international localizations resembled {{bp|thumbPokémon Blue Version (Japanese)|''Pocket Monsters: Blue''}} more than {{bp|Pokémon Red Versionand boxart]]Green Versions|''Pocket Monsters: Red'' and ''Green''}}.
 
TraditionalIn media studies, or game studies in particular, might tell usaddition to look at the video game itself. That could include studying the audiovisualthese content of the gamealterations, its plot or story, game mechanics such as battle, or the significance of trade in a culturalmajor context.technical Thosechange arewas alldiscovered veryafter finecomparing points{{bp|Pokémon ofYellow|''Pocket study.Monsters: Unfortunately, they are also very limited. How can we study why the audiovisuals lookedPikachu''}} and sounded{{bp|Pokémon asYellow|''Pokémon theyYellow: didSpecial ifPikachu weEdition''}} don’tacross considerplatforms. theJapanese limitationsplayers ofusing thea {{bp|Game Boy Color}}? Cancould weselect trulyone understandof battleseveral ifcolor wepalette don’toptions, takeindicating athe game was peekbuilt atprimarily howfor {{bp|Pokémon data structuresGame in Generation I|data structuresBoy}} influenceand anot Pokémon’sits strength?color Howsuccessor. canIn wecontrast, studyinternational tradeversions indefaulted to a vacuumsingle, withoutricher consideringcolor the hardwarepalette, dependencies ofindicating a {{bp|LinkGame CableBoy Color}}? Iftitle. weThese onlyindications carewere aboutreinforced by comparing the game,versions emulationon wouldthe be{{bp|Super closeGame enoughBoy}}. toThe aJapanese videoversion gamecontained sono asspecial tofeatures examineon the experiencedevice, but weinternational areversions not just studyingaccessed a game.variety Weof arespecial studying a media object that exists in a very specific technological frameworkborders. ThroughThis themay usenot of mediaappear archaeologysignificant, webut lookstudying attechnical thelimitations wholegives picturea ratherclue: thanonly one{{bp|Game part,Boy andColor}} wegames gaincontained aborders richeron graspthe of{{bp|Super whatGame that picture isBoy}}.
 
OneHow majorcan advantagea toplayer mediamake archaeologysense asof athis processconfusion? ofWhy studyare isNintendo’s thatstatements itnonsense gives us awhen chancecompared to look at one of the more infuriating or challenging (depending on how you look at it)obvious aspectsreality of {{bp|core series Pokémon games}}: versions.? On the surface, versions don’t appear too complicated, seeing as the series generally followsFor a similarmore releasehonest model. Each {{bp|generation}}breakdown of core series games begins with a pair of gamesversions, generallywe identicalmust otherlook than a few alterations, followed by a third solitary version with additional tweaks. Sometimes, a paired set of remakes from a previous generation is released, as well. There are exceptions such as {{bp|Generation V}}. For most ofat the franchise’s history, games are released in six to seven languages: Japanese, English, Korean, French, Italian, German,source and Spanish. The general pattern of distribution begins in {{bp|Pokémon in Japan|Japan}}, followed by {{bp|Pokémon in South Korea|South Korea}} (when included), the United States, Australian/New Zealand, and finally Europe (in allexecutable fourcode languages)itself.
 
In reality, the connections between versions are much more complicated, and media archaeology gives us the tools to understand alterations to the code itself[[File:GenIUnofficialVersionTree. This gives fans the ability to understand the games in entirely new ways, and nowhere is this more apparent than in remakes. If we took Game Freak and Nintendo at face value, we might assume that {{bppng|Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen Versionsthumb|''PokémonGeneration FireRed''I andUnofficial ''LeafGreen''}}Version are remakes of {{bp|Pokémon Red and Green Versions|''Pocket Monsters Red'' and ''Green''}}. By using media archaeology and digging into the code, we discover that the remakes are actually remakes of {{bp|Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Versions|''Pokémon Ruby'' and ''Sapphire''}} with the older audiovisual content painted on top of the newer game engine. Media archaeology gives us the tools to peek under the mainframe of versions and remakes and truly grasp why they work.Tree]]
 
[[File:Confusion_status_IIIThe diagram to the right demonstrates the actual connections between versions from a media specific, code-based examination.png|thumb|Confusion: notMedia limitedarchaeology is critical to Pokémon]]make sense of the differences between this diagram and the previous, official diagram of versions taken from Nintendo advertisements.
 
You{{bp|Satoshi mightTajiri}} askreleased yourself,a whosuperior caresset aboutof allgames thesewith connectionsthe whenoriginal wePocket canMonsters spendtitles, ourbut timehe playinghand-coded Pokémon?those Surprisingly,games as fans we can learnover a lotperiod fromof these sorts ofsix examinationsyears. ByThis having a better grasplimitation of versionresources connections,resulted wein can exploit interwell-generationalknown {{bp|tradeglitch|glitches}}. moreThe easily,purpose ensuring we are able toof {{bp|GottaPokémon CatchBlue ‘emVersion All(Japanese)|catch''Pocket ‘emMonsters: allBlue''}}. Bywas lookingnot ata dataminor structuresaesthetic influencedrevision bybut platforminstead specificity,a wemuch-needed canoverhaul takeof advantageproblematic ofsource code, neutralizing {{bp|Glitchglitch|glitches}}. toWhat buildis aso moreimpressive powerfulabout teamthis ofversion Pokémonis andthat defeatsuch ouran enemiesoverhaul inhad battle.to Perhapsbe mostinvisible; importantlymore precisely, asthese fansstructural wechanges canappear truly comprehend Pokémon not as Game Freak or Nintendo want usminimal to comprehend them,players but insteadradically onaltered ourthe own terms. We can control our knowledgestructure of thesethe gamesgame’s incode waysunderneath wethe neversurface. could before.
I propose that we take a journey together. In this series of articles, I will examine each generation of Pokémon {{bp|core series}} versions. Examining data structures, system requirements, {{bp|trade|trade restrictions}}, and localization will give us a deeper view into Pokémon. In particular, we’ll focus heavily on remakes. Finally, we can use what we’ve learned to think about how the upcoming {{bp|remake|remakes}} might turn out, and how future {{bp|core series}} franchise games might be organized with the upcoming release of the New Nintendo 3DS.
 
SoNintendo considered the release of the Pocket Monsters franchise in North America to be a problematic endeavor. Stories of the company’s reluctance to send the games overseas are well known. How, whatthen, docould youNintendo sayknowingly release glitchy games to an audience they felt expected better of their products? Revision was needed, and it appeared under the guise of {{bp|Pokémon Blue Version (Japanese)|''Pocket Monsters: Blue''}}. Using media archaeology as a framework, it is possible to dig into the code. Comparing code across titles demonstrates that {{bp|Pokémon Red and Blue Versions|''Pokémon Red'' and ''Blue''}} were heavily derived from {{bp|Pokémon Blue Version (Japanese)|''Pocket Monsters: Blue''}}. Game engine, script, and audiovisual content were all ripped from the less-problematic version, with only {{bp|version-exclusive Pokémon}} lists surviving from {{bp|Pokémon Red and Green Versions|''Pocket Monsters: Red'' and ''Green''}}. It is these ideal English-language versions that were translated for other international audiences, ensuring the best-quality product available outside Japan.
 
“YouWhat, teachthen, meof the confusion surrounding {{bp|Pokémon Yellow|''Pocket Monsters: Pikachu''}}? Once again, glimpsing at the code itself is key. The title is not a version of previous Japanese titles but instead derived from what was considered to be the most stable set of games: {{bp|Pokémon Red and I’llBlue teachVersions|''Pokémon youRed'' and ''Blue''}}. Hidden objects in the code taken from the international releases confirm the connection. However, what remains especially confusing is the data discovered by accessing the game across platforms. Why would Nintendo release a more colorful version to international audiences but neglect their own?
 
By the time this version was in the process of translation, the {{bp|Game Boy}} was at the end of its lifecycle in the United States and an incentive was needed to purchase the newest mobile platform. As such, all international versions were slightly altered so that they are actually {{bp|Game Boy Color}} games rather than {{bp|Game Boy}}, giving children an excuse to hassle their parents into buying the newest system. What remains a mystery is unknown why Nintendo chose to continue marketing the version as a {{bp|Game Boy}} game. There are some questions that require a wider societal context than mere media archaeology. It is possible the company did not wish to confuse international audiences about platform compatibility or anger its Japanese audience by giving an enhanced product to non-Japanese audience. In the end, only speculation is possible.
 
You may have noticed this article does not discuss {{bp|Pokémon data structure in Generation I|data structures}} or {{bp|trade}}. Such factors are best discussed in the context of inter-generational trade beginning in {{bp|Generation II}}. What is most significant about this generation is that it lays the base for how Nintendo communicated Game Freak’s products to their fans. Reality within code and reality within advertising are not the same, and if players do not consider media specific ideologies, the truth is quickly obscured.