Difference between revisions of "Can we catch ‘em all?"

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'''Pokémon'' is something you do, not just something you read or watch or consume.”
David Buckingham and Julian Sefton-Green, {{bp|Pikachu’s Global Adventure| ''Pikachu’s Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokémon''}}<ref>Joseph Tobin, ed., ''Pikachu's Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokémon'' (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004).</ref>
[[File:Prof_Carolina.png|thumb|Your Resident Pokémon Archaeologist]]
Traditional media studies, or game studies in particular, might tell us to look at the video game itself. That could include studying the audiovisual content of the game, its plot or story, game mechanics such as battle, or the significance of trade in a cultural context. Those are all very fine points of study. Unfortunately, they are also very limited. How can we study why the audiovisuals looked and sounded as they did if we don’t consider the limitations of the {{bp|Game Boy}}? Can we truly understand battle if we don’t take a peek at how {{bp|Pokémon data structures in Generation I|data structures}} influence a Pokémon’s strength? How can we study trade in a vacuum without considering the hardware dependencies of a {{bp|Link Cable}}? If we only care about the game, emulation would be close enough to a video game so as to examine the experience, but we are not just studying a game. We are studying a media object that exists in a very specific technological framework. Through the use of media archaeology, we look at the whole picture rather than one part, and we gain a richer grasp of what that picture is.
One major advantage to media archaeology as a process of study is that it gives us a chance to look at one of the more infuriating or challenging (depending on how you look at it) aspects of {{bp|core series|core series Pokémon games}}: versions. On the surface, versions don’t appear too complicated, seeing as the series generally follows a similar release model. Each {{bp|generation}} of core series games begins with a pair of games, generally identical other 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}}.<ref>{{bp|Core series|"Core series," Bulbapedia.}}</ref> For much of the franchise’s history, games have been released in four to five languages: Japanese, Korean, English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish. The general order of release begins in {{bp|Pokémon in Japan|Japan}}, followed by {{bp|Pokémon in South Korea|South Korea}} (when included), moving to {{bp|Pokémon in the United States|North America}} and {{bp|Pokémon in Australia|Australia}}/{{bp|Pokémon in New Zealand|New Zealand}}, and finally in {{bp|Pokémon in France|France}}, {{bp|Pokémon in Italy|Italy}}, {{bp|Pokémon in Germany|Germany}}, and {{bp|Pokémon in Spain|Spain}}.
In reality, the connections between versions are much more complicated, and media archaeology gives us the tools to understand alterations to the code itself. 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 {{bp|Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen Versions|''Pokémon FireRed Version'' and ''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 Version'' and ''Sapphire Version''}} 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.