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

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“How do we engage a work’s processes? Digital media are not simply representations but machines for generating representations.” – Noah Wardrip-Fruin, ''Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies''<ref name=”Wardrip-Fruin, ‘’Expressive Processing.’’”>Noah Wardrip-Fruin, ‘’Expressive''Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies’’Studies'' (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2009).</ref>
To say {{bp|Pokémon Gold and Silver Versions|Pocket Monsters: Gold and Silver}} were heavily anticipated is a severe understatement. Development began in 1998, right after the original games were first released in Japan. Another year passed before their existence was revealed to the public at the 1999 Nintendo SpaceWorld Expo in Japan.<ref> http://www.ign.com/articles/1999/08/28/eye-on-pokemon-gold-and-silver </ref> Here, Nintendo stated the games would not be another set of minor remakes. Instead, the games would be sequels to the originals with an entirely new plot, set of characters, and additions to the original 151 Pokémon. {{bp|Generation II}} was intended to exist as an ending of the series. {{bp|Satoru Iwata}} stated:
[[File:GenIIOfficialVersionTree.png|thumb|Generation II Official Version Tree]]
According to Nintendo, {{bp|Generation II}} was released to Japanese audience in 1999 with {{bp|Pokémon Gold and Silver Versions|Pocket Monsters: Gold and Silver}}.<ref> http://www.pokemon.co.jp/game/other/gbc-gs/</ref> They were marketed as the first {{bp|core series}} optimized for {{bp|Game Boy Color}} and advertisements heavily focused on the improved graphical aspects of the new system. However, the games were also accessible on any monochrome {{bp|Game Boy}} system. As with the previous generation, the Japanese titles were translated into the near-identical {{bp|Pokémon Gold and Silver Versions|Pokémon Gold and Silver}} for release in the United States<ref> http://www.pokemon.com/us/pokemon-video-games/pokemon-gold-version-and-pokemon-silver-version/</ref> and Australia in 2000. European release followed in 2001 with translations in French, Italian, German, and Spanish.<ref> http://www.pokemon.com/uk/pokemon-video-games/pokemon-gold-version-and-pokemon-silver-version/</ref> For the first time, a Korean-language version titled {{bp|Pokémon Gold and Silver Versions|Pocket Monsters: Gold and Silver}} was released in 2002.<ref> http://moviepilot.com/posts/2014/09/25/the-koreanization-of-pokemon-or-simply-pokemon-in-south-korea-2296686?lt_source=external,manual </ref> Unlike all other version of the paired titles, this localization was only compatible with the {{bp|Game Boy Color}}.
The first set of paired releases was followed in 2000 with the Japanese release of {{bp|Pokémon Crystal Version|Pocket Monsters: Crystal Version}}.<ref> http://www.pokemon.co.jp/game/other/gbc-crystal/</ref> This is the only {{bp|core series}} Japanese game to contain the term Version in its title, an apt choice considering the significant number of new features relating to a new mobile network. However, the version was still marketed as a remake of the initial paired titles of the series and not as a stand-alone selection.<ref> http://spong.com/press_release/1660/Nintendo-Unveils-New-Jewel-with-Pokemon-Crystal </ref>
Consistently, throughout the advertisements, articles, and interviews, these titles are referred to as sequels. How are sequels defined? This question might appear obvious, but it is the heart of the mystery of {{bp|Generation II}}.
In ''A Theory of Adaptation'', Linda Hutcheon noted that, “There is a difference between never wanting a story to end - the reason behind sequels…and wanting to retell the same story over and over in different ways.”<ref name="Hutcheon, ''A Theory of Adaptation'', 2nd ed.">Linda Hutcheon, ‘’A''A Theory of Adaptation’’Adaptation'', 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2013)</ref> Considering such a definition, whether Generation II games function as sequels is unclear. On the one hand, {{bp|Pokémon Gold and Silver Versions|Pocket Monsters: Gold and Silver}} do continue the story of {{bp|Generation I}} with a return to {{bp|Kanto}}. Facing {{bp|Red (game)|Red}} as a final competition is a culmination of {{bp|Generation II|Generation I’s}} heroic quest. On the other hand, much of the narrative found in {{bp|Generation II}} is simply the same story told in different ways, that of becoming a {{bp|Pokémon Master}}.
Examining the code hidden within the games initially implies that Generation II is built upon, and therefore sequels of, {{bp|Generation I}}. Unused maps such as a Safari Zone and Pokémon Lab on Cinnibar Island, as well as other unused tilesets, are almost completely intact from {{bp|Generation I}}. The only difference is the addition of color. Smaller pieces of code also exist, such as unused text and {{bp|Teru-sama}}, or dummy items.<ref> http://tcrf.net/Pokémon_Gold_and_Silver </ref> However, none of these items are altered or adapted.
[[File:GenIIGSUnofficialVersionTreeV3.png|thumb|Generation II Official Version Tree - Gold and Silver]]
What can be understood from this mess? It can be argued that, rather than the sequels promoted by Nintendo, Generation II is best described as an adaptation of Generation I. Returning to Linda Hutcheon’s ''A Theory of Adaptation'', three possible descriptions for adaptations are given: as a “transposition of a particular work,” as a “process of creation,” and as a “process of reception.”<ref name="Hutcheon, ''A Theory of Adaptation'', 2nd ed."/>
All three definitions give a better explanation to the nuances of the code provided by a media archaeological study. For Generation II, both transposition and reception focus on narrative rather than code. Generation I ended with the triumph of the player, {{bp|Red (game)|Red}}, who reigns as {{bp|Pokémon Master}}. Yet Generation II requires that the protagonist defeat {{bp|Red (game)|Red}}, undermining the triumph of the first generation. This is especially crucial in terms of reception. Players that never encountered Generation I may have seen this scene as just another {{bp|Pokémon battle|battle}}, but players familiar with the previous generation would have an entirely different emotional response.
The inclusion of the {{bp|Battle Tower (Generation II)|Battle Tower}} is another curious question regarding adaptations. Fights within this space are similar to those found in the console-exclusive {{bp|Pokémon Stadium (English)|Pokémon Stadium}}.<ref> http://www.ign.com/articles/2001/07/30/pokemon-crystal-2</ref> It could be argued that portions of {{bp|Pokémon Crystal Version|Pocket Monsters: Crystal Version}}, then, were not only adaptations of {{bp|Generation I}} but also adaptations of mechanics outside the core series franchise. If true, it would be the first of the {{bp|core series}} games to utilize mechanics outside that core.
Of the three major alterations, what is most intriguing is the {{bp|Pokémon Mobile System GB}}. Japanese editions of the game were bundled with a {{bp|Mobile Adapter GB}} allowing access to other players through mobile phone networks. The list of associated features is extensive and has been discussed at length elsewhere. When localized for the rest of the world, {{bp|Pokémon Crystal Version}} did not include many of these features, while others were altered for access without the {{bp|Mobile Adapter GB}}. Several online sites, including Bulbapedia, state that Nintendo’s official reason is because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did not allow the {{bp|Mobile Adapter GB}} to enter the United States.<ref> http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Pokémon_Crystal_Version#cite_note-2</ref> As a result, none of the associated features were included. Still, there are no sources to verify that this story even took place.
Media archaeology gives an interesting twist to this story. Breaking into the code indicates that the {{bp|Pokémon Mobile System GB}} and {{bp|Mobile Stadium}} were completely included in international localizations, though ultimately unused. The translations are partially complete with the most progress made to English-language versions followed by German and Spanish, with little to no translation in French and Italian versions.