Things We Learned From Pokemon
PETA jumped on the release of a new Pokemon game to push their message of opposition to animal abuse. They created their own disturbing version of Pokemon that reminds us how much we take for granted that cute little magical creatures fight each other to near death for us. They also created a flash version of a disgusting and brutal Cooking Mama that I was unable to finish. It seems ridiculous that PETA could have an actual problem with either of these fictional franchises, and I am fairly certain it doesn’t. PETA has its message to spread, and I guess it thinks cringe-worthy flash games are the way to go.
Gamers are very protective of this hobby. As such message boards are filled with posts and comments ridiculing PETA for their intrusion. It is an overreaction left over from the days of Jack Thompson’s attacks on violence in gaming, and his implications that it makes all gamers time bombs, set to explode and kill numerous innocents at the slightest disturbance. I guess that would make them land mines. Regardless, nobody is threatening to sue Pokemon over fictional animal exploitation, so everyone can relax and wait for the next actual attack on video games.
Or has it already arrived from within? Nintendo has several commercials with celebrities claiming “I am not a gamer” and then making a statement about playing a specific game. So gamers are all up in arms, claiming that “Nintendo is abandoning us”, a statement further verified after 6 years with an underpowered console. The article I linked claims that the commercials reject the term “gamer” as a negative stereotype, and gamers seem to be offended because they identify with the term. I don’t think it is quite so simple.
Nintendo is trying to market itself to people who don’t normally play video games. They’ve been trying to do this since the inception of the Wii, and it has made them mountains of money. The commercials say “Hey I don’t normally play video games, but I can have fun with them too!” It is not so much the term gamer that they are eschewing, as the idea that games are only for a certain type of people. That being children and young men in their teens, twenties, and, at this point, even 30s and 40s.
Many gamers see this as a message that Nintendo games are not made for them. As I said before, the Wii’s lack of power, along with the generally less mature nature of Nintendo’s first party games reinforces the sense of abandonment. However much the increased graphical power and high powered ports of the Wii U should assuage gamers’ fears, it never seems to be enough. There is a section of the population who will not be satisfied until Nintendo starts making graphically realistic, mature games. That is never going to happen.