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So Your Favorite Thing Went Mainstream (And You Hate It)

The worst devotees in the world have to be the “Gatekeepers” — all those people who insist you stay away from their hobby, lest you and the other peasants soil it. OK, Nazis are worse, but the Gatekeepers are next.

These are the fans who insist all persons who just detected their thing is “doing it wrong.” It’s like they can’t loved it unless they are aware other people don’t. Gamers might be the worst of all about this. Determine how they react when someone proposes Dark Souls should have an easy mode. You know, so everyone can enjoy it.

Well, I’m not about to defend the assholes who expend their weekends tweeting death threats at developers over minor tweaks made to a game to make it available to “casuals.” But I am going to defend the Gatekeepers, merely a bit.

I’ve been that guy with Pokemon , one of my favorite things in the known world. If I had to decide between getting a million dollars and keeping Pokemon around, hide me in a piling of Pikachu plushies, because I’m holding strong. I’ve been a fan since I visualized a sticker on a glass instance in a dying Super K-Mart that said “POKEMON, COMING FALL 1998. ” It’s the first pop culture thing that I ever waited for. When you’re a child and stupid, pop culture typically just happens to you. You consume whatever your mothers happen to put around you. But Pokemon was the first thing that I ever chose to be like “That. This is gonna be my Valhalla.”

The Pokemon series has always had a weird relationship with difficulty levels. They’ve ranged from being hard because they were actually sort of broken( like Pokemon Red/ Blue ) to being hard because the tears of innocents are delicious( like in Pokemon Diamond/ Pearl/ Platinum .) I love this, partly because I desire screaming at my handheld consoles, but likewise because it means that when I win, I am, as the Pokemon anime theme says, “the very best, like no one ever was.” I started as a mute ten-year-old in a three-building town, and I developed my route to godhood. When I became champ and went back out into the forests, other trainers appeared upon me and despaired.

And then X and Y “re coming out” in 2013, who the hell is the first Pokemon games to be in 3D, means that Nintendo eventually had a way to promote their precious ogre games in a way outside of “There’s even more of these goddamn critters in this one! ” But it was also clear they wanted to bringing a new generation of players into the fold — < i> casual players, who hadn’t suffered material I had. So these games give the musician an item called the Exp. Share very early. It commits every Pokemon experience degrees after a battle — not just the ones who took proportion. This constructs leveling up your monsters route easier, because now they all get a piece of the ass-kicking pie. A kind of monster-fighting communism.

And poof , that sense of attainment, of conquering the world with blood, sweat, and potions? Gone. The play now defaulted to Easy Mode an hour in, and a desperate expedition to demonstrate yourself against other combatants and a senior citizen who couldn’t recollect his grandson’s epithet was reduced to a leisurely stroll.

Sure, the Exp. Share constructs the Pokemon experience a friendlier one, especially if you want to raise a bunch of Pokemon really fast and use them for multiplayer combats and material. It’s great for that. And it was nice to receive in the earlier games, when it came to the player afterwards in the story, almost as a reward for trekking your fourth-grade self across a goddamn continent. But X and Y ( and the games after them) aren’t “new Pokemon for a new generation, ” because at its core, it’s still Pokemon . It’s simply Pokemon with more hand-holding, whether you have the Exp. Share on or not. Pokemon with a booster seat.

And then, to make it worse, came Pokemon Go — a stripped-down gimmick of a mobile play that abruptly everyone was playing. I spent times get those “You’re still playing this series? ” remarks, and abruptly Pokemon Go bursts from a cracking in the earth, blotting out the sun. And when I carry my distaste, I get, “Why can’t you just let people enjoy things? “

I know, I know. But the things you desire as a kid — truly enjoy — are the ones that fit you perfectly, like a shoe. Then they come out afterward and say, “Hey, we’ve changed the shape so that it will fit everybody! Isn’t that great? ” Well , no, because if it sort of fits everybody, it entails it doesn’t perfectly fit anyone, including me. It goes from something certain people desired to something everyone sort of likes.

So many of the most recent enterings of series that I enjoy, like Monster Hunter or The Legend Of Zelda or Dead Rising or Dead Space , have made a huge deal about how easy they are to get into. It’s not elitist to say that sometimes, doing stuff to garner more “mainstream” appeal can eat a charred turd, especially when “mainstream appeal” is shorthand for “We need to eliminate different aspects of this play that people might curse during or feel frustrated by in any way.”

I adore Monster Hunter: World , but even if it is the most streamlined entering in the Monster Hunter series thus far, I do kind of miss the maddening danger of the previous plays. The “OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT” that imbued every quest. It’s like spicy meat — the pain is part of it. Knowing that it’s not for everyone is part of it.

Again, I don’t want to strike people about this, or send a pee-stained letter addressed to Nintendo that wants to know why kids get these Pokemon plays, and why a human nearing 30 has to endure them. To those who disagree, I won’t open their mouths and vomit into their throats “BUT SEE, IT’S NOT LIKE PAST POKEMONS. IT’S NOT LIKE MY POKEMONS.” But there’s nothing wrong with being an elitist about art, about enjoying something down to the last detail, including the rough margins. I have every right to hate change. I have every right to flip tables and stimulate Tweets in all caps to no one including with regard to, which I think is what Jesus would’ve done.

Daniel has a Twitter. He talks about Pokemon a lot on it, so that’s definitely good news for you .

Go ahead and get yourself a Rowlet plushie while you’re at it. You deserve it .

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