This week marked the release of a little-known, niche, indie dogfighting simulator loosely based on the events that lead to Mike Vick’s arrest. Similar to Persona, but you capture and battle animals.
Now that the bad-joke opening paragraph is outta the way, I’ll stop pretending you don’t know what Pokémon is.
This week was when the world experienced the release of new main games in the Pokémon series, so I figured I would write about Pocket Monsters instead of Necessary Sequel: Dune2000. Consider this more of a celebration and conversation of the Pokémon games, in general, before my ADD kicks in and we change subject entirely. So come on in, scroll on down, and let’s talk Poké-shop.
What’s your favorite one? I’m betting it’s the one that came out when you were about preteen age (that’s Tween, for all you 40-something men & women desperately trying to cling to relevance by hashtagging your Instagrams on SnapChat for lulz and Facebooking Harambe Tweets to Periscope your children into a Selfie with mom & dad that’s totes on fleek).
For me, my love of the games peaked at Generation 2: Gold/Silver/Crystal. Before them, all the neighborhood kids would play Red & Blue. I had a copy of Yellow that I enjoyed a bit, but I never finished it. It wasn’t until Gen 2 that I truly got *into* Pokémon.
I had Gold and a friend had Silver. We spent the summer comparing notes, trading, and battling. I’ll never forget the majesty of meeting Ho-Oh atop Tin Tower. Or learning that shellfish weren’t the only ones who found Slowpoke tails tasty. I remember the bond I had with Cyndaquil. Then Totodile and Chickorita. Certain songs from that era remind me of defeating Team Rocket- underneath Goldenrod- from the back seat of Dad’s car.
Bill, the genius “PokéManiac” who created the storage system gave me an Eevee (one of my favorite/most desired Pokémon) and told me to love it. I did. I remember arguing with myself about which form I would evolve it into (and lamenting its lack of a grass-type). But before I ever decided, I had an Espeon. I was amazed, but sad that I didn’t get the cooler looking Umbreon (I didn’t even know how it became either).
But absolutely my favorite memory was when the train station in Goldenrod finally opened up, revealing that all of Kanto (and its 8 badges) were waiting to be explored.
I don’t know what happened, but when I had the chance to play a Gen 3 game (Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald) it didn’t have the same spark. I loved the graphics and...that’s it. I didn’t like the new Pokémon. Didn’t like the game.
I never owned a Pokémon game after Crystal (upgraded to that and a GBA SP from Gold/White GBA). But I have checked out the news and previews. Sun & Moon look great (though I’ve always liked the animal designs more- yes I know about Jynx and Mr. Mime, no I don’t like them). I STILL wish I could play the Gen 2 remakes (too bad the price only hovers between $30-50).
Anyway, fast forward from 2002 to 2011. I’m 21 and I just received a sweet new phone. It’s one of the newer Google ones, an Android (love you, HTC Hero!). I keep reading about Android’s 2.2 release (Froyo) and I can’t wait to see how great it is. My phone, however, hasn’t even received the 2.1 (Eclair) update.
I read about how easy it is to develop for Android. I read about how easy it is to develop with Unreal Engine 3, which has recently gone “free”. On top of that, a new engine called Unity is making rounds. I get an idea.
Why not develop the Pokémon game I want to play? (Besides lacking a computer or programming skills or animation skills or modeling skills or the ability to make a balanced fight system or any other skill necessary to make a game, that is.)
After all, there is no Pokémon RPG in the app store. In any app store! My brother and I talk and sketch out our pre-pre-pre planning ideas. It takes a couple weeks before we realise we will never have the ability to make this exist. We stop.
I still wish I could’ve made it. Hell, I still WANT to make it. But alas, such is life.
I would like to share my ideas/plans with you guys here. I’m not worried if anyone steals them, because I doubt they would want to (and if anyone does, at least I’ll finally play it).
Since the time we came up with this, the real games have actually added some of our proposed features into the game.
So, I would like to introduce yinz to the hottest Mobile game that never came out: Kreechr Kechrz (Working [joke] Title), the Gen 2 sequel I wanted to make.
Throughout, I’ll be sharing some rough first drafts of character and design doodles. It will not be high art, and some of it will be on construction paper because apparently I’m a sad pathetic child.
Kreechr Kechrz is a Pokémon-clone for Android & iOS. Although, I toyed around with the idea of it being a Droid exclusive, a Vita game (when that looked promising), and a game on all consoles (handheld and home) plus pc (go big and all that).
When a new game starts, players choose their gender, then customize their character (they can skip this and go with a stock character.) How would we do this on a phone, you haven’t asked? Well, that’s vaguely detailed/poorly sketched out here:
In the top-right (I cut it off to focus on the character creation) is the idea for fighting.
Battles would use full 3D models. The camera would spin around the two creatures (like that one cool shot Michael Bay overused) and the battle options- fight, switch, item, run- would transparently overlay the screen.
When attacking, the camera would switch to an over-the-shoulder view of the player’s creature (so the move tackle, for instance, would look like Gears’ “Roadie Run” as a Kreechr charged). We also bounced around an idea of a dodging mechanic. Basically, when being attacked, there would be a brief moment (shorter for stronger enemies) to press a “dodge” button that appeared randomly on the screen. A successful dodge results in less damage taken.
For types, we were sort of aping Pokémon- I don’t know how you couldn’t at this point- but we had a focus on elements (earth, wind, water, fire, plus electromagnetic & plant). We wanted 10 “Element Masters” (our version of Gym Leaders) total, so we need, at the bare minimum very least, four more types. Two of which were Mystical & Alien (psychic & fairy).
I guess a “Monster” (or “Paranormal”) type for ghost/dark. Damn, I thought I could finish it here, but that’s all I got. Still gotta set it into a rock-paper-scissors system.
The story of the game is a little more grown than Gen 2. Your character’s mother left while you were very, very young, and you were raised by your father. Around the age of 15 (the age when a person can become a Kreechr Kechr), your father was brutally murdered.
The police have nothing to go on, but you KNOW it has something to do with the company he worked for, Giovanni Corp. (I forgot at the time that was the name of Team Rocket’s leader. I just wanted a sinister, Mafia-type name.) Yes, in this world Team Rocket is a cyber-punk level Corporation, and your dad worked for them.
Over the course of the story you’ll go on the standard mission of a Kechr (being the very best like no one ever was), while also trying to bring down Giovanni Corp and prove the CEOs guilt.
At some point you’ll come across a group of human/Kreechr protesters, fighting for fair treatment of all Kreechrz, and to end chemical testing on them. The best two things about this group? 1- This is where you’ll meet your mother. 2- This is where you’ll meet my favorite Kreechr design (it’s Mystic type and can speak English when fully updated)
Oh yeah, I almost forgot! You know how Pokémon learn new moves and evolve? Well in Kreechr Kechrz (man, I really wish we spent more than a single joke’s worth of time on the name) all the kreechrz have “Digital DNA” and can update. Software updates are when they learn new moves and hardware updates are when they change into a (faster, stronger, etc) new form. So TM/HMs would be software updates the trai- “Kechr” installs, and learned moves just standard updates.
Instead of pokéballs, we had Kreechr Pens- little lasers that would de/reconstruct the Kreechrz into/from data for storage/fighting. You only buy one pen at a time, then refill its charges when you’ve used them up. Charges can be purchased at stores, just like pokéballs.
Here’s a sketch showing off the pens (with added bonus of the G Corp CEO with his Kreechr and its updates)
As standard, there would be a day and night cycle. I guess now it should be based on the internal clock, but back then it had its own time (30min real-world = 1hr in-game, or 1sec real-world = 2sec in-game).
What else? Let’s see... There are 2 continents at start. Each has 150 Kreechrz, for a total of 300. I wanted that number to not include updates, but maybe that’s too optimistic?
There’s two versions of the game. Not like Pokémon has two versions (though we have to do something like that, don’t we?), but as far as paying goes.
Studies have shown that Android users are far, far cheaper than iOS users. Also, I believe you can sell more when priced low. So there’s two versions, a free version, and a paid version.
The Full Game (paid) is just like buying a normal game. Two continents are open (so to speak), all Kreechr Pens are available at their normal point, all 10 Element Masters (or 20, depending how you look at it) are available to fight, and so on. Any continents and Kreechrz added later are yours for $1 (why buy/make a new game when we can extend the current one?)
The Free Version is free, no doubt. But it comes with stipulations. Only the first continent is available (with the second and all subsequent being $1.50). Only about half of the Element Masters are available (imagine if, in G/S/C you could remove Sudwoodo but not face any more gym leaders). You can only obtain the standard Kreechr Pens (no great balls, ultra balls, etc) with a limit of ten charges in a 24hr period (which can be shortened by watching ads, or removed for $1). For $1 you can unlock either the Masters/Story or the higher Pens (or $1.50 for both).
I think this is fair. People who can’t afford the game still get a chance to enjoy it. Kreechrz, trading, and PvP are all unlocked. Free Version users can buy the full game, instead of piecemealing it, and their saves will transfer.
One last bit. We have our own Eevee, because of course we do. I never got the design perfect. I know what the base looks like, but the updates...I’m not satisfied. I lack the art skills to make something I like. Anyway, Eevee is your starter. It’s special because blah blah blah, Digital DNA blah type update blah blah. You pick an update to give it a type instead of picking a type. After it has a type, it will get new hardware updates based on that type.
(Like, if you used a water stone on Eevee and it just changed color and type, then later evolved into Vaporeon and something else)
So yeah... That’s what I remember from my game that never was. Thanks Nyren for making me want to share it (and also that awesome Pokémon dream game post- link incoming).