Nothing quite defined my childhood as much as Pokémon did. The Saturday morning cartoons and the holographic trading cards were staples of my youth, and the handheld video games were the defining experiences of my elementary school years – out of those games, the third generation games Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald were my favorites.
And now, those treasured games from my past are coming back in a revamped version to be released November 2014. The remakes, following predecessors Fire Red, Leaf Green, Heart Gold and Soul Silver, will transport the Game Boy Advance games onto the Nintendo 3DS platform in an entirely new gaming experience.
What excites me the most about this announcement, though, isn’t just the fact that there will be new Pokémon games (I don’t even own a 3DS – not yet, at least). It’s the fact that Nintendo is remaking Generation III that really gets me pumped. Why? Because they were the first games I sat through and finished by myself. I had owned earlier games like Yellow and Crystal, but I usually only played them with the help of my older brother who knew all the cheat codes to get unlimited rare candies and clone Pokémon. I can’t take credit for beating those games, and I can barely remember playing them myself.
But Pokémon Sapphire, which was released in 2003, came at a time when I was mature enough to beat the Elite Four without anyone else’s help. I chose my starter myself (Torchic, in case you were wondering), collected gym badges and even caught a Feebas – one of the hardest Pokémon to catch in the wild. As cheesy as it sounds, Pokémon taught me the spirit of adventure. When I first played Sapphire, I was the same age as the protagonist: a 10-year-old hero who left home to become the champion of the Hoenn region. Even more than simple gaming strategies, Pokémon taught me to be ambitious, curious and adventurous. It showed the 10-year-old me that outside of my Game Boy Advance SP, there was a world out there to explore and conquer as long as I had a strong team of friends and allies to support me on my journey. There really isn’t a better message you can send to young kids.
Even if Pokémon was not as influential in your early life, there are still plenty of reasons to be excited for the new games. Although not much information has been released yet about the game itself, the Pokémon franchise has a history of successful games that have undergone dramatic changes over the past 18 years. The most recent additions to the franchise, Pokémon X and Y, changed the look of Pokémon entirely by transforming the formerly two-dimensional game to a three-dimensional one. Newer games include optional side plots, puzzles and quests (beauty contests and Pokémon grooming are a thing!) that expand the Pokémon world and prevent the games from being stagnant or linear.
Pokémon X and Y saw huge changes in the gameplay of Pokémon, but we can't yet say what Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire will be like. Even if the games do not differ much from X and Y, which were released less than a year ago, fans can expect the remakes to bring familiar Pokémon into a completely new and revitalized light. Nintendo will announce further details during its upcoming E3 broadcast on June 10.