Socialize With The New Pokemon Games

Neal Curtis-Duguay Contributing Writer

New college video game trend appeals to socializing, rather than solitary play.

Pokemon1Trends come and go, particularly with video games, but one feature of the latest Pokemon X and Y games seems to be increasing in popularity here at Pierce College. The games feature several optional features that improve on the trading and battling aspect of the collectable “pocket monsters” franchise. The games were originally designed to be played with friends, but the recent improvements to social features have drawn college students together in their goal to “be the very best.”

One notable feature is Pokemon-Amie. Players of the games (also known as “trainers” in-game) are given the option of closing their 3DS to save battery life and allow their game to run and connect with others’ in the area. Doing so nets small gifts and benefits for the game in question, and is a viable option for a college student during class when they cannot play. The same feature alerts the player if others are in the area. A common sight lately in the commons is players actively seeking each other out, going as far as calling out for anyone with a specific pokemon or trainer name. In one instance, a group of players set up a sign calling for Pokemon players to gather, trade, and battle with them.

Technical features aside, the new Pokemon games are achieving what they originally set out to do. Players, rather than going online to trade, are meeting with each other to talk about their common interests. From personal observation, players tend to stray to new topics and befriend another and form new interpersonal relationships. Unlike most games that are criticized for hampering teenage social lives, Pokemon X and Y are actually improving social lives of teenagers, particularly those who find it difficult to find common ground with one another. Trading isn’t a simple process either. Players have to barter, reason, and sometimes turn down offers when trading their collectable monsters. Each pokemon have different levels of power and rarity, giving them different values in the eyes of the player. This stimulates critical thinking, foresight, and mathematical skills.

Pokemon has always been a game for all ages, but the new release is hitting college harder than ever. Rather than sit on the couch all day to beat the Elite Four or catch that elusive legendary pokemon, players are sitting with each other and talking about it. Pokemon has drawn people together for years, but the college is showing signs that the new bonds formed between players are stronger than ever.