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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” — the ones who insist you stay away from their pastime, lest you and the other peasants soil it. OK, Nazis are worse, but the Gatekeepers are next.

These are the fans who insist everyone who just discovered 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 invest 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 cosmo. If I had to decide between get a million dollars and keeping Pokemon around, inter me in a heap of Pikachu plushies, because I’m holding strong. I’ve been a fan since I understood a sticker on a glass case 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 eat 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 desire this, partly because I enjoy wailing at my handheld consoles, but also because it means that when I win, I am, as the Pokemon anime topic says, “the very best, like no one ever was.” I started as a mute ten-year-old in a three-building township, and I taught my behavior to godhood. When I became champion and went back out into the woodlands, other trainers looked upon me and despaired.

And then X and Y came out in 2013, which were the first Pokemon games to be in 3D, meaning that Nintendo eventually had a way to promote their precious ogre plays in a way outside of “There’s even more of these goddamn critters in this one! ” But it was also clear they wanted to bring a new generation of musicians into the fold — < i> casual musicians, who hadn’t suffered as I had. So these plays give the musician an item called the Exp. Share very early. It dedicates every Pokemon experience levels after a battle — not just the ones who took part. This induces leveling up your monsters lane easier, because now they all get a piece of the ass-kicking pie. A sort of monster-fighting communism.

And poof , that appreciation 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 excursion to prove yourself against other fighters and a senior citizen who couldn’t recollect his grandson’s epithet was reduced to a leisurely stroll.

Sure, the Exp. Share builds the Pokemon experience a friendlier one, especially if you want to raise a bunch of Pokemon really fast and use them for multiplayer duels and stuff. It’s great for that. And it was nice to receive in the earlier games, when it came to the musician later in the narrative, 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 just 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 suddenly everyone was playing. I spent times getting those “You’re still playing this series? ” commentaries, and suddenly Pokemon Go explodes from a crack in the earth, blotting out the sun. And when I express my distaste, I get, “Why can’t you just let people enjoy things? “

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

So many of the most recent entries of series that I enjoy, like Monster Hunter or The Legend Of Zelda or Dead Rising or Dead Space , have made a huge bargain 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, specially when “mainstream appeal” is shorthand for “We need to eliminate any aspect 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 enter in the Monster Hunter series thus far, I do kind of miss the maddening danger of the previous games. The “OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT” that permeated every quest. It’s like spicy meat — the sorenes is an example of it. Knowing that it’s not for everyone is part of it.

Again, I don’t want to attack people about this, or send a pee-stained letter to Nintendo that wants to know why children get these Pokemon games, and why a humankind 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 incorrect with being an elitist about artwork, about loving something down to the last detail, including the rough boundaries. I have every right to hate change. I have every right to flip tables and attain 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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