In your typical JRPG fashion, the main protagonist of the story (you) would go about on a grandiose adventure with your rag tag team of individuals to save the world from an evil god/dragon; and interacting with Pokemon is no different either.
With Pokemon Scarlet and Violet just released over the weekend, it’s always nice to see that the feature of being able to walk with your Pokemon making a return in the main series of Pokemon games.
The following Pokemon feature has always been a fan favourite mechanic ever since it was first introduced in Pokemon Yellow and then popularised in Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver, which is only brought back (partially) in the DLCs for Pokemon Sword and Shield.
But what exactly is the appeal of having your Pokemon follow you around and interacting with them as you set off on your journey?
Gotta Pet Em’ All
On paper, travelling around the world alone at the age of 10 with a team of 6 dangerous world-destroying mythical beasts would raise concerns if it were a different game. But Pokemon just does it right.
Pokemon has brought up treating your creature companions with love and respect, making them more like your partners rather than just tools for battling. The games even enforces this concept with having various of features and mechanics available, and most of the time rewards the players for treating their Pokemon.
Pokemon-Amie was a feature introduced in Pokemon X & Y where trainers were able to interact and form stronger bonds with your Pokemon by using touchscreen to feed, pet and play with their partners.
This feature introduces three new sub-stats in the form of affection, fullness and enjoyment (something like the friendship levels) where the higher these stats are, the better they would perform like gaining more experience points after battle or being able to survive otherwise a lethal hit.
Pokemon-Amie allows fans to interact with their Pokemon in a closer manner, increasing their affection both in and out of the game, making them feel like they’re friendly pets that you can have around rather than just monsters.
Around the World in 100 Steps (and more)
Pokemon had bringing your Pokemon on a journey to the next level too with the introduction of the Pokewalker that comes with the physical copies of Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver.
The Pokewalker was a pedometer device that is designed after the iconic Pokeball which allows trainers to transfer one of their Pokemon from the games to the device where they can bring around in the real world.
The Pokemon that you bring out with you would gain experience points for each step that was taken. Players can also catch various wild Pokemon as well as obtaining items on the device, which then can be transfered into the games.
It feel likes the Pokewalker was Pokemon’s take on the classic Tamagotchi, where they had similiar concepts like being able “walk” around with your pets but at the same time, having their own twist by implementing various mechanics that would indirectly help the player out.
It’s safe to say that the Pokewalker might have been one of the inspirations behind the ever-popular AR-based Pokemon Go game where the folks at Niantic turn up the dial and making the whole walking with your Pokemon into a fully fledged game.
Some of the same concepts can be seen where players were able to hatch eggs in Pokemon Go by travelling around a certain amount of distance in the real world. And even having similiar concepts with the aforementioned Pokemon-Amie with virtually interacting with your Pokemon in the game’s “Buddy Feature”.
Players in Pokemon Go can have one buddy Pokemon at all times that you can interact with by “petting” them or even feeding them berries to earn “hearts”. Having your Pokemon be a certain Buddy level give you benefits like being able to find Gifts or even get a boost in their Combat Powers (CP).
Not to mention that having your buddy pokemon pop up to scale through the AR feature is admitedly pretty sick as well and was something that 10 year old me would never expect to experience in my lifetime.
Laid-Back Pokemon Camp
Reeling back to the mainline series of games, one of the more recent features that were added into the games where you could interact with your Pokemon furthermore would be the Camp feature in Sword and Shield and the newest addition of the Picnic feature in Scarlet and Violet.
Both of these features are pretty much these generation’s version of the Pokemon-Amie, and while have different concepts between one and the other, serves pretty much the same purpose of just letting you have fun with your Pokemon by feeding them food, washing them, and even play with them with various of toys.
There’s just something wholesome in these features where you can give your Clodsire a bath and when I watch it open its dumb blob mouth in a smile, I just want to give that stupid blob a big hug.
Pokemon has always been one of the games that I would come back to ever now and then just to explore the region with my team of Pokemon with me, and being able to virtually interact with my partners is one of the features that I wish that will continue on in future generations of Pokemon games down the line.