Missing the Pokéball: Why Pokémon Black/White 2 should be on 3DS

We don’t need another one…

Just last weekend, to the shock of the world, Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2 were announced. But the shocking thing isn’t that we’re receiving direct sequels to two of the fastest selling Pokémon games ever. The shocking thing is that they’re being released on the DS. Yup, not the 3DS. The good ol’ Nintendo DS, the same system on which its predecessor was released.

Since the announcement, many have accepted the fact that Pokémon Black/White 2 is going to be released on the DS. Some have even embraced it, and praise it as being a good decision. What? If you ask me, I stand on the other side of the line.

You see, I’ve always been a strong believer that the original Black and White should have been on the 3DS. I still believe so to this day. Heck, the 3DS probably would have sold extremely well at launch if Black and White were on it. I was sure that Nintendo would make the decision to put what was then called “Pokémon Gray” on the 3DS. It seemed like the best business decision, especially looking at the state of 3DS sales even just six months ago.

But no, Nintendo doesn’t seem to like to listen to what I say (why would they?). And now Black and White 2 are coming to the original DS. Just DS.

It doesn’t make much sense to me. The DS is a dying machine. Sales have fallen to below a thousand since the launch of the 3DS. It’s had its share of great software, but now is the time to say goodbye. Sure, you can say that there are over 151 million DS units out there. But how many of those DS’ are actively being used? Sales numbers do not accurately express the number of active users. There’s no point to hold on to the dying handheld for much longer. Plus, there are tons of other Pokémon games on the DS. Why would we need more?

On the other hand, the 3DS needs these games. While 3DS sales in Japan are soaring through the roof, sales in North America and Europe are just… average. And who wants to settle for average? Certainly not Nintendo. Pokémon is one of the few franchises Nintendo has that really has international mass market appeal. Your kids, your friends, your parents (okay, not really your parents), your Japanese buddies, your American homies, your British buds… all of them love Pokémon. The 3DS needs a sales boost. You see, it’s a formula for success. Pokémon + 3DS = profit + more profit! Why would Nintendo turn down this opportunity?

But is this really just the case of “the 3DS needs Pokémon”? No, not at all! In many cases, Pokémon needs the 3DS. There’s no doubt to any of us that Black and White were kinda…. fugly. It was a mix of polygons, sprites, and super-stretched out sprites. It’s suffering the same problems that Mario Kart DS had. But compare MKDS with MK7 on the 3DS. Looks like lightyears of difference, eh? Now imagine Pokémon on 3DS. All of the sudden, the graphic mess on the DS is now a gleaming diamond.

Even with it’s strange combination of sprites and polygons, Pokémon Black and White are some of the most “3D” Pokémon games in the main Pokémon series. They were practically made for the 3DS. The way that the towns are structures, the way the overworld is designed, and the different layers of landscape… all of these seem like a perfect match for 3D. Why they’re not on the 3DS makes no sense to me. Why their sequels aren’t on the 3DS either is just mind-boggling.

Most importantly, though, is that putting these games on the DS is like throwing money away. Sales for the “director’s cut” version of Pokémon games have never been very high. The fact that these “sequels” are going to be on a dying platform doesn’t improve anything.

And it’s not like these “third” versions have to be on the same console as the original two. Look at Pokémon Yellow. It had Game Boy Color support. Maybe, just maybe, Pokemon Black/White 2 will have 3DS-exclusive support. Maybe.

I just don’t understand. Who’s going to buy this game? I’m not. I’m just not interested in buying DS games anymore. Nor do I want to play a stretched out version of the game on my 3DS. The DS has enough Pokemon games. I’ve had enough of DS Pokemon games. Nintendo is limiting its audience by releasing Black and White 2 on the DS. It sounds absurd. I think it is absurd.

It’s probably best to summarize my points in one simple sentence: it’s time to move on. Nintendo, Game Freak, and TPCi. I’m not exactly sure why you guys made this decision. It just doesn’t make much sense to me. But perhaps you guys know better than I. Perhaps I’m all wrong. Perhaps your business decision makes perfect sense, and I just don’t see it.

Perhaps I’m not destined to be a businessman…

Do you think Pokémon Black/White 2 should be on 3DS?


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