Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gotta Snap 'em All

Pokemon Snap is one of my favorite games on the N64. Pokemon Snap was a great game that had a colorful world to transverse through, a variety of Pokemon and a lot of replayability. Nintendo even incorporated the ability to print out your pictures by taking your Pokemon Snap cartridge to a local Blockbuster. Pokemon Snap was a unique perspective of an on the rails shooter. The goal for each level was to take as many photographs of the various Pokemon that would net you the highest score. You then get to choose one photograph to represent that Pokemon which Professor Oak grades based on if the Pokemon is in a special pose, center of the image and if there are multiple of the same Pokemon. You were also given apples to feed Pokemon, pester balls to knock them unconscience and a poke-flute to either wake them up or to cause the Pokemon to dance. HAL Laboratory also included an infinite boost to use if you were replaying a level to only photograph a specific Pokemon. There were even some puzzle elements included through each level such as finding a way to hatch the Legendary Birds, or finding a ways to getting better pictures of a Pokemon that were originally obscured by objects. I’m surprised that over 13 years have passed since Pokemon Snap was released in North America and no sequel has ever been announced.

Pokemon Snap deserves a sequel and I believe will work well with Nintendo’s latest home console, Wii U. The Wii U GamePad is the perfect controller for a Pokemon Snap type of a game. The controller could be held up like a camera to the  television screen and capturing a photo would be as simple as pressing one of the shoulder buttons. The player would be able to control the in game character using either the analog stick or the gyroscope ability of the controller. The Wii U controller would create an interactive experience that would be a prime example of how Wii U can create unique gaming experiences.

A feature that Nintendo could bring back would be the ability to print out pictures. Since the Wii U has a slot for SD cards, users would be able to transfer over pictures and then print them out at a local photo store. Nintendo could also add in connectivity with the new Pokemon RPG games X and Y. Players would be able to use augmented reality to take pictures with their hand trained Pokemon team through Pokemon Snap 2. The player could also use the controller’s screen to edit pictures and add in effects to personalize the photographs.

Pokemon X and Y will have over 700 Pokemon available to capture and train. Pokemon Snap 2 would probably not utilize all 700 Pokemon throughout the game since it would be tough to place all the different Pokemon in the levels without it overcrowding. However I would like the game to still contain all the models for the Pokemon so that players will still be able to take pictures through the augmented reality when connecting the 3DS games to the Wii U. I’m sure that the 25 gigs available on the Wii U optical discs is more than enough space for 700 Pokemon models. If the 25 gigs is still not enough they could do a two disc special where the second disc is installed on to the hard drive for users who want to have the extra Pokemon models.

A criticism of the original Pokemon Snap was the length. There were about six full levels which the player had to repeat to photograph all available Pokemon and solve the puzzles to unlock the final area, Rainbow Cloud. Each level was themed differently such as a cave or volcano which would then have the appropriate Pokemon types. Pokemon Snap 2 should use a similar style for level design but instead should be based on the different regions. Nintendo could start off with the latest region that would be featured in Pokemon X & Y which would exclusively have Pokemon found in that region. Nintendo can then utilize their online marketplace to release downloadable content of the other regions such as Kanto, Johto, Hoenn and Sinnoh with their own levels and respective Pokemon. The levels could reference certain areas such as Mount Moon or Ceruelean cave to further reinforce the diverse regions found in the Pokemon world.This way the game would be able to incorporate a much larger number of Pokemon that would appeal to both old and new fans of the series.

I would love to see some online interactions such as using leaderboards and tournament ladder systems. The leaderboards would work for each Pokemon available throughout the game and then also a separate leaderboard for each overall level. The tournament feature would be a more direct competition between players. Players would create a tournament and invite other players to enter. After all the entrants are available to play, the game would choose a random Pokemon to photograph from the game and the players would be allotted a certain amount of time which they can go find the pokemon and photograph it the best way possible. At the end of the time, the player with the lowest score will be eliminated. Each round will eliminate the lowest player until there is only one player left who is then crowned the top photographer. Nintendo could even try to create like a monthly or weekly contest where places try competing for the best photograph of a specific Pokemon for that time period.

Pokemon Snap 2 is definitely a game I’m waiting to be announced. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo decides to test the markets with a remake of the N64 version on the 3DS which would show how much interest there is in a sequel. Pokemon Snap 2 would make me consider purchasing a Wii U which I currently have no interest in since I haven’t found any of the games appealing. Hopefully there will be some news in regards to a sequel at the next E3 or Tokyo Game show.

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