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The Pokemon Type System : A Look At Pokemon's Game Design

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StarStorm    41


Pokemon is a series that has been beloved for over 20 years now. Not every franchise can brag like that. Pokemon is obviously doing something right if it can run that long! So today I will be discussing the great game design of the Pokemon series.


Pokemon, compared to other JRPGs before it, is a very simple game for its genre. They can be complicated and inaccessible to people who don't play video games as often as others. Yet Pokemon is enjoyed by people of all ages and gaming experience. This is because Pokemon

took the base mechanics of RPGs and simplified them as well as added systems that anyone could learn and understand.


Pokemon added a Rock Paper Scissors like type system where certain types are strong against others and some are weak against each other. Rock Paper Scissors is a game everyone knows. It is extremely simple. Anyone can play it. This makes the possibly complicated battle system 10 times easier to catch onto. Even if you don't look at the power of a move or care about IVs and EVs, you know one move will be stronger against a certain pokemon than another one.


However, Game Freak made a mistake teaching this mechanic. It isn’t a game breaker as you will learn it just from playing, but teaching a mechanic like this earlier in an unintrusive way is a great thing to do for your player. What is the mistake? It comes in the first rival battle in Gen 1. It is the first battle in the game and the first for players. You pick your starter and your rival picks the one that is strong against your pokemon’s type. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate the type system! You choose your attacks and- oh…. Scratch… a normal type move that is not strong against any type in the game. You can’t show the type system with a move that is not super effective against anything! X and Y did this battle better in this respect. The starters all had a move that reflected their type. Players can see that the move is either Super Effective or Not Very Effective on their own.


Still though, players figured out the mechanic easy enough so it isn’t a big deal. The bottom line is that the type system helped people enjoy an awesome game we all love. Without having to think of stats, power or EVs, casual players have a way to rise over a challenge presented. This is actually part of the reason gym leaders use one type. Players can use different pokemon and moves to counter their types! Overall, the type system is a great spin on the RPG genre.\


Would you want more of these type posts? Let me know. It was fun to write this!



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I think that it was cool to have them have the normal attacks since it did make sense since they are low level. The gyms were often very easy or hard depending on what starter you liked, I always like the fire one and the first gym in gen 1 was not as easy because I like charamander over the others. I think that they did it well when they had the schools where the books told you all kinds of things.


I really like your writing this!

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