Monday, September 10, 2012

MM: Genwonners

I've talked so many times about Star Wars Hateboys, but I wanted to talk a little bit today on a very similar creature known in Poké-fan circles as "Genwonners".

And I used to be one.

Genwonners are Pokémon fans who consider Generation 1, the original Red/Blue(or Green)/Yellow with the original 151 monsters, to be the only Pokémon game worth playing. They do not make up as much of the fanbase percentage as Hateboys do, but their megaphone is just as loud.

Like I said, I used to be one, with one caveat: I was equally nostalgic for Gold and Silver. The problem came when the Game Boy Advance came out. It was a system I neither wanted nor could I afford. And the new Pokémon games were strictly for this system.

Though, this was only my second thought when I heard about Third Gen. My first was "Really? They're adding more?" But I was willing to give it a shot until I heard the system requirements. Then I heard the names: Ruby and Sapphire. "Ruby and Sapphire?" I said to myself,  "But a Ruby is Red and a Sapphire is Blue. It's Red and Blue again, they're going back to the well! Well, I"m done with this."

And so it stayed until Kingdom Hearts.

I've touched on this before, and I'll give it the honor it deserves this month, but Kingdom Hearts changed my life just as Pokémon did before and World of Warcraft did afterwards. Now, the main games were for PS2, and in fact I bought that system primarily for that game. But in between 1 and 2 was a mini-game on the Game Boy Advance called "Chain of Memories". I had read that it was not required to play KH2. This is a bold-faced lie as it introduced many characters and themes that are integral to 2 and games that came afterwards.

So, after playing a little on my cousin's Advance SP, I decided I'd break down and get one (this was incidentally on the eve of the DS). But I needed one other game, so that I wasn't spending all this cash on a one-note system. Lo and behold, I find FireRed and LeafGreen: Gen 3 remakes of Red and Blue (Green in Japan). I fell in love with those instantly, both for nostalgia and upgraded systems. Even after, it was a couple of years before I decided "You know what? There's a Gen 4 that looks interesting, let me see what this Gen 3 was all about."

So I picked up Emerald used from Gamestop and...I loved it. Is it my favorite? No. And I do think Wurmple is a poor substitute for Caterpie, but otherwise I adored it. It was Pokémon, and it fixed a lot of things that were frankly annoying about the original games (such as bagspace and balance issues).

I still like more Generation 1 Pokémon then I do the other generations combined. However, I have found more than two party's worth of ones I love from each sequel generation, and many of those are in my top 10 monsters.

Genwonners, though, can't do that. They just see what they feel as flaws in the monster design. Flaws which, like Hateboys, they ignore in Generation one. How is an Ice Cream Cone Pokémon any worse than a Ball Pokémon? Are there new monsters I don't like? Sure, but that's true of all generations. There are only two lines that truly strike me as offensively redundant, and that's the aforementioned Wurmple from Gen 3, and Gen 5's Pidove line. And I can get over it because of advances in system and story and the fact that there are over a hundred cooler ones to choose from per generation.

Luckily, true Pokémon fans are a little more clever than true Star Wars fans. While the Genwonners, again, have a large megaphone, true fans have headed them off at the pass with a large megaphone of their own. So, rather than it being seen as overwhelmingly negative, we have more of an equally broken base effect where, while annoying to those that just want to have fun, doesn't mean the company will be catering to the haters (as Lucasfilm appears to do too often).

Maybe other fanbases should learn a thing or two.

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