Hype Train! New Pokemon Snap
Guys, we're out here in the frost of 2021, just barely out of the greatest stretch of tomfoolery that was 2020, and the light is already looking brighter, the silver linings that much closer to our overcast skies.
I woke up this morning to a message that made me mark my calendar for April 30. Why, you ask? Because one of the coolest games from the Nintendo 64 era is getting a fully fleshed out sequel worthy of our patience. Just in time for the 25th Anniversary of Pokemon!
Here's a quick exercise. Think of any game you're playing right now where you could take pictures of your favorite creatures and moments. Then take those awesome pictures to your nearest photo development kiosk and get those photos printed on card stock and trade those photos with your friends? Does that seem like a far off dream to you? Maybe even a utopia blending the digital and analog into an experience you can share with your friends and family? Well, we had that in Pokemon Snap for the N64!
The summer of '99 was hot with fanatics taking pics on Pokemon Island (Real creative, I know) and heading to a nearby Blockbuster or other retailer with the special kiosks to print your favorite snaps. The island itself was chock full of biomes from volcanoes to swamps, all within riding distance on a special rail system developed to guide you through the environment. With 60 Pokemon of the original 151 represented and special interactions that brought you deeper into the lore of the island itself, Pokemon Snap cemented itself as a one of a kind experience that still holds up in 2021. Chasing the highest scores you could get on the individual pictures turned out to be pretty fun, but what really brought the experience to life is the same thing that I feel like makes Pokemon Go and Detective Pikachu (the movie, not the game) unique experiences.
I feel I speak for many Pokemon Trainers across the world when I say that the incorporation of Pokemon into the background environment really takes the adventure from a game to an immersive experience. Pokemon Go has different Pokemon spawn depending on your location to parks or bodies of water. Snap had an island chock full volcanoes and rivers where specific Pokemon spawned depending on how other Pokemon moved while you shot pics. Detective Pikachu's background rendering of Pokemon large and small existing in a world fairly similar to ours made that movie an icon. They all brought the vivid imaginations of how Pokemon would interact in the real world right to our faces and moments like that define the experience of being a lifelong Pokemon Trainer.
With the New Pokemon Snap, we take all that goodness and wrap it into a whole new journey to be the best Poke-tographer (If it ain't coined, it is now). You'll be able to take pics of 200 of the 898 known Pokemon in the Lental Region, cataloguing them in a research bundle for Professor Mirror. He enlists the player's help to document the mysterious Illumina phenomenon which causes Pokemon in the region to inexplicably glow. For those wondering, no, most Pokemon do not glow normally.
("Yes, trainer, I woke up like this")
I've been wishing on shooting stars, 11:11, coins, fountains, wells, whatever magic I pass by for Pokemon since I was 7. Every installment gets closer and closer to Pokemon being real without bio engineering new species as an affront to the gods themselves. When Pokemon Go released, that summer was the most connected I've ever seen people in public. And it's just an AR game with Pokemon skinned over it. But still, the culture around the franchise brings trainers together with the sole goal of sharing our love of Pokemon, large and small, strong or weak, with each other. For those who aren't inclined to the study it takes to be a skillful Pokemon trainer, New Pokemon Snap looks to be not only a very faithful successor to the original, but also an experience the whole family can enjoy. The resident Poke-tographer can do all the snaps while friends and family bask in the simplicity of a world that's been growing and glowing strong for 25 years.
New Pokemon Snap drops for the Nintendo Switch on April 30. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be any indication that the kiosks are making a comeback with this sequel, but sharing photos through the Switch Share functionality still gives you access to them to print and share at your leisure. I can't wait to see what Pokemon you guys snap!
Do you have photos from a Pokemon Snap kiosk? Are you excited to explore the Lental Region and hunt some Illumina Pokemon? Let us know in the comments and see you April 30!