MovieBob - Intermission
Stealing From the Next Generation

Bob Chipman | 28 May 2010 12:00
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You slide in the disc, power on the console, and hit Start. The flurry of developers and logos come fast, all the old familiar faces. You settle in. The opening cinematic begins...

A sky scorched black, a landscape rotted brown. The crack of thunder, the rumble of distant war. The 3-chord hum of an electric guitar. An arena of broken stones, sand and stagnant pools of defeated blood. And, striding to one end of the expanse, the Hero. The player. You.

Hair black as pitch, twisted into a mess of dreadlocks. Burning eyes peering out from a face equal parts scar and stubble. Skin - what of it is visible through a patchwork of torn rags and scrap-metal armor serving as clothing - seared with the lines of age and war. The hard contours of a Neanderthal physique bulge obscenely, as though the skin encases not muscle, but throbbing tumors of rage and angst. Perhaps once, this was a boy. An adventurer. But now, he is a man. A man of manly mannishness.

Now, he is ... Hardcore.

Hanging from his belt by a nest of rusted chains are a collection of weathered spheres, bisected in half between red and white. Without a word, he takes one in his calloused hand. It glows, as though with magic, but he takes no notice. No acknowledgement. For he is jaded. For he is grim and disaffected.

For he is ... Hardcore.

Opposite the arena is another - pale of skin, clothed in straps of leather and silver spikes. At his side is a creature. It appears to be some Eldritch horror, all tentacles and fins, yet if you were to squint hard enough you might nearly see it as it looked in the days before...

When the graphics were less detailed.

When the details were less graphic.

Gravely, the Hero raises the sphere level with his chest. His eyes narrow, and he utters with the voice of a man for whom the very act of living is pain and struggle: "I choose you."

Hurled like a grenade, the sphere lands with a crunch in the gravel of the arena. A flash of light, a shower of sparks, and it unleashes an animal that looks not unlike a massive rat - save that it is yellow, and throwing sparks of electricity from its very body. It looks to its opponent, then back to its Master. Not a word do they exchange, only a solemn nod. Words are for children. For women. For sissies. They are none of these things. They are serious. They are mature.

They are Hardcore.

The clang of a discordant gong, and they are off! The beasts charge eachother, destined for the arena center. Their clash you do not see - only a hard cut to black, the flash of claws, the howls of animal rage (and, most likely, also animal angst) and the last, angriest chord the electric guitar has to offer.

Finally, a sudden streak of oily crimson, and title spelled in iron-wrought Gothic script: POKEMON: BLOOD RED.

Rated M for Mature.
Press Start.

Now, honestly... do you want to see that? Really? Yes, sure, it sounds cool, (if I do say so myself), and as a thing in-and-of itself - a spinoff, some Flash thing on Newgrounds, a one-off manga, a rambling bit of satire at the start of a weekly opinion column - sure, could be fun. But as the official evolution of the main franchise?

If you grew up with Pikachu and company, is this what you'd want to see become of them? Why? Would it occur to you that if this was how you'd first encountered them, you might not have wanted to grow up with them? Would your thoughts turn to the kid who, thanks to what they've become to remain relevant to you, won't even get the option of growing up with them?

It's one thing, once one has reached the age of legality, to prefer to drink one's Coca-Cola with a bit of rum. It's another thing entirely to demand that Coke henceforth only sell its beverages with rum, on the basis that this is the preference of you, the mature, hardcore soda fan.

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