Pokémon Platinum - Staff Review  

Cockfighting for Kids
by Adriaan den Ouden

Click here for game information
40-60 Hours
+ Colorful graphics.
+ Catchy music.
- Promotes animal cruelty to children.
- Morally decadent.
- Wi-fi connectivity subjects children to the filth and sleaze of the internet.
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   Author's Note: It should go without saying, but the following is an April Fool's Day joke that was originally posted on April 1st, 2009. You can read RPGamer's official Pokémon Platinum review here. Apparently, even three years later, people still think this is legitimate. It's not. I love Pokémon, and this review was written entirely for comedic purposes.

   Video games are no stranger to depraved and sickening violence, but none are quite as despicable as one of Nintendo's long-lasting franchises. Marketed towards young children, the Pokémon series glorifies and promotes animal cruelty, masked beneath layers of cutesy art and a storyline filled with corrupted moral values. Pokémon Platinum is the latest in this offensive and vile series, featuring more of the same senseless animal brutality depicted in previous games, and would be more aptly titled Cockfighting for Kids.

   Pokémon Platinum puts the player in the blood-soaked shoes of a ten year old boy whose clearly incapable mother allows the youngster to run off on his own to pursue a career of Pokémon poaching. Pokémon, for those not in the know, are a group of nearly five-hundred creatures that resemble animals and even people, but also formless, imaginary monsters, and it's the player's job to capture these poor creatures and force them into brutal gladitorial bouts that often leave them on the brink of death, all in hopes of becoming the best poacher of them all. Sickeningly, the game paints the picture that these creatures enjoy this maltreatment, and that they are even the protagonist's friends; a Stockholm syndrome for animals.

Burning animals is not right in any context. Burning animals is not right in any context.

   As the player journies through this disturbing world, constantly poaching and senselessly beating innocent Pokémon, a group known as Team Galactic is encountered. This noble environmental group is dedicated to finding a new source of energy to replace the damaging fossil fuels used today, working with Pokémon to discover the source of their mysterious powers. The protagonist, of course, is not content to let these people do their work, and makes it his mission to methodically and sadistically destroy their entire organization.

   Not only is this the story for the game, but it is also the basic and malevolent gameplay. The player goes into the wilderness to hunt and capture wild Pokémon, which are then trained and pitted against others by taking turns selecting attacks. The battle continues until one Pokémon is knocked unconscious, but not even a hint of lipservice is given to the long-term effects of such brutality. These poor, innocent creatures are even subjected to a variety of frighteningly horrific ailments, including deadly toxins, horrible burns, and even paralysis! But it's all hunky-dory, as the player can simply go to a Pokémon centre, the game's equivalent of a vet (despite ignoring obvious signs of animal abuse), and heal them right up, ready to fight in yet more pointless conflicts. A real treat is the inclusion of "ghost" Pokémon; it seems these creatures cannot find peace even in death.

   The game goes even further than this by encouraging the player to seek out and capture rare and endangered Pokémon, an act that any sane civilization would condemn. This is done by having the poacher fill out a "Pokédex," a database of Pokémon that could be equated to a trophy wall covered in mounted animal heads found in some aristocrat's manor. The Pokémon captured by the poacher are stored and isolated in tiny, airtight balls, but only the six that are carried with him. Any extras are confined in some unseen containment center. These are the lucky ones, as although they are destined to live a life as prisoners, they at least can avoid being subjected to the ruthless Pokémon battles.

Apparently endangered species aren Apparently endangered species aren't protected in Pokémon's world.

   Pokémon Platinum, like its recent predecessors, also features fully functional wi-fi connectivity and all the unfiltered dangers that come with it. While connected, poachers can seek others to interact with, pitting their Pokémon against each other or trading them like currency. While connected, the game also provides a voice chat, allowing strangers from across the world to infect innocent children with whatever filth comes to their lips. These unscrupulous players can also give their Pokémon inappropriate names before trading them.

   The game masks these sinister subtexts with a shiny graphical coat and catchy music. The individual Pokémon are designed to appeal to a child's sense of aesthetics, featuring cute, rounded Pokémon for the girls and sleek, tough-looking Pokémon for the boys. The slick presentation and constant bombardment of friendship and justice themes ensure that the game's real message gets through unfiltered, and has the added effect of duping unsuspecting parents into buying the supposedly kid-friendly game for their children.

   Pokémon Platinum, like all games in its series, promotes values and actions that every parent should despise. Today they're battling with virtual creatures, but if these games are allowed to continue infecting our children, tomorrow they could be kicking dogs or shooting birds with a BB gun. Don't buy this game. Don't even acknowledge it. And whatever you do, don't allow your children to play it.

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