So, it's been a few months since my last thousand-word vanity post in Orange Islands, and this is something I've been thinking about for a while. Because, it seems to me, Pokemon's influence on video games is a little hard to qualify, considering it is the second best-selling series of all time and thus presumably must be there. It's not a genre codifier (ie it didn't spawn a sprawling plethora of inferior limitations). If someone says "JRPG" to me, I think Final Fantasy - and I've never even played a Final Fantasy game (crucify me if you must). It didn't really change anyone's perceptions of gaming outside people in my generation, and for people of my (our?) age, it was quite possibly the first game we ever played, somewhat akin to the Walt Disney of video games. And yet it's been so successful that it must have had some impact. So here is my attempt to describe that impact: 1) It cemented Nintendo's position as king of the handhelds. Well, granted, at the time there wasn't much competition (N-Gage, anyone?) but the original Pokemon Red and Blue still gave a shot in the arm to the ailing GameBoy and probably added a year or two to the console's life span. It truly was a killer App for the system, as indeed the entire series has been through four subsequent devices, during which systems like the PSP have failed to break Nintendo's dominance. I guess mobile phones (or cell phones if you prefer) are really emerging as the main competitor but even now the 3DS is holding its own and Pokemon X and Y is amongst the top games on the system. 2) It introduced a unique aspect of socialisation into gaming. Up until Pokemon, player-player interactions had been limited to standard versus and co-op multiplayer modes. Online PC gaming hadn't really gotten off the ground yet because no-one had the Internet speed, and online console gaming was lightyears away. It was unique at the time for a player to have to interact with other players in order to unlock in-game content, and yet now that system is everywhere, particularly in the rapidly expanding free-to-play/social markets. Ever been forced to drag your friends into helping you out with your Farmville account? That started here. 3) Pokemon has extended beyond video games into an entire franchise. Perhaps no other video game series has given birth to quite such a wide variety of spin-offs and merchandising, and the sheer volume and the extent to which it enveloped kids' lives in the late nineties has made it culturally transcendent. There are a bunch of people who have never played a Pokemon game, watched the anime or anything else, who still recognise a Pikachu. I'm pretty sure no-one my age will ever forget the first-series anime's theme tune - in fact, I bet even as you read those words the first few bars are playing through in your head, and you're thinking to yourself, "Hell yeah!" Even years after its heyday it's still firmly engrained in the public consciousness, which is probably part of the reason that Twitch Plays Pokemon has been such an enormous success. 4) While not the root cause, the Pokemon series is a shining example of games becoming easier, but in a not-bad way, because they retain depth. Compare Yoshi's Story, also released at a similar time, pretty dang easy, and, ostensibly, for kids. In Yoshi's Story you just collect fruit until the level ends, and sure you can extend the game by going for the melons if you want but there's really not much to it. Meanwhile, in the Pokemon games, even though you can still complete them in our sleep, (or even with a hundred thousand other people fighting over your controls), you have team choices to make, puzzles to solve, and increasingly, a plot to follow. Moreover, there's far more to do than just completing the main game: there's filling the Pokedex, maxing your Battle Maison streaks and mastering the competitive metagame. In my view this is the way modern games should be - by making them easy to complete but difficult to 100%, and by giving the player a lot of different things to do, the makers are catering for the whole spectrum of players in terms of skill, dedication, and what the player wants to get from the experience. So anyway, that's what I mostly got out of this, but I'm sure there are other ways Pokemon has influenced gaming, especially, your perception of gaming as a whole or how it has influenced you tastes. Any ideas below.