Notice how the trainer in Pokemon X and Y’s trailer is in his teens?
Begin essay. Title: Dude, you still play Pokemon?
Alright, so before anyone freaks out and starts getting backhurt (word isn’t really ‘back,’ but this is an academic blog post, so) and gets heated up, getting ready for a debate over how the game is not even really for kids, I must say that I, myself, still play Pokemon.
Now, deciding on this topic, it would be difficult to determine whether the siding of this essay would lean towards a big, green ‘yes’ that says it really is marketed for children age 7 and probably below, or that it is marketed otherwise; that the main market that Nintendo is, whether it be subtly or not, (m)aiming to are us. The generation that as kids started with Red, Blue and Yellow. The now-20’s. The young adolescence.
Personally, Pokemon has been an interest of mine ever since Pokemon Yellow came out. The idea of the variety of options to use for a team of monsters, along with the friendliness and being engaging of the environment and the gameplay, among other factors, make the game something that would pique the interest of most gamers. I recently got Pokemon Y, the sixth and latest generation of the franchise, and as much as I can say that it stayed true to the essence of playing a Pokemon game, it clearly introduced a number of aspects added to the gameplay that is undoubtedly too critical and complicated for a mere kid to comprehend.
Aside from the online aspect of the gaming (to which we can give props to Nintendo to, nonetheless, as they made attempts to make their online community exhibit a safe and friendly environment, but that’s a different case), they made effort to officially open and make known to the gamers the concepts of EVs or Effort Values and IVs or Individual Values, moreso and implementing it with additional gameplay aspects like EV-Training and the now more intricate but less complicated (word: systematic) field of breeding for IVs.
Thus, then, with these very facts, it supports my claim that Nintendo could have started aiming into a different market with the release of their latest game. Further research on the web shows quantifiable proof of the claim; even if a number, still, of younger audience entertains the product, a noticeable and major increase towards the audience of ages 19-24 can be seen growing. (Source is here and here.) The chart below shows the start of the said trend upon the fifth generation’s selling.
A way to make sense of why this path is what Nintendo took as to how they presented and produced their sixth generation games, namely, Pokemon X and Y, is to monitor and give consideration to their “loyal” market, meaning, those who grew up playing their games and are, then, now in their 20’s or around. The moment they started giving attention to this then-tapped, now-tappable-again (-or still) market is the moment when they realized that adding a few concepts that are very intricate, challenging and yet still enjoyable is doable and in fact, would gain a lot of praise and positive commendation for them.
Granted, Pokemon in one, quick look is very childish. But saying “to each his own” is not fair in justifying why adolescent people become interested in it. This sense of a game that we grew up with paired with new, now-needing-effort aspects of gameplay is only a few (albeit major) of the factors that make these games inclined to the world of Pokemon.