It’s Christmas morning 1998. I wake up to my brother screaming “Tyler, wake up. Santa came!”. We rush down the stairs and into the living room. To my joy, my brother was correct. Santa had indeed made the annual stop to our house and under the tree was many wrapped presents. I take a look around the room for our stockings which is usually filled to the brim with candy at this point in the day. But I suddenly notice that our stockings which hung the night before had been taken down and instead, two treasure chests lay at the foot of our fireplace. One red, and one blue.
My parents bring us over to the chests and say the words every kid wants to hear. “Open it” my mother says. At that time, my brother and I were often separated by color. He was always red and I was always blue for some reason. So naturally, I went for the blue chest. I unlatched the lid and opened the chest. As I had assumed, it was indeed filled to the brim with candy. But to my surprise, Pokemon Blue Version sat on top. It was the sweetest thing in that box and the beginning of something special.
Today, Game Freak and Nintendo announced Pokemon Sword and Shield for the Nintendo Switch during their Pokemon themed Direct. It’s the first core Pokemon RPG to be released on a console which was teased back in 2017. It’s fully 3D in a brand new world with brand new Pokemon including three new starters; Grookey, their curious, monkey-inspired grass starter. Scorbunny, their energetic bunny inspired fire starter. And Sobble, their chameleon inspired water starter.
Trainers will get to explore Galar, the newest area of the Pokemon world and home of the 8th generation of Pokemon. According to Game Freak, Galar will include “countrysides, contemporary cities, thick forests, and craggy, snow-covered mountains.” While Pokemon had attempted to steer away from Gym Leaders in their previous games, we’ll see all new Gyms and Gym Leaders as trainer battle their way to become Pokemon Champion.
Gym Leaders aren’t the only classic things to be featured in Pokemon Sword and Shield. Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Evee changed up the formula a little bit with how Pokemon were caught and even trained. Sword and Shield go back to their roots with a classic battle, capture system that most trainers are used to. We’ll also see some familiar faces in Sword and Shield including a number of Pokemon like Pikachu, Lucario, and Tyranitar to name a few.
So those are the known details of Pokemon Sword and Shield and even with such little details, I find it really difficult to contain my excitement. After all, I’ve been waiting for this game for over 20 years.
Back to that Christmas in 1998, along with Pokemon Blue Version, my brother and I also got a Nintendo 64 and the Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time (1998 was easily the best Christmas of all time). The Nintendo 64 was important because it introduced me to 3D gaming. One year later, Pokemon Stadium was released. My initial thoughts when buying the game that it was going to be a classic Pokemon RPG just a much bigger scale and in 3D. It was hard to contain my excitement back then too. Sadly, I was mistaken, but surely Nintendo had plans for a 3D Pokemon game much like their 2D version on the Gameboy, right? After all, Pokemon was the greatest Japanese export at the time. Fast forward 20 years.
20. Damn. Years.
Better late than never.
Pokemon Sword and Shield, for many of us, is the realization of a dream we had long ago. A core Pokemon RPG in a 3D setting on a console. The world of Pokemon will get a new, HD look as never seen before with more Pokemon than Mario has collected coins. From the trailer, we can see that the environments, while rather empty, look beautiful. From lush forests to charming countrysides, Galar looks to be the perfect setting for my dream game. And it’s so weird to say and maybe even a little dramatic, but Pokemon Sword and Shield is truly my dream game. It only took 20 years but folks, dreams really do come true.