New Pokemon Snap Gives Me Hope for Other Dormant Spin-Offs That Deserve a Return
With New Pokemon Snap, there are more possibilities for old Pokemon titles to gain new life after being dead in the water for so many years.
This week The Pokemon Company announced New Pokemon Snap, the long-awaited sequel to the 1999 original on the Nintendo 64. Having a second entry in the franchise was arguably the most wanted request from the Pokemon community for years, especially during the time of the Wii U where players could have used the Wii U Gamepad as the camera; quite a missed opportunity if I do say so myself.
Nevertheless, with this announcement fans (like myself) have been clamoring for the revival of many other Pokemon spin-offs which may now actually see the light of day. Just like Pokemon Snap, there are many other Pokemon titles that deserve a second chance, including the ones you’ll find below.
The Pokemon Pinball series is my most beloved Pokemon spin-off. It is in my opinion the definitive version of pinball as we know it. When playing pinball, the objective is relatively simple–get the highest score–but there isn’t much more motivation than that. In Pokemon Pinball, however, you have a more engaging objective: catch all the Pokemon. The first entry of the series released on Game Boy Color in 1999, the same year as Pokemon Snap. Based on the Kanto region of Pokemon Red & Blue, the player’s objective was to catch the original 151 Pokemon. The Pokemon that you could catch would depend on which table you are playing on (Red or Blue) and which location you were at in Kanto, starting from Pallet Town all the way to the Indigo Plateau.
A followup to the original came out in 2003 called Pokemon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire, which had a similar structure by allowing you to catch the entire Hoenn Pokedex along with Aerodactyl and the Johto starters Totodile, Cyndaquil, and Chikorita. With currently almost 900 Pokemon in existence, now would be more than an opportune time to have a new entry in the series.
Similarly to Pokemon Snap, Pokemon Stadium is one of the more beloved Pokemon side series that only got two games before never being seen again. Both games released on the Nintendo 64, but the original Stadium was the most beloved of the two. While it had its own single-player mode where you battled the gym leaders of Kanto, it also had a ton of addictive multiplayer mini-games, like eating different food as Lickitung or copying Clefairy’s directions in the classroom.
Stadium indirectly became the best party game on the N64 (sorry Mario Party and Mario Kart). The sequel, however, just didn’t seem to have as huge of a pull as the first one and sold less than half the units the original did, despite still being a great follow-up. The closest thing to a third title was Pokemon: Battle Revolution, but it was mainly just used for battling trainers with your Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum team in 3D. It would be so great seeing a traditional new game in the Stadium lineup.
Pokemon Conquest was the franchise’s attempt at creating a tactical-RPG title in its universe. Despite that, it didn’t really grab the attention of Western players due to its strategic nature, to the point where not even the charm of Pokemon could sell it for everyone.
However, after the major success of Fire Emblem: Awakening and even more recently Fire Emblem: Three Houses, I feel like players are more open to the idea now that if a Conquest 2 were to ever come out, that it would do much better than its predecessor. Realistically though, I doubt it will ever come to fruition.
Pokemon Colosseum/XD: Gale of Darkness
Back on the GameCube, The Pokemon Company released the first two 3D Pokemon adventures in Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness. Taking place in the Orre Region, Colosseum follows a trainer named Wes (or whatever you decide to call him) who is trying to stop an organization named Team Cipher who are using “Shadow Pokemon.” These Pokemon are identified by Rui, a girl who joins Wes on his adventure where he can “snag” these Pokemon from trainers. After using them in battle, the creatures can be purified which returns them to their natural state.
XD: Gale of Darkness is technically a sequel where you play as a new trainer named Michael, who uses a newly created “Snag Machine” that allows him to identify the Shadow Pokemon. A cool feature about these games as well is that your Pokemon could be transferred to Pokemon Ruby or Sapphire. This series of games was such a breath of fresh air that once Nintendo released the Switch, I thought that we would finally get a new Pokemon adventure that isn’t of the mainline or Let’s Go series. I doubt at this point that if there was a new title that it would be a continuation of Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness, but I would love a new addition that is similar.
Of course, there are plenty of other known spin-off games that I’m sure that Pokemon fans would love a new game for like Pokemon Puzzle League, Ranger, and Trading Card Game just to name a few, but I feel like the titles I talked about throughout are more popular and beloved than others by fans. There is so much opportunity for The Pokemon Company to bring these different series back from the dead. I hope that we see them do so sometime soon.