We all grew up playing Pokemon. Everyone has his or her own favorite version, from the original Red and Blue (which, incidentally weren’t even the first ones released- there were earlier versions in Japan) to the more recent Emerald version from 2005 in the 3rd generation of games. Being the incredible nerds Wes Darvin (another thetechtile editor) and I am, we decided to buy the new generation of games to occupy us during the downtime of a school trip. We walked onto the 8-hour plane ride carrying our respective copies of Pokemon White, which we both chose over the alternate Black version, and plunged back into the familiar yet brand new world of Pokemon.
Pokemon Black and White are the first titles in the 5th generation of Pokemon games, and encompass the brand new Unova region. According to the games, the region is far from any of the previous games’ regions, and therefore you can’t find any preexisting Pokemon from the first 4 generations until you beat the Elite 4, the final challenge that carries throughout the series. Pretty much, if you had any favorite Pokemon… too bad, you won’t be able to get them until the game is over.
Despite the lack of classic Pokemon, (though several Pikachu and Charizard references were worked into the game) Pokemon Black and White are good fun for any fan of the games- admit it, you love them. It follows pretty much the exact same gameplay as the first 5 generations, but with a new setting and 156 new ‘Mons to catch, fight, train, and trade with friends- more than the first generation brought to the table.
As annoying as it is not being able to get Charizard, Scyther, or whatever other Pokemon was your favorite back in the old days, the new Pokemon fill both the roles of old favorites and some really inventive new ones. In fact, the lack of old Pokemon makes the game more accessible to newcomers; it offers the same experience as the original games but with the refined mechanics that have been built over 5 generations of slight improvements; the stats are balanced and moves behave like they were originally intended (ex. Fire punch is a physical move rather than a special one, as in the first 3 generations).
If you’re worried about the decision between the two, the only differences are some Pokemon being available in one but not the other (ex. A Pokemon that resembles a gigantic cell is in White, and Black has a goth Pokemon in its place) and Black has Black City in it, where White has the aptly named White forest in its place.
If you have nostalgia for the older Pokemon games, you will probably have fun reliving the same experience in a more polished form. If you never really got into the series, Nintendo’s given you your chance. While nothing revolutionary to video games- or even to the Pokemon series- they’re good time-killing fun and solid additions to a series that really didn’t need to change anything.