Pokmon ‘HeartGold” and ‘SoulSilver,” the most recent entries in the Pokmon game series, contain an intriguing mix of nostalgia and new experiences. The two are remakes of games that were originally released in 2000, but don’t let that fool you though these games are not just simple rehashes.

If you have never played Pokmon before, the core concept is simple. The games follow the same basic pattern that they always have: catch Pokmon, train them and become the best Pokmon trainer in a region. You do this by battling through eight gyms to earn badges once you obtain all eight, you earn the right to fight the Elite Four, or the four hardest trainers in that area. However, unlike most Pokmon entries, these games contain two regions you get the opportunity to earn 16 badges across two regions. This essentially doubles the length of the game and offers quite an astonishing amount of content.

On top of that, the game was released with a Tamagotchi-like device as a free bonus. The gadget has a small black-and-white LCD screen on it and looks like a miniature Pok Ball.

The device, called a Pokwalker, functions as a pedometer and allows you to wirelessly transfer any Pokmon that you have caught to it. The more you walk around in real life, the more the Pokmon inside the Pokwalker grows. There are also two mini-games that can be played on it, where you can catch rare Pokmon or collect items. At first the Pokwalker might seem like a gimmick, but the pedometer is a great innovation and a novel new way to interact with the game world and the real world simultaneously.

Pokmon itself has always been about interaction and connectivity that is why every iteration is released in two versions. Each version contains a few Pokmon that can’t be found in the other; this is to promote trading and battling with friends. It is clear that Pokmon is not meant to be experienced alone the games have always encouraged community and social connection. ‘HeartGold” and ‘SoulSilver” make it easier than ever to interact with friends; long gone are the days of wires and long waiting times. Trades, battles and more can be accomplished with ease to a friend right next to you, or to a person across the globe using a Wi-Fi Internet connection.

This game distinguishes itself from its predecessors with beautiful graphics, which are made up of an interesting mixture of both 2D and 3D visuals. The music is quirky and quite catchy as well &- if you have ever played a Pokmon game before, the tunes will certainly bring you down memory lane. But the sound effects still sound exactly the same as they did in the 10-year-old game they are trying to recreate.

This is a small complaint about a game that has so much to offer, but after 10 years this really should have been remedied. Finally, the designers have almost perfected the touch screen controls, which are a quick and easy way to navigate through battles and to organize the creatures you have caught. Also, the game includes 13 brand new mini-games that utilize the touch screen as well, if you ever desire to take a break from the main storyline or from battling.

‘HeartGold” and ‘SoulSilver” make up the best generation of Pokmon to date &- whether you have played every iteration, you haven’t played since you were a kid or even if you are new to the franchise, this adaptation is the one to buy. It includes all of the nearly 500 Pokmon, the best controls yet, minigames and a main story line that is double the length of a typical Pokmon adventure.

All of this would easily justify a purchase, considering it costs the same as its predecessors did. The Pokwalker is also the greatest reason to consider getting Pokmon ‘HeartGold” or ‘SoulSilver.” For a college student like myself who likes to play videogames, but may not have as much time to dedicate to them, the Pokwalker allows me to train my Pokmon as I go through my daily routine, rather than wasting time grinding up their levels. It is a novel gadget and interesting new way to interact with videogames. It allows me to fit game playing into my schedule and is actually a great deal of fun. On top of that, as lame as it may sound, it has given me an incentive to walk around more often &- in fact, I have found myself taking the long way to classes just to get those few more precious steps. If you are looking to get back into videogames but can’t fit it into your schedule, or if you want another, albeit small, motivation to go for walks, the Pokwalker and Pokmon

‘HeartGold”/”Soul Silver” are for you.

Penney is a member of the class of 2012.

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