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Ever since Pokemon Red and Blue/Green released worldwide in 1998, the franchise has taken the world by storm. By now Pikachu has become a household name and most gamers, if not most people, have played one of the juggernaut’s handheld titles. With the release of Pokemon Go in 2016, the fervor for the Pokemon brand re-ignited and became relevant to a whole new generation. With Pokemon’s massive multi-media success and continued relevance in pop culture, Pokemon shouldn’t have any problem becoming a competetive eSport in the current day and age. So why is does it struggle to get the kind of views that other eSports have?

The core pillars of the Pokemon games have always been to catch, train, and battle the pocket monsters against one another. Game Freak has always made the core games of the series for Nintendo handheld devices, in the spirit of people taking their adventure on the go. The idea of meeting people and either trading or battling their Pokemon against one another has remained a staple for the design of the games. Over the years this has become easier than ever, with Game Freak implementing internet functionality and making trading and battling people from across the world convenient and quick. There have been a number of quality-of-life improvements added into their latest game that any long-time competitive battler would appreciate.

Pokemon Sun/Moon released in the same year as Pokemon Go and it wouldn’t be much of a stretch that the mobile game’s success helped Sun/Moon’s sales figures. It became the third best-selling game on the Nintendo 3DS console and many regarded it as a second wind for the 5 year old console. While these sales are definitely nothing to scoff at, the argument could be made that the hardware limited the potential of the game. It was clear that even the New 3DS (essentially a slightly more powerful 3DS) struggled to run the newest game, with frame drops being common anytime there were more than just two Pokemon on the screen. This last point is especially poignant when the competitive game mode for Pokemon is double-battles. This has an impact on how enjoyable of a game it is to watch, which in eSports, can be a big deal.

There are other issues with the game truly taking off in the eSports scene. While there is an extensive tournament system in place, the events aren’t always streamed for viewers. Even when they are, the competitions aren’t advertised enough to gain huge views. Those with their ear to the ground can keep up, but the more casual eSports viewer might not even realize that Pokemon has a World Championship. Of course, no reason compares to the biggest hurdle the game faces.

The bottom line is that Game Freak and the Pokemon Company don’t really care about making Pokemon into a major eSport, and they don’t really have much incentive either. The Pokemon brand makes plenty of money off of their trading cards, video games, and merchandise. Pumping more funding into the game’s competitive scene is quite a bit of risk for not a lot of reward. The game would have to compete with giants like League of Legends, Dota, and Hearthstone.

That being said, the game does have a healthy competitive scene. The Pokemon Company hosts world-wide tournaments for both video game and the card game competitors to partake in. Each tournament also has divisions for Juniors (11 years of age and below), Seniors (between the ages of 12 and 15) and Masters ( ages 16 and older). Each champion and the runner-ups receive a sizable sum of money in either cash or in the form of a scholarship. The tournament is designed to cater to those passionate about the game, regardless of age. Many competitors in the tournaments describe it as a highly rewarding experience where kids and young-adults alike make friends from across the globe. So while the game may never reach the levels of professional League of Legends or Dota, it certainly has its own niche within eSports. Even if massive fame-and-fortune don’t await those who put their blood, sweat and tears into the game, it will always be awesome and rewarding to finally become the very best. Like no one ever was.

Gaming

Raiden, the famous shmup series, will come back as a twin-stick shooter on PS5, PS4, and PC

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Raiden has a long and interesting history as a vertical shooter in arcades. However, the series is going to get a Super Stardust HD makeover, which means it will switch to a twin-stick format. It comes out in Japan on October 31. There’s no word yet on when it will come out in the West, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

A Gematsu translation of the game’s website says that the full version will have an arcade mode with up to six stages. There will also be an “Unlimited” option for people who want to be at the top of the rankings. It sounds like a pretty straightforward package in terms of what’s inside, but we think the action will be what makes it worth it.

There’s a trailer up top that should help you figure out what to expect. There are, however, different versions of Raiden 3, Raiden 4, and Raiden 5 that you can play right now on the PS5 and PS4, if you can’t wait for this game to come out in the West.

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Gaming

Bandai Namco and Nike designed Tekken 8 sneakers with tag-team designs

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Nike, the maker of high-quality shoes, is working with Bandai Namco, the company that makes the Tekken series, to make a pair of sneakers. The fun competition is part of the franchise’s 30th anniversary celebrations. You can get your own pair for $250 or the equivalent in your country, though they’ll probably be worth a lot more on the sneakerhead black market.

Two pairs of Tekken 8 x Nike Air Foamposite One Fist sneakers are set to come out in September 2024, according to shoe fan Sole Retriever (thanks, VGC). The designs are based on Kazuya and Jin, two main characters in the series. You can get them at Nike and some other stores. People who like hypebeasts and fighting games are likely to buy these quickly, so if you like Tekken and shoes that make people talk, you should probably act fast.

Should Bandai Namco and Nike work together? What do you think? Are you going to fight for your own pair? Make sure to take good care of your shoes and keep their value in the comments section below.

 

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Gaming

You can now preorder the official Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree strategy guide

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There will soon be a new book in Future Press’s Books of Knowledge series, which is FromSoftware’s officially licensed line of hardcover strategy guides. This will help players who are having trouble with Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree expansion. The base game came with two books, and now you can get the unholy trinity for $45 (or the equivalent amount in your currency). It will ship on September 30th.

Like the first two games, The Lands Between and Shards of Shattering, Shadow of the Erdtree is both a complete guide to how to play and a beautiful artbook with full-page pictures of enemies, landscapes, and weapons. This big book has 352 pages and is likely to sell out quickly, based on how quickly the ones that came before it did.

Do you know a lot about strategy guides? You could read the first two Books of Knowledge. If so, what did you think of them? Leave a comment below and let us know.

 

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