Musing: Black people in Pokémon? Witchcraft!

So yeah. I bought Pokemon Y after careful deliberation with my lady friend over who gets what version. We actually decided on our usual manner: what legendary do we prefer. Funny how we didn’t take the chromosome thing into account and I picked Y anyway.

Pokemon-X-Y-Artwork
More importantly, this is a bold step forward for Pokemon. There has always been Gym Leaders that looked suspiciously ethnic, but as a whole the entire world has been white bread static. Playing through Y I realize that has changed. Much like the game itself, flavor has been poured into it giving the familiar formula a surprisingly crisp bite.

original

Funny. I said the same thing about you.

You start up the game and the Professor of the generation is a snazzy French fellow, Professor Sycamore. He has some real je ne sais quoi compare to the former Pokemon Professors. He has a great deal of character to him, ethnic character beyond marring his dialogue to having a French accent.

He promptly smashes this by asking (in character) are you a boy or a girl.  I laugh every time.

15-pokemon-x-y-13

Apparently people of all creeds and sexes don’t know how sunglasses work.

But then a miracle happens. You get to choose to have your main character have some pigment. I rejoiced at this, being a young black male that loves Pokémon, I hated that my avatar was a dopey white-kid in a hat. The hat stays (please patch this Nintendo), and as insult when you get a haircut you get a brief look at how cool your kid would be if not for the damned thing.

So there’s no face customization and only three haircuts, but it is a start. The real amazing thing is the diversity of the NPCs. The art has evolved to show a European atmosphere as it exists today. This is the true gem of the game beyond the divine blessing of rollerblades and the quick keys.

Pokemon-X-and-Y-big

Even in the official art you can see my point.

I highly recommend anyone getting this for your little ones for this reason alone. Forward thinking from a traditional company like Nintendo makes me a happy panda.

8 thoughts on “Musing: Black people in Pokémon? Witchcraft!

  1. I am itching to get my paws on these two games. I like the fact that you can choose your skintone as I am really pale. :3 Good stuff! Enjoy!

    • Yeah, it goes both ways of course. The best thing about this step is the message of diversity. It is a bit odd you can’t change your hair color at the start, but it is an option once you get to the first major city. Thanks for reading.

  2. *raises eyebrow* Is it just me, or do things look a little…different around here?

    Well, anyway, Pokemon. You say “witchcraft”? I say “the devil’s work”. This franchise has got to be the most addictive product in the known universe, no contest. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the day a full-fledged Pokemon MMO is released is the day society comes to a complete halt.

    I know the games’ dark allure. Black was the first game I ever owned for myself, and I played it to the point of physical exhaustion; I was falling asleep and then waking up to the sight of my warrior otter awaiting my next attack. So I’ve pretty much banned myself from ever playing another game, at least until I learn proper impulse control.

    Buuuuuuuuuuuut as long as you’re having fun with it, that’s great. I hear there’s been some streamlining of a few of the game’s sticking points, so I’d assume it’s easier for you to get back into the fun. Also? You made the right choice by going with Y; Yveltal is pretty friggin’ impressive — almost scary — if you ask me.

    • Style over substance I suppose. Many of the changes make it feel less ‘hardcore’ so I don’t have the obligation to devote my undivided attention to it. Couple that with a new sense of identity for the trainer and it’s a winning formula.

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