With the Vita a month away and the 3DS almost a year old, its time to officially declare this generation of handhelds over. With that, what better way of celebrating this end than by talking about the top five games of last generation. The Nintendo DS (Dual Screens) was released in 2004, and it pioneered proper touch screen controls for gaming, something Mobile gamers are taking advantage of now. The PSP (Playstation Portable) was released the following year. It didn’t feature any particular gimmicks like the DS, but made up for it by having substantially stronger hardware. Despite this advantage, the DS is the machine that dominated sales all last generation, which is unsurprising. You see, internet, Nintendo is the king of handhelds. There have been many competitors, but they have all failed miserably. Sony’s PSP is unique in that it is the first handheld competitor to not fail when up against Nintendo.
|Insert light side, dark side joke|
When reading this list it is important to note something. I am not including any ports or remakes or compilations. Some of the best PSP games include Persona 3 Portable, Tactics Ogre, and the Final Fantasy IV Collection, but these games are automatically disqualified for being remakes/ports. Only original games are included on the list, although I will accept a game that has been ported onto another system, as long as it originated with the handheld in question. So without further ado, lets begin the list with number 5.
5.) Pokemon Black/White (DS)
|Racists trying to white wash our proud black dragons|
Pokemon is THE handheld franchise. More than any other series, it is Pokemon that has time and time again showed the world the greatness of handheld gaming. Pokemon, for those of you without a childhood, is a game about catching, trading, training, and battling monsters that inhabit the world. You may notice that two games are listed here. This is because Pokemon games are released in twos in order to promote trading (Milk kids out of money). There were three main Pokemon games released on the DS: Pokemon Diamond/Pearl, Pokemon Heart Gold/Soul Silver (Stupid name), and Pokemon Black/White. Pokemon Black/White doesn’t just act as a stand-in for all of these Pokemon games. None of the others would make the list, only this game rises that high. I wouldn’t have included the other two on a top twenty list, so that tells you something of the quality here.
|Snivy knows he’s better than you|
The Pokemon series, like many popular series I might add, is criticized for being very formulaic. This criticism is valid. The game follows the exact same plot-line that every Pokemon game has followed since 1996. In exchange for having few surprises, Pokemon Black/White presents the most refined Pokemon game on the market. It is very difficult to go back to previous Pokemon games after playing Pokemon Black/White. The speed of combat and ease of use has never been better. Everything from battle, to trading has been streamlined in such a way that it is fun for anyone to jump right in, and the game rarely feels boring.
|I remember when you had to do this, and it royally sucked.
Also, I want those Gameboy Colors.
I have been playing Pokemon games since the original release of Red/Blue back in the Palaeolithic Age. Many Pokemon fans have followed the series this far. The problem with this is that we, as fans, become attached to a certain set of Pokemon (First 151, woo!) and don’t give the new additions a try. Pokemon Black/White doesn’t give you an option. They have created a whole new 150 Pokemon and old Pokemon are not available to be caught until you beat the game. This, for the most part, forces players to use these Pokemon exclusively. It helps that this set of new Pokemon is the best group Nintendo has put out since the original. There are very few duds, with most of the little monsters being totally usable in game.
|This is Garbodor, the garbage Pokemon… I did say there were a few duds.|
The primary adversary to the player in Pokemon Black/White is Team Plasma (Stupid name), a group of environmentalists that are trying to free Pokemon from their captivity. Yes, proof that Nintendo has heard the jokes about Pokemon battles being akin to cock fights. The funny thing is that these guys are portrayed as totally evil and nobody buys their message. Everyone just talks about the power of love and friendship that develops between Pokemon and their trainers. These are the same trainers that make their Pokemon fight endlessly until they faint, only to heal them and force them to fight some more. I’m just saying, I’ve been Pokemon trainering since the originals, and I’ve never been motivated by love. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, because Team Plasma IS evil. Their message is just a front. They want to get all of the trainers to release their Pokemon so they can steal them. This has got to be the most roundabout way of stealing there is, forcing someone to feel guilty about keeping their pet, so you can snatch it.
|Maybe if they didn’t dress like supervillains people would believe them.|
Despite Team Plasma being really ridiculous, Pokemon Black/White is just plain better than most games on the market. It has a battle system that is so simple a 5 year-old can enjoy it, but is, at the same time, so deep that adults can spend hours trying to fine-tune different aspects of their team. Trading is as fun as ever, and the new Pokemon make excellent additions to the growing roster. Even though it didn’t revolutionize anything, Pokemon Black/White stands above its DS brothers because it provides the deepest, most user friendly, streamlined Pokemon experience ever, and that counts for a lot.
|If you don’t love the game for me, then do it for Tepig.|
– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer