The Seamless Adventure

 

Preface

I have very fond memories of Pokemon. I grew up watching my brother play Pokemon Yellow, trying it out occasionally. Somehow, at such a young age, I was still able to figure out how to play. 

When I think of the beginning of Pokemon Blue, I wonder how it effectively taught me everything I needed to know in a way that was so integrated in the game world. So I started to play it and take notes. I tried to imagine I was creating the tutorial, and analysed everything assuming it had a very specific purpose. Essentially where the player can go, what they can interact with, and how the game guides them through it all. I will now do my best to explain how the frame by frame imagery teaches the player everything they need to know.

 

A Frame by Frame Analysis

The opening scene portrays a fight between two Pokemon of different sizes. One seems to dodge out of the way, get ready, then attack. This  foreshadows  the  battle system , without the player having to do anything.

The opening scene portrays a fight between two Pokemon of different sizes. One seems to dodge out of the way, get ready, then attack. This foreshadows the battle system, without the player having to do anything.

This next screen has you (the trainer) standing along side a Pokemon, which will then switch out for another one. This is implying that you will be  working with  these creatures and that you can  collect  a variety of them.  Additionally, the theme of "Blue" and displaying a water Pokemon first seems to be the designers trying to emphasize the concept of  different 'types'  of Pokemon. I believe also that selling two different versions of the same game, Red and Blue, was another subconscious way of getting the player to grasp that they might want to choose different colours/types of Pokemon, and that  some are better than others in certain situations . You're learning the core gameplay before you've even bought the game.

This next screen has you (the trainer) standing along side a Pokemon, which will then switch out for another one. This is implying that you will be working with these creatures and that you can collect a variety of them.

Additionally, the theme of "Blue" and displaying a water Pokemon first seems to be the designers trying to emphasize the concept of different 'types' of Pokemon. I believe also that selling two different versions of the same game, Red and Blue, was another subconscious way of getting the player to grasp that they might want to choose different colours/types of Pokemon, and that some are better than others in certain situations. You're learning the core gameplay before you've even bought the game.

The player is then introduced to the Pokemon professor. The professor acts as an  authority figure , which is a great decision considering the goal is to  get kids to read and process  what he's saying.

The player is then introduced to the Pokemon professor. The professor acts as an authority figure, which is a great decision considering the goal is to get kids to read and process what he's saying.

When the player is first shown in their room they are standing in front of a SNES, an interesting position that mirrors the player in real life. It's saying  "this is you, you're in control" . The player is given a large amount of space to learn the  basics of movement  and  interaction . The player is rewarded for interacting with the computer if they choose to do so, and this sets up how  the player is rewarded for exploration  throughout the game.

When the player is first shown in their room they are standing in front of a SNES, an interesting position that mirrors the player in real life. It's saying "this is you, you're in control". The player is given a large amount of space to learn the basics of movement and interaction. The player is rewarded for interacting with the computer if they choose to do so, and this sets up how the player is rewarded for exploration throughout the game.

After learning how stairs function and what they look like, you're introduced to your first  NPC  (non player character). Talking to your mom will give you dialog that  ushers you on  to the next area. The TV does the same.  The player will eventually step on the doormat which will instantly take them outside. The player now knows what connects the inside to the outside.

After learning how stairs function and what they look like, you're introduced to your first NPC (non player character). Talking to your mom will give you dialog that ushers you on to the next area. The TV does the same.

The player will eventually step on the doormat which will instantly take them outside. The player now knows what connects the inside to the outside.

The town around provides several opportunities to  try out these new mechanics  the player has learned. There are several signs and two NPCs that the player can interact with that  each give new knowledge  about the game world. Some of the knowledge includes that Pokemon can  grow and become stronger .  There are several elements such as the water that cuts into town, the barriers, and tall grass that  foreshadow future mechanics . Being exposed to these elements ensures that you’ll revisit the area when you have the new ability to traverse them.

The town around provides several opportunities to try out these new mechanics the player has learned. There are several signs and two NPCs that the player can interact with that each give new knowledge about the game world. Some of the knowledge includes that Pokemon can grow and become stronger.

There are several elements such as the water that cuts into town, the barriers, and tall grass that foreshadow future mechanics. Being exposed to these elements ensures that you’ll revisit the area when you have the new ability to traverse them.

The accessible grassy area acts as a funnel that leads out of town, so once the player has explored everything, they will likely try the grass next. Prof Oak's dialog and the sudden alert sums up the tall grass perfectly. It's a  dangerous place  where you can be  caught off guard  by  events/battles .

The accessible grassy area acts as a funnel that leads out of town, so once the player has explored everything, they will likely try the grass next. Prof Oak's dialog and the sudden alert sums up the tall grass perfectly. It's a dangerous place where you can be caught off guard by events/battles.

Next, the player is taken to Prof Oak's lab where they can  choose  between three Pokemon. Three to choose from seems like just the right amount of choice. This is the defining moment where  it feels like the player's adventure , and not one that everyone experiences.  The sprites of the Pokemon imply  diversity  of the different types, and having three sets up a nice  triangle of power . The player might realize that their rival takes the Pokemon with the better type advantage, implying that  they'll need to diversify  no matter what.

Next, the player is taken to Prof Oak's lab where they can choose between three Pokemon. Three to choose from seems like just the right amount of choice. This is the defining moment where it feels like the player's adventure, and not one that everyone experiences.

The sprites of the Pokemon imply diversity of the different types, and having three sets up a nice triangle of power. The player might realize that their rival takes the Pokemon with the better type advantage, implying that they'll need to diversify no matter what.

After choosing your Pokemon, you're immediately confronted by your rival to have a battle. This sequence sets up the  spontaneous appearances  your rival makes during the game. It is also the players first introduction to the  battle system .  The order in which the sprites appear is interesting. It starts with both trainers and  the amount of Pokemon  each is bringing into battle. This is easy to spot and understand as the player already knows both have only one Pokemon. It teaches the player they can have up to  five more to choose from  in battle. What follows is the  name, level, and health  of the  opposing Pokemon . Immediately following that is your own Pokemon and their health. While this is happening, the text in the bottom is  giving context  to the situation, like a narrator.

After choosing your Pokemon, you're immediately confronted by your rival to have a battle. This sequence sets up the spontaneous appearances your rival makes during the game. It is also the players first introduction to the battle system.

The order in which the sprites appear is interesting. It starts with both trainers and the amount of Pokemon each is bringing into battle. This is easy to spot and understand as the player already knows both have only one Pokemon. It teaches the player they can have up to five more to choose from in battle. What follows is the name, level, and health of the opposing Pokemon. Immediately following that is your own Pokemon and their health. While this is happening, the text in the bottom is giving context to the situation, like a narrator.

Finally, after the player has grasped the  details and context  of the fight, they come face to face with   the  battle system .   Four options  are available in this battle system.   Fight  will give them the option to explore two types of moves that make up the entire game, one dealing damage, the other inflicting a status effect.   Pokemon  will bring up the list of Pokemon, in which there will only be the one, but this inspires the notion of capturing and collecting other Pokemon.   Item  will show them their inventory which will be empty unless they have collected the Potion, which if they have, will give the player a sense of  pride  and  accomplishment  for having  explored  earlier.  Finally  Run  will prompt the message that "You can't run from a trainer battle!", which will inform the player that when they confront someone, they have to buckle up and  give it their all  because they can't simply run from the problem. This also imply's that they can run from wild Pokemon, even though they haven't experienced that yet.

Finally, after the player has grasped the details and context of the fight, they come face to face with the battle system.

Four options are available in this battle system.

Fight will give them the option to explore two types of moves that make up the entire game, one dealing damage, the other inflicting a status effect.

Pokemon will bring up the list of Pokemon, in which there will only be the one, but this inspires the notion of capturing and collecting other Pokemon.

Item will show them their inventory which will be empty unless they have collected the Potion, which if they have, will give the player a sense of pride and accomplishment for having explored earlier.

Finally Run will prompt the message that "You can't run from a trainer battle!", which will inform the player that when they confront someone, they have to buckle up and give it their all because they can't simply run from the problem. This also imply's that they can run from wild Pokemon, even though they haven't experienced that yet.

To be continued (maybe)