Growing up, I had a red Little Tikes wagon that I simply adored. Throughout the years, after the harsh midwestern winter, we’d pull the wagon out, clean it, and it’d be ready for a season of warm-weather play. Over the years, I became preoccupied with other things and I stopped playing with my red wagon but I always was comforted by the fact that I could still play with it, if I wanted to. One year, I declared that I was going to use my wagon come springtime and my mother said, “you won’t fit.” But I didn’t believe her. So when springtime came, I went to get the wagon and realized, “oh shit I’m too big for this.”
I kept that wagon for a few more years. I knew that I had outgrown it but the wagon was mine and I loved it and I didn’t want to give it up. So when I eventually did, I wasn’t expecting to feel good about it. But I did. It was nice to think that some other kid would get to play with my beloved toy. It was very Toy Story 3.
You might be wondering why I just regaled you with a story about a red wagon in an article about Pokemon but consider this, what happens if the wagon were the Pokemon series?
It’s been very wild to watch adults speak about Pokemon as though it is for them. They have even gone so far as to review bomb the Let’s Go games over on Metacritic. It’s a game about 10 year olds running around without parental supervision doing the fantasy equivalent of dog fighting with none of the grim dark elements that probably should accompany such a narrative. It’s a game modeled after a children’s cartoon modeled after a game.
From the merchandising to the creative direction in the games themselves it seems quite obvious that Pokemon is meant for children. There’s a stronger case for this considering that many of the adult fans of Pokemon grew up with it. But there’s a group of adults who are disgusted when Gamefreak creates Pokemon games for their intended audience.
They’re adults who have loved the series for a long time but are now growing out of it. And as the series continues to change to fit the new generation of children, these adults feel pushed out. And golly gee are they ever mad about it. But I don’t think their anger is necessarily malicious (except when it is.) It comes from a lack of introspection.
To go back to the wagon, because I didn’t use it every year, I’m not 100% sure exactly when I outgrew it. So I didn’t realize I had when I went to get the wagon out of storage. Over a long span of time there was theoretically a moment when I became too big for it but I wasn’t conscious of the moment.
Similarly, these Pokemon fans have grown out of Pokemon. But if you asked them when, they would say, “I haven’t grown out of Pokemon, cuck.” Because they aren’t conscious of the exact moment when they stopped finding Pokemon fun. But that doesn’t mean it never happened.
Right now we have a lot adults who have outgrown Pokemon wondering why Pokemon hasn’t grown up with them. While they could play other series more suited to their needs they hyper focus on one they no longer have fun with.
In other words the question they ask is, “why hasn’t the wagon gotten larger to accommodate me?” And maybe that’s a worthwhile question to ask. But maybe that energy would be better spent on buying a car.