Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire – At Long Last

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So unless you’ve been living under a rock Pokémon for the past week, you’ve probably heard that Nintendo have announced there will be a remake version of the 3rd generation, Ruby and Sapphire – known now as Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. And, if you’re not really a Pokéfan (well that’s madness) you’re probably wondering why the heck this is such a big deal. They release a new Pokémon game every other year, Black and White, Black and White 2, X and Y, they’ve all come and gone and gamers never nearly grew so incensed. Well, as someone who fell off their chair in shock at the announcement of the game, and continued to sit on the floor, too excited to stand – I’ll tell you why it’s so important.

Ever since the concept that Nintendo could remake classic games came to pass, in Fire Red and Leaf Green, revamps of the original two Pokémon games, all we’ve ever wanted is more of them. Forget new ones, forget sequels or prequels, we didn’t really care about them. For our generation, those who played the original 3 generations (so most of the 90’s kids) Pokémon was our childhood. It was the coolest thing in school, the best show on television and the greatest game in history.

It’s the nostalgic love that brings us back to preferring the old games rather than the new ones. We do it with every franchise. Oh sure Call of Duty: Ghosts was great, but it was never as good as the first one! And Pokémon is no exception. We want what we know is good and we know we love, and Ruby and Sapphire was one of the best of the generations. If you just look through the wide web of the internet, you can see the online proof of this desperate want for the game’s rebirth. Memes, blogs, articles, pictures, artwork, fan fictions, it’s everywhere! People want their games remade and made better. And at last, after 10 long, agonizing, awful years of uncertainty, after suffering through Diamond and Pearl, Nintendo finally delivered us our gaming dream.

That, young trainer, is why this is such a big deal.

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Ruby and Sapphire were the 3rd games and 3rd generation of the Pokémon franchise, which means by then, the series had truly come into its stride, and they knew what was needed to make a successful game. They were not amateurs, and they had learned what we consumers craved for in their world. Nintendo had become kings. Ok, maybe that’s a step too far, but you get the point, this was a stage in the series’ progress where they were no longer in that stage of uncertain, vulnerable newness, nor the further stage in which the series made too much of itself, drowned in money and fame, and lost its way. Ruby and Sapphire were the perfect balance.

One of the things I loved about the game, is that it was one of the few that actually stood out. Why? Because it didn’t follow the generic “Team” crew, as many of the games do, it instead took an entirely different route, and managed to tell a story that was interesting, new and unique – something that has not happened within Nintendo for a very, very long time. Of course, it starts with a professor and a trio of balls (well that sounds disturbing out of context) as per usual, and sending off an under-age child with a potentially dangerous killer creature. Oh the days before health and safety, we miss you so.

That is no different from the others. But, later on, as you travel through Gym battles as normal, the story drives off a different route, and you follow, intrigued. You meet not one Team, but two. Team Magma, and Team Aqua. These separate cults of sorts, bound by religious and superstitious piety, each seek to make the world a better place. But, Team Magma seek to do this by creating more land, to allow more Pokémon and people to expand. And Aqua dream of the opposite, of a world engulfed by the sea, where the natural beauty of the ocean is accepted and at peace. Of course, these two teams cannot agree.

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So, it’s up to you, very nosey and intrusive trainer, 10 years old and inexperienced, to stop them for some reason. Logic was clearly hit by the Disable move in this. But that aside, you take part. The leaders of Team Aqua and Magma need a certain magical orb in order to obtain the power to do as they please, orbs that belong to the 2 legendary Pokémon, Kyogre and Groudon. They hunt down these 2 allusive and rare creatures, steal their precious orbs, and set the world in uproar. I mean come on guys, they’re legendary! They’re not going to put up with your thievery without a fight!

A storm brews up and threatens to destroy Hoenn. And so, taking to the mystical Cave of Origin, you must battle and catch the legendary Pokémon (Kyogre or Groudon, depending on which game you have) in order to stop its rampage. From there, the world is safe, and you have a nice little legendary all tucked up and ready to use. The reason I find this story so unique compared to the others is that it involves greater themes than just Giovanni and his quest for riches and power, it incorporates religious belief, prophecy, even magical elements in the power of the orbs. It’s not just your basic “take over the world” evil plot line, it follows so much more.

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For me, or for my age group in general, Ruby and Sapphire were the generation that I first took seriously. Being too young for the past two and too old for following others, this was the game that grabbed me, the game that made Pokémon for me. So, I can’t wait to get back into the game that made me the anti-social loser gaming nerd I am today. Oh happy memories. Also it will be in 3D – and that’s just awesome. 

I’m excited to see what Nintendo will add to this game – elements from X and Y, mega evolutions, epic graphics – who knows! They could add so much in, like the Wonder Trade or Pokémon Amie, even roller skates! But so long as the remnants of my special game is still there, I’ll love it, and I’ll play it long hours into the night. Better find a HM for Flash so I can still play in the dark.

Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are due for release this November – time to start the countdown.