Prepare for trouble and make it double! March 14, 2010 was the launch date of the new Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver games on Nintendo DS, remakes of the 1999 original Gold and Silver games on Game Boy Color. For those who thought ahead of time and had a Reservation Card, Target was giving away gift cards per game, as well as Lugia and Ho-oh collectible figurines. For once daylight-saving time was actually welcomed in my home, as it meant I would get to play the new games one hour earlier. After several hours of anticipation and strategic decision making (“I’ll buy Gold if you let me play your Silver later…”), I finally had a copy in my very own hands. Pokémon HeartGold was my game choice and I am happy to say that it combines old-school Pokémon antics with some updated adventures.
As a new trainer, your journey in HeartGold and SoulSilver is pretty identical to the one back in 1999. Not too much has changed since the original Gold and Silver story—granted you don’t mess with the best. The new format is up to date and now any Pokémon can follow you, but the underlying basis still involves traveling to gyms and inevitably trying to halt the evil plans of Team Rocket (They’re blasting off again!). Pokémasters can now travel to the elusive Safari Zone and use the new Pokéathlon game feature. Pick your three favorite Pokémon to play in a set of mini-games on the Nintendo DS touch screen utilizing the wireless feature to play against friends.
With yet two more versions of Pokémon game play, Nintendo had to do something to capture our interest—introducing the Pokéwalker. Basically a glorified pedometer, the Pokéwalker allows you to upload a Pokémon and then bring it around with you as you walk. Walking earns watts, which let you level up your existing Pokémon and catch new ones. Game enthusiasts can train Pokémon while getting their daily amount of exercise—or if you are like me, you can simply attach the Pokéwalker to your dog. Believe me, it works exactly the same.
The Pokéwalker peripheral is the fundamental piece of the HeartGold and SoulSilver launch. If you happened to be in New York City yesterday, perhaps you even saw giant Pikachu footprints around Broadway Plaza, celebrating the release of the game. Festivities were in full swing as Pokéfans followed Pika’s trail (pedometer in hand) around Times Square, ending up at the Toys ‘R’ Us. Such an anticipated launch couldn’t have come at a better time for gaming giant Nintendo and the Pokémon craze. Ten years since the original Gold/Silver has left fans craving more, and the timing of such a combination invites both new fans and old Pokémaniacs. Pokémon truly cross generational gaps—after all who doesn’t love a cute Pikachu or a cuddly Jigglypuff?