[A little note: I’m changing my tag strategy. I’ve been using them as I would categories before, but I’m going to change that.)
I’ve been playing Pokemon TCG for GBC for a while now, and it has kept me interested for quite a while now. The games consists of two parts: building decks and battling duelists. As a reward for winning duels you get cards which you can use to build better and different decks. Apart from a very few trading opportunities that is the entire game.
You move from gym to gym on a very simple overmap. You move the cursor over one of twelve locations, click ‘A’ and your character moves there. It surprised me how well this works. I find it almost blasphemous, but it feels almost superior to the core series – a series that has utterly shaped my view of games – since it allows for the more focused experience.
In the core series, you do get something similar once you’ve learnt ‘Fly’ and have visited all the Pokemon centers, but non-linearity that comes from having all these avenues open to begin with give the player more room to actually explore the core mechanic; the Pokemon games simply let you explore the world, which is not the core mechanic. However, it is far easier for the levelless TCG to be non-linear than the have-levels core series. I don’t think that’s a great problem though. If there are places available that you can’t win in yet, then so what; and it’d stop me getting frustrated as Erika keeps killing my Blastoise.
It is far too easy for me to state the superiority of TCG over the core series. I played them both when I was younger and it is the core series that has stuck with me and that I’m mad about, and stands as a giant statue in my dreams. Maybe it is because I am older now. Maybe it is because the core series has been diluted by sub-par sequels. I really appreciate this game and have had hours of fun with it since pick it up again.
However, I’m bored at it now. I’ve done everything to be done – although I still haven’t quite got all the cards, but I’m not a grinder so it’ll be put away for a while and perhaps when next I pick it up I’ll collect em all* – so it had to be at this time it has inspired me. I want to make a game with a thousand combinations, and I don’t care it it takes a whole week.
* Just read on Bulbopedia that you need to cardpop to get the last two cards. I’m not at the point where they were the only two cards I was looking for, so I’m not completely ashen-faced, but still it hurts.