Pokemon Diamond or Pearl
Rated E for Everyone
Score: 5 out of 5
Players: 1-8 (1-4 in battle)
What can I say? I'm 37 and I love these pokemon games. I find them highly addictive. I played Ruby until I won, which took tens of hours. I'm well on my way towards logging that with Diamond. Today I noticed that I've played 10 hours to date. I don't know what it is exactly, but the combination of exploration, puzzle solving, and turn based combat is fun. I also think that maybe the relationship between trainer and pokemon, in otherwords, my odd affection for my pokemon, is another thing that draws me in. I also love how everyone I battle says something like "prepare to lose" or "you're so weak this isn't even a challenge" and then I wipe the mat with them.
When you start your adventure in Sinnoh, you choose between 3 pokemon, Turtwig, Chimchar or Piplup. I chose a Turtwig and named him Turdwiggle. Today, he turned level 20 and between his Razor Leaf and Absorb he can beat the crap out of anyone. There are over 100 new pokemon such as Munchlax, Weavile, Lucario, Mime JR, Bonsly, and more. You pick whether you want your character to be a boy or a girl, then find and train pokemon, which really means you battle, earn experience, and teach new more effective moves to your pokemon. You travel from town to town and battle with Gym Leaders to advance. There's also a storyline about Team Galactic who wants to control the universe.
There are some really cool and innovative features that make use of the DS as a platform. The absolute coolest is the ability to battle against worldwide opponents using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. I've beaten the crap out of many 8 year old Japanese boys over the past few weeks. But wait, there's more: you can use the microphone and speakers to chat with your opponent which makes trash talking a lot of fun (I try to keep it clean - this is pokemon, not hockey).
Another cool feature is using the DS's internal clock to keep track of night and day. It's sort of interesting to be playing at 7pm and have the sun set. Visually, the game looks great for pokemon, which means that it's no artistic wonder. The other thing is the Poketch which is like software that runs within the game on your DS turning into a clock or a calendar. Hey Nintendo, while you're at it how about an address book and a calendar? Also, once you capture every pokemon in the pokedex you gain the ability to import your best pokemon from Ruby or Sapphire. I can't wait!
Pokemon Diamond does not disappoint. If you're a pokemon fan you really need to get this game and play it. If you don't like pokemon then don't play it. I personally, cannot put this one down.
I think also that pokemon teaches good lessons to children. In particular, it teaches children about the bonds that they can build with pets. The love between a trainer and a pokemon is a very healthy thing. I also appreciate the way that violence takes place in a controlled environment (the battle) rather than a game where a kid would run around and attack people on the street. I think that separation is very important in teaching children when and where violence is appropriate. And violence is more than approprate when you're squared up on some loser's Wurmple.