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Veteran Member - Level 11
Chess...is an amazing game. It's hard to fathom the original
incarnation of chess dates back to the 6th century and the revised
version we know today was created around the 15th century. We talk
about being gamers today, but truly there have been gamers since the earliest
days of civilization.
With only 64 squares arranged in an 8 by 8 grid and only 32
pieces in play, 16 pieces per player, it's amazing how much time and strategy goes
into playing the game. There are limited possibilities each turn, yet players
can spend minutes upon minutes contemplating their strategy and what each move
and possible subsequent moves are the wisest. If you play only considering the
immediate move the match will probably be a short one. One wrong move can be
the difference between victory and defeat - every possibility has to be
If you play chess, chances are you have had some very tense
moments. You know the ones...you move your piece considering the ramifications of
your movement, not releasing your grip on your piece until you're absolutely
sure it's the move you want to make. And even when you finally let go of your
piece, there is that moment of hope...hope you didn't make a stupid move and miss
Chess is a classic. Hard to compare it to a modern era video
game, yet there are some similarities. They're both generally played as a
source of entertainment. There is a winner and loser (and sometimes a
stalemate, or draw). And strategy can often be a big part of game play
ultimately influencing the outcome.
When you think of strategy as it relates to video games,
what do you think of?
Many might immediately think of Real Time Strategy (RTS)
games, since clearly strategy is a vital component for that genre. We hear
terms like Zerg Rush and Turtling - both are types of strategy. I tend to play
a lot of shooters, and strategy can even come into play in these games.
Sometimes the strategy is as simple as choosing a particular weapon or occupying
a certain spot on the map. Other times the strategy is complex, requiring the
team work and coordination you'd expect out of a military operation.
Of all the games I've ever played or watched someone else
play, I don't know that I have ever seen one requiring the amount of strategy
that Pokémon does. Now, before the fans of the series start asking me questions
or challenging me to a battle...AND...before the haters of the series ridicule my
mention of the game and demand I surrender my gamer card, let me at least make
a few comments about the game.
I know nothing about Pokémon.
Oh sure, I could probably tell you the name of two or three
of them, but that's about the extent of it.
I know there are different types, but can't tell you any of
Oh sure, I could probably guess a few like Earth Wind and
Fire (that's a joke for the old people).
I know there are different moves and attacks, but I can't
tell you any of them.
And that's...the truth.
So if I know nothing about the game, how do I claim it's an
exceptional strategy game?
Ah, because even though I know none of the things mentioned
above, my son does.
He knows all of the Pokémon; he knows all of the types; and
he knows all of their attacks.
Don't ask me where he learned it from, because I sure didn't
teach it to him. He plays the game online with real life opponents, and does
rather well. Don't ask which version or color or anything like that, because I
have no idea what any of that means. But I have watched his battles on a number
of occasions because I'm fascinated with his ability to predict what his
opponents are going to do. Maybe this is nothing to brag about - maybe it's
something all good Pokémon players are capable of. Or maybe he is an amazing
There is a lot of strategy (and a lot of luck) that goes
into planning and conducting a Pokémon battle.
Even before the match begins the strategy starts. Even if
you know nothing about Pokémon it's fairly easy to comprehend different types
of Pokémon means there will be some advantages and disadvantages when certain
types encounter other types. But when you consider building a team with all
different types of Pokémon, and then picking their movements and attacks, the
possibilities and complexities are seemingly endless; certainly a lot more
challenging options than a game of chess. At least in chess you know how many
pieces there are and what they are capable of.
While watching my son engage in a Pokémon battle, he always
seems to narrate his strategy to me...and I'm amazed at how often he can predict
his opponents move and prepare a counter attack well before it even happens. He
doesn't just anticipate what moves his opponent is going to make - he anticipates
what move they're expecting him to make. But, they take that into consideration
and adjust, and then he does too...and before you know it...he's several levels
deep trying to predict what they're going to do next. And usually does.
I know most gamers (I certainly
didn't) probably don't think of Pokémon as a "strategic" game - some might even
consider it a kids game, but I don't know if that's a fair assessment. If you're
at all interested in a tactical game forcing you to try and predict your
opponent's next move and you're looking for something a little different than
chess, I wouldn't necessarily discount Pokémon without trying it first. You
might just learn how complex the game really is and how a good strategy can
almost guarantee victory.
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War
I never really considered myself a strong strategic player, but I'm quickly learning the importance a good plan, solid tactics and knowing as much about my adversary as I do my self. I'd like to think playing chess helped with that, but I know overseeing some Pokemon battles also had an impact.