I am going to give you a dramatic reveal: I am a Pokémon freak. I am in my mid-20s, and I own every single version of the North American releases. I buy the new generations, I beat the Champions, and God help me I trade with eight-year-olds over the Internet.
As much as it has seemingly becoming more socially-acceptable for gamers my age to enjoy an RPG made for children, there still lingers a sort of stigma from others. I'm not here to change minds or anything, but lately there seems to be an explosion in Pokémon-related material that you probably don't want to show your second-grader.
Adult gamers have a unique ability to take any children's property and warp it; yes, there are works of horrible depravity out there, but I'm not talking about that. I want to celebrate the creepy, the weird, and the downright hilarious side of adult Pokémon-fandom. There are some genuinely brilliant examples out there, and I am going to shove them in your face.
Pokémon Crystal, the Infamous Vietnamese Translation
For about the past two weeks, I have been following the recent craze involving a hilarious bootlegged translation of Pokémon Crystal. If you search out subject matter like this as much as I do, you already know what I'm talking about. For those silently scoffing to themselves, let's break it down.
The game was translated from its original Japanese into Chinese, Vietnamese, and finally into English. While this has made some of the text nigh-illegible, it has also made for some classically hilarious (and sometimes obscene) gameplay. For the most part, it's not so bad that the game is unplayable. The important things to remember are that Pokémon are now called Elfs,
None of the move names make any sense,
(Prize is supposed to be "Pound")
And every time you put a potion in your bag, you are greeted with this:
This translation was first called attention to me via the Something Awful Forums in a "Let's Play!" thread, but different sites around the Internet are hosting their own play-throughs, each with their own delightful colour commentary. If you are a fan of the unintelligible and downright obscene, please check this out. Subscribers to the Something Awful forums will be able to treat themselves to several submitted Volcano Bakemeat recipes!
Sometimes, Pokémon is Really Creepy
Longtime residents of the Internet are no doubt familiar with Creepy Pasta, compilations of stories ranging from silly campfire stories to genuine horror. Pokémon has seen its fair share of submissions, mostly involving haunted cartridges or hidden code.
Some of the most infamous are about Lavender Town, a location in the first games home to a Pokémon graveyard and a bit of a creepy tune. Others are simply different, darker perspectives on the story and games, and others yet are game hacks that people have compiled, serving as "haunted cartridges".
I will simply link to a few of my favourite stories. These stories tend to be quite lengthy, but well worth the read.
Lavender Town Tone - http://inuscreepystuff.blogspot.com/2010/08/lavender-town-tone-anecdote.html
Pokémon Black - http://inuscreepystuff.blogspot.com/2010/08/pokemon-black.html (Note: This is about a black Pokémon Generation 1 cartridge, not the recently released DS game)
People Do Really Cool Arts
One of the coolest things I have seen pop up are collections several artists have made of realistically-drawn Pokémon. They can sometimes fall into the creepy range, but on the whole, the perspective and sheer talent some artists have put into their drawings is really pretty awesome, even to the non-Pokémon connoisseur.
I was pointed out today to Gavin Mackey's DeviantArt profile, which features his interpretations of various Pokémon. For a game based on fantasy mash-ups between (animal) and (object/food), these pieces are genuinely cool.
And finally, my personal favourite: a collection of the first 251 Pokémon done in a traditional Japanese art style. Even to non-fans, they are beautifully done Japanese monsters. Found here:
Several more examples by many talented artists are floating around out there, and I encourage fans of both Pokémon and video game-inspired artwork to hunt them down.