Top Ten: Pokémon Spin-Offs

We rank the ten best Pokémon spin-off games!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 10/08/2013 09:00 2 Comments     ShareThis

2) Pokémon Snap

Released: 1999
Nintendo 64

When I was a kid, I was of the opinion that Pokémon was totally not cool and refused to acknowledge myself as a fan. My younger sister, on the other hand, loved everything Pokémon, but the games in particular fascinated her to no end. When Pokémon Snap arrived on Nintendo 64, I couldn’t help but be sucked in, too, as I watched her zip along through each stage snapping pictures. The allure of Snap is undeniable, despite its odd premise. Players were cast as Pokémon photographer Todd Snap, who Professor Oak handpicked to take photos of wild Pokémon for a research project. Professor Oak sends Todd to a remote location called Pokémon Island to take these pictures, using a buggy called the Zero-One to safely explore the terrain. Players took pictures from a first-person view, and each photo was scored based on how close and clear it was. Progression in Snap is similar to games like Metroid, where the player acquires items during gameplay that require backtracking to reach previously obscured or hidden Pokémon.

It’s hard to put a finger on a specific element that makes Snap so great. There was the thrill of seeing so many beloved Pokémon rendered in 3D, running around the screen and being mischievous. There was also the sense of satisfaction gained from figuring out how to make a Pokémon pop out into the open or turn around to be photographed. Ultimately, the biggest appeal of Snap is how much the game inserted the player into the world of Pokémon. Sitting in the Zero-One snapping photos felt almost real, as though it was possible to just reach out and touch a Slowbro sitting near the water, or pat Pikachu on his head while he scampered around. Snap is a unique video game experience that captures everything special about Pokémon and is a joy to play.

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