The classic Nintendo 64 game is ripe for a sequel!
The year is 1999. You're a child and your family has decided to make a trip to Blockbuster, a blue-and-yellow titan that, at this point, is mostly filled with VHS tapes of She's All That and The Matrix. You think "Perfect, I'll just grab my copy of Pokémon Snap because I really need to get these shots of Charizard printed." So you get your cartridge, and one car ride later where your Mom explains that YOU CAN ONLY PICK ONE MOVIE JUST ONE, you're making your way past the candy and the soda and the leftover toys from the 1998 Godzilla and you're at the official Pokémon Snap kiosk, where you can get pictures that you've taken in the game printed out as stickers.
Now, in 2019, some of that seems absolutely archaic. You'd bring a Nintendo 64 cartridge to a video rental place to print out stickers? It sounds like the entertainment equivalent of old-timey medical advice like "Just put a drop on the end of the feverish baby's tongue and let the whiskey fight the flu." But in 1999, all of the effort was worth it because Pokémon Snap was, and still is to this day, one of the most fun experiences that the Pokémon brand has ever given to us. Also, I looked it up, and there were sticker stations in 4,500 locations. I did this mainly to prove that they were real and not just the coma dream that I would've had if I'd hit my head in a Blockbuster in the late 90s.
And I bring all of this up because, on the twentieth anniversary of Pokémon Snap, we're still waiting for a sequel. But, just in case you've never played it or you clicked on this article thinking "P-O-K-E-M-O-N? That's a fun combination of letters!", Pokémon Snap was a game where you were tasked by Professor Oak (who is apparently a freelance photography critic when he's not forgetting his own grandson's name) to snap some pictures of a bunch of the wildlife on Pokémon Island. You hop into a little cart called the Zero-One and you explore the island, watching Pokémon run around and hoping that they stay still long enough for you to get a shot of them that will please godking Oak.
It was ridiculously fun and breezy and was the middle section of the Pokémon Holy Triumvirate of games that was begun with the original round of Game Boy entries (Red, Blue, and Yellow,) and rounded out with Pokémon Stadium a few months later. Legend has it that if you collected all of these games, you would unlock the secrets of space and time OR you would just be the most awesome kid in the neighborhood. Equal chance of either happening.
But when I ask "Hey Nintendo, how about another game?" know that this isn't just a random request. I'd like a sequel to just about everything I enjoy, be it video games, movies or hot dogs. But it's been twenty years and knowing how Nintendo feels about Pokémon sequels (They love them if you haven't noticed, and we'll be getting Pokémon games long after man has gone extinct), it just seems a little weird that we haven't gotten one yet. And sure, we got a re-release for the Wii and the Wii-U's Virtual Console, but for a game that sold so well and so many people feel nostalgic for, you'd think that we'd at least hear rumors of a sequel floating about.
Even Junichi Masuda, who's been a producer and director of the Pokémon series for nearly twenty years, has basically said that if Nintendo wants to make a Pokémon Snap 2: Infinity War or whatever, he's not gonna stand in their way. And aside from the fact that a Pokémon Snap 2 would be a perfect fit for the Nintendo Switch hardware and would be a great way to introduce newer Pokémon to the next generation of trainers, it would also bring literal dumptrucks' worth of cash to Nintendo.
But most importantly, it would probably be super fun. One of the best things about the original Pokémon Snap was all the little secrets. You could make the Jigglypuff mad with the PokeFlute. You could form a Magneton if you lured the Magnemite together with apples. You throw an apple at Charmeleon so it falls into the lava pit and turns into Charizard (Ya know, looking back on that last one, that's kinda mean and a REAL gamble. Like how did we know that would work out? Just because it's a Fire type Pokémon? You wouldn't walk up to a Lapras and be like "Oh, an Ice type, you say? Well, how would you like this avalanche falling directly onto you? I bet you'd enjoy it, seeing as my attempted manslaughter of that Charmeleon failed in the best of ways.")
I know that, in 2019, you'd probably be able to watch YouTube tutorials for finding and performing most of these "secrets" less than a day after the game is released. But the joy in Pokémon Snap didn't just come from knowing that you COULD do stuff, but from being able to pull it off yourself. You'd hear from your friends about these amazing feats that sounded like the perfect combination of skill and luck and then you'd go home and try it for yourself. Whereas the Pokémon main series games have usually been about catching your own teams, training your own 'mons, forging your own path, and then trading and battling with people, Snap was a purely solo game that was instantly communal. Yes, it mostly just ended with the island being full of tossed apples, but as soon as the Zero-One started down the track and those Pidgey flew in the way, you and your friends were on a quest to uncover everything.
And I would love if Pokémon fans in 2019 could recapture even a sliver of that feeling. It didn't have the stakes of becoming "the greatest trainer" or "catching them all," but it was a fun way to explore another facet of the Pokémon world that hasn't been touched on enough since, well, Pokémon Snap. And while it's probably too late for Blockbuster or sticker stations or all of those toys left over from the 1998 Godzilla, it's not too late for Pokémon Snap 2.
Did you play Pokémon Snap? What was your favorite secret? Would you want a sequel? Let us know in the comments!
Daniel Dockery is a writer and editor for Crunchyroll. You can follow him on Twitter.
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