Next Level

Writing Prompt: 100 years from now, The Pokemon Company takes their creation to the next level. They open their first genetically-engineered Pokemon park.

It shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise, considering the World we live in, ever thirsting for that bitter-sweet taste of nostalgia. It was a better time. Some might have said. It was a simpler time.

Year after year technology was fast outgrowing us, humanity. It was a considered fact that most of the population spent more time online, or in some way connected to the wider World of gaming and social media, than they did actually connecting with reality, and with each other.

Many of the corporations from the early rising years of technology felt responsible for this online epidemic, and so they had come together, one and all, to rectify the mistakes of the present day.

Street Fighter – by Capcom;

Capcom started with something simple, nothing too ambitious. A fighting game, one they could alter to bring a new sense of immersion and connectivity to a World that was severely lacking such things. It required the construction of massive arenas, the bio-engineering of insane monstrosities, and capital enough to convince those few remaining real World fighting champions that this was a project worth backing.

“Imagine it, crowds in their thousands, no tens-of-thousands, coming from across the globe to see you. To watch our World’s greatest fighters pit themselves against some of gaming’s most legendary warriors. You will be paid, handsomely, and should you die (which is very likely when faced with those such as Blanka, Balrog or Dhalsim) then your families, or your next of kin, will be sufficiently compensated.”

They were talking multi-billion pound contracts payable on death. It was impossible to say no.

And it worked. The first Contest of Champions far exceeded even the media’s grossly over-confident estimations (can I get a fake news up in here). Half a million live viewers, eighteen times that number streaming, it was a start, and it was enough to convince other majors developers to invest in what would then be known as Real World Gaming Events.

Mario Kart 64 – Nintendo;

Following Capcom’s success Nintendo wanted to bring back into reality a broader spectrum of players. It was all well an good inviting people to watch Real World Gaming events, but what about getting them to participate, to play. Street Fighter succeeded in opening people’s minds to the idea, but its player base was limited. Championship Worthy Fighters only. Mario Kart however…

Several years were spent reshaping vast areas of land into the perfect race tracks. New York City became Toad’s Turnpike, the towering, sky-scraper buildings a perfect backdrop for the night long races. Mauna Loa, one of the five volcanoes that form the island of Hawaii, was used as a centre piece for Bowser’s Castle, tripling tourism to this already incredibly popular location. The Amazon was saved from ultimate destruction when Nintendo purchased the land, labeling it the perfect location for DK’s Jungle Parkway. Real World Gaming was doing some Real World Good.

When the tracks were finally opened half the World was there to watch. In just four short weeks the average time spent in front of a screen had halved Worldwide, and the average time spent go-karting had increased by a factor of seven thousand percent.

Nintendo had this to say: “We are in the business of making games, games that will elicit joy in the people. Our intention is to create happiness, to bring together people from all backgrounds, and to have them partake in one universally enjoyable experience. Gaming has been, and will continue to be, an aid to a better tomorrow. Now more than ever as we step away from behind our screens and begin again to re-experience life. Life in all of its glory. The possibilities of where Real World Gaming can take us are truly limitless.”

Pokemon – by Game Freak;

Long considered among the most popular games of all time, it wouldn’t take long for Game Freak to begin work on bringing Pokemon Red and Blue to the now global phenomenon that was Real World Gaming. This was one of the most difficult re-creations of any game seen to date. Years before release scientists slaved away, genetically engineering real-life Pokemon. They started simple, evolving creatures with essentially the same base elements as their Pokemon counter part.

Squirtle – the evolutionary bio-product of a turtle (I know, it was truly ground breaking…). Butterfree was a short step up the food chain from the common butterfly. Pidgey, a pigeon. Rattata, a rat. Zubat, a bat. Meowth, a cat. You get the idea. The issues came when they tried to create such Pokemon as Machop, Abra, Gastly and Voltorb. The solution was a not-so-obvious mixture of creatures with physical similarities to the Pokemon and then a dash of DNA spliced together to produce the required otherworldly attributes. For example making Ponyta look like a pony was easy, then setting the pony on fire? This required engineering a non-flammable exterior skin and implementing a form of hazard-controlled-burning to Ponyta’s mane and tail.

It was a long process, but the end result was incredible.

Upon the opening of the first Pokemon Park the entire World was watching, at least thirty percent of the population had gathered at the Park’s secret location, creating what would forever hold the record of the World’s Longest Queue. And it was everything we’d expected. Small to start, but with the promise of creating entire islands dedicated to the capture, training and competing of Pokemon (gym badges and leaders sold separately – well, these corporations had to make a living somehow, and there was bound to be a form of in-game purchasing).

These creators had presented players, and the World at large, with a reason to go outside, a reason to peel back their virtual masks of unreality and to truly enjoy life beyond the screen.

Copyright © K R Perry 2019

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