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Pokemon Generation 2 and the passage of time

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Y’know I’ve been replaying Heartgold and Soulsilver recently and can we just talk about how the generation 2 pokemon games center around the theme of “the passage of time”. Think about it. The primary conflict in the game is that you’re trying to stop Team Rocket from regaining their former glory from the past. They’re trying to reclaim the past even though they should’ve moved on after they disbanded three years prior. Not only that but the post game allows you to revisit Kanto which allows you see how much it has changed in the three years since you left it. You get to see how the passage has effected it. The final boss of the game is also you from generation 1. The final test against yourself to see how much you’ve improved since the past game. Hell if you wanna zoom in even more on the game’s mechanics. GSC were also the first games to introduce a day/night cycle as well as daily/weekly events where the player has to wait for time to pass in order for certain events to occur. You can even see this with stuff like Kurt’s poke balls where you give him a apricorn and you have to wait for time to pass in order for stuff like berries to respawn. Everything in this game centers around how the passage of time affects the people and world around. It’s food for thought at least.

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To add to this theme, there's also Celebi, who can literally travel through time.

What you've pointed out is pretty much right in the player's face the whole time, but I never really noticed it! Thanks for sharing!

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I usually don't overthink things, but I will say I did like Team Rocket in Gen 2. It suffers, particularly in the original GSC, from lacking a charismatic face, but the premise of a fallen organization trying to regain its footing was different from what I think Pokemon has done since (barring BW2????). And unlike some other instances, this isn't "well you killed our all-destroying Dark God the first time, but good luck when when we bring them back for a second time!", Team Rocket is leaning on the defensive outside of the Radio Tower takeover and it never gets its charismatic mafia boss back.

I did like the implementation of time in GSC, though I was also a little impatient with some of the stuff. If Pokemon had a stronger passive narrative/world-building presence in Gens 1 and 2, then I'd have liked to see how the changes over time could've played out.

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1 hour ago, indigoasis said:

To add to this theme, there's also Celebi, who can literally travel through time.

What you've pointed out is pretty much right in the player's face the whole time, but I never really noticed it! Thanks for sharing!

Also if you wanna look at it from another angle. This theme is actually also shown in the contrast between how Kanto and Johto are constructed as regions as well as the pokemon that live there. Johto’s region and culture is extremely traditional. Almost every town and city in the game expresses this. Ecruteak with its kimono girls as well as the housing the tin tower said to be Ho-oh’s roost. Azelea town with Kurt’s more traditional way of making poke balls as opposed to the modern method of factory mass production. As well as the town’s worship of the slowpoke and their ability to bring rain. Yoo also have blackthorn which is home to a clan of dragon trainers who have their traditions that they still adhere to as shown when you have to follow clair into thr dragon’s den. And if you want more Pokémon examples besides just look at hoothoot whose pokedex entries state it has an acute sense of time and can accurately pick up on that rhythm. I could go on but there’s just so many little details I could go into that I’d be here all day.

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It is such a clear and central theme to the game, and part of why its my favorite generation. To point at another related theme, the consequences of progress, with the magnet train having helped connect Johto to Kanto, but also having displaced Copycat and her family. As another example, Pokemon Tower, the resting place (and memorial) of numerous beloved deceased pokemon, being destroyed to build a Radio Tower to facilitate communication. Finally the way radio waves are abused by Team Rocket to rile up the pokemon in the Lake of Rage, all showing us more warning that march of progress has consequences. An important part of this is that it isn't a direct condemnation of progress, Copycat's family could have been trampled without compensation, a smaller memorial was created for the dead in Lavender to reduce the impact of Pokemon Tower's destruction, and when treated with care radio waves aren't that destructive towards the environment.

Also wanted to point out one minor obscure connection, the reclusive celebrity that gives you the HM for fly in Gen 1, moves to route 28 just before Mt. Silver (and is the only other person you meet in that entire route) to give you the Steel Wing TM. I kinda wish they made her Kahili in Let's Go, as this trainer gives out distinctly bird related moves, is a celebrity like Kahili, and she was in regions other than Alola for a long time.

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On 11/15/2020 at 12:16 AM, Eltosian Kadath said:

Also wanted to point out one minor obscure connection, the reclusive celebrity that gives you the HM for fly in Gen 1, moves to route 28 just before Mt. Silver (and is the only other person you meet in that entire route) to give you the Steel Wing TM. I kinda wish they made her Kahili in Let's Go, as this trainer gives out distinctly bird related moves, is a celebrity like Kahili, and she was in regions other than Alola for a long time.

Whoa, I never made that connection! Her lines in GSC always caught me off-guard (in an "is that supposed to mean anything to me?" sort of way), but this makes some sense.

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They have alot of trainers grow, but Lance gets way worse than in R/B/Y along with Gary. 

So while it's a theme for sure, I think they missed a few trainers. Xd

Edited by lightcosmo

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The other interesting thing with GSC (not so much with HGSS), was just how much it was tied with real-life. It is quite clear that GSC took place in 1999 Japan vs 1996 Japan for RBY - the three year time passage is a reference to the Japanese release dates for both Generations. Furthering this is how it showed a couple of references to historical events and phenomenon in real life such as the Columbia shuttle shown in Pewter City or the whole Team Rocket thing being the fictional example of the Yakuza. Let's face it, the only other big RPG that is fairly explicit with its real-life setting during the 1990s was Shin Megami Tensei.

I really wish they kept that real-life setting throughout all eight generations, and not abandon this during Gen 3-5.

Edited by henrymidfields

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