Nostalgia for the Now: Pokemon Art Academy

Nostalgia for the Now: Pokemon Art Academy

I loved to draw growing up. I have an uncanny skill for copying animated pictures almost identically. When I wasn’t sketching replicas of coloring sheets, I was tracing characters out of Dr. Seuss books.

I also loved Pokemon. Before Harry Potter stole a decade of my life and thousands of collective hours, Pokemon was the imaginary world where I spent all of my time. Besides the trading cards, games, and TV show, a friend and I would play pretend. Of course we didn’t exactly do it right. Instead of being the trainers, we would pretend to be the Pokemon and battle each other. We willingly pretended to be an enslaved race of adorable creatures that occasionally self-destruct and breathe fire.

And guess what game recently came out that bring me back to both of these aspects of my childhood and is most likely not meant for my age group?

Pokemon Art Academy!

Stop laughing. Seriously, you, quit it.

My original Pokemon handbook was my favorite source of inspiration. I think I went through three separate ones because I would wear out my reference for the original 150. With my obsessive and detail-oriented personality, I’m surprised I never went through and made my own Pokedex with copied images and text entries. It actually sounds tempting for me to do it now.

But really, cut it out with the laughter.

This is a themed version of the Art Academy games which take advantage of the 3DS technology. In the past games (I got the newest one this summer when it was insanely discounted and I was sick and bored), you learn to use different paints, art styles, and techniques. There are little bits of art history squeezed in between detailed lessons. If it is your kind of game, it is well-executed. If it doesn’t sound interesting to you though, it won’t be. It does what it does well, but it doesn’t wrap up its content in a traditional gaming package.

The Pokemon-themed version translates to this model easily. I’ve only completed a few lessons, but it does a good job of explaining what the different tools you use are for and even include little tidbits of trivia about the Pokemon themselves. After finishing all of the Starter lessons and one of the Novice lessons, I have only used the outline pen and markers. The Zoom function is really helpful for drawing details, but I’m definitely glad I have the XL version. Between this and the Professor Layton games, I am glad to have a bigger working space for the touch screen.

Once you’re done, your drawing gets transposed onto a personalized Pokemon card instead of just saving your drawing.

Despite this game being an obvious piece of fan service, I’m adoring it. Like I said, if it doesn’t sound fun, it probably won’t be, but it’s worth at least a try if you can get your hands on a friend’s copy. Sadly Nintendo didn’t put out a demo for this title even though releasing a free lesson would be the perfect gateway drug. One successful drawing after never being able to create anything artistic before, and you’d be sold.

My main issue is that when drawing, I prefer sketching. I have a shaky hand and like creating a loose figure and then outlining the parts I like. Here when outlining, I trace the image already created for me. This is obviously meant to make sure that the starter and novice lessons are just that. I’m wondering though if my drawings will look better once I can start free-handing. We shall see.

Hopefully you could see this through your tears from giggling too much.

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