Pokemon is one of the most recognized, most-adored video game franchises in the world. Its addictive "catch 'em all" formula is so potent it's basically a mandatory $35 tax on having a child. But dozens of competitors have also tried to create their own collectible monster empires; some have done well, some haven't. But every game's subtext is clear: "I wish I was Pokemon. I want to be Pokemon so bad." Here are six of the jealous types:
If Japanese RPG's were a high school, Dragon Warrior/Quest would be a decade-reigning-super-senior with a legal drinking ID and the popularity of 12 condensed Fonzies. Let the other franchises come and go... Dragon Quest will still be sitting here on his truckbed, pounding beers with his buddy Final Fantasy for as long as the genre exists. Until, (record scratch), that Pokemon kid from across town showed up and upset the pecking order. That's when DQ lowered his sunglasses and muttered "I gots to learn me those moves."
So we get Dragon Warrior Monsters and the "privilege" of catching monsters instead of just swording them to death. Charmed, thank you. But there is some awesome news: when filling out their bestiary, DWM dipped into six RPG's worth of old enemies, meaning we could command mummies, robots, and ghost dragons of our very own. But while post-capture Pokemon unconditionally love you as if you weren't the same wandering jackass who beat them into unconsciousness, these guys had to be watched, or they'd go wild again. Plus, getting a monster you wanted was a lot more complicated than tossing a Pokeball. You could lure the basic ones with meat, but if you wanted an Ultra-rare Godspawn of your very own, you had to hatch it. And that meant generation after generation of monster breeding. But hey, if watching two mummies pork was your goal, then maybe this is the game for you.
Pokemon is the story of a 10-year-old boy that set out on a quest to become a pokemon master while accompanied by Pikachu, the underestimated "left-over" starting Pokemon. Medabots is the story of a 10-year-old boy that set out on a quest to become a robattle champion while accompanied by Metabee, the underestimated "outdated" Medabot. It's different because it has robots!
Medabots premiered as a Gameboy title in 1997. By '99, it was picked up as an anime series that lasted for an impressive 91 episode run. It spawned several more videogames and an English dub of the anime that was one of Fox Kids' most popular shows. Fox Kids, of course, is the block of programming best known for hosting Big Bad Beetleborgs -- a shameless Power Rangers knockoff. Apparently, there's a huge audience for inferior rip-offs of successful franchises. They must be the same people buying off-brand action figures from the Dollar Store.
You may notice a pattern in this list: if you take Pokemon and replace the monsters with any random entity, someone will give you a bag of money and your own anime franchise. Dinosaur King borrows from Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! equally: the dinosaurs are more or less Pokemon, but they're stored in cards. It follows the same "stand back and watch animals fight" format and the main character, Alex, is voiced by the actress that played Ash.
But having an overdone premise didn't stop it from shitting out 49 episodes of anime, a collectible card game, and a title for the Nintendo DS. I'm sure a lot of their success can be attributed to the originality of their antagonists, Team Rocket. Oh shit. I mean Alpha Gang! Alpha Gang!