Pokémon has gone nowhere. The originals, Pokémon Red and Blue, came out in September of 1998. Two major Game Boy iterations and an assortment of console spin-offs later and you can count the significant upgrades on one hand. There have been tweaks, there have been variations, but the core experience has never been expanded upon in the fashion that the very nature of the franchise could allow.

Pokémon's premise is ingenious, but it's languishing. Part of this is a result of Nintendo's business decisions. The game seems to demand a massively multiplayer online RPG setting, but Nintendo's lack of an online presence killed the potential there before it could be realized. Even without being online, though, there are numerous other things that haven't experienced the growth that they are capable of. Instead of making the individual species of Pokémon more unique and interesting, they have simply increased the number of them from game to game. Instead of making battles increasingly more exciting and action packed (ala the battles in the cartoon), they have remained standard turn-based affairs. The emotional connection between trainer and Pokémon is supposed to be a key element in the franchise, and yet the relationship between the two in the games is largely mechanical.

Instead of breaking free of the limitations found in Pokémon Red and Blue, the Gold/Silver and Ruby/Sapphire editions embraced them and made them part of the formula that defines the series. I had personally only played bits and pieces of the Pokémon games before Ruby and Sapphire had come out, and had made the conscious decision to wait until those versions were released to get into the franchise. Imagine my surprise when the game that I bought was nearly identical to the mere bits and pieces of the last two games that I had played. Pokémon seems to be suffering from the Mega Man syndrome, where every game released is virtually identical to the one before it. While I can deal with that in an action-based franchise, I simply can't bear it in an RPG.

Now, I am fully aware that there is a sizable fan base that is perfectly pleased with the current state and direction of the Pokémon franchise. I won't claim that you people are wrong in your preferences; you're all entitled to your opinion. What I'm going to do in this article is explain what I, personally, think needs to be done with the series based upon my admittedly limited experience with it. I simply can't help but notice how much unrealized potential the franchise holds, to the point where after thinking about it for mere minutes I find myself overflowing with ideas.

The "dream game" presented from hereon out can be assumed to be a GameCube game, though it could also probably work on the Nintendo DS (due to its online capability). I'd much prefer to see the game in glorious 3D, however, so I'll run with the console idea for now.