“Playing” Pokemon Snap in Great Detective Pikachu

My Japanese is atrocious. The only reason I’m successfully helping Tim and Detective Pikachu solve case after case in Great Detective Pikachu is because it’s impossible to fail. But, it’s meant I’m playing another game in this game, and that’s Pokemon Snap.

Allow me to explain. Great Detective Pikachu is filled with cameos from various Pokemon. When one appears on-screen for the first time, it’ll be introduced with a brief subtitle. They’ll frolic around the scenes. Sometimes, they’ll even “play” with Detective Pikachu when I check in with him. It’s led to my trying to get as many screenshots as I can of each character as it appears.

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Timing is key for these pictures. I like to try and catch the shot, pressing the Home button to head to Miiverse, when the subtitles have disappeared. I want a clean picture. I also want to get the character with an unexpected pose. Many of the creatures strike a stoic expression when the game zooms in on them for the first time. It’s only if you wait for the perfect moment that you might see something unusual, like Detective Pikachu preparing to play fetch with a Fennekin.

It’s like Pokemon Snap, where you’re constantly searching for the right moment to press that button. A moment too soon, and I wouldn’t get the character in the right position. Too late, and the text would appear on screen. It made up for not being able to always understand what was being said or done, because that meant I could focus on my real mission – the “capturing” of Pokemon in their natural environment.

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The best shots came when the Pokemon were around other characters or people. I mentioned Detective Pikachu’s playing with the Fennekin earlier. It wasn’t the only time such an incident happened. The only reason I found myself ever checking in with my partner was when another character was nearby. I’d get to see a Gengar lurking behind the detective, ready to scare him. For some reason Klefki really wanted to get in Detective Pikachu’s face. A Ludicolo always seemed like he was trying to photobomb a shot where Tim and Detective Pikachu were savoring coffee, never being in the right position to also be in the pose, but also ruining any picture of the duo together.

It’s a prime example of the unintentional boons that can come when you’re enjoying a game. Ever since companies started adding screenshot capabilities to systems and photo modes to titles, people have been better able to savor the artistry behind these titles. Great Detective Pikachu is a beautiful game. Detective Pikachu himself is incredibly expressive, the motion capture work that went into the title is evident, and it’s so much fun to see how Pokemon interact with people and each other. You can’t resist pressing the Home button and heading to Miiverse to document everything, creating a metagame focused on capturing screens of special memories. For me, that means turning my Japanese Miiverse Play Journal into a Pokemon photo album.

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