Screw You, Pikachu.
Appearances would have us believe that Pikachu is an unassuming, innocent yellow
rat. Little did we know that Pikachu actually has evil machinations involving
a deliberate plan for world domination. You think that epileptic seizure fiasco
in Japan was an accident? Behind those black eyes and rosy cheeks lies a world
of deception. Who knows what his “pika pikas” really mean? Perhaps, even now,
he’s out to brainwash the children of the world…
Okay, chances are he’s really just a dumb yellow marketing ploy, but sometimes
it truly does seem as though he’s out to take over the world. After all, kids
love him. In yet another coup on the lives of children everywhere, Pikachu has
Hey You, Pikachu! is a voice recognition game specifically aimed at
everyone under the third grade. This is a game for children who have basic mastery
of the english language and have patient parents to play along. Very patient
parents. Isn’t it just funny how the target audience for this game probably
won’t even know what’s going on without some parental guidance? With this in
mind, the game is smartly conceived and perfect for brainwashing little children
along with their parents. If you’re over the age of 10, avoid this game like
a plague of cooties.
Here’s the premise. You have Pikachu. You have a microphone. Pikachu runs
around in different environments in the game. You talk, yell, and scream at
Pikachu and he responds to you, sometimes in ways you want to, often times in
ways you don’t. This game, interestingly enough, works without strict objectives
– it’s more like a big playground for you and your little buddy (read: enemy).
Included with the game is a Nintendo 64 microphone. Wonderful, another little
accessory that will likely never be used again. Unless, of course, there’s a
sequel called “Whas’ Hapn’n Rankletoodle?” or a “How You Livin’ PoogleyDoogleyPuss!”
Hey You Pikachu’s speech recognition is severely limited for a game
that relies so heavily upon it. The game provides you with keywords with which
to instruct Pikachu. Then, Pikachu listens for the exact phrase/command and
basically ignores everything else. This unfortunately rendered all of Ben’s
pickup lines on the yellow rat completely useless. Or maybe Pikachu’s standards
are too high, I dunno.
Another Pokemon native you’ll find is the wily Professor Oak. At the beginning
of each day, Oak will give you information on how to play with your Pikachu.
Lessons include new keywords that Pikachu can understand and how to manipulate
objects within your inventory. Suffice to say, there’s a whole lot of hand holding
throughout this game.
Your environments are just the same old N64 hash you’ve seen before. These
worlds won’t blow your mind – they’re just colorful and cartoony. The problem
lies within the interface through these little worlds. It’s a plodding, slow
first-person view with extremely limited controls. You can take things out of
inventory and hand them off to Pikachu or just interact with a few things here
and there. Immersive it ain’t, but kids won’t care, since they’ll just be looking
that’s what this game’s all about – Pikachu. As an animated character he works
really well. The big issue is how much you can stand him. Still, he’s really
well animated, and there’s nothing quite as funny as pissing him off and watching
him get all upset.
Pika, Pika! And more Pika Pika! Yeah, this game’s filled with that noise.
Some love it. By now, most hate it. To a bright-eyed kid, however, it’s perfect
to complete the whole Pokemon experience. Other Pokemon make their cameos here
and there, and each of them have accurate sound bites.
Hey You, Pikachu is a game clearly targeted for a specific and direct
market – namely, the little tykes in the family. But a deeper Pikachu AI and
a stronger level of voice recognition could have made this game much more interesting.
If there were some kind of branch progression throughout the game that allows
you to train your Pikachu instead of just playing peek-a-boo with it, this game
might have been a little more tolerable.
What makes this game a bit intolerable, though, is the obscene price tag.
Hey You, Pikachu’s MSRP is $89.99…almost the cost of the N64 itself! It
seems that Pikachu isn’t satisfied with invading our homes and brainwashing
our children, since he’s also stealing our wallets as well. Someone call an
So, to most of the GR readers, I’m warning you to stay away. It’s the video
game equivalent of going to the library and reading a Golden Book instead
of Tolstoy. But if you have a really young sibling or even a child of
your own who definitely likes Pikachu and can bear all his long term annoyances,
there might be a possible Christmas present there.
Of course, you could always blow the 90 bucks on a few Pokemon videos and a
copy of Pokemon Snap. I wonder if Pikachu can