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Friday, March 23, 2018

What's the Deal With Detective Pikachu?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - It comes across as a SAG-AFTRA plot.

At no point in the past, what, two years since it has existed and been talked about from Japan, did I care about or understand the appeal of Detective Pikachu. I still don't. But it seems to be the last non-port or remake game on the Nintendo 3DS.

Detective Pikachu is a point-and-click adventure game where you play as some twerp named Tim, and you're accompanied by a talking Pikachu. You need to solve some mystery together in a human-Pokémon world. ...Oh, and Pikachu talks.

Did you know that Pikachu is fully voice-acted? Yup.

The entire marketing for Detective Pikachu revolves around Pikachu talking, a novelty tested in the market with that Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You (which we watched and live-reacted to)

Case in point: Check out this SpotPass notification sent out today to every opted-in Nintendo 3DS owner, which is similar to Nintendo's press release:

Detective Pikachu now available Nintendo 3DS SpotPass notification
“Crack the case in this new detective adventure game by interacting with a
unique, fully-voiced Pikachu!”

The fully-voiced Pikachu comes before all else. That's the entire appeal of this game, isn't it? I mean, why do we get this and not a really great investigation-based game like, oh, I don't know, Ace Attorney Investigations 2? Detective Pikachu is a one-trick pony being promoted by people who overvalue voice-acting... Say...

...It turns out that in the localised version of Detective Pikachu in North America, Detective Pikachu is voice-acted by a guy named Kaiji Tang, who is known for a variety of anime and gaming roles, including Owain in Fire Emblem Awakening and Detective Looker in Pokémon Generations. He's also a SAG-AFTRA member, which you may remember as the union of voice-acting communists (introductory article hyperlinked in the following caption). Here is one of his tweets:

SAG-AFTRA #PerformanceMatters Kaiji Tang contract boycott strike video game companies voice acting
Kaiji Tang, saying of the SAG-AFTRA strike against videogame companies: “Our contract hasn't changed since 1994. All we want is a modern contract. #PerformanceMatters”
Source tweet here.

In case you have trouble following this: Nintendo contracted the role of Detective Pikachu, in a game all about the voice of Detective Pikachu, to a guy who firmly believes that voice-acting is the most important part of gaming and supported a boycott of the gaming industry until they financially put voice actors above people like programmers, artists, etc.

He also voiced Detective Looker in Pokémon Generations.

Makes sense, I guess. Detective Pikachu is exactly the kind of game SAG-AFTRA would support. But it doesn't just stop at the game. No, there is also a Detective Pikachu movie. Guess who is behind that cast? 

Detective Pikachu Legendary Features Productions SAG-AFTRA signatory database
This is SAG-AFTRA's database of productions they have an agreement with.
...And right there is Detective Pikachu, the movie.

Detective Pikachu, the movie, is set to come to theatres in 2019. It's produced by Legendary Entertainment to be distributed by Universal Pictures, which continues Nintendo's partnership with them since they are simultaneously working on that new Super Mario Bros. movie. And those theme parks.

And its cast is signed with SAG-AFTRA's crew.

SAG-AFTRA has their commie fingerprints all over Detective Pikachu — from the voice-acting to the voice-first design philosophy of the game — but somehow I doubt that Detective Pikachu is willing to investigate that.

Oh well. You won't see me buying it.

By the way, the novelty of a talking Pikachu only works because people are used to Pikachu saying “Pika pi. CHU!” You saturate the market with too much talking Pikachu, and you ain't got any appeal. You hear that, SAG-AFTRA? That's supply and demand. Not that you'd understand that, you communist pieces of crap.

If you want to play a game that features full voice-acting but was designed with actual gameplay in mind, why not try KoopaTV's very own Soviet Missile Run? It features communists as the antagonists, but not as the voice actor! Unlike Detective Pikachu, everyone who has played Soviet Missile Run has enjoyed the experience, so you will too.

Just to thoroughly prove his point, Ludwig wrote a game REVIEW of Detective Pikachu... or at least, its free demo.


  1. There have been some experimental games in the series before like Pokémon Snap, but I just do not see the appeal in this title. I guess the creators of Detective Pikachu drew inspiration from the bizarre Detective Kirby comics and thought "You know, if we replace Kirby with Pikachu, this would make for a great game."

    1. ...Yeah I don't think that's... exactly the inspiration.

      Though I do like unintentionally blackface Dedede.

      (The dude who drew that dislikes Sakurai for some reason?!)

  2. I'm very skeptical on this one, when I saw the trailer I only thought of it as a comical attempt instead of something like "oh, it's pikachu talking!".

    1. Doesn't the comedy derive entirely from Pikachu talking, or was there something else going on that I overlooked that someone might think is funny?

  3. Alternatively, you can play the fully voice-acted (and simultaneously gameplay-driven) Kid Icarus: Uprising!

    I don't know why, but an adult Pikachu doesn't appeal to me for a video game. It's probably just a way to show off Nintendo's unsettling Pikachu face-tracking technology.

    1. Oh! Yes! I highly recommend Kid Icarus: Uprising if you really want to play a fully voice-acted, gameplay-driven game. You know, after you play Soviet Missile Run.

      I literally shuddered when you mentioned Pikachu face-tracking technology. Eek.

  4. There was an older sounding Pikachu before in the first Pokemon Mystery Dungeon anime adaptation as seen at around 14:30 here: Pikachu sounds like a teen which makes sense if we consider Pichu the child and Raichu the adult. But Detective Raichu would sell even less.

    1. I'm fine with that Pikachu voice.

      It's interesting how a lot of those comments from a year or two ago are all about Pikachu talking, as if everyone else in there ain't also talking.

  5. I wanted Detective Pikachu ever since the original version was first announced for Japan. I still want it.

    1. Well, feel free to spend your tax savings on it. It's $40 AND short, and I don't think it's particularly moving.

      Unlike, say, Ace Attorney, which is $30, not short, and quite moving and engrossing.

      Detective Pikachu really is all about the voice-acting.
      But if you want to explain WHY you want it, that'd be nice.

    2. It's not like there's a new Ace Attorney game I'd be passing on to play this. xD

      Detective Pikachu is one of those things that just sounds so ridiculous and goofy that I want to give it a try. Plus it's a mystery game, so I'm willing to take a chance on it being entertaining. The general impression I've gotten from reviews is that the story is decent and the characters are fun, but the gameplay is weak. Since I mainly play for story/characters, I'm still interested.

    3. Alright, if you wanna spend it, go ahead. Mystery game of mysterious quality!

      (All of KoopaTV's games are ridiculous, goofy, AND free. So go enjoy those.)


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