Exploring Mystery Dungeons

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“The important thing is not how you live. It’s what you accomplish with your life.”

When my dad bought me my first gaming console, the Nintendo DS, the first game he handed me was Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team. I was seven, so almost anything could keep me entertained at that age. However, I feel it speaks volumes when the Mystery Dungeon series (Blue Rescue Team along with titles such as Explorers of Time or Super Mystery Dungeon) is still something that retains a special place in my heart many years later.

Most know the Pokémon franchise as a series of games where you play as a pokémon trainer going around and battling other trainers. However, the Pokémon franchise contains many different spin-off games. I would love to spend time discussing them all, but I want to focus on the Mystery Dungeon series: Pokémon’s longest spin-off game series with a total of eleven different games.

The premise of the Mystery Dungeon games stays relatively the same every time. A human wakes up to find they have been transformed into a pokémon. Most players remember the fun personality quiz at the start that they constantly reset in order to get their favorite pokémon (trust me, I did it too). 

After being found by another pokémon, the player joins them on an adventure as part of a team. They proceed to go out exploring mysterious locations known as “dungeons” to find treasure, rescue fellow pokémon, and learn about the mystery that is the game’s story.

Upon first glance, the Mystery Dungeon series may not appear to be all that much. It’s a turn-based RPG, which involves, admittedly, a bit of a tedious rinse and repeat: wake up, take on a job, go into a dungeon, and go to bed. I won’t be the first to say that I have no idea what counts towards progressing the game’s story, but then again, I never really paid attention to what does. 

However, the story is not only fun but heartfelt and warm. The game deals with ideas such as what the purpose of living is and what it means to sacrifice for those you love. Even now, every time I replay Explorers of Time, I always cry at the finale scene. Of course, I won’t spoil it, but you do grow such a strong bond with your partner that you can’t help but well up with tears at the end of your journey with them.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is a spin-off, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun game. I have put probably hundreds of hours into the series as a whole, and I will continue to do so as I grow older. It’s a series full of laughter, tears, and heart, and one that I will always continue to love playing again and again.