“Hello there! I’m Oak, the Pokémon Professor!”

I know, you read it in his voice didn’t you?

For my first review I am going with Pokemon Snap on the N64. For those of us who played the original Pokémon games, Professor Oak was the man who introduced you to the Pokémon world. If you’ve seen the original Pokémon television show with Ash, Pikachu, and the rest of the gang, then you’ve DEFINITELY met our man Oak. If you who have only played the newer Pokémon games, he’s only mentioned by another professor, but pay heed, because Oak is the OG.

That famous Pokémon Professor greeting is the first thing you see when you begin a new game in this N64 classic After the initial hellos, Professor Oak explains to you why he’s brought you to Pokémon Island. There’s a mystical aura surrounding the island and he’s been studying the Pokémon in hopes of unlocking the island’s mysteries. Immediately, you’re handed a camera and a Zero-One vehicle, which will constantly move as you travel through each course.

For your camera tutorial, you go to the first level, a beach on the shorefronts of Pokémon Island. What makes this game stand out from all its other Pokémon contenders? It’s viewed strictly in first person. During cut scenes, you’ll get a 3rd person view of your character in the Zero-One vehicle which last, at most, 15 seconds.Your camera roll can hold up to 60 photos, and once you’ve filled the camera roll and/or fully traveled through the course, the level ends.

At the end of each course you’ll review the photos you’ve taken and choose the best ones for Professor Oak. Oak will go through each photo and rate it based on three details:

  • Size: Is the Pokémon too close to the camera? Too far?
  • Pose: is the Pokémon behaving normally? can you see it’s face? Is it doing anything interesting?
  • Technique:  Is the Pokémon in or near the center of the photo?
  • If you fail one of these, Oak won’t grade you on the others.

You receive bonus points if you have:

  • More than one of the same Pokémon in the photo.
  • A Pokémon is doing something incredible example: getting Electrode to explode!
  • Achieved points on all three of the details – size, pose, and technique.

As the game progresses, Oak provides you with new upgrades – like apple-shaped Pokémon food to lure Pokémon closer for a better shot, Pester balls, to provoke Pokémon out of potential hiding spots, and even a Poké Flute to get new reactions out of Pokémon and possibly warrant more points when the pictures are graded.

On the last course, you’ll discover a secret path to Oak himself. He tells you that hidden in the courses are Pokémon disguised as scenery.  You must find these 6 scenic Pokémon to unlock a secret course. Now I won’t go into detail on this part, simply because it’s a surprise you’ll want to experience on your own. BUT trust me…it’s absolutely WORTH the experience.

This is by far one of my favorite games in the Pokémon Universe. It will bring back a huge wave of nostalgia. You can still find this game in a plethora of places, from the internet to local gaming shops. It offers endless hours of gameplay with graphics that, for its time, are absolutely astounding. It’s a game that instantly became a classic and to this day is widely popular among young adults and children alike. This has been your weekly The Game of Nerds Plays Review! Tune in next time for a new old game worth playing time and again!