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The Real Reason Hey You, Pikachu! Bombed

"Pokémon" games usually feature RPG mechanics that push trainers to catch 'em all. However, "Hey You, Pikachu!" expanded beyond those expectations. Instead of leveling up Pokémon to fight against other trainers, players talked to Pikachu. In "Hey You, Pikachu!," Professor Oak asks the player to test his Pokémon communication device as they traverse different areas around their home with their Poképal. Activity days, which differ depending on the area, include missions like finding a lost Poliwag, caring for Caterpies, and more.


But what might seem like an endearing virtual pet game apparently fell flat with its adult audience. Metacritic reviewers rated the Nintendo 64 title at 57%. Users rated it slightly higher at 6.4 out of 10, which truthfully isn't much better. "Hey You, Pikachu!" might've been a marvel if it weren't for what critics saw as boring gameplay and frustrating implementations of voice recognition technology. 

Here are the main reasons why "Hey You, Pikachu!" turned out to be one of Nintendo's biggest flops.

It's child's play, or so they say

Some thought that the game was too simple — childishly so. Nintendojo wrote that, despite the positive qualities, the game lacked the engagement to entice "anyone over the age of 9." IGN even compared the hide-and-seek mini-game to a video game version of peek-a-boo.


Nothing kills a game quicker than awful controls, and reviewers singled out this game's controls as being particularly poor. For example, IGN reported that the first-person camera made it difficult to follow Pikachu as it zoomed around the area. Some Redditors believe that the game also tailored its voice technology to pick up children's voices better than adult ones, but the voice recognition tech could have just been primitive.

"A Pokémon Picnic," one of the most infamous missions, involved gathering picnic ingredients for a meal. Players remember with "infuriating nostalgia" how Pikachu, despite their best efforts to shout into the microphone, would sometimes eat their hard-earned fruits and vegetables. If Pikachu messed up the ingredients, then the picnickers wolfed down an inedible meal.


Despite its faults, some fondly remember "Hey You, Pikachu!" In fact, a fair share of fans admit to enjoying the game. GameSpot rated the game 8.3 out of 10, calling it a "highly addictive game that both children and adults can enjoy," though the review pointed out it would mostly appeal to younger audiences. Even though "Hey You, Pikachu!" objectively bombed, it remains a cherished memory in the hearts of some players.