Thoughts on Pokemon XY so far:
There is now an abundance of POC NPCs. In the past, it’s mostly been gym leaders and members of the elite four. Now there are multiple trainer categories whose sprites and portraits are chromatic.
Not only that, but you can now choose to play as a POC. There are three skin tones to choose from at the start and you can later customize hair and eye colors as well. This is kind of a big deal for a game that, once upon a time, changed you and everything else to match the single color scheme of whatever area you entered.
There is also a boutique feature that lets you buy clothing and accessories to customize your character. There are also salons to style your hair. So if you don’t want to rock a miniskirt or short-shorts while training Pokemon, you can wear actual pants (they’re even available without making any purchases!) or whatever suits you. You can cut your hair short, too.
I’ve only played as the female trainer so far, so I can’t say what levels of customization exist for male trainers, but it should be comparable. It’s nice to not see the female trainer forced into the narrow design of long hair, skimpy clothing, ultra femme look, because hey, not all of us lady-type Pokemon trainers fit that look.
And then there is the little bit of NPC dialogue I captured above. There is a cafe in the fashion capital and this character informs players that you can be fashionable whatever body type you have and that food and fashion can go together.
The Pokemon universe just endorsed the idea of fat fashion. This is the best thing in at least a hundred years. (I would love to be able to choose a different body type in-game, but that’s just getting greedy.)
So, basically, silly little Pokemon games are managing to rock some significantly progressive upgrades in game mechanics. These games have been my virtual home since I was thirteen. They are officially better than ever.