Ranking the Pokemon Rivals – Part Two

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

It’s crazy that it’s already December! Can you believe that 2019 is almost over?

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Continuing last week’s post, this is the second half of my personal ranking of the Pokemon rivals from the video games. Having been so focused on Pokemon Sword and Shield lately, I’ve been really thinking about all the characters that we meet as the avatar player. The rivals are always some of the most important characters in the games, after all, so it helps when they’re well-developed.

Like on my previous post, please remember that this is all my personal opinion of these characters, and I did not include Serena and May since… I never played the games when they were considered my rivals considering I play as the female avatar. There also may be small spoilers regarding Sword and Shield rivals.

09. Barry (Diamond/Pearl/Platinum)

This kid amused me to no end. Honestly, his boundless energy reminded me of Rachel and after having a couple of generations of more serious and dedicated rivals, Barry’s enthusiasm was refreshing. True, at times it was a touch annoying, but it was still nice to see a rival character act like the kid he actually is (despite, you know, these children training beasts who breathe literal fire and create tsunamis while saving the world because the adults are incompetent).

08. Gladion (Sun/Moon/Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon)

Having a rival who, once again, was a little snarky towards you and claiming to the better trainer was a great motivation to strengthen your own team so you could always kick his butt. His story was decently interesting as well, and I probably would have been more invested in him if I was more interested in the Alola games. He honestly seemed to be one of the sanest members of his family, and cared for his Pokemon.

07. Cheren (Black/White)

Despite the Unova region not being my favorite, I did enjoy the rival characters. Cheren being a studious rival, always wanting to better himself, and then eventually becoming a gym leader in the sequel games showed his character development. He was also one of the better rivals battle-wise, if I remember correctly.

06. Hau (Sun/Moon/Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon)

I laughed out loud when Hau showed up at my character’s house and said, “Meow to you, too!” at the mother’s Meowth! As a character, Hau spoke to me at that moment. Because, come on, who doesn’t meow back at cats? He’s another enthusiastic and supportive rival, yes, and completely endearing in a region that I didn’t find to be the best. He was a bright spot during the trials that I found tedious and the convoluted so-called story line.

05. Brendan (Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire)

Brendan is here probably more so for nostalgic purposes than anything. Being the first “helpful” rival, it was interesting having him give you a hand once in a while despite always pushing you to grow more as a trainer with battles. With Emerald being one of my favorite games in the franchise, Brendan will have a special place in my heart as a solid character in the game.

04. Bianca (Black/White)

At first she seemed to be a typical, somewhat-ditzy female character, but Bianca did grow on me during the time I played Black and White. Her reason for going on a journey was to grow and figure out who she was rather than just wanting to be the best battler. Getting out from under her father’s thumb, Bianca had the courage to go and live her own life, eventually becoming the professor’s assistant in the sequel games. As someone else who is continuously trying to figure out her own path in life, I can respect Bianca’s character.

03. Hop (Sword/Shield)

This poor child needs someone to tell him that he is perfect the way he is and to help him get rid of his inferiority complex. He reminded me of Barry and Hau when he first appeared to us in the Sword and Shield games, but Hop grew into his own character as the game went on. His character development did seem to grow rather quickly, but that could also be due to the speed at which I went through the game. Still, Hop was endearing to me, and I admire the growth he’s shown throughout the main game and the post-game events.

02. Blue (Red/Blue/Yellow/FireRed/LeafGreen)

The first original rival, Blue is a classic character. Snarky and defensive, Blue helped eight-year-old me learn how to develop my own team so I could always defeat him and wipe the smirk I’m sure was on his pixelated face. I failed in my first Yellow runthrough because I didn’t understand how to have a balanced team back then. I focused on training Pikachu over the rest of my team, and it was one of the later battles you have with Blue that made me rethink how I was playing the game and start over completely. Blue’s character throughout the series has always been a fun throwback as well, to seeing him as a gym leader in the later Kanto games and vacationing in Alola with Red.

01. Silver (Gold/Silver/Crystal/HeardGold/SoulSilver)

Silver was a little punk when you first meet him, the kid having the audacity to steal a starter from the professor’s lab in the Johto region. He’s always on par with you throughout the game, citing how much he hates weaker trainers, but is an anti-hero in that he wants to get rid of Team Rocket. You can see his character development throughout the game, his defeats against your avatar and other NPCs making him think about his actions. The change in the way he treats his team of Pokemon during his own journey is evident when his Golbat eventually evolves into Crobat.

What do you think of these Pokemon rival characters? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Flashback Friday: Twilight Princess

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

We’re at the end of another Zelda Month! To tie up the month with a nice little bow, this month our Flashback Friday is dedicated to Twilight Princess, one of the best selling games in the Legend of Zelda franchise.

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Released for both the GameCube and the Wii near the end of 2006, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was the thirteenth game in the franchise, taking place in the same timeline as Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask but hundreds of years in the future. Its more realistic and darker graphics were a result of the Toon Link art style of The Wind Waker a few years prior.

Twilight Princess has been hailed as one of the best video games of all time, and was the best selling Legend of Zelda game — although, being ported to three different Nintendo consoles probably helped — until that record was broken by Breath of the Wild a dozen years later in 2018, which was both for the Wii U and the Switch.

I remember getting so excited for this game when it was first announced. Aside from the graphics and the hint of gorgeously haunting music, the fact that Link shapeshifts into a wolf was what I was most looking forward to. Wolves have always been a favorite animal of mine, especially when I was younger.

(Remember those little girls in elementary school who were obsessed with horses? That was me, but with wolves.)

Despite already having it on the GameCube, we definitely bought the HD version for the Wii U and marveled at the improved graphics while diving into the world of twilight once more. It was fantastic revisiting that version of Hyrule, which felt so big and was wonderful to explore while riding Epona, and Midna was a great companion character. Her story was bittersweet, and I totally wouldn’t mind buying this game a third time if it ever came onto the Switch in order to enjoy it once again.

How does Twilight Princess stack against your favorite Legend of Zelda games? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Ranking the Pokemon Rivals – Part One

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

We’ve been having a great time with Pokemon Sword and Shield! Like all core Pokemon games, it has some great characters, like the player’s rival trainers. It got me thinking of all the rivals we’ve had over the course of the franchise’s lifetime.

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Pokemon rivals are a staple to the core Pokemon games. They’re the characters that are always one step ahead of you, their purpose described as wanting to make you become an even better trainer than them. Pokemon rivals can be a bit of a hit or miss, though. There are some characters that I really like while others… Well. Let’s say we didn’t hit it off.

Considering there are about twenty rival characters in the games, this particular post will consist of the rival characters that I consider to be the bottom half of my favorite. Note that this is all my personal opinion of these characters, and I did not include Serena and May since… I never played the games when they were considered my rivals considering I play as the female avatar. There also may be small spoilers regarding Sword and Shield rivals.

18. Bede (Sword/Shield)

I am not a fan of this character. The constant belittling regarding my Pokemon when there have been plenty of battles where his team didn’t even touch mine, combined with the fact that the kid wanted to destroy national landmarks gave me a bad taste in my mouth. While I was really amused at Opal’s reaction to him and I’m learning more about his backstory, I have yet to find anything redeeming about him. I’m not done with the story of the games just yet, so maybe my reaction will change. At the moment, though, this kid’s arrogance and single-mindedness to please the chairman ranks him down at the bottom of my list.

17, 16, & 15. Shauna, Tierno, & Trevor (X/Y)

Instead of elongating this list any more than it already is, I pretty much just lumped these three characters together. While I enjoyed the idea of the main avatar having a bunch of friends to meet up with here and there throughout the region — and I loved seeing them all meander about in the forest in the beginning of the games — I feel as if these three weren’t needed in the game. It was great seeing them all eventually get their own ambitions and try to follow their dreams, but I didn’t see the point of having so many extra characters cluttering the game as the avatar’s friends.

14. Hugh (Black 2/White 2)

I’ll admit, Black 2 and White 2 are my least played when it comes to the core Pokemon games. Unova wasn’t a setting I fell in love with. If I had played the games more, I may have a stronger reaction to Hugh, but I really don’t remember much of him. Rather, he seemed to be a typical rival in which he just strongly disliked the remnants of Team Plasma. There was nothing special to cement him in my mind.

13. Wally (Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire)

I feel a little bad putting Wally so low on my list. He wasn’t a bad character, far from it. I had sympathy for his situation and rooted for him to get better, both health-wise and as a trainer. Yet, he was a bit bland and he wasn’t too pivotal to the avatar’s plot rather than, perhaps, being used as a semi-tutorial when it came to catching Pokemon.

12. Trace (Let’s Go Pikachu/Let’s Go Eevee)

Trace was amusing, but that was pretty much it. He was a good kid, always eager and willing to encourage you. I love him because he adopted that Cubone during the Pokemon Tower segment in Lavender Town, but that’s kind of all he’s got going for him in my opinion.

11. Calem (X/Y)

Calem was your true rival in the X/Y games, as much of a rival as he could be. He was the one who traditionally battled you occasionally to help assess your team’s strength, and was a pretty good friend to boot, helping you defeat Team Flare and all. Yet, he didn’t have a true, final battle with you as per tradition during the Pokemon League. I missed that. Also, I very  much prefer his artwork with his hat on. He needs to keep it on.

10. Marnie (Sword/Shield)

I don’t know too much about Marnie, and I’m hoping she has a bigger part in the latter half of Sword and Shield. Her design is pretty cool and I’m curious as to why she has a team of fans even before the gym challenge. I’m definitely more interested in her story rather than Bede’s at this point, but I’m aware that may change once I finish the game. Who knows, she may be moved farther down the list once I hit the post-game section of Sword.

What do you think of these Pokemon rival characters? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Double Jump Bakes Mighty Fried Bananas

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In honor of Zelda Month, we decided to try our hand at making some Mighty Fried Bananas, a dish that originated from the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In the game, the recipe calls for Mighty Bananas (the Yiga Clan’s favorite food), Tabantha Wheat, and Cane Sugar to the cooking pot.

The recipe we used was from Jammy Cooks, and we’ve done a couple of other recipes from him before as well. Jammy’s recipe calls for bananas, flour, and sugar, along with a few other things to properly make a batter to coat the bananas. Canola oil was used for frying.

(The Chips Ahoy! cookies are optional. Not really. Don’t add cookies to the frying batter, we don’t know what will happen. The cookies were just for us.)

It was a simple enough recipe — whisk together the batter ingredients while the peeled bananas chill for a couple of hours. Once the batter is mixed and the bananas are sufficiently frozen, heat a shallow skillet of Canola oil to a high enough temp to fry. If you’re like us and don’t know where the food thermometer is, you can dip the end of a wooden spoon into the oil — if small bubbles start to rapidly form around the end of the spoon, that means the oil is hot enough to fry.

The end results weren’t bad at all! Rachel wasn’t too thrilled with the textures of the banana and fried batter combo, but taste-wise it was pretty good! We bet it would be even better with the ice cream Jammy recommends.

If you’re curious about trying this simple recipe for yourself, down below is Jammy’s YouTube video on the recipe:

Have you done any Legend of Zelda-inspired cooking or baking? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Breath of the Wild Theme Remix – GlitchxCity

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Breath of the Wild was a bit of an anomaly within the Legend of Zelda franchise for many reasons, one of which was its soundtrack. While Breath of the Wild has its own unique tracks, it used more nature-sounding ambiance sounds as opposed to the more recognizable music that many other Zelda titles have.

Despite that, Breath of the Wild’s music is ripe for remixes just like the other games in the franchise. GlitchxCity has some fun remixes and music on their YouTube channel. Some of our favorites are the Pokemon-themed ones, but the Legend of Zelda music is great as well.

We hope you enjoy this remix of the Breath of the Wild Main Theme!

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Friday Favorites: Sword and Shield Features

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

How is everyone enjoying Pokemon Sword and Shield? I’ll be honest, it was hard to tear myself away from the games in order to write this post! Despite the internet backlash that these games were receiving, I’m very much enjoying the games. Here are just some of my favorite features so far.

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Camp

Camping with your Pokemon in routes is wicked charming and a simple way for your Pokemon to grow more friendly towards you and get some experience points to boot. Being able to play with your Pokemon and seeing them play with each other is fun, and cooking curry isn’t too bad either. It’s fun to discover recipes and it doesn’t take too long to make the dishes, so I’m hoping it won’t become repetitive too quickly. Seeing others pop in and out of your camp is unique as well!

Raid Battles

I’ve always wanted a sort of open concept for a Pokemon game, one where Rachel and I can both go on the Internet and see each other wandering around as we went on our respective journeys, perhaps even join each other with battling wild Pokemon and NPCs. The wild area and raid battles come close, and it’s awesome seeing my sister’s and friends’ avatars right there with mine.

Gyms

I so missed the traditional gyms when our Pokemon journeys took us to Alola. The trials and totem Pokemon weren’t as challenging to me. I think the Galar gym challenges take the best of both worlds, giving the players a little mission reminiscent of Alola’s trials while finishing up with epic battles.

What’s your favorite part of Pokemon Sword and Shield so far? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Byleth Should Have Been a Student

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Amidst Zelda Month and Pokemon Sword and Shield hype, I’m still enamored with Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Yet, I’ve been thinking more and more about Byleth’s position in the game.

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Byleth in Fire Emblem: Three Houses should have been a student. I honestly believe there still would have been as much potential for the game had Byleth been a student rather than a professor.

When it was announced in the beginning of Three Houses’s life that your main character would be a professor, the idea was intriguing. What wasn’t intriguing was the idea of romancing those who were your students, even if the option of marriage wasn’t a thing until after a time-skip that conveniently ages said students appropriately. The idea of a teacher/student relationship was always off to me, no matter how much I enjoy the characters.

Because, let’s be real, even after the time-skip, the majority of characters still treat your character as their professor. Maybe it’d be a bit more tolerant if the characters treated Byleth as an equal after the time-skip, rather than still calling them, “Professor.”

Being a student within your favorite house would have avoided the teacher-student dynamics. The activities during the Exploration option wouldn’t change at all, and you can still be Rhea’s favorite, for story reasons. During the class and lecture parts, your skills and goals could grow with your classmates’, and you could join the partnered weekly activities for support bonuses. The options of changing the other characters’ goals can stay the same as well — or, if you’d rather go a step further, being able to “persuade” your classmates’ goals can be something you can do only after you have so many support and friendship points.

“But, Kris!” I hear you say. “Who would be the professor of your class?”

Make Jeralt be the professor of your class! I know he’s supposed to be a knight rather than a professor, but having him be the professor of your class may make his death more meaningful whenever it happens. Or, hey, make his death happen during the battle right before the time-skip. At this point in the Fire Emblem franchise, having the main character’s father, or last remaining family, die for the emotional feels is a bit of a cop-out.

Or if we want to keep Jeralt in his regular position, make Seteth be the professor. Obviously the monastery is short-staffed since they made a random, young mercenary the professor of a class — and, yes, I realize there are story reasons for it too — and Rhea can totally say, “Go forth, Seteth, and impart your wisdom to the students.” Considering Seteth is suspicious of Byleth in the first place, maybe he’d want to be in their house to help keep an eye on them, and having Flayn join later could bring some other interesting dynamics into the game.

“Okay, fine,” you may say, “but what about romancing the other teachers after the time-skip? Wouldn’t that be the same problem?”

It would be, if the other teachers were just as important as the student characters. In my first route, the only teacher-like character that was in my army was Seteth, because he was recruited automatically. I more or less forgot about the other teacher and knight characters at that point since I was so focused on the story and the student characters under my care. Considering there are only a handful of teacher and knight characters compared to the plethora of student options, paired endings with them could be out of friendship or the characters could be considered a parental-figure to Byleth.

(Isn’t that what a couple of same-sex options are for male Byleth, anyway? Forgive me, I haven’t played as male Byleth to figure it out.)

Honestly, after the time-skip, not much would have to change if Byleth was a student instead of professor. Byleth would still be a central figure for the war because of story reasons, and can still take charge in the lecture halls. Just take out the “Professor” voice clips, and you’re good.

I don’t believe Byleth needed to be a professor or a figure of authority to the student characters in Three Houses. Being an equal to them, despite — and especially because of — their birth circumstances, would have done just as well in a game that centers around wars that are about morality, revolution, and finding the truth.

What do you think? Should Byleth have been a student? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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#GamingTogether — Zelda Month Questions

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We’ve been doing #GamingTogether for a while now on our social media sites. With November being Zelda Month, we collected a few questions from this month that have to do with the Legend of Zelda series. Let us know your responses to these questions!

What’s your favorite Zelda game?

Kris: If I had to choose just one Zelda game to play for the rest of my life… I honestly think it would be Breath of the Wild. Twilight Princess would be a close second, but I think the bigger world, exploration factor, and the lore of Breath of the Wild puts it in the first place.

Rachel: I think my favorite Zelda game is Skyward Sword. I normally don’t like the “beginning” of things that much because it’s a lot of background story and getting to know the characters. However, Link and Zelda were already well established when Skyward Sword came out and they had fun personalities. The dungeons, music, and atmosphere as a whole were cool.

Who is your favorite side character in the Zelda series?

Kris: There are way too many side characters in the series to choose from! After thinking on it for a few minutes, though, Quill from Wind Waker popped up in my mind. I love the Rito race in the Zelda games and Quill was a great introduction to them. He was the one who convinced Tetra to allow Link to join her crew, introduced Link to his chief and tribe, and it was the Rito who rescued Link during his second encounter with Ganondorf. Quill’s an unsung hero of the series, in my opinion.

Rachel: I’m detecting a pattern with my answers, but I absolutely love Fi from Skyward Sword. She has a cool design and having her be the embodiment of the master sword is a cool idea. Plus, she dances and has a great voice.

What’s your favorite thing about the Zelda series?

Kris: Honestly, I believe the story. The reincarnations of the heroes and main antagonist, the lore of the goddesses and Triforce, and how it all boils down to just protecting the world from evil. The characters push the story forward, of course, but it’s usually the worlds and their stories that I get most excited about.

Rachel: I agree with Kris. The story is my favorite part for the same reasons as her. I enjoy trying to piece the timeline together when a new Zelda game comes out.

On a scale of 1 – 10, how excited are you for Breath of the Wild 2?

Kris: I’m going to go with an 8 or 9. I’m wicked excited, but I’m trying to keep my expectations a little lower than I normally would. I love Breath of the Wild, and I’m hoping that the sequel can live up to it!

Rachel: Honestly? 1,000. I know I probably shouldn’t get my hopes up too much but I think they’re going to do a great job with the sequel. Judging from the quick trailer they showed, it seems as though they may be a bit more depth to the story.

Did you get a chance to answer these questions? If not, what are your responses? Let us know in the comments below!

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Friday Favorites: Ice-Type Pokemon

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

To go along with the cooler weather coming up where I am and the fact that Pokemon Sword and Shield will be released in a week, I am celebrating with a list of my favorite Ice-type Pokemon! Admittedly, I don’t use Ice-types often in the games. I’ve only recently started enjoying their prowess. Maybe that’ll change with the next generation?

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Glaceon

I love Eevee and its evolutions. It’s no surprise that Glaceon would make my list of favorite Ice-types. Its design is sleek and reminds me of the angles and shapes that snowflakes take. Glaceon, when it first appeared in Gen. IV, had a one of the most unique ways to evolve as well. As out of the way it seemed, I found it interesting that Glaceon evolved via level up at a special location.

Dewgong

I was always amused by Dewgong in the anime. Its smile was always kind of goofy and the way it said its name just made me laugh. The seel-like Pokemon were always designed well, in my opinion, and Dewgong happens to be my favorite out of the lot.

Alolan Ninetales

Who doesn’t love Ninetales’ majestic design? They doubled down on it with Alolan Ninetales, combining the Ice and Fairy types to make such a beautiful Pokemon. Fairy is another type that I don’t use often, but it was great to see the two types’ power combined with Alolan Ninetales.

Alolan Sandslash

Like Ninetales, the original Sandslash was on one of my first teams and I loved it. I was curious about its Alolan form and, despite how late in-game you can catch him, he was an awesome addition to my team against the Alolan Pokemon League. Admittedly, I caught him for nostalgia purposes and for his part-Steel typing, but his Ice-type moves definitely came in handy!

What are your favorite Ice-type Pokemon? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Monday Memories: Legend of Zelda Fanfiction

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

It’s NaNoWriMo — or National Novel Writing Month — an event that happens every November where writers attempt to write 50k words of a new story. Spending time on my novels reminds me of my old fanfiction that got me into writing in the first place.

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Anyone remember FanFiction.net? It still exists, of course, but I don’t hear too much about it as often as I hear about Archive of Our Own nowadays. FanFiction was one of the first writing sites that I joined, mainly so I could share some Legend of Zelda stories that I had created.

I was fourteen years old back then… damn.

If anyone’s curious, this was my FanFiction profile, last updated nine years ago today. Back then, we didn’t want our actual names on the Internet — which is vastly different from today, isn’t it? — so I merely went by “Krista” and Rachel went by “Sapphire.” The profile picture of Sheik was an old sketch of mine, as well. The solitary story that’s still up there hasn’t been updated in over ten and I still have the composition notebook that has the draft of the story.

As awful as my stories were sixteen years ago, they helped me to start this creative journey and allowed me to join my love of gaming with a newfound love of writing. The stories and characters in my favorite franchises are what keep me playing, and I discovered an outlet that let me stay in those worlds even after the credits rolled when I finished a game.

Looking back on that story at this point, I am both pleased with myself and cringe at the old writing. I’ve improved so much from ten years ago. And it all started due to me wanting to stay in the Legend of Zelda world past the end of Ocarina of Time.

Ever read fanfiction? What has been your favorite site to do so? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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