Friday Favorites: Rivals

Double Jump Kris MiiHello, everyone!

The Pokemon games boast adventure for your little character as you explore and grow with your team of Pokemon. Battling is a sure way for your Pokemon to grow, and what’s better than having someone — friend or not — always be lurking around the corner to compare your teams’ strength? This week, I’m detailing my favorite rival characters from the games!

Pokemon X/Y: Everyone

Alright, so technically Calem/Serena are supposed to be your main rivals, but I really enjoyed the group effort when it came to the Kalos games. Instead of just having that one rival that is always one step ahead (even if you always kick their ass in battle), you have this little group of friends who are all pursuing their Pokemon-related dreams. I just remember marveling at the Santalune Forest part at the beginning of the game, seeing everyone scatter about as they explore and engage in battles with you as you make your way through. That sense of community and friendship is something that the entire franchise is about.

Gary

The original rival in the games, this guy was an arrogant kid who always talked down to you even after you beat his team in a battle. He was rather clear-cut when it came to rivals with his simple motivation to just be better than you. While I did feel a little bad defeating him after he had been Champion for a mere two minutes, it was due to his pushes, to his name always being on the gym leaders’ pedestals before mine, that made my kid-self want to carefully grow and nurture my team.

Barry

This kid was ridiculous. His energetic mannerisms amused the hell out of me when I started playing the fourth generation of Pokemon games. Really, I think he just reminded me of Rachel, haha! Nevertheless, it was refreshing to have such a bouncy friend for your character considering many rivals tend to be a bit stoic when it comes to reaching their goals.

Silver

While Kanto was the first region my game-self had explored, it was Johto that really made me fall in love with the Pokemon franchise. Having Silver as a rival added to the depth of the story, especially when I got older and read the stories of him being Giovanni’s father. He was a rival whose main goal wasn’t just to beat you — he was trying to find his own place in the world himself. Even if he did steal his first Pokemon, he was really just looking for someone to be his friend for himself. I’m a sap for those kind of character development stories!

Who are some of your favorite Pokemon rivals?

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I’m Missing One Pokemon Game

Happy Tuesday!

There are a million Pokemon games out there and I have just about all of them. Sure, I’m missing a few side games here and there, but as for the main games, I have them all.Except one.

Except one.

I didn’t start playing the Pokemon games myself until the Johto region. When the Kanto region came out I was too young to play the games properly.

I watched the anime, of course, and I watched Kris play through her Red, Blue, and Yellow games. Yet, I still didn’t fully understand the concept. Even when I started playing Johto I had no idea what I was doing.

But that’s where I started and that’s when I began my Pokemon collection. Gold, Silver, and Crystal.

It wasn’t until many years later that I realized I had never played the original games. I ended up getting a hold of Yellow through the Internet. I won a bidding war on Ebay for Blue and got it for $8.

But no Red.

Red has been on my Amazon wishlist for years now. It’s never available (or the price is $600). I’ve checked Ebay here and there, but have never gone for it because I know it probably doesn’t work anymore.

Technically, I do have Red. I downloaded the virtual console along with Blue and Yellow onto my 3DS.

Still, I just want the cartridge for my collection. I mean, I gotta catch ’em all.

Do you have the full Pokemon game set? Let me know in the comments below!

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Friday Favorites: Villain Teams

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

Despite the main Pokemon games’ stories starting off with you as a beginner trainer just trying to take on everyday challenges, the world inevitably falls into danger and only your ten-year-old self can save it. Throughout the years, though, there have been some villains who followed their dreams better than others. Below are a few of my favorite antagonists.

Team Skull

I’ll admit, I’m still not entirely sure as to what their goal was. I believe it was simply just to survive, perhaps make enough money to do so. They were one of the more amusing teams to date, and despite them trying to make nuisances of themselves around the Alola islands, their family bond to one another was endearing.

Team Aqua and Magma

Both of these teams had clear-cut goals and went for them, whether it be raising the sea levels or creating more land for the “good of the world.” They all had something to believe in and even had the strength to acknowledge later on that, “maybe this isn’t such a good idea.”

 

Team Rocket

This team was good enough to be the antagonists for not one, but two generations of Pokemon games. Even though their main goals were making money and controlling Pokemon, their methods and motives were simple and effective to work with the games’ story lines. It was a delight to my young self when playing Pokemon Yellow to go up against Jessie, James, and Meowth in a fight!

What are some of your favorite villain teams?

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Friday Favorites: Alolan Forms

Double Jump Kris Mii Yay for another Friday! How is everyone doing?

Besides the native Alola Pokemon in Sun and Moon, there are also a handful of Alolan forms of generation one Pokemon, and it’s been interesting to see the difference in designs and types. Based on my own personal tastes, below are my favorite Alolan forms.

4. Raichu

He’s using his tail as a surfboard! How adorable is that?! Overall, I just love the color scheme that’s used in his design, and to give him Psychic as a secondary type just adds to his power.

3. Sandshrew

The Sandshrew-Sandslash line was a stable in my Kanto games, and I was a little put out when it was first announced that it would be changing in the Sun and Moon generation. Ground-types were always one of my favorites, although I have nothing against Ice-types. Still, seeing an iced up Sandshrew in the game, I gave it a go and found him to be cute. To me, his design looks like he has a hood or helmet over his head!

2. Marowak

Marowak is probably one of the most popular Alolan forms from the new games, especially since he was showcased in one of the trials. Changing his typing to part Ghost was a cool move, especially since the majority of us long-time Pokemon gamers first encountered Marowak way back in Lavender Tower as a ghost. Adding the Fire-type gives us a type combination that’s not used too often.

1. Ninetales

Ninetales was always majestic, let’s all be honest here. Her Alolan form just looks more like a queen, especially with the duel Ice- and Fairy-typing! Although I was confused about changing a Fire-type into an Ice-type in a tropical-like region at first, I do like the Alolan Ninetales a lot.

What are some of your favorite Alolan forms?

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First Impressions: Pokemon Moon

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, all! For those of you who celebrate it, Christmas is right around the corner! Are you all ready for it?

… I’m not. At all. So, let’s procrastinate more on getting ready for the holiday and talk about Pokemon!

As the latest installments of the franchise, Pokemon Sun and Moon threw aside the old Pokemon formula. Rather than exploring a new region while beating up Evil Team of the Week with your new Pokemon partners, we have a new region of islands with a dorky team of antagonists with new Pokemon partners.

Yes, of course, there’s more to the new games, and I am enjoying them.

Before Sun and Moon, we’d travel throughout the region in a fairly linear fashion to defeat a series of eight gyms. The Alolan islands of Sun and Moon have four kahunas rather than gym leaders, coupled with captains of trials that generally end with a battle against a powered-up version of a Pokemon of the captain’s preferred type. The islands themselves seem to be vast and it’s been great exploring them to see what they have to offer in terms of Pokemon and secrets. Like the previous games, though, it is pretty linear, often having NPCs with riding Pokemon (which I have so much fun with) blocking out areas with flimsy excuses until you complete whatever task the game wants you to. Yet, there seems to be enough to discover to compensate the bit of frustration I get whenever an NPC gets in my way.

While trials are a refreshing take on the whole gym formula, I do miss the epic, tougher battles with gym leaders. The trials I’ve completed through the second island were interesting, of course, but simple. There are plenty of trainers and the Exp. Share item to keep your Pokemon’s levels on par with the Totem Pokemon, if not at a higher level, that the end of the trail battle just seems lackluster (especially when my Pokemon knocks out the Totem Pokemon in one hit). Perhaps there will be more challenging battles on the next few islands or I’m just that good of a Pokemon Master.

I am greatly enjoying the visuals and music! I’m playing Moon, so it’s 12-hours behind Sun, granting me these gorgeous scenes of starry nights and bright fires and dark waters of the sea. The music, like in most Pokemon games, is fantastic and I was excited to learn that the soundtrack is available on iTunes.

All of the characters seem great (except… well, I’m a little crept out by our avatar’s perpetually smiling face… am I alone in this?), and the dorks in Team Skull are quickly becoming some of my favorite antagonists. Your friend Hau is adorable and I’m invested in Lillie’s backstory and what’s going on with her and Nebby. The captains and kahunas so far are all diverse and interesting as well.

These were just some of my initial thoughts thus far on the game. What about you? Without spoiling much of the story, as I’m only to the second island, what do you all think of your experiences in Pokemon Sun and Moon?

Looking Behind and Ahead

Double Jump Kris MiiShow of hands, who thought the weekend went by way too fast?

Despite how quickly the weekend has come and gone, I hope everyone had a good one and an awesome week ahead!

This past holiday weekend I spent my time finally playing Pokemon Moon. I’m definitely enjoying it so far, having gotten past my third trial, and I’m severely missing the time off of work that I had to continue binge-playing it. Rachel and I will go into more detail about the games themselves once we both complete them, but I just wanted to share my thoughts about the changes going on in the franchise that I grew up with.

Diving into the gaming world for me was like Alice falling into the rabbit hole. I was full of curiosity and totally enamored when I used to watch my father and my uncle play video games. It was a story that you controlled. The characters were puppets to the buttons and I was amazed that you could make someone on the television jump just by pressing A.

A couple of years later, I was good friends with a pair of twins who fully introduced me to the world of Pokemon through Pokemon Snap. That year Mom and Dad got me my first GameBoy Color, complete with a trio of Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow games. For about twenty years, the handheld Pokemon games followed a formula that consisted of your character exploring a new world with new creatures to partner with in order to defeat the Gym Challenges, whatever evil team that was plaguing the region, and the Elite Four.

Pokemon Sun and Moon threw that formula out the window, and while I’m enjoying the games, I can’t help but feel as if I’m missing something. Perhaps it’s too early in the game for me to tell, or maybe I’m just feeling particularly nostalgic for the older games that I grew up with. It’ll be interesting to see if Zelda’s Breath of the Wild, with how it’s going to be shaking up the Legend of Zelda franchise, will affect me in the same way.

The NES mini recently came out to hit us older gamers in the gut with memories, while virtual reality is rising on the gaming scene. Now I understand when my dad, upon seeing the motion controls of Wii Bowling, started talking about the “good ol’ games” from the past, like the original Mario or Donkey Kong!

 

Top Tuesday: Pokemon Spin-Offs

Rachel Mii Double JumpI know I’ve been talking about Pokemon a lot lately, but it is my favorite. And with the new games coming out, I just can’t seem to help myself.

Though I always end up talking about the main games. Here are my favorite spin-off games.

 

Top Tuesday Favorite Pokemon Spin-Off Games Double Jump

5. Pokemon Picross

This game is free on Nintendo’s 3DS eShop. I downloaded it the day it came out not understanding what it was. I knew it was a puzzle game and I like puzzles. I like Pokemon. I like free games. So why not?

It’s actually a fun puzzle game that’s pretty hard to explain. I don’t play it often, but I do enjoy it once in a while. My only problem with the game is that you earn “picrats” during the game. You need so many of them to unlock the next area. They don’t give you many when you complete a puzzle, so I haven’t been able to make it to the next area for months now.

4. Pokemon Rumble

There are four Rumble games: Rumble for the Wii, Rumble U for the Wii U, Rumble Blast and Rumble World both for the 3DS.

I have all of the games (except Rumble U, I believe) and I find them to be pretty fun. You play as toy Pokemon and battle through different areas. Some enemies become friends you can play as, some just faint. At the end there’s always a giant boss.

That’s about it for the game and it’s a weird concept, but it’s fun nonetheless.

3. My Pokemon Ranch

For the Wii, My Pokemon Ranch can connect with your Diamond or Pearl game and you can keep your Pokemon in the Ranch with the computer Mii, Hayley. That’s about it.

Hayley will trade Pokemon with you once in a while. Once you reach a certain amount of Pokemon in the Ranch, she’ll give you a Phione and Mew.

You really can’t do anything with the game, but the sprites are cute and it’s relaxing. I love having it on for background noise while I work.

2. Pokemon Conquest

Very similar to Fire Emblem, Pokemon Conquest is a fun game about taking over kingdoms with your Pokemon. Depending on which story you play, you get a certain set of Pokemon and battle other kingdoms recruiting new people therefore getting new Pokemon.

Once you beat the main story, you can play other stories. Each story is a bit redundant, but it’s a lot of fun.

1. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon

The Mystery Dungeon series started for the Gameboy Advance. That’s right. It’s been around for a long time. Red Rescue Team came out for the Gameboy Advance and its companion was the Blue Rescue Team for the Nintendo DS. Explorers of Time, Darkness, and Sky all came out later also for the DS. I remember playing Sky sitting at the library in college… I got a lot of work done there, as you can probably tell. Gates to Infinity came out a few years ago for the 3DS and most recently came Super Mystery Dungeon for the 3DS.

These games have mixed reviews, but I absolutely love them and could play them all the time. I can’t wait for them to come out with another one.

There are three other Mystery Dungeon games for the Wii, but they were only released in Japan. You can imagine how disappointed I was.

What are your favorite Pokemon spin-off games?