The Pokemon Game I Never Finished

Double Jump Kris MiiWhen it comes to the Pokemon core games, they’re pretty much a given when it comes to my gaming wish list. It doesn’t matter what kind of region or how many new Pokemon there are, I will get the new generation and however many versions there are of it.

I was just as excited for Black and White as I was for the previous generations, but… Well, once I started playing it, the fifth generation was not my favorite of the games.

I started playing the Pokemon core games with the first generation, Pokemon Yellow to be exact, and I continued to get the games since then. I haven’t grown tired of the core Pokemon games just yet, and I hope not to. They’re always full of adventure and new places to explore, along with new Pokemon to discover.

With the fifth generation, Black and White, however, I was letdown. I’m not entirely sure why. I remember being amazed at the graphics, at the new areas where we’d see your character surrounded by the giant bridges and cities. However, I believe I wasn’t thrilled with all of the urban settings. I missed more of the forests and caves that came with the earlier generations, and I wasn’t thrilled with the change-up in gaining experience points against wild Pokemon. Supposedly it’s fixed in the Black 2 and White 2 versions, but those annoyed me as well, considering I was hoping there would be an improved third-tier game for the Unova region.

I believe the biggest turnoff for me was the story, though. Team Plasma is probably my least favorite antagonist team. Their motivations make no sense to me — “We’re going to liberate Pokemon while stealing yours and battling you with our own!” — and I just really wasn’t invested in the story. I’m sure the main villain has deeper motivations, but I don’t care.

The main characters weren’t bad. I would have been content with having regular rivals in the form of Cheren and Bianca. They both had great character development through the game, and I wish it was showcased more with a more competent antagonist team.

I recently restarted my White version, determined to at least go through the story properly instead of stopping halfway through. I’m not doing too badly with it, but I am rolling my eyes quite a bit whenever Team Plasma shows up on the screen.

Were there any core Pokemon games that you weren’t thrilled with? Any that you stopped in the middle of playing?

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Flashback Friday: Pokemon Ranch

Double Jump Kris MiiTo start to close out Pokemon Month, this month’s Flashback Friday is celebrating a non-traditional Pokemon game — Pokemon Ranch!

My Pokemon Ranch

 

Pokemon Ranch was a WiiWare game developed by the Ambrella and was released for the download service in 2008. The game was compatable with the Diamond and Pearl versions of the core Pokemon game series, with Japan’s Pokemon Ranch software getting an update to allow players to connect their Platinum versions as well. Pokemon Ranch received mostly negative reviews, with many citing the missed potential of the idea, but most tended to agree that it was suitable for young Pokemon fans just starting to get into the franchise.

Pokemon Ranch had a simple premise to it, acting as a live storage box. The game’s setting was a ranch run by the NPC Hayley, who was a friend of Bebe, the developer of the Pokemon Storage System in the fourth generation games. Pokemon Ranch allowed players to import their Pokemon from their games into the ranch setting and watch them meander about, interacting with one another, and occasionally grouping up for little activities, such as Pokemon of the same type dancing around a campfire or Pokemon that knew the Sing attack chirping out a little tune.

The game itself wasn’t much of a game as it was a screensaver. It gave players extra space for their fourth generation Pokemon, but other than watching the Pokemon and the Mii characters wander around, there isn’t much for the player to do. Hayley does give the player goals in terms of expanding the ranch when a certain number of Pokemon are reached, and she checks the game’s Pokedex once in a while to urge the player to find Pokemon that have yet to be caught. Other rancher NPCs pop up occasionally and take the player over to their themed ranch to look around at their Pokemon, but that’s basically all there is to the game.

It is quite relaxing, and a bit cute, to see the little chibi versions of the Pokemon running around with one another and the Mii characters. We tended to have Pokemon Ranch playing in the background while we worked, creating a calming atmosphere. While it is definitely outdated at this point, it would be interesting to see if there was ever a fully version of the game put out someday. Perhaps a version that utilized the Pokemon Amie, Refresh, and Poke Pelago features from the sixth and seventh generations?

Have you ever played Pokemon Ranch? What did you think of it?

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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?