Throwback Thursday: Pokemon Pearl

Happy Thursday, happy last day of Pokemon Month, and happy last day of August!

Wow, now that we got that out of the way…

 

Pokemon Pearl originally came out for the Nintendo DS on September 28, 2006. I can’t remember if I got the game for Christmas or if I bought it myself when it came out.

Whenever I got it, this was the very first Pokemon game I ever beat. I had played all the other Pokemon games before, but I never made it the Champion. This was because a new game would come out before I got the chance or I, for some reason, just wouldn’t make it that far.

Within a week or so, I had completed Pearl, defeating the Champion and all. Since then I’ve spent the most amount of time on that game than I have on any of my other Pokemon games.

I love all the games that came after Pearl, especially X/Y and Sun/Moon. And I know a lot of people didn’t care too much for Diamond/Pearl, but Pearl will always have a special place in my heart.

Which game was the first you completed? Let me know in the comments below!

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Character Spotlight: Brock

Happy Tuesday!

August is coming to an end, which means Pokemon Month is ending as well. So, I thought I’d talk about a character we all know and love.

 

Brock first appeared in Pokemon Red and Blue (1996) as Pewter City’s gym leader. He also appeared in the first season of the anime. He joins Ash on his Pokemon journey and travels far and wide alongside him.

Brock is the most mature and seemingly older of all the characters. In the games, he carries rock-type Pokemon, but in the anime, he carries more varied types on his team, even though he still has his beloved Onix and Geodude.

Brock is a caretaker. He always cared for his many brothers and sisters while his father was away and when he joins Ash and Misty on their adventure, he takes care of them as well. He does most of the cooking and he tends to always have a map so they don’t get lost and know where they’re going.

I absolutely love Brock and wish I knew him in real life. He’d be a great friend and, even though he doesn’t battle often in the show, he’s a skillful Pokemon trainer.

Do you love Brock? Who’s your favorite character from Pokemon? Let me know in the comments below!

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Pokemon Stadium Memories

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Title: Pokemon Stadium
Company: Nintendo
Console: 
Nintendo 64
Release Date: 
February 29, 2000 – NA
How we got the game: 
We bought it

krismii
Pokemon Stadium was revolutionary for us Pokemon fans back in the day. To be able to have Pokemon battles on the big screen of a television — in 3D models, no less — was amazing! It gave Rachel and me the ability to play our Pokemon together without the cables and wires that were necessary back then.

rachmii
It was one of the best games. You could battle each other by picking your own team and just going at it, or there were tournaments you could enter and attempt to make it to the top defeating CPUs with a random team the game gives you.

krismii
While we tended to pick our own teams to go head-to-head, there was also the option of importing your Pokemon from the Red, Blue, or Yellow version of the core games. Pokemon Stadium 2 allowed you to do the same with Gold, Silver, or Crystal. It was a treat to see your Pokemon in 3D for the first time!

rachmii
I remember we used to get the roaster up, at the time it was only the main 151 Pokemon, and we would leave the room while the other picked their team. That way our opponent’s team was a surprise to us. If I recall, we often ended up with a lot of the same Pokemon.

krismii
Yes, we tended to stick close to our favorite Pokemon, or ones that we believed would be really powerful. We didn’t know much about strategy when it came to types and move-sets back then! I also remember us randomly picking types out of a hat to comprise a type-specialist team to surprise the other with. Those were fun!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yes, I remember that as well! I used to always pick Charizard and then the three legendary birds… Though I think we, at one point, made a rule that we couldn’t use any legendaries. Lapras was always a big hit with us.

krismii
Yes, we loved Lapras for some reason. I don’t believe I ever trained one in the core games, though… Perhaps I should try to go for one soon! I remember you always having the Legendary birds, haha! Considering that Pokemon Stadium was one of the best-selling Nintendo 64 games, it’s a wonder that it never made it to the Virtual Console. I suppose Pokken Tournament is the spiritual successor of the Stadium games, but it would be nice to see an updated, free-for-all Pokemon Stadium at some point. It’d be code-heavy with all the Pokemon, but it’d be fun!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The Switch may be able to handle it, who knows? It can handle Breath of the Wild, after all. It would just take up all the memory space! Still, I hope we’re able to play the same again at some point.

Do you remember Pokemon Stadium? Have you ever played it? Let us know in the comments! 

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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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Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky [Game Review]

Title: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky
Company: Nintendo 
Console: 
Nintendo DS
Release Date: 
September 13, 2007
How we got the game: 
I bought it

I had played the original Mystery Dungeon games for the Gameboy Advance, so when they came out with more, I had to get them.gameplayExplorers of Sky is played very similarly to all the other Mystery Dungeon games. You start off by taking a brief personality quiz and, based on your results, you turn into a certain Pokemon. Then you get to choose who you want your partner to be.

This time around, I was an Eevee and chose Vulpix to be my partner.

Together, you become an exploration team and go on various adventures in the mystery dungeons. Sometimes you’re simply just exploring, other times you’re chasing after criminals or finding a lost item or lost Pokemon for a client.

In the dungeons, you come across enemy Pokemon and battle them. Sometimes they’ll want to join your team or they’ll just faint. Either way, you’ll gain experience points and level up. You’ll learn new moves, evolve, and overall become stronger.

My only complaint was the final boss. No matter how many levels you’ve gained, when you get to that point in the game, you can’t go back. I had such a hard time fighting the boss because I kept dying, so I lost most of my items (meaning I lost my oran berries and reviver seeds) and I wasn’t at a high enough level. It was tedious and frustrating.

graphics-music

 

As a Nintendo DS game, the graphics are really well done. They’re not as good as they are now, of course, but for 2007 (ten years ago!) the graphics are enjoyable.

The music is wonderful. I always tend to get the songs stuck in my head and I hum along as I go through the dungeons. A few of them even remind me of music from Paper Mario, which makes me love the music all the more.
storyThe story begins with you waking up on the beach and your partner looking down at you. After you become quick friends, and you help get your partner’s relic fragment back from a gang of Pokemon, the two of you form an exploration team. Everything you do is done for the exploration team.

Time Gears are hidden throughout the world and they’re being stolen one by one. With each Time Gear missing, time stops in that area and, with all of them gone, time will freeze forever. So, you actually have to race against time in an attempt to stop a certain Pokemon from stealing the Time Gears.

I won’t say too much due to spoilers, but you find out who’s really on your side and who’s not. You also discover interesting things about yourself along the way.

Overall, it’s a great story. It’s corny, but it’s Pokemon, and it’s enjoyable all the same.

 

replay-value

 

I would definitely play this game again. Each time you enter a dungeon, it’s different. So, even though the story is the same, there’s always a chance to play a “new” game.

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky gets…
4 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! 

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Gamestop Pokemon Haul

krismii
This past weekend, we went over to Gamestop to spend money. Being Pokemon Month, we scoured the store for all sorts of Pokemon goodies, having fun in the process and probably amusing the workers. There wasn’t that big of a selection, but we each got a little plushie, Rachel got some Pokemon cards, and I got a couple of Lego-like Construx sets.

rachmii
We had gotten an email about “Pokemon Day” for Gamestop and ThinkGeek, hence why we went. Of course, it was then that we realized the sales were mostly for online. Still, we went a bit crazy and bought stuff anyway. My Pokemon cards were “buy one, get one 50% off.” So, naturally, I got two big boxes.

krismii
Rachel was really happy, haha! With all the booster packs and the two jumbo cards, she got a little over one hundred and fifty new cards. Not that we really do anything with the cards other than admire how pretty they are… Back in elementary school, I did play a couple of games with the cards, but it’s not a game that I remember how to play nowadays.

rachmii
I don’t even know how to play the game… I just like collecting them and organizing them in my binders. Of course, now I have a lot more Kanto cards to sort out…

krismii
We’ll have a day where we just put on a bunch of Pokemon movies, try not to cry with them, and you can reorganize the cards while I build the Construx models. I got a small box of Ivysaur and a larger model of Gyarados. I wonder if we can find any sort of spray-on glue that will set the pieces permanently once they’re built?

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yeah, how do we keep them together? Someone tell us! Also, I don’t think we’re going to have enough room to build legos and sort Pokemon cards… and I also want to help you build those. They look like a lot of fun!

krismii
We’ll just have to make a wallpaper of your Pokemon cards while we use the floor and tables for the legos. No biggie, right? Our little Jolteon and Charizard plushies can supervise, provided the dog and cat don’t think the plushies are their toys!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Charizard is standing guard on the top of my bed shelf! (Along with a few other Pokemon plushies.) Did any of you guys take advantage of this sale? Has anyone tried out the Pokemon legos? They look like a lot of fun!

Did you take advantage of Pokemon Day? Let us know in the comments below!

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Top Tuesday: Favorite Legendary Pokemon

Happy Tuesday!

It’s time for another quick top list.

Who’s your favorite legendary Pokemon?

5. Latios & Latias

Right away, I’m cheating. But Latios and Latias are a set, so I’d be crazy to just list one of them. Both Dragon- and Psychic-types from the Hoenn region and star in the Pokemon: Heroes movie, which is a great movie. I think that’s why I love these two so much.

4. Rayquaza

Also from the Hoenn region, Rayquaza is a Dragon- and Flying-type. I’ve never actually used him before, but he’s majestic and wonderful. And I really like his design.

3. Xerneas

Xerneas… a majestic Fairy-type from the Kalos region. He’s powerful and he too has a cool design. I love him as a Pokemon, but I mainly love the fact that his antlers look like they glow in the dark.

2. Solgaleo

A Psychic- and Steel-type from the Alola region, I absolutely love Solgaleo. He’s powerful, like most legendaries, but I especially love him because I love lions. No, they’re not my favorite animal, but I when I was younger and thought I’d be going to Professor Xavier’s X-Men Institute, I figured my powers would be to transform into a lion.

1. Entei

Going all the way back to Johto, where my journey officially began, Entei is my favorite out of the legendary trio. This is mainly because he’s a Fire-type, but also because I loved him in the movie, Spell of the Unown.

Who is your favorite Legendary Pokemon? Do you try to get your hands on all of them?

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Pokemon Nuzlockes

Double Jump Kris MiiWhen Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are released later this year, there will be nearly 30 core Pokemon games. While these games grant the player the ability to explore an entire region with whatever Pokemon teams they can imagine, sometimes the usual “defeat-the-bad-guys-and-become-the-champion” plot line can get a bit old. To alleviate that, there are some challenges out there and one of the most famous is the Nuzlocke Challenge.

 

The Nuzlocke Challenge was created only about seven years ago by a college student whose finals weren’t difficult enough to warrant the need for him to study. He restarted his Pokemon Ruby game and, to make things a little more challenging, gave himself two rules for his new run:

  1. Only the first Pokemon encountered in an area can be caught.
  2. If the Pokemon faints, it is considered dead and must be released or boxed for the remainder of the run.

By using these two rules, players not only end up caring even more for their Pokemon — since every hit could be their last — but it also forces players to use Pokemon that they normally would overlook. Plenty of other optional rules have been added to the players’ liking, such as nicknaming the Pokemon to increase affection for them, never using healing items, never using Pokemon Centers, duplicate clauses, and plenty more.

The original Nuzlocke challenger ended up drawing simple comics to document his adventures, and it’s become something of a phenomenon. There have been plenty of Nuzlocke comics that I’ve followed in the past, especially ones where the artists delve even deeper into the stories of the games to create fantastic plots. It’s also such a joy to watch the artist’s skills evolve (pun totally intended) the longer the comic goes on.

Some of my favorite Nuzlocke comics include:

What do you think of Nuzlockes? Have you ever done a Nuzlocke run on your Pokemon games?

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Pokemon Anime

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krismii
During this month, Rachel and I have been watching some of the Pokemon anime that’s available on Netflix, especially the original series. The anime is over 20 years old, having first aired in April 1997. I remember first watching the series when I was only in fourth grade and eventually coaxing Rachel into watching it with me when she was old enough to understand most of it. I was definitely more into the games themselves, but I enjoyed most of the characters and the battle sequences of the anime as well.

rachmii
We used to watch the anime religiously every Saturday morning. It was part of our weekend routine and it was a sad day whenever we missed an episode for whatever reason. Re-watching the show now brought back a lot of memories, not just of watching the show, but remembering the show itself.

krismii
I remembered how Ash was a bit of a dope, haha! He was a decent character, one that I didn’t mind following, but Brock and Misty, along with Team Rocket, were the best characters in the show! My favorite episodes were the ones that focused more on Brock’s ambition, Misty’s own growth as a trainer, and Team Rocket’s wayward friendship.

rachmii
Ash is a doofus, everyone knows that, but we all love him just the same. I do have to agree with you though. I loved the episodes where they had to work together with Team Rocket. One episode sticks out in my mind, “Island of the Giant Pokemon” I believe it was called. There were giant Pokemon (of course) and they all got separated from their Pokemon. Pikachu, Charmander, and company could even talk so the audience could understand them. It was cute.

krismii
That was a good episode! Seeing the Pokemon work together without their trainers really helped them all be their own characters as well. My favorite episodes tended to be the ones with epic showdowns, like the Pokemon League battles. One of the best movie openings, in my opinion, was for Pokemon 3: Spell of the Unknown, where Ash and a local trainer battle with the Johto theme song playing. The cinematic for battles were always my favorite aspect of the show and movies.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The battles are amazing, which is why I wish they could do more like that in the games, though I know that would be difficult to pull off. The games still do a great job! But yes, that theme is the best and I have to say, that movie is one of my favorites out of all the Pokemon movies.

krismii
It definitely was! I think there was an improvement in the anime for the animation and battles if you compare the episodes from the original series to the XY and Z series. We stuck a couple of those episodes on after rewatching some of the Indigo Plateau, and I was definitely impressed at seeing the differences in the battles. The music, of course, helps make the series! Most of the theme songs were some of my favorite guilty pleasure songs to listen to while growing up!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Overall, the anime can be ridiculous at times, but it really is a great show to go along with one of the biggest gaming franchises there is. I’ve been trying to decide what show to binge while I work and I’m thinking I may watch Pokemon.

Do you, or have you ever, watched the Pokemon anime? What are your thoughts on it? Let us know in the comments below!

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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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