Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A real World Cup of Pokemon

On the list of things that I would ever do if I ever got in Bill Gates's will/got some stock in Berkshire Hathaway - right after get a CFL team in Halifax and get ringside seats for Wrestlemania 26 - would be to hold a World Cup of Pokemon.

Clearly this isn't a new idea - in fact, I got prompted to write this entry after seeing one in progress at GameFAQs - but this wouldn't be an online thing. So we're looking at taking the Video Game Championships and blowing it out into a major event, with cues taken from the World Cup, World Hockey Championships and the Little League World Series.

At which point you're probably thinking "Wait... what?"

See if you can follow me for a minute, though.

My ideal setup would be 32 people from 17 countries. Looking at the events page at Project Pokemon gives us 10 European countries (UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland) - apologies to any countries I've forgotten. North America would have the US and Canada, Australia brings more PAL love, Japan and South Korea are practically mandatory, Brazil and South Africa to hit the missing continents.

The key is that while 16 countries are playing down, the host country is having their national championships at the same time with 16 regional qualifiers. This keeps the interest in the host country high as the host country is guaranteed a berth in the finals. (LLWS influence - US v. the World).

The core format would be a 3-day, double round-robin tournament. All battles are 6v6 singles. Ideally, GameFreak would have brought the auto-L100 function to local wireless play, but if not we'll have to make due with PBR. Sleep Clause would be on, Freeze Clause would be in play if it can be automated. Known ubers and Wobbuffet are banhammered (but alternate Rotom forms are in play), and the matches have a 30-minute time limit to discourage DT use. Also, anyone invoking the Platinum weather glitch or any other glitch will be drug into the street and beaten about the head and neck with a large trout, then thrown out.

Day 1: 32 players divided into 8 pools of four. In order to guarantee everyone 6 matches, this round would be a best 2 of 3 matches. Top two in each pool advance to Day 2. After Day 1, the players can change their team but it is locked in after that.

Tiebreakers are: head to head record, then Pokemon differential, then a one-game tiebreaker if needed. This would only be invoked if it made the difference between qualifying or not. (Also, I just guaranteed that this tournament's going to get slammed to high hell on Pardon the Interruption. Woo hoo!)

Day 2: 2nd round robin. Survivors of day 1 are thrown into a single 8-player bracket and everyone plays each other once. Top four in each bracket advance. Same tiebreaker rules apply, but they will be invoked in the event of a tie for placing as well. This is because...

Day 3: Quarterfinals, semi-finals, and the championship matches. The winner of the two brackets plays the 4th place finisher, and 2nd plays 3rd in the quarterfinals. The championship match is another 2 of 3 match pitting the home country champion against the interrnational champion.

Aside from the all-expenses-paid trip to the site of the tournament, quarterfinalists receive $2500 cash and whatever Nintendo console is out at the time with a good-sized game collection. Semifinalists receive $5k, finalists get $10k with $25k going to the winner. (All dollar amounts in US funds, adjusted for currency).

And for those who want to follow the tournament, we'd have a couple of livebloggers updating the tournament site with up to the minute results. The Day 3 action would be set up for live streaming with a system similar to the one used by Leo Laporte for the This Week in Tech network, with the right combination of intelligence and snarkiness provided by having yours truly calling the play with Smogon's Jumpman16 on color commentary.

This would take a lot of planning and I'd have to find an appropriate site for the first one, but if it works well it could be an annual or biannual event.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Update to the Platinum Location guide and news musings

I've submitted an updated version of the Platinum Location guide to GameFAQs, which should go live on Monday. It contains the following:

- A rollup of a lot of typo corrections and filling in some missing "other method" information (mainly that I missed Route 226-230 pretty badly for swarms/Pokeradar information). HT to The Mattinator @ GameFAQs for also pointing out that I've been spelling Kirlia wrong for the last SIX YEARS.

- Added in a section where I explain how to regenerate legends in Platinum. I'm pretty sure this is a new feature for Platinum, but I'm not sure.

Speaking of new features, there's been a lot of news recently hitting about GSDS, so let me get some quick hits in:

- So Kyogre/Groudon AND Rayquaza are going to be catchable? Can we get random Latis so I can throw out Ruby and Sapphire? In all seriousness, I get the feeling as the release date nears we're going to find out that Lotad, Seedot et all are going to be version exclusive, they're going to open up Cerulean Cave so we can catch Mewtwo... basically, they're going to make it so DSi owners aren't completely boned as far as finishing the Pokedex goes (as long as they have friends with Pokemon, which sums up Japan in a nutshell).

- The movie Arceus unlocks Dialga, Palkia, or Giratina at L1. Watch them come with their orb and the other two Pokemon's special moves (as I rub my hands in glee at the mere thought of a Spacial Rend Dialga...)

- Jirachi's new toy (Draco Meteor) makes it the first Pokemon to resist the move while learning it except for Arceus-Steel. Good for a gimmick, anyway.

- I have to ask: Is the 1st-slot Pokemon following you going to be a menu option? Sure, I'm going to have Lucario out in front for a while to lure all the furries into shotgun range, but it's going to get old after a while.

- It may take the PokeWalker to get me to raise something to L100 this gen, because you don't need to otherwise. (btw GameFreak, if you could bring the auto-L50/L100 options to local wireless play, that'd be great).

- Bulbapedia headline: "(site) reports HG/SS will include Kanto". Not exactly a big story. Now, if they DIDN'T include Kanto, even Iwata would hear the fanboy rioting as he goes to his daily swim through the piles of 10,000 yen bills at NCL. In fact, there's a part of me that kinda wishes they left Kanto out and blew out Johto. But as it stands, the streak of Kanto being playable in every gen continues. Fire Red/Leaf Green remakes for 5th gen confirmed?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A little story of awesome customer service

In the meatspace, I'm a customer service drone. I've done it in various roles since 2004 and if Malcolm Gladwell needs an example of someone who's done 10,000 hours in a role for a sequel to Outliers, he can call me. So I know what good customer service is all about.

Recently, one of my DS Lites developed a crack. It started small and ended up massive, to the point where I could see the innards of the hinge when opening it. I decided a week ago Monday to call Nintendo about it.

The timeline:

Tuesday: Call Nintendo, get instructions for sending the package in. They're paying for return shipping, since it's under warranty because I registered the thing for Club Nintendo.

Wednesday: About 6:00 my time, drop the package off at the shipper.

Saturday: Check the tracking, it's about to arrive.

Monday: Package arrives at Nintendo. They look at it, determine that the DS is boned, and...

Tuesday: I get a Twitter message that there's a package waiting for me at home. I get home... and it's a new DS Lite. Same color, intact hinge and everything.

They freaking OVERNIGHTED the replacement.

It's not going to take stuff like a 2D Mario on the Wii for me to keep getting Nintendo products - it's the awesome customer service.