Friday, December 31, 2010

Dueling Version Exclusives

Now that we have a release date of 3/6 and even knowledge of when the gerbils and Celebi are being released (and those events have already leaked), a lot of people are going to have to make the decision on what version to buy.

Not to be racist, but I'm going with White on this one because I value White Forest and it making sure I have to do less Pokeshifting than I would with Black. Wanna know why? Here's the list.

But I had to resort to deciding based on the additional Pokemon, because looking at the version exclusives in this gen didn't help one bit.

Note: Monmen/Churine (the Grass-types) are not version exclusive as they can be ingame traded for each other in the respective versions.

Psychic types
White: Yuniran/Daburan/Rankurusu
Black: Gothimu/Gochimiru/Gochiruzeru
Stat wise, White gets the advantage on Special Attack (105 in the first form? Yowza) and HP, but Black's have the advantage on speed although neither one is fast by any means. The kicker is the ability advantage - there are way more situations where Magic Guard or even Dustproof will come in handy than Frisk ever will. 
Advantage: White

Flying types
White: Washibon/Wargle (Normal/)
Black: Baruchai/Barujiana (Dark/)
Oooh, a Dark type. Except the only thing that kept Wargle Low in the tier list was the location and late evo - Wargle especially is absolutely amazing post-National as it can actually do damage. Baruchai's offensive stats, as previously mentioned, are TERR-IBLE.
Advantage: White

Flying type Legendary Genies
White: Voltolos (Electric/)
Black: Tornolos (no dual type)
Both having identical stats means it comes down to typing and movepool - and Voltolos having the advantage of STAB Thunderbolt out of the box when you get it + just enough Special moves to be usable gives it the win.
Advantage: White

Version Mascot Dragons
White: Zekrom (Electric/)
Black: Reshiram (Fire/)
These things were designed to be perfectly identical to each other, and it works out pretty well. I do have to give the edge to Reshiram since it can super-effect the only thing that resists its other STAB - although quite frankly, 100 power off a base 150 Attack stat is going to KO whatever hits it anyway.
Slight advantage: Black

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Technical Incompetence

"I'm pretty sure my choice of Water Pokemon is about to get future endeavoured. It failed Test 1: 'Can it use TM13?'"
- Twitter comment in reference to Gamengorge, 9/28/10

In my many Black and White playthroughs, this isn't the first time I've been shocked - SHOCKED - that a Pokemon didn't have the capabilities to use a TM. It seemed to be endemic to the Water type as I learned when Swana was compatible with Ice Beam, but not Blizzard, but upon further digging over at Veekun it seems that certain rules from the last generations are being chucked out the window.

Specifically, the rules would be:
- Starters get wide compatibility for attacking moves, and the final forms get Earthquake. Not this time: Snivy's compatibility is Grass moves, Aerial Ace, and Normal moves, and neither it nor Oshawott's final form (in correction of something I posted in the tier lists) learn Earthquake. At least Tepig's family did all right (but it also gets the benefits of two STABs).

- Water types learn Ice Beam and Blizzard, full stop. (Not anymore: Gamergorge doesn't get either one, and Swana misses on Blizzard as previously mentioned.)

- The average final-form Pokemon in gen IV had roughly 40 TMs (30 + mandatory 10) that they learned. With 3 more TMs and only about 20 existing ones changing, this has gone down to only 15-20 over and above the mandatory ones in gen V.

So what's responsible for the changes?

The biggest thing is probably the fact that TMs are now basically HMs that don't require the move deleter to get rid of. Once you get say, Ice Beam and can throw it on anything that moves, the game needs to restrict the Pokemon that have access to it. (Especially given that you've already beaten the Dragon gym).

Another factor is that some of the newer TMs pay much more attention to flavour than they would have in gen IV. If Ice Breath (TM79) existed last gen, it probably would have gone to every Water type not named Magikarp (giving it an automatic learnbase of 90+ Pokemon) and probably a few Dragons (like the Latis). Instead, its movepool is roughly 15 out of 649, and all of that is Ice types and Mew (who of course learns everything). There's no Pokemon (again, Mew excluded) that can learn Ice Beam and Boiling Water simultaneously, and there's an obvious reason - if you're capable of breathing Ice like that, you can't emit water hot enough to be "boiling".

Lastly, there's still the factors of last gen's TM base to consider. Remember, we're one generation removed from Stealth Rock being either one of the first two TMs you get (in Diamond/Pearl/Platinum) or buyable for $2k in a department store (HG/SS). They've gone to great lengths to reduce Stealth Rock use by seemingly preventing it from showing up in random Wi-Fi battles, and TM76 is now a 30 power Bug move (which makes it as unappealing as you can get). If Stealth Rock was introduced in gen V, it would likely have its natural movepool (which is all Rock-types) + maybe a few Ground types, and that's it.

So on March 6, make sure to keep a Pokedex handy online (such as Bulbapedia or Veekun) and check that TM's capability before you start throwing it around willy-nilly. You may not like the results.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Black/White Ingame Tier List; The Special types

Part 2: The Special Types

You saw the Physical types last time, so let's go with the Special types for now. Note that I've also updated Part 1 with first location data (which I've worked into the listing for the Special types).

Monday, November 29, 2010

Black/White Ingame Tier List: The Physical types

Since Black and White's release, Smogon has been running a thread to determine an ingame tier list for Black/White to correspond with similar lists they have created for other generations. I've chipped in a few times, but after what is now my 6th playthrough of Black and White, I think I've furrowed out the best Pokemon of each type in the game.

The main factors for a good ingame Pokemon:
1) How faster am I getting through the game by using them? Higher offensive stats, or more move type variety, or learning awesome moves, means you rank higher.
2) How soon can I start using them in their final form? Happiness evolutions, evolving at ridiculous levels or trade evolving hurts their placement (though not as much as it would with the GTS being available).
3) As a type, are they useful for clearing Gyms/Elite 4 members? If you have access to Fighting, Ghost, or Dragon moves, it certainly helps.

This is strictly for getting to the end credits for the first time, and only ranks Pokemon that you are guaranteed to encounter ingame. So Zoroa and event Pokemon (read: Victini) are flat out. The same goes with the version mascots (since they last a whole 2 battles at most), and of course DQs the two Pokemon that can only be encountered legally postgame at L70/75 (Kyruem and Landorus).

Since this is going to be a long post, I'm splitting it into two entries - this one will be the pre-4th gen physical types (Normal, Fighting, Poison, Ground, Flying, Bug, Rock, Ghost and Steel). In the case of dual-types, their stronger STAB gets priority, with the determination on the "however I feel like it" methodology.. The ranking is a simple 3 tier system: High, Mid or Low, unlike the Smogon system.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Donald's Pokemon Black/White Review

This review is based on a Japanese version of the game. Certain online features such as Dream World will have to wait until the North American release due to a lack of Japanese knowledge on the part of the writer.

When it was announced several months back that the Black and White versions would feature no old Pokemon for a majority of the adventure, there was some fear among experienced players that everything would just be cloned over from the 1st generation like they did in Ruby and Sapphire. Despite some evidence to the contrary - namely the 3rd consecutive Fire/Fighting starter - enough has changed and enough of the annoying things from prior games have been excised that this is the most enjoyable ingame romp yet.

Addition Through Subtraction
The key is that a lot of the little annoying things in the game - Golbats, HMs and the old experience curving - have been ditched. Golbat is pretty self-explanatory, but there is a grand total of 1 time in the game prior to the Elite 4 where you need to use an HM out of battle. The first time through, I didn't even pick up Strength until two cities after it was needed and didn't miss it.

If you're the kind of person who wants to explore the side areas - and you should, considering the rewards are pretty powerful Pokemon and some good moves - you will need Strength and Surf. But since you're probably using them as in-battle moves anyway, it won't cause you many problems going through.

The other major timesaver is that it's quite easy to add new members to the team if you need to. Although they did take out the Vs Seeker, it's made up for with four things:

- Repeatable TMs
- A way to trigger an encounter with a wild Pokemon that has the highest base experience of any Pokemon in history
- A new experience curve that gives Pokemon more experience at lower levels
- A free Lucky Egg during the course of the storyline

All of these boosts make it really easy to use favourites or cool-looking Pokemon, although there are certain ones that are still more equal than others.

Story Considerations
Although the bar isn't set very high for Pokemon storylines, it was set by Platinum with the Team Galactic storyline. At least from what I can gather from reading story FAQs, the TVTropes article and various fanon that the storyline is actually deeper than the one in Platinum. Much like the older heroes in the game, it's a reflection of the maturity of the franchise.

(Again, this is subject to further reflection once the English version is out.)

New Pokemon
Let me lay it out first; A 3rd consecutive Fire/Fighting final form of the Fire starter is annoying, and if Pokemon #655 is Fire/Fighting, there may be mass homicide. However, I've been able to play through the game five times over with wildly varying teams in each one (even allowing for the one mono-fire expirement).

The only odd thing is that there's not many specially-focused Water types - you have Daikenki (who ends up with a better physical movepool anyway), Brungeru (the Water/Ghost) and, uh, that's it. Of the other Water-types, they're mainly physically focused - if Kerudio wasn't an event Pokemon I'd be a lot happier.

As usually happens, I've basically put away my 4th gen games at this point - the only times I've booted one since were to get Mew and to refresh the Pokewalker in Heart Gold. For a game that I really can't even read, this is one hell of an accomplishment.

If this is the end of Pokemon on the 2DS, it's a helluva way to go out.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Meeting transcript: How Garchomp got Rough Skin

 When the Dream World abilities were announced, the questions were flying fast and furious. Who did Ninetales fellate to get Drought? Is Wobbuffet legal now? And most importantly... how in the hell did Garchomp get Rough Skin when Salamence got Overconfidence?

The last one boggled my mind until my spies at GameFreak came through with a recording of the decision - and it didn't go down as you would think. I originally put this on GameFAQs, but it was too good to waste over there.


Masuda: Monster of the week, sign in please.

*Garchomp enters*

Masuda: Ah, Garchomp. Welcome. I must say, you had a good run last generation. Getting banned before Platinum was beyond our wildest espectations.

Garchomp: Thanks, boss.

Sugimori: We want to replicate that success this time around, so we're going to give you an awesome Dream World ability. The problem is, we couldn't decide which one to give you.

Masuda: So we're going to settle this the old fashioned way. Gardevoir, could you send in... The Wheel of Abilities.

*A Wheel of Fortune-like wheel floats into the room. It is 24 pegs wide, with 4 pegs for Huge Power and 2 pegs for Sandstream, Shadow Tag, Rough Skin, Sand Fence, Sand Power, Intimidate, Overconfidence, Speed Boost, something called "Reverse Technician" which would be a 50% boost for attacks over 60 power, and Bankrupt.*

Garchomp: Ooooh, this looks like fun.

Sugimori: Wanna give it a spin?

*Garchomp spins the wheel*

Sugimori/Masuda: Wheel of Abilities, turn turn turn. Tell us the weapon that he should earn.

*The wheel is slowing down, and looks like it'll land on Huge Power.*

Garchomp: Aweso...

*... but it clicks over one peg to land on Rough Skin.*


Masuda: Well... that's the way it goes. Sorry, Garchomp.

Garchomp: Tell it to the Oddish I'll be eating for dinner tonight. *Exit Garchomp*

Sugimori: Uh, why was Rough Skin on there? I thought we were trying to clinch a ban for it again. Lemme check...

*Sugimori walks over to the wheel and pulls at the Rough Skin tag to reveal that it was covering Mold Breaker.*


Tajiri: *laughs*

Flareon: Hey, let me spin that one!

Masuda: NO!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Killing It With Fire

Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Darumakka

As promised, I decided to mono-type run Black shortly after solving the White gametape as much as I could. The rules where simple: Only Fire-type Pokemon can obtain experience points during the game, except for one Double battle that is mandatory before I could get a 2nd Fire-type. Other Pokemon can be used but strictly for HM muling.

In order of obtaining, the team was:
1) Pokabu family
2) Yanappu/Baoppu (the former is the Grass monkey that took the Exp in the mandatory double battle. Latter is the Fire monkey.)
3) Victini
4) Darumakka
5) Hitomoshi family (aka The Candle)
6) Meraruba family
7) Reshiram (where Baoppu got ditched)

There is one Pokemon eligible but I didn't use due to obtaining it late: Kuitaran (the Anteater).

In order of awesomeness and ingame tiering, the order goes something like this:

Sir-Not-Available-Anynore Tier: Victini
Fire/Psychic is a great offensive type combo, although Victini's best Psychic move goes Confusion -> Zen Headbutt -> Psychic by TM in the East Isshu area. It was my main anti-Water between Grass Knot as soon as I got it and Thunderbolt in the Surf area. Of course, it's not available anymore until the NA launch, so... yeah.

God Tier: Darumakka/Hihidaruma
One word: Wow.

Sure, his baby form has Hustle. Sure, the result of Hustle is that his Rock Tomb is about as accurate as a Obama biography produced by Fox News. But when it hits, it hits HARD. I was able to stick with Fire Punch pretty much from L22 on as both forms have an innate Attack boost, and mine was Adamant (perfect nature for Encourage ones) running a 140 base Attack. Moveset was Fire Punch, Dig, Rock Tomb/Slide, and Strength until I could use Earthquake (again, postgame).

Good Tier: Pokabu line, Reshiram
You might be wondering why a cover legendary is on the same tier as a starter relatively assumed to be the 3rd best Fire/Fighting starter ever. Simply put, you can't play this way without the former, and the latter gets 2 battles total before you see the credits for the first time. That and the Fighting type STAB actually made him useful against the Dragon gym, and it could run Wild Bolt (off TM 93) with its high HP. Moveset at the end: Nitro Charge, Brick Break, Wild Bolt, Dig/EQ for Enbuoo and Dragon Pulse/Flamethrower/Extrasensory/Fly for Reshiram.

Needs Babying tier: Baoppu, Hitomoshi, Meraruba
In order of severity:
- Baoppu was the weak link most of the way, especially since I wanted Crunch on it for some perverse reason which means keeping it until L43. I couldn't even grind it up with the free Lucky Egg because I needed Acrobat to be high-powered (which means no items on it). It picked up upon evolution but the lack of a dual type and no real ability while equipped with Acrobat kills it. Moveset: Flame Burst, Acrobat, Crunch, Grass Knot

- Hitomoshi is bad, but the final form is a) badass, and b) available at level 41 if you get a good draw on the dust. Will-O-Wisp + Evil Eye (50 pwr special Ghost, 2x if the opponent has a status) was a good combo, but you get Shadow Ball shortly after it so that becomes the go-to attack. Flame Body was also appreciated for random burns + egg hatching (see below). Moveset: Shadow Ball, Flame Burst, Solarbeam, Will-O-Wisp

- Oh god, Meraruba. Sure, it evolves into a badass (Ungamoth) but that happens at level 59. The irritating part is that its main moves as a baby are all physical, and that is the better attacking stat, but the final form is base 130 SA so I ended up ditching mine in the post-game and soft-resetting for a Modest one in the Ancient Cave. Still, seeing something go from L1 to L24 in one Pokemon because of the new experience formula and the Exp Share? Awesome. Moveset: Bug Bite, Nitro Charge, Return, Leech Life (Meraruba) - Flamethrower, Bug Buzz, Psychic, Butterfly Dance as Ungamoth.

 Other things I've learned in the run:
- Gyms that give you hell: 1st (obviously, that's what its there for), 8th. And that's it. You're going to beat 2, 3, 4, and 7, 6 is neutral, and the 5th uses a Ground/Steel as the main Pokemon in which you can win a damage race.

- I was able to go through the game with just 1 HM, except for a few items and the whole getting Meraruba/TM 24 sequence needing a Water-type for Surf. Cut's last use was around the 4th gym, and all of the Surf areas pre-first credits are optional. Love it.

- As mentioned, there's a new experience curve that is still being worked out, but the offshoot is that if you are lower leveled than what you get experience from, you get more points. Proof of this is that I got Meraruba immediately after getting Surf, and it was even with the team by the time I returned to the main game.

- Nothing warmed my heart more than seeing the champ use 3 Bugs.

- Can a brother get a Flamethrower TM earlier? Like maybe, I dunno, before the Elite 4?

- Even with the EXP curve, Kuitaran has the problem of a better Special Attack and a largely physical movepool. Hopefully Gray's move tutors are kinder to him. Then again, there's a whole class of Pokemon I'd probably have to trade eggs in for an ingame run - including Wargle. Sad end.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Black/White launch week awards *SPOILERS*

Confession time: I've been playing White for the last several days. I went with it over Black for now because quite frankly, it showed up first. And apparently I'm not alone, since about 3.6 million people have bought the game in Japan already by "press" time.

Right now, I just finished the 6th badge and am rocking a full party, though I could use a Flyer. I'll list them after the break since there's spoilers involved. But right now, I think I'm far enough along to hand out some preliminary awards

Best Mea Culpa:

What can I say, the spanish dude got it right. Props to him... I still cannot fathom how he got the leaks of the Pokemon, but he did. Serebii Joe needs to chill, though - surely you have a site to run, there's no reason to spend several hours a day posting on GameFAQs, of all places.

Best incident of self-inflicted gunshot wound:
To Nintendo of America for sending DMCA takedown notices to PokeBeach and Serebii. News flash guys, this is 2010. Stuff leaks. Not even Apple is immune to leaks, and they decapitate the leakers when they catch them and hang their heads from 1 Infinite Loop as a warning to others.

Both sites got nailed for posting pre-release stuff from 2ch, not sprites as is to be believed, but using the DMCA as a club instead of tightening your own security or starting a Smash Dojo-equivalent site to get ahead of the leakers is a pretty cheap shot. And why does the UK allow this to happen to Joe? I almost wish I had the kind of free time to run my own news site/podcast, if only because I could mock them for trying to run a takedown on a site that's not in US jurisdiction.
(Last warning: Everything after the jump could be considered a spoiler.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Where's Sakurai?

After some sober second thoughts, I stand by what I said about the leaks. If by some fluke they are real, I'll definitely mea culpa publicly, but I don't suspect that will be a problem.

The Spanish guy with the apparent leaked copy of B/W has spent the last couple of days "leaking" the new Pokedex order, which I won't link because he doesn't deserve the hits. But there's a couple of things that I want to know about the project:

1) How come anyone even remotely connected to Black and White hasn't signed an NDA that makes the Platinum guide look tiny?
2) Why don't they have the equivalent of a Smash Bros Dojo for the Pokemon series?

I suspect the answer to #1 is "they are, but someone is willing to break". So if I was in charge of the marketing, such as say, a community manager, I'd first remind everyone of the NDA and get them to sign off again. That should theoretically stop the leaks, especially if they're threatened by loss of face or (more likely) their job.

If not, and the leaks continue, it's time for a false flag operation.

I'd mock up a screenshot showing something that would cause the entire community to collectively cream - for the sake of example, a mock screenshot of Charizard with the types showing Fire/Dragon instead of Fire/Flying. After narrowing down who might be leaking, I'd provide them with the shot and give it 24 hours. If the shot comes out on 2ch, they're fired for violating the NDA. All you need is one horror story and the rest of the company will fall in line.

And yes, I have personal experience on this. I worked for a technology company that I'd prefer not to mention and was put in a Gray Powell position for several months. I never saw a leak, but that's probably because they threatened to sue us out of existence if we didn't stay in line.

So now that we've shot the leaker out of a metaphorical cannon, we need an official source for news. And the answer actually played out really well for Nintendo a couple of years ago in the form of the Smash Brothers Dojo.

The audience who would follow leaks would be the ones who would refresh the site every night at Japan Time, waiting for the things that were CONFIRMED FOR BRAWL~! and cursing the name of Masahiro Sakurai whenever something wasn't up to their standards. Hell, that's why the US Brawl site got so much heat when they included the phrase "Real men use items" in a random screenshot - Smashboards just about lost their minds.

The main thing is that it keeps the game in the news not just on your fansites, but you'll get a boatload of people submitting the updates to sites like Joystiq or Nintendo World Report, which means it'll get published if only to shut people up. That means more free marketing for you. And considering Nintendo went to the trouble of buying a 40 in Famitsu, a little free marketing is always worth it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Just who should you believe, anyway?

It's been nearly a month since the last update since there really hasn't been a heckuva lot to talk about, and I haven't had time to really dive into my first ever UK import (Jam With The Band) to do a full writeup on the game. Plus, a little thing called Hurricane Earl hit yesterday and KOed my power for a full day.

When the power came back on last night, I saw that the community was in one of its typical uproars over a purported series of pictures claiming to be evolutions of the Black and White starters. Reputations are being shredded and accusations flying as the community breaks down along lines that can be summed up with two infamous memes.

On one hand, you have the "GameFreak just shot itself in the foot. I don't know how much you know about these evolutions (I'm an expert)" crowd.
And on the other hand, the "This looks shopped, I can tell by some of the pixels and having seen quite a few shops in my time" group.

So with that, a special comment on the September 3 leak controversy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A wild Zubat disappeared! (Oh, and some other leaks)

Update on The List: NBA Jam is now in "Buy at $20" mode, since EA decided to release the game on PS3 or 360 as a download once the exclusivity on NBA Unrivaled expires next April. As it is, they're making it the bonus for buying NBA Elite. Since they apparently decided they don't like money, I can pick it up for $20 or perhaps used.


Perhaps the biggest story of the week was the announcement made by Masuda on his blog stating that Black and White are only going to feature new Pokemon until after the Elite 4 and the National Pokedex is inevitably obtained.

Praise be to Goddish.

It's awfully hard to believe you're in this "brand new world" every gen when you keep running into Zubat, Magikarp, Tentacool, Zubat, Geodude, Zubat, Machop, Abra, Zubat, and of course, Zubat in every single cave/route/whathaveyou.

There will inevitably be expies of these guys - Koromori is clearly filling the role of the bat, and something leaked (more on that below) that will probably play the Geodude part. Still, it'll be DIFFERENT. And when you're 5 generations into a game, that's what you look for.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Local news at 10

Just a quick follow up to my questions from the other day: Apparently I'm not the only Canadian who feels this way. Fellow Canadian ranter and LPer Slowflake called this out in a recent rant looking back on the 4th generation (viewable at point 16 here). Although the whole article is worth a read, point 16 is especially cogent for that discussion.


So today I had the occasion to do something that's not normally available - engage in heavy use of Tag mode in Dragon Quest IX with a group outside Japan. It was an organized event by EB Games/Gamestop and they lured us all in with the potential for a DSi XL, but about 20-30 people hung out for a couple of hours and picked up maps and unlocked titles for each other.

The biggest attraction of the day, however, was the appearance of someone with a Japanese cart and a save who could hand out maps that were only released in Japan. And as soon as I can level up a bit and unlock the area with all of the metal slimes, much grinding will ensue.

Of course, the most common question asked at the meetup was "Why don't they just do these things over wi-fi?"

Most of what I play now is JRPGs, which heavily play off of the commuter culture in Japan. And based on that, a Twitterer who I will keep anonymous out of respect for his private account is calling that the Dream World will bomb in the West or be neutered as a result.

I have to wonder, though - the C-Gear, or the equivalent of tag mode, is also going to be looking for infrared (???) and more importantly, wi-fi signals. It's the first time we've ever been able to do a live trade without having to be at a Pokemon Center if it works as advertised. And the Dream World (based on the trailer that came out this week) is a wi-fi based thing that uses the PC, so there's no reason why NOA/Pokemon International would need to neuter it.

I know I'm going to abuse the hell of it, if only because it's going to be a lot easier to catch the older Pokemon than the stupid mini-game they're replacing Pal Park with. (That's not to say Pal Park was a picnic - why is Shuckle a Pokemon of the SEA?)

The other reason why they'd want to keep it open would be simple - follow the money. If you don't think there's going to be advertising on the website that Nintendo could make a boatload of money off of, you're nuts. This is getting the kind of hype that ends up with a 7-digit number for sales on both games in the March 2011 NPD report, and a lot of them aren't going to pull out Adblock Plus. Hello, Google Adsense revenue!

And as much as I liked doing tag mode, I look forward to a day when I can tag with a random obsessed otaku in Japan over wi-fi. Now, if we can get WPA support into Black and White...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Altaria's Cheapness Revisited

Something happened a couple of weeks ago that has a portion of the Pokemon community scratching their head.

Not the video chat for DSi owners that has a local function for some unknown reason. Unless you wear a Blackberry helmet.

Not the new heart-shaped Pokemon that means they apparently decided to evolve the worst Pokemon ever.

No, the decision is currently on Smogon's front page (as of July 29) - apparently they've kicked Salamence upstairs out of their most common metagame to ubers, the land of Dialga and Kyogre, future home of Reshiram and Zekrom.

wtf, you say.

It's not a usage based thing - if that were the case, Scizor would have gotten kicked upstairs a year ago. Salamence was top 10 consistently, but Scizor's been #1 with a bullet since Platinum launched. However, it was deemed too unbalancing to be in standard play and kicked out.

Now, you might be wondering why I care about this - I unofficially retired from competitive Pokemon in 2003 and officially retired a year later to concentrate on my job and a well-run wrestling fed where I was in the midst of a massive push. (Smack anyone who says I was suspended by the Netbattle admins for excessive gambling, I'm not Michael Jordan and the Netbattle admins were nowhere near as powerful as David Stern).

But I still observe the game, and I find it kind of curious that they've run their formal suspect process on eight Pokemon in the last couple of years - Garchomp, Wobbuffet, Deoxys-E, Shaymin (Sky), Manaphy, Latios, Latias, and now Salamence. And all eight times, the Pokemon has ended up being deemed too powerful.

And that's where I have a problem.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Unleash the leaks

List update: Got 5 of 16, and should be able to get Other M pre-ordered for my birthday. DQIX comes in on Friday.

Before diving into the latest revelations from this month's CoroCoro, I need to say this about the drama that broke out over the weekend after Pokebeach posted a couple of preview pics for Black/White from the latest movie:

1) Consider your source for a minute about the arrest threats (yes, there were arrest threats). The source is 2ch. As a rule, 2ch and all descendants where Anonymous hang out (read: 4chan) should be taken with an entire desert of salt.

2) The sites that ripped Pokebeach's admin WPM for posting pics (Bulbanews and to a lesser extent, Serebii) are the same ones who posted images of the very scans I'm reporting on now, and the latter posts episode summaries (WITH SCREENSHOTS ZOMG) and magna scans on their sites. I don't know which site posts full DVD-quality videos of the movies as WPM accused, but I don't particularly give a crap. Point is, there's an old line about glass houses that works here.

3) We know the MPAA is scared shitless of people pulling out cameras (see the story of the woman jailed for daring to tape the worst movie ever for their own use), but do we know if Japan's film industry has the same reaction? I would think not.

Now, to the leaks.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

So much for importing Black and White

Going into E3, I wasn't expecting a whole lot of stuff coming out of Nintendo's conference. I was expecting that there'd be the usual 1 or 2 games for the end of the year, and I'd be able to import Black and/or White - heck, I was even thinking about grabbing whichever system had the better conference between the Triple and the 360. (BTW, the answer would have been Sony coming out of the Monday press conference.)

Then came Tuesday, and Nintendo dropping more bombs per minute than any press conference I've ever seen. (For a random sample, see the June 16th Penny Arcade.) As such, we have to reconsider this thing.

For starters, if I buy one system this year it's not the PS3, it's going to be the 3DS. Word is they're going to have 20-30 games in the launch window, and my backup DS is going to hell in a handcart right now as it is. Plus, if I'm going to get a system that uses 3D I may as well grab one that I can afford and doesn't need glasses considering wearing 3D glasses over my prescription ones is bad.

But that's still no guarantee that the 3DS is going to come out this year... no problem. There's literally 16 games that have or will come out this year that I want to pick up. Basically, I'm not going to have TIME to try and play a game in Japanese when I barely had enough Pokemon/Japanese language knowledge to get through Heart Gold and Soul Silver before release. If I play Black or White early it's going to be vicariously through FAQs.

Here's my shopping list, starting with the stuff that's already out in 2010 and I still need to pick up:
~ Glory of Heracles (next $10 sale on Amazon, it's mine)
~ WarioWare DIY
~ Monster Hunter Tri
~ Trauma Team
~ Super Mario Galaxy 2
~ Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers (don't laugh, I'm supporting a studio in my hometown by doing it)

And now the games confirmed for release in 2010 based on "WANT~" factor:
1) Epic Mickey (4Q 2010)
If you told me that Warren "Deus Ex" Spector would appear on stage at a Nintendo E3 conference, I would have laughed in your face. Throw in an awesome graphical style and Oswald the freaking Rabbit (once traded for Al Michaels) and this is officially day 1.

2) Kirby: Epic Yarn ("Holiday")
The fact that Kirby Wii exists was shocking enough, but the game itself looks like it's going to be a console Canvas Curse. In case you didn't know, this is a good thing. Even if it's Perrin Kaplan's final revenge by making ANGRY KIRBY~ canon.

3) Dragon Quest IX (July 11)
I've bought the last three mainline Dragon Quest games that came out in North America (8, 4 and 5) and enjoyed all of them immensely. And hey, maybe if I buy this one they'll bring over 6 with Slime Curling.

4) NBA Jam (October)
It's NBA Jam, and the original developer is involved. I played the original and Tournament Edition to death on the SNES. Add in the potential for the First Baller as a hidden character and yeah, I gotta get this one.

5) Donkey Kong Country Returns (Holiday)
I picked up the Metroid Prime Trilogy recently and have a new respect for Retro, so the fact that they're going to do something different is nice. If it's more DKC2 than the original, this is going to be amazing.

6) Super Scribblenauts (October 2010)
The original was a great sandbox but the controls weren't exactly tight. They've added d-pad controls and even the stylus works better. Plus adjectives. Yeah, you got me.

7) Sin and Punishment: Star Successor (June 27)
Just picked up the original on Virtual Console to try it out, and it's actually kind of fun - if a little frustrating with analog controls. I suspect the sequel will be a lot easier to control with the pointer.

8) Metroid: Other M (August 31)
Originally they had this scheduled for my birthday, which would have been the best birthday present in history. Still, two weeks after ain't bad. And it's a Metroid game done by the Ninja Gaiden guys, which means it'll make diamonds look soft.

9) Goldeneye (October)
Thankfully, my hatred for Activision and everything they currently stand for means I can knock $5 off the top by buying this used. It'll serve as my return to a true first-person shooter after my last one was, ironically enough, the original.

10) Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (Holiday)
This one's conditional, as I want to take a weekend or two and play the originals before confirming. 4 Warriors of Light could swap in here. If it holds, this'll be my Christmas RPG.

So I probably won't have a problem hitting Club Nintendo Platinum next year. All told, this is nearly $1000 worth of games. All donations will be unexpected, but appreciated.

Monday, June 14, 2010

June CoroCoro leak - And The Leaks Played On

So after giving the recent leak a couple of days to simmer and to work out some of the information that was missing, we need to look at this another way. Specifically, I'm looking at this the way the Center for Disease Control does in "And The Band Played On" (as cited by ESPN's Bill Simmons in this column of April 16).

This breaks down to three simple questions:
  • What do we think?
  • What do we know?
  • What can we prove?
Going revelation by revelation, let's start with features.

Random Online Battles
What do we think? I think this was a stunning omission from the gen IV DS games designed to sell Battle Revolution, and now that it's integrated into the DS games proper we're not seeing another console battling game in this generation.
What do we know? I know this is going to be flooded with Elite 4 teams, hacks, and ubers. Making it functionally useless except as a team checking measure.
What can we prove? That Nintendo may be softening their stance on this whole "internet" thing a little bit.

Professor Araragi, first female professor
What do we think? I think we know how they're writing Brock out of the anime for this generation.
What do we know? We have an entire region suffering from a collective bad hair day between the female trainer and our professor friend.
What can we prove? There's a lot of traditions being chucked out the window with this generation.

Zekrom: Dragon/Electric, ability "Tera Voltage"
Reshiram: Dragon/Fire, ability "Turbo Blaze"
What do we think? Kyogre and Groudon have new best friends. Tera Voltage sounds like either a Scrappy for Electric v Ground or a jacked up Motor Drive, Turbo Blaze sounds like a jacked up Flash Fire.
What do we know? Two very powerful typings (Dragon/Fire resisted by Heatran, Dragon/Electric has 4 Pokemon) and the ability names means these guys are not playing any defense.
What can we prove? The third dragon will be a neutral color (gray) and will have a type that's early in the type chart and formerly Special (Ice has the clubhouse lead)

Meguruko: Ground/Dark, Intimidate or "Overconfident" (+1 stage ATK boost every KO)
What do we think? I think this is one of the very, VERY few occasions in which I will ignore Intimidate on a Pokemon because Overconfident is that nasty. Also, I think this is a 1st form of at least a 2 stage family, and the final form is going to be this gen's Dragonite-class Pokemon.
What do we know? If it has Pursuit, it's going to be even more broken coming in on say, Rotom and getting a free +1.
What can we prove? The only thing keeping this out of my fulltime party ingame is if it gets the Slow growth rate.

Hihidaruma: Fire, "Invigorate" (ignores added effects for higher damage) ability
What do we think? I think Invigorate will work with any move that would trigger Shield Dust, will be about a 20% boost, and will be a competitive darling because you actually get a benefit for taking luck out of the game.
What do we know? The design for this Pokemon is based on a gorilla that beats its stomach, meaning it's -190 to get Belly Drum.
What can we prove? If it's another Fire/Fighting type, heads will roll.

Shimama: Electric, Lightning Rod/Motor Drive, has "Wild Bolt" (recoil move)
What do we think? I think Wild Bolt is more Take Down analogue than Head Smash analogue, and that this is a base Pokemon.
What do we know? Motor Drive means slow and relying on the boost, and this will be another argument for an Ability tutor.
What can we prove? If you don't think this image is too cute for words, please obtain a soul at your earliest convenience.

Mamepato: Normal/Flying, "Pidgeon Breast" (Hyper Cutter for Defense) or Super Luck
What do we think? Between its pose and Super Luck Honchkrow can file a gimmick infringement lawsuit, and someone involved in the RBY localization is going to get an undue amount of crap for using the name "Pidgey" already.
What do we know? It's your obligatory early game bird and will probably evolve twice.
What can we prove? It's already better than Pidgey and probably not as good as Starly.

Gear: Steel, Plus or Minus, move "Gear Saucer" (multihitting move)
What do we think? Plus/Minus could be a controllable split evolution. Also, an early revelation of a pure Steel could mean that Steel is going to be an early gym (if not the FIRST gym)
What do we know? There's an awful lot of multi-hitting moves in this leak, for some reason.
What can we prove? Given that it looks like Bronzor with a coat of paint and some pieces missing, it's going to have something to set it apart from its fellow round Steel.

Munna: Psychic, Forewarn/Synchronize, "Telekinesis" ("causes foe to float"), the Dream Eater Pokemon
What do we think? This better not be a repeat of the counterparts introduced in Gen III (Beautifly for Butterfree), because by appearances and the fact that it's based on the Tapir like Drowzee it could be a replacement. If it's a baby form, it's going to LOSE Synchronize when it becomes a Drowzee.
What do we know? Telekinesis is another move that's designed for double battles for use on your partner, because it's hard to determine why you'd want to give your opponent Levitate (if that's what it does) unless they have Overconfidence.
What can we prove? That they have REALLY planned this out considering a reference to a pink Pokemon with a floral pattern existed since Rock Tunnel of RBY.

Chiramii: Normal, Cute Charm/Technician, Sweep Slap (multi-hitting move)
What do we think? An ability has not been ignored this harshly since, ironically, Cute Charm on Clefairy. And its English name is probably just the last i lopped off.
What do we know? Yes, it's based on the Chinchilla. And it's going to be another early game Normal (think: Rattata)
What can we prove? Any other similarities between this and Pachirisu are entirely coincidental.

My current Black/White ingame team: Grass starter, Fire starter, Meguruko, Hihidaruma (please let one of the Fire types get a second type).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Signs your Pokemon may be about to kill you

First of all, yeah, I buggered with the template if you're curious. I'd like to think it gives this blog a little more personality than solid white.

I'd post a comment here about the new Pokemon that leaked out of CoroCoro today but I'm too busy drooling Homer Simpson-style over the Crocodile. New, awesome type combo of Ground/Dark + ability that only makes his resistance, er, attack higher every time it KOs something? When it gets type bonus on Earthquake? I'm never letting it out of my party. Especially when it could be the next Garchomp.

However, the map of the new region that leaked out appears to have maybe 2 cities on it. The first Sinnoh map we saw looked the same, but rumors continue to flow that they're actually moving to ditch the 8 gym format. If I had spies at GameFreak, they'd be saving the same thing. Which begs the question of what happens if there's no 8th badge to control outsider Pokemon.

Hell, it's entirely possible that they might extend the rules for outsider Pokemon to include every Pokemon. And if they really want to go all out with it, it may be more than rebelling while in battle.

Here's some of the warning signs you should watch out for in the next generation when your Pokemon may be ready to kill you.

* When using Whirlpool, you get halfway across before the Pokemon jumps back INTO the Poke Ball

* Your Pinsir came with Guillotine and won't let you delete it

* A large portion of Weezing's Smokescreen ends up going back into your face

* Your Fighting types have replaced the punching bag they normally use for workouts with a Real Doll that looks suspiciously like you

* Everyone raves about how good your Drapion's Sniper is, but it has Battle Armor

* The Daycare calls to tell you that your two Beedrill have suddenly grown a whole hive and they sound like the horns at the World Cup

* Every time you call out Houndoom, it licks its lips

* Scyther has been asking Porygon2 to pull up the Clint Marlachuck video more often recently

* After using TM 09 on your Shroomish, it only remembers the "Bullet" part.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Some quick thoughts while trying to unsee Reshiram's rather phallic feathers...

... is this the first time Nintendo of America has broken a Pokemon before Pokemon Japan?

... they better have some epic announcements for the hour conference at E3 if they're blowing the release date for Black and White three weeks before on their Twitter? Then again, Killzone 3 got announced by a GamePro cover, so what do I know.

... about 20 other people have said this, but it bears repeating here: The only reason Reshiram is the Black mascot and Zekrom is the White mascot is purely for contrast reasons.

... ReshiRAM. ZekROM. Wanna take bets on how many other legends are going to have technology jokes in their name? Is the Giratina-analog going to be called WenCPU?

... Time to Rule 34 of the female trainer and Zekrom had to be 6 hours, and Reshiram within 20 minutes. Good lord.

... Zekrom's going to be Dark-type or some psychotic new combo that's part Ghost. I don't know about Reshirom, but if one more person suggests this means a Light type, slap them. If a new type was coming it would be shouted from the heavens. I'm leaning toward Dragon/Psychic.

... could they hurry up and announce the final forms for the starters already?

Friday, May 28, 2010

My Virtual Console Czar platform

Given that I love a series that some say hasn't innovated since 1998, you'd think I have a love for old games. You'd be correct - visiting the Nintendo press site on Mondays to see what will be available on the Virtual Console that week is one of my weekly habits, along with watching Raw and cursing the fact that I continue to have to work for a living.

However, recently I've come up empty. In fact, this month has seen a grand total of ONE release - and it's a game I've bought twice in Kirby Superstar. The most we'll likely have this month is two games unless they launch a new system on Memorial Day, which has odds similar of that of a Pokemon MMO being announced at Electronic Three next month. (That is to say, never.)

At one time, there were five games a week coming out. Presumably this was to seed the service, as it has gone from 5 all the way down to 0. Some might say the rise of WiiWare (and recently, DSiWare) has something to do with it, or blame the general lack of care toward old games on other consoles. But still, this service can get a lot better and serve as a huge moneymaker for Nintendo as long as someone gives a crap about it.

Which is why I'm throwing my hat into the ring for the apparently non-existent position of Virtual Console Czar (North American division).

But of course, if you're running for office, you need a platform.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

An FAQ update, more on the gerbils, and 5th gen revelations

First, if you follow me on the Twitter (which is also on the right side of this blog), you know that I turned off my laptop's wi-fi long enough to do a round of heavy FAQing today. I'd say I'm about 1/12 of the way through the walkthrough portion of the guide to this point.

Since the only time I can really write is on weekends - though I do try to do it for several hours at a bent - it's going to be a while before it'll be ready for posting. But I'm just glad for an opportunity to plagiarize myself.

A lot of news came flying out rapid fire this week, so let's start with an update on the gerbils. A screenshot has gotten out from Japan (viewable here; link contains Japanese text) showing, among other things, the natures.

Thanks to a kind soul at Smogon, the natures translate as follows:
Raikou: Rash (+SA - SD)
Entei: Adamant (+Atk -SA)
Suicune: Relaxed (-Def -Speed)

Since the easiest way to force a shiny is to lock it into a certain IV set (see also: Quiet shiny Heatran with Eruption from the 3rd Ranger game), this is likely locked in at this point.

Entei is obviously the big winner here, while Raikou probably has enough Special Defense to survive being Rash. Who uses Earth Power anyway besides a stray Claydol? Suicune gets laughs because why would you give something with a flinch move a -Speed nature, so it's probably going to be ignored even harder now.

And finally, we have the release of images from CoroCoro with the first pics of the 5th gen starters and trainers. Sample image has been uploaded to my Photobucket and more images should be on the front page of Pokebeach at the time of the post and have been uploaded elsewhere.

The male trainer: Honest to Goddish, it looks like they aged up Lucas and gave him some more hair. Then again, Lucas had the younger Revolver Ocelot look going and they seem to have gotten away from that. Six Pokeballs. Enough to kill anything that moves.

The female trainer: Um, yeah, they did age up the trainers. Apparently, they're going to be 16-18. Which mike explain the shorts that would make Daisy Duke herself blush. Maybe she should cut off the giant ass ponytail and use that to extend her cutoffs a little bit. And are those pockets, or did she decapitate Klonoa and shove his head down her pants?

The grass starter: God, he's so cute and yet you want to punch him in the face for looking so smug. It's either based on the gecko or a Japanese legged snake... which could mean a Grass/Dragon final form. Which would be awesome.

 The fire starter: OMG A FIRE PIG I WANT THIS. This WILL be my starter (though I'm importing the Grass one as well) unless his movepool has absolutely nothing in it. And they've got two major influences for the final form: A form of the final boss from Twilight Princess, or the boar god from Princess Mononoke. Plus there's no way they can make a Fire/Fighting type for three straight generations... right?

The water starter: I'm sort of waffling on this one. It's either the mutant offspring of Piplup and Bidoof or Mudkip and a snowman with that shell of his. Based on the coloring it'll probably go Water/Ice or just stay Water in the final form. People think it's cute - and hey, it's a Water otter (Wotter?) but I'm just not feeling it. Maybe if it was paired with Cyndaquil and Chikorita, I'd be more into it (also known as the Totodile principle).

HT to rtwelve on Twitter for having the proof on Wotter

Friday, April 30, 2010

Why I'm Allergic to Fat Eggs

There's certain Pokemon that I just don't want to use if blowing through a regular battle or (god forbid) a tournament situation. Some of them have movepool issues, some of them are too slow for an ingame rush, and some of them spilled ink on GameFreak staffers at the time of their development and lose on all counts as a result.

But there's one I have hated for nearly 10 years, to the point where I actually built entire GSC teams around getting it out of the way when I played competitively. One of my greatest moments was shutting up an annoying git on the bots with an Alakazam, and only because it had Psychic, Fire Punch AND HP Dark.

It's the fat egg.

If modern tiering rules were in place at the time of GSC and the bots weren't run by someone who got nuked from Azure Heights due to not knowing when to quit arguing with He Who Has The Button, I have no doubt that the egg would have been the first or second suspect (behind Snorlax) and probably banned for severely imbalancing the game. At the tail end of the game, it was being used even more than Snorlax - something like 35% of the time. Granted, there isn't as much choice (or as many battles) on GSBot then there would be on modern Shoddy, so it's not as impressive than Scizor getting 25% now. But at least Scizor (and Snorlax then) were actually doing damage.

Check that Bulbapedia link above again. Look at the base stats. They're like modern Garchomp - perfectly designed to be gamebreaking. Now consider that the equivalent of EVs in the 2nd gen allowed you to max everything. Imagine if natures existed in 2nd gen and the defense boost existed.

As it is, it had 1 true counter - and that required a 10% boost item since the Choice items didn't exist yet. It's imbalacing on the defensive end because it can recover constantly and has a perfect Counter for any physical attack you care to throw at it. It shouldn't take an hour and a half to have one battle, but I had more of those than I care to count.

I took a sabbatical from battling after Ruby and Sapphire were released, largely due to the fact that I was sick of debating the cheapness of Beedrill (I'm not saying you can't battle with it, I'm saying right now we can't use it so why bother programming it in). Once this got sorted out, I dipped my toes back into it when I wasn't e-fedding... and then I read blueshirt's moveset FAQ. Which includes, and I quote:


in the description of Regice.

Yes folks, the Pokemon that single handedly made half of the attacks in the game UNUSABLE was back and worse than ever.

I haven't been back since.

Though I have thought about it again - the pendulum has swung so far to the physical side that Blissey is down to about 11-12% usage instead of 33%. Still, is there anything that can be done to nerf it?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Movie Gifts - The new Lovely Kiss Nidorans

Coming soon, to a theatre near you according to Bulbapedia, are four special Pokemon - three shiny gerbils and a fateful encounter Celebi. In addition to unlocking that one event in HG/SS, they all have new toys that nearly caused me to kill a Skitty upon finding out about them.

And the gerbils are all shiny, if you're into that sort of thing. But anyway...

Raikou: Zap Cannon, Weather Ball, Aura Sphere, Extremespeed
Entei: Flare Blitz, Extremespeed, Howl, Crush Claw
Suicune: Sheer Cold, Aqua Ring, Air Slash, Extremespeed
Celebi: Leaf Storm, Recover, Healing Wish, Nasty Plot.

"I'm killing Skitty right now!"
Let's look at this for each one:
Raikou: Zap Cannon is functionally useless in a world with Thunderbolt TMs (Voltorb Flip notwithstanding), and Extremespeed gives him a little bit of priority. Weather Ball is fun for Rain teams and even Hail teams (100 base Ice! Suck it Gliscor!), but oh mama, Aura Sphere. Ghost + Fighting is still resisted by little to nothing... and the ones that can take Shadow Ball + AS don't like getting Thunderbolts to the face.

Entei: I have to say, the fact that they're playing to this very blog with Crush Claw is amusing enough (hey guys, it's supposed to go to Dunsparce). Still, Howl makes Extremespeed and the long-awaited Flare Blitz extremely potent - so the question is, who's your physical Fire, Entei or Arcanine? Entei has Stone Edge and Iron Head, but Arcanine has Intimidate... hrm.

Suicune: Probably comes out of this with the least - let's face it, Sheer Cold is BANNED YOU *redacted* in most serious battles and it needs Extremespeed the least. Still, Aqua Ring could be a real pain in the rear on something with these HP/defense stats, and Air Slash is nice for coverage if nothing else. (So much for Ludicolo stalling it out).

Celebi: It only gets one new toy, but what a toy it is. The question is, does Celebi have the defenses to pull off more than one Plot before it gets hit with one of its multiple weaknesses and dies or BPs out of there? It's too bad Celebi doesn't have a tail, though - flavour-wise, Nasty Plot is one of the last moves you'd expect to see on Celebi.

This is part of the joy of post-release content for Pokemon, though - this may be the craziest post-release thing we've seen since those fateful Valentine's Day promos in New York that led to the existence of Lovely Kiss/Horn Drill Nidoking back in the GSC days. Or Eevee with Growth. Or Bubble Magikarp. The problem with all of this goodness is that because of the mandatory Shiny on the gerbils, their natures are locked in as well. And it's not known what nature that's going to be.

Basically, what this comes down to is this: If Raikou is stuck on something stupid like Bold, it's a stinkbomb waiting to happen.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rapid Reversal

Thanks to DarthVivi in the comments here and a couple of people in the secret board who e-mailed me to direct me how to file a ticket advising GameFAQs management as to what happened last week.

Although they probably get hundreds of these tickets every week - usually after every swing of the banhammer - the management understood what happened and after I could re-verify everything the account was restored to its old level.

I'd like to think that my tenure didn't have anything to do with it, but as long as it came back I can still post on the boards... and I did kind of miss it. It's become such a part of my interwebs routine that it's awfully hard to quit it cold turkey.

Lastly, to the person or persons who caused this whole situation to begin with, I would like to refer you to the reply given in the matter of Arkell v. Pressdram.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

So Long, GameFAQs (for now)

April 8/10: See most recent entry

On July 28, 2000, I made a stunning discovery - the site I had been hitting for the one hour a day I could use my ISP's dialup internet for grabbing Pokemon guides had message boards. And hey, I recognize one of the posters - it's the guy who wrote that really good FAQ for the Yellow version.

I picked a username that turned out to be, in retrospect, an unintelligble mess ("cmsnrub25") and started posting there. I started on the Yellow and Red boards, went to 217 (the "Pokemon" special interest board) and built up some great relationships with the regulars on the Pokemon Gold/Crystal boards as well that we ended up carrying over to a secret board. I gained the confidence to write FAQs for them and damn near got a job (only stopped by a Chapter 7) because of it.

I made Saturday picks, proved I could handle quadruple-overtime NHL games in Vancouver by posting on the NHL (sorry, "Hockey") board at 4:45am my time and xfd'd the Sharks.

I somehow managed to get invited to a second secret board - so secret that it doesn't exist - and did the right thing for a fellow poster when they were going to get boned over by my former employer. I was even considering getting into an Extreme Warfare Revenge diary.

That won't be happening anymore, thanks to a bit of my own stupidity.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Donald and Kozuki vs. Excessive Level Grinding

So I've played through all 16 badges of Heart Gold now and hit a massive roadblock - one that's going to require either more grinding that should be allowed by law, or me busting out my Action Replay for an emergency supply of Rare Candies.

The situation? I'm going to get slaughtered by Red if my party holds as it is.

Kallen (my character)'s team is as follows:

Butterfree (Rakshata): Bug Buzz, Psybeam, Gust, Sleep Powder
Utility, sleeper.
Electivire (Akatsuki): Thunderbolt, Thief, Ice Punch, Earthquake
Surrogate Electric killer, is going to get me a Light Ball when I eventually fight Red. Currently packing Fire Punch in that slot.
Scizor (Gurren): Bug Bite, Bullet Punch, Rock Smash, Strength
It's a freaking Scizor, with Technician. 'nuff said.
Houndoom (Seiten): Flamethrower, Dark Pulse, Thunder Fang, Nasty Plot
Venusaur killer
Starmie (Gekka): Surf, Ice Beam, Psychic, Grass Knot
Fills in holes on the team, beats Charizard and puts a nice dent in Blastoise/Lapras
Hitmonlee (Burai): Hi Jump Kick, Earthquake, Blaze Kick, Rock Climb
Need Rock Climb to get to him, need HELLOJUMPKICK to get rid of Snorlax

The problem is, they're all L56.

Red's LOWEST Pokemon is L80.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Localized Walls of Text

First of all, the giveaway went as well as can be expected. That is to say, I gave myself everything over again but nobody else had a Pokemon game with them or already had them. (Hell, one of the guys had a freakin' Yu-Gi-Oh game with him. No, he was not a freaky fish guy. In America.)

I did end up getting both - Heart Gold was pre-ordered in full, Subpar Silver by way of swapping Rhythm Heaven (because I have no rhythm) and the first Layton game. In what can be only described as the worst trade since Kessel for 2 1sts and a 2nd, I also traded my unused Pearl and basically unused PBR for the first guide and $7 off the second.

Now that we have the North American versions, I can update the original review of the Japanese version with the stuff I didn't get to the first time...

The Pokewalker
Two MILLION steps? Are you frakking insane?

With that said, I'm actually using it quite a bit. Not for catching things yet - I'm trying to build up to 100,000 watts so I can get all of the Pokemon out of it, which by my estimation will take anywhere from two weeks to two months depending on how many walks I can justify. It's actually forced me to change my routine at work though - I'm on the 11th floor of a 18-story office building, so on breaks or lunch I go down to the ground floor, walking around the office complex and getting a good tour of the downtown. All while leveling up (random Pokemon here).

The times I've dared to use the Dowsing Machine or encounter Pokemon it's mainly been vendor trash - Geodude, Slowpoke, and Oddish with the more common items. I'd like to go back and get some of the rare stuff, but again, you need the Watts to unlock the courses - and the one you really want ("easy" Spiritomb, Feebas, etc)  is 100,000 Watts at 20 steps each.

Probably the most annoying thing is that if you level up to a point where you would learn a move, you miss the move. Whoopsie. Good thing I got to Blackthorn already, or that would really be a problem.

Oh, and I like how there's already people trying to cheat the Pokewalker. It's called running, folks. The only one I support is a dryer, tumble with no heat. Don't do what someone I know did and try to wash it, though. $10 for a refurb after shipping is not fun.

Voltorb Flip
"I miss the Game Corner already. Card Flip comes off like a high-risk Picross demo." - my 12:30am tweet on 3/16
 This was the first impression I got when arriving in Goldenrod and throwing a fit when I couldn't buy the coins for Dratini or TM 35. It's a tricky game at first until I was able to get a handle on the strategy for it - but it's still freaking annoying when you're up at L6 and get dropped because you misclick a bomb.

The strategy for it is summed up pretty well in this FAQ, and I'm not going to recreate it here. Just next time Pokemon Company, please include an option to buy coins. If you can afford it, then you deserve the rewards - and there's no gambling involved if the reason for taking out the slots was truly for the sake of avoiding the "gambling references" ESRB descriptor.

Also, it's dangerous to go alone. Take this.

Other Stuff
- As predicted, Dialga is a gamebreaker. I actually stopped using it after it sat back and laughed at Whitney for about 10 minutes straight before Dragonbreathing it to death. (Though to be fair, I ditched my entire team at that point for eggs).

- 1, 2, 3, 1, 2 still works for Extremespeed Dratini even when you know what the actual answer is.

- Now that I understand what they're saying when you talk to the Pokemon following you, I can actually somewhat tolerate it. Just do yourself a favour - don't look at your dragon's Orb the wrong way, or it may be YOU getting Dragonbreath to the face. Wonder what would happen if it was say, a Thick Club Marowak?

- I realized recently that there are actually five families that are post-National exclusive despite being in the Johto Pokedex - Porygon, Sneasel, Houndour, Electabuzz and the one I forgot... Slugma. Now do you see why I thought it was only four families?

- They kept Donphan in Gold, so these are remakes of the Japanese versions as I suspected they would be. So the final score is still 8-3-2 Heart Gold in the version exclusive race. So much for "Superior" Silver, right GAF?

- I am this close to setting up a Twitter feed for my Gold trainer. Watch this space.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Announcement regarding HG/SS Launch Day

3/12/10: Please note - the time has been moved up as EB Games is opening an hour early for the launch. I'll be there at 10:00 ADT.

Still waiting to pick up my copy of NA-version Heart Gold on Sunday, but I did come across a homebrew app recently that when combined with a DS flashcart, lets me create my own Pokemon distribution ROMs.

I'm choosing to use my powers for awesome, however - and I wish I could've done this at Platinum launch, but figure now I have the bigger platform of a blog so I can hopefully get some people to show up for this.

On March 14, I'm going to be at EB Games in Dartmouth, NS (Mic Mac Mall) to complete my preorder, hopefully get the Ho-oh figure and (maybe) the Monster Hunter Tri demo. The store opens with the mall at noon on Sundays, but I'm going to be there as close to 10am as possible.

And I'm going to have 2 DSs, and every relevant distribution ever done to make sure everyone's as ready as possible for the launch.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Quick & Dirty Thoughts: Sands of Destruction

I was originally going to call this "x things I Think I Think" but I'm pretty sure Peter King of SI would be crying gimmick infringement. So I'll stick with "Quick & Dirty Thoughts" while waiting for the NA release of Heart Gold and a newly-functional Pokewalker. There are no spoilers here.

I recently picked up Sega's "Sands of Destruction" (aka World Destruction) because I needed a RPG to play and Glory of Heracles got off to a really slow start. Plus, I was ticked at the world as it was and destroying the world seemed like a good idea at the time.

I did manage to finish it, so it had to be doing something right, but it did have some issues. For starters...

- The battle system is equal parts simple and frustrating. You'll basically ignore an entire class of your attacks starting about the 1/3 mark of the game once you build up a stat system. The frustrating part is that some random encounters need 2-3 attack buffs just to do any damage at all, and that's if you're not missing all of your attacks. Plus, the enemies will sometimes get 8-9 turns IN A ROW for one guy - especially egregious with boss battles where these attacks are doing 1/4 of your health per hit. That's not Pokemon Battle Frontier cheap, but it's close.

- The cutscenes can be skipped, which is nice. However, the in-battle cutscenes can't. This gets annoying for two reasons - when the boss is unleashing its super move for the nth time you want to skip it, and once you start being able to use yours regularly you want to see them once and then go on. My clock finished at 23 hours and I'm pretty sure I could've taken 1-2 hours off if I could've skipped the super move cutscenes just in the second-last dungeon I did.

- It seems like the developers were counting on me using DS Sleep Mode a lot more than I did. I was playing this game a lot prior to going to bed, and can count at least three or four times where I was at least an hour (counting the story sequences) from the last save and had to turn it off because the next save point was two areas away. Either let me save anywhere, or put a heal and save point in towns and at the start/end of each extended areas. Is it that hard?

- The last character you pick up is useful for about an hour before he becomes bloody pointless. His only useful skill (a revive spell) gets trumped by the mandatory party member you get shortly after, and he needs either a metric assload of grinding or cash spent on skill points before he's caught up to you - which screws over the rest of the party when you have to buy their 2nd-best equipment at the endgame. Five party members is enough, especially when 4 of them are useful and you only have 3 slots.

- There's a lot of delays when the character is speaking while the lip-syncing catches up. I have to wonder if this was a localization issue.

It's not all bad, though.

- The storyline has a nice hook in which you appear to start out as a Villain Protagonist - wait, I'm the one who's trying to DESTROY the world? Even after things shake down to a basic RPG plot, it's still what I was looking for at the time and has some cool twists near the endgame.

- I'm a sucker for a Kato plot and Mitsuda music and wonder what it would've been like if they weren't going for a SERO B (equivalent to a low-end T game for the ESRB, though I'd have rated it E10). It's not as good as Chrono Trigger, but what is?

- The game doesn't use the stylus unless you want to play with the camera, and the camera is usually in the right spot so it doesn't come up at all. The game does a good job of using both screens for battle (unlocking a second set of attacks) and having the map up top where I'm more comfortable looking was a nice touch. The only thing I'd do is give an option to switch the map to the touchscreen and maybe allow control with that method.

I wouldn't pick it up for full price, but might look into it if I get more cash and if it comes up on an Amazon sale.

Monday, February 1, 2010

3 Things For Gen V - The Dark Gym

In the Japanese version, the Dark type is actually equivalent to "Evil" with Psychic being the equivalent of a "Light" type. This may be the only reason why the type has been solely under-represented in terms of Gym Leaders and Elite 4 members.

As a matter of fact, there's only been two primary users of the Dark type - Karen (Johto) and Sidney (Hoenn) and no Gym Leaders. Compare that to the other types...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

3 Things for Gen 5 - Visible stats

The hardest thing about raising a competitive Pokemon is the hell that you go through in trying to figure out IVs. The existence of stat calculators still requires farming a bunch of Rare Candy or having a useful friend battle you on wi-fi in L100 mode to know what exactly you're dealing with.
The second thing I'd like to see next gen is probably the least likely to happen, but would definitely be useful for the competitive crowd - a way in the interface to ascertain IVs.

Friday, January 29, 2010

3 Things For 5th Gen - Why we need an Ability tutor

To the shock of absolutely nobody, word leaked out from Nintendo's financial statements that a new Pokemon RPG is being developed by Game Freak, and they announced the game will have new Pokemon. Knowing that GameFreak only develops main series Pokemon RPGs (and Drill Dozer/Pulseman), and there isn't new Pokemon unless it's a new generation... we're probably going to get the 5th gen started this year.

With that in mind, this weekend I'm going to try and post full entries regarding three things I want from the 5th generation.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The streak has been beaten

The record has fallen. 2,364 consecutive wins... with an Accupressure Drapion.

Video linked at the original post.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wheel of morality, turn turn turn. Tell us the lesson that we should learn.

"Played Pokemon with my bro yesterday - his Pokemon were stolen from the Emerald Battle Frontier, yet he called me cheap for using Garchomp
Around Christmas time, I had a chance to battle live with my brother for the first time since he moved across the country. The rules were standard 3v3, and my team was Tyranitar, Scizor and Garchomp - he used a bunch of Pokemon that thanks to the AR, he was able to steal from the Emerald Battle Factory and ran up to Platinum.

There were two battles, one of which was a Scizor kill that he pulled a GreenPikachu on (pulled the plug at the last kill so I couldn't upload it). So let's deal with the first one - here's how it went.