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.