Thursday, April 28, 2011


Update from previous post: Beat FFIII thanks to a metric shedload of job grinding. Decided not to go for 100% completion because that requires Onion equipment, pretty much. Started into Strange Journey but got sidetracked pretty badly by a little thing called "I didn't know it acted like a roguelike".

So I decided to finally get 646 in the Pokedex instead. And let's go inside the numbers...

2: Number of consecutive hours I spent in the Pokeshifter minigame. 6 at a time is a pain, but logical. Also, the number of times I had to recharge my DS Lite during the procedure (thank you Easter holiday for making it that I could do it without getting in trouble at work).

210: Number of Pokemon, at least, that I ended up Shifting (I went from box 8 to 15, you do the math.)

13: Number of levels my Giant Chasm Ditto grew in the process of breeding the Pokemon that I sent in, which were largely final form.

12: The Route used for grinding. One long stretch of grass that it's easy to trigger Audino grinding with? Probably saved me a good 3 hrs when compared to doing it in the Giant Chasm.

24,922: Amount of experience earned by a L1 Duskull holding a Lucky Egg when it kills an Audino at L49.
30: The number of levels a Fast group Pokemon (such as Duskull) gets from 24,922 exp.
06: The TM that makes these numbers possible (Toxic).

And finally 1 gets four facts:
- The number of times I dropped my DS
- The amount of hours since I last saved and thus lost the progress
- The number of Nintendo World Report writers who said "Goddamn" upon seeing the screenshot I took in celebration...
- And the number of Pokemon from my first 3rd generation file that I still have, and is now sitting in box 14 or something - Blair the Blaziken.

I first spoke of Blair in 2003, in the Universal RS Adventure Archives over at the still-flailing Azure Heights forums. Because of the data cutoff necessitated by going from GBC to GBA, and the notoriously dead batteries of GSC games, it's the longest-lasting Pokemon I've owned. I yanked it out of Pokemon Box in 2008, Pal Parked it up to Diamond, then over to Platinum when that superseded Diamond in 2009 and now to White.

Its nature sucks (Gentle: +SpDef, -Def), its effort is jacked to hell because I used it ingame before EV reducing berries got that effect, and I think its moveset is something like Bulk Up/Slash/Flamethrower/Brick Break. I don't even want to know what its IVs are, but if I find out it's triple 31 or something I might cry. Still, I've had that Blaziken since I was in my freshman year of university, I was still working at libraries and the Toronto Maple Leafs were making something allegedly called the "playoffs".

Hell, if R/S allowed you to see the date of acquisition mine would say March 19/03. That's the launch day of Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire in Canada, or at least when EB Games called me to pick up my preorder (it's the 2nd game I ever pre-ordered, with Zelda: Wind Waker being # 1). I'm never letting it go, and that's pretty much the only Pokemon I'll say that for.

(Yes, even my uber-rare Wish/Heal Bell Lickitung from the New York Nintendo World - back when it was the Pokecenter, I think - could be available. One of these days, I'm going to open the Pokemon equivalent of Ebay and let it run like the lady who sold a mint Stadium Events for the NES for $22k.)

But what I can't wait for is the inevitable RSE remakes next gen. I'm going to send Blair back home, and probably create a time paradox in the process. But I don't care. It's already had a long journey through time - or so says its status screen in White - so it's only a few more years until it'll return. I don't know if GameFreak will include some sort of easter egg for people who manage to hang onto a Pokemon that long, but we'll just have to wait to find out.

Is there anyone else out there who still has a Pokemon that knows what it's like to play with an Afterburner light? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Paralysis by Choice

My preferences in games tend to focus on 3 genres - puzzle games, 2D platformers and eastern RPGs. And even then, there's some pretty big holes in my JRPG history:

- I've never played a tactical RPG beyond the tutorial for Final Fantasy Tactics on PS1 (exception being the PVP portion of Pokemon back in the day, which only counts for a certain definition of tactical)
- I've beaten less than half of the Final Fantasy games (1, 4, 6, 7 and 10).
- I've never played an Atlus RPG, though I picked up Strange Journey for a song and want to get my hands on Persona 3/4. Also Radiant Historia, though it scares the crap out of me.

I've started playing Final Fantasy III (DS) today, in what would be my 4th attempt to beat the 4th DS game I ever bought (of approximately 60). The farthest I've ever gotten in the game is the point when I get the 2nd set of job crystals, at which point my brain shuts down at trying to process the party options I've got and I go running back to Pokemon to finish filling a Pokedex.

Notice the Final Fantasies I've beaten - they're the ones that have the simplest character technique-building system (locked-in jobs at the start, Espers, Materia and only the basic Sphere Grid respectively). If it gets any more complicated than that - like a full job system or heaven forfend, 12's License Grid - I have no idea what to do because I want the optimum setup with the least amount of time.

The same thing happened with Pokemon, in retrospect. Once the system moved beyond 130 options and one set of simple stats, I was done.

So if I get freaked out by this in a genre that I've pretty much been playing since I went through gaming puberty in 1995, it's no wonder I haven't broken out into open-world games (even though I've had access to GTA: San Andreas since about 2005), western RPGs or shootan of any kind. Though one would think that I'd be more into shooters now that they're basically down to the Final Fantasy IV level of railroading compared to the fact that I beat Final Doom when I was 12.

I don't want to be a fanboy, it's just come down to circumstances.

To start changing this, I'm going to see FFIII through to the end even if it takes me 50 hours to figure out that I should go Dark Knight, Devout, Summoner and Knight in the endgame. From there, it'll be on to Strange Journey to see if I'll be able to handle Persona without pulling an Evoker on myself.