Latest PokéJungle pieces

In case you haven’t been watching my Twitter feed, here’s two articles I recently wrote for PokéJungle:

From last week, the second entry in my “Gym Leaders Rated” series, on Misty.

And just up this morning, a think-piece I’ve titled “Galar, the Industrial Revolution and the Philosophy of Pokémon,” which is about why I think Great Britain is a particularly interesting place to have a Pokémon region, especially following Alola.

A Pokémon Trainer is You! VII: A Rival is You!

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

What do you do next?
– Leave Viridian City to the west.

Well, as long as you’re in the Viridian City area, you might as well look around and do some training.  After your morning coffee, you and your Pokémon take the west road out of Viridian City and start exploring.  The houses gradually thin out, the land begins to slope gently upward, and you follow a river valley into rockier, drier territory, where wild Pokémon scrap over sparse vegetation and small pools of water.

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Pluto is a Planet asks:

In light of the discovery of 20 new moons around Saturn, I’d like to know what is your favourite moon in the solar system and why?

Do people have favourite moons?  Is that a thing?

Actually (and this is true, I posted about it on Facebook), my immediate reaction to learning about the extra twenty moons was “well, that’s just showing off.”  You only need one, don’t you?  What is a moon even for?  It does the tides, it gives you something nice to look at during the night, and it helps you keep track of the months of the year.  I mean, think, for goodness’ sake, how complicated the calendar would be on Jupiter. How complicated horoscopes must be.  Seventy-nine moons, not one of which can give you a neat twelve-month year.  There is something to be said for Kiviuq, one of the moons of Saturn, which can give you a very nice twenty-four-month year of about a thousand Saturnian solar days (about 450 Earth days) per month.  The only problem with that is that Kiviuq is about the size of Malta and basically indistinguishable from dozens of other lumps of rock orbiting Saturn that insist on being called “moons.”  And that’s another thing, Saturn – you haven’t got “eighty-two moons,” you’ve got seven moons and seventy-something pet rocks; you’re the planetary equivalent of a crazy cat lady (and, frankly, I’m being generous by counting Mimas, but I’ll give that to you because it looks like a Death Star).  Mars we have to forgive because it hasn’t got a proper moon, but when you pull this kind of $#!t, Saturn, it’s embarrassing.

Anyway, I guess the answer to this question really depends on what you want out of a moon. Like, Europa, Titan and Enceladus are arguably the most useful because they’re the most likely to be able to support life, and Enceladus is also by some definitions the brightest moon in the solar system, but Io is made of volcanoes, which is fµ¢£ing metal, and Triton has ice volcanoes, which doesn’t even make sense. Callisto is definitely the prettiest one, Rhea might have its own rings, which is cute in a “look, I’m just like dad!” sort of way, and… well, Miranda is just super fµ¢£ed up, so if nothing else you kinda have to admire its confidence. Ariel, Oberon and Titania are “meh” at best, although I will admit that Umbriel has a nice sort of dark-and-mysterious quality. Iapetus has the whole “yin-yang” thing, which is gimmicky but okay. Ganymede is coasting on its size and should try harder. Our moon is… fine. It is a classic moon, acceptable-to-good in all relevant parameters. It is not seriously in the running for Best Moon. Phobos is a potato and Deimos is a fµ¢£ed-up potato, and while potatoes are fantastic, a potato is not a fµ¢£ing moon. Charon… well, look, I know how you feel about this because it’s in the name you used, but Charon and Pluto are, like, co-moons, if anything. They’re doing their own thing. They’re fine. They don’t need our judgement. I can respect that.

This has been my objective, fact-based and unquestionable rating of moons. You are welcome.

hoennian asks:

uh oh so [SWSH spoilers fwiw)

galarian ponyta just got Officially Announced and it’s described as having been “exposed to the overflowing life energy of the forest over many generations, and this is why their appearance became unique in this region”
buuuuuut

it’s a psychic type

does this do anything to or for your Fairy-is-life-energy theories? or does it still also just kinda feed into “typing is nonsense”?

While we’re here, this will also serve as my answer to the question from another reader who gives their name simply as “Getting Shield!!!”:

Galarian Ponyta, thoughts?

So… I think it’s fine. Unicorns are an emblem of Scotland, so it certainly fits Galar as a Pokémon inspired by the culture and history of Great Britain. It’s quite pretty. It’s a point in favour of a prediction made by my esteemed PokéJungle colleague Jon that suggests we can guess which Pokémon are getting Galarian forms on the basis of new egg moves given out in Ultra Sun and Moon, so that’s quite nice if you’re interested in the prediction game. Psychic is a weird type to choose, in my opinion, for something as obviously “fairytale” as a unicorn – back in the X and Y era, Jim the Editor and I actually thought it was a bit weird that the base Kantonian Ponyta and Rapidash hadn’t been promoted to Fire/Fairy, because it would have made perfect sense and produced an interesting unique dual-type. But that brings us to…

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Herald of Opera asks:

It just occurred to me… with a name like “Great Thinker” and our primary source being the Atlantis guy talking him up, how sure are we that Socrates actually existed?

So… we’re pretty sure he existed, because Plato is our main source but not the only one who talks about him.  After his death,  we also have philosophical texts written about him by Xenophon, another of his students.  More importantly, while he was alive and long before Plato started writing philosophy (possibly even before Plato was born), Socrates was parodied by Aristophanes in his comedy, the Clouds, so it’s pretty definite that he wasn’t just completely made up in hindsight by Plato.  There are comments in some of Plato’s dialogues suggesting that he was trying to undo the play’s effect on Socrates’ reputation.  Also, although the events of the dialogues are fictionalised (with the exception of the Apology and maybe parts of the Phaedo), almost all the characters in them are real people, attested in other historical texts like Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War or Xenophon’s Hellenica, whose positions in the philosophical debates reflect their real reputations and life stories.  It would be… weird, put it that way, for Plato to construct such an elaborate fiction of a guy who never existed, tie it into the lives of so many other people, many of whom were Plato’s own friends, acquaintances and relatives (several of them dead by the time Plato started writing, most of them not peacefully), and give him a backstory deeply woven into the traumatic events of the Peloponnesian War.  If nothing else, I suspect it would have been in very bad taste.

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A Pokémon Trainer is You! VI: In Search of Caffeine

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

Do you want to give Minun a nickname?
– Let the Narrator name it.

Me?  Uh… I mean, yeah, I guess.  Honestly I’m a little surprised you can ask me to do that; are you even consciously aware of me as a voice in your head? Whatever; by the power vested in me by… narratorial omniscience, I guess?  I hereby name this Minun:

Nancy, the Negator

Or, y’know, just Nancy to her friends.  Whatever.  Nancy seems a little bemused, like she thinks “The Negator” might be slightly grandiose for little old her, but she does also think it’s kind of badass, so she’ll give it ago.  Well… by that, I mean she cocked her head and made an inquisitive squeaking noise; I dunno how you got the rest of it, but maybe you really are some sort of “Pokémon whisperer” or some bull$#!t like that.

What will you do in Viridian City?
– Seek out coffee.

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Lusamine and the Aether Foundation

Lusamine

This piece is in principle about the Aether Foundation, and we’ll start by talking a little about them.  In practise, though, as I hinted last time in my review of Team Skull, it’s actually more a character study of Lusamine, since a lot of the real “villainy” happening in Sun and Moon is a result of her personal actions, either independently of the Foundation itself or abusing her position within it.  The interesting thing about Sun and Moon is that, although Team Skull clearly aren’t the villains by the end of the game, the Aether Foundation aren’t really the villains either.  In fact, I’m not even sure Lusamine is.  Let’s talk about that.

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