The Dag asks:

What are your opinions on Pokemon Reborn, and whether fanmade games could possibly find elements of themselves incorporated into future canon games?

I don’t think I have an opinion on Pokémon Reborn; I don’t know anything about it.  The second part of this question… I think might have some legal or at least moral hazard to it?  Like, if someone creating a Pokémon fan game creates a cool new mechanic, and that mechanic is later incorporated into a commercial game and the original designer is not compensated in any way… well, I don’t think that would be illegal because (as I understand it) you can’t copyright a game mechanic and it would be extremely difficult to prove that Game Freak didn’t come up with the same idea independently (unless they straight up jacked the fan game’s code, which… well, why?), but it certainly seems sleazy to me?  And, indeed, arguably more so than doing the same with a mechanic from a game that had its own profitable release and was designed by a paid developer.  I don’t know; if I worked for Game Freak I think I might avoid even looking at fan games just so I didn’t need to have that debate with myself.

Quarantine Playtime

Soooooo, a week into pandemic lockdown, my laptop broke down, and getting it fixed is taking a bit longer than it otherwise might, so I haven’t been able to work properly for the last few days (notwithstanding the Q-and-A posts I had already written and queued). Courtesy of this disruption to my normal workflow, you’re getting a short (and for once I actually mean that, I’m drafting this entirely on my phone) review/discussion of a Nintendo Switch game I bought to amuse myself while my laptop is out of commission: Octopath Traveler.

Continue reading “Quarantine Playtime”

Anon the Mon asks:

Am I the only one that noticed that, while in Pokemon, they have the ability to digitize creatures and heal them from burns, poison, and even being trapped in ice with one machine, how come they don’t have cars, or any regular means of transport that does not rely on pokemon power, except for boats (which might be pulled but we never see), hell, even the technological marvel that is the Aether Foundation is held up by a metric shit ton of pokemon, any thoughts to why this is?

Don’t have cars?

Uh?

I mean, they definitely have cars in the anime, right?  Gary has one in the very first episode (despite being, to all appearances, not significantly older than Ash, who is explicitly ten years old).  We don’t see cars often in the games because it’d be kind of intrusive to our experience of the games’ city areas as pedestrians, but I don’t know if there’s good reason to suggest that they don’t exist.  And Gold and Silver had the bullet train between Goldenrod City and Saffron City.  And in Ruby and Sapphire we arrive in Littleroot Town in a moving van.  And Black and White had the subway system in Nimbasa City, and Skyla’s cargo plane.  So I think the premise of this question is just wrong.  If the focus of what we see in the games and anime is on things that are in some way Pokémon-powered, that’s probably because those things are more interesting and worth giving more attention to than things that exist in the real world, work the same way as they do in the real world, and are pretty mundane parts of our own everyday lives.  Like, they definitely have cars, but ultimately who gives a $#!t?  Riding Pokémon is just cooler.

The Unholy Offspring of Gigantamax Garbodor, Alolan Muk and Galarian Weezing asks:

What’s something you hope to never see in the franchise? Aside from me of course?

I dunno if there is anything… like, my first thought is “microtransactions in a core Pokémon game” but even then, well, I don’t think I’d mind that for cosmetics like trainer clothing or fancy hairstyles, which make a lot of economic sense for the developers and don’t actually hurt the experience of players who don’t buy them.

I think it’s genuinely difficult to come up with a really unsalvageable idea that is bad in all circumstances without regard to specifics.  Generally when someone suggests a hypothetical feature for a future Pokémon game to me (which is sort of a genre of question that I get here quite often), it’s possible to imagine good and bad ways it might be executed.  Maybe I don’t think it works for what I currently understand as the direction of Pokémon’s worldbuilding and ethos, but it could be great as part of a totally new creative direction.

You could imagine something really specific, like… well, some kind of fusion of Gigantamax Garbodor, Alolan Muk and Galarian Weezing… but that also seems so specific and unlikely that “hope to never see it” is… not really the right phrase? 

Grass monkey, that funky monkey, GRASS MONKEY! asks:

Have you ever uploaded any pictures of yourself, would you like to?

No, and I don’t plan to anytime soon. I have this very late 90s/early 00s attitude to internet privacy where I don’t particularly like posting photos of my face in public contexts, which I know probably seems a bit antiquated to people even a couple of years younger than me, especially in the context of modern influencer culture where part of doing anything online is that you monetise your personality and cultivate parasocial relationships and all that jazz (which honestly I kind of resent). Even more silly, given that I’ve definitely said enough about myself here that anyone who’s been paying attention could, in principle, quite easily find my full name and at least one photo through Google. But for the moment that’s just not something I feel comfortable with. Besides, what I do here isn’t about me. Like, who gives a $#!t what I look like? And I don’t even mean that as, like “oh, I’m nobody and don’t matter and have poor self-esteem,” because I am a fµ¢£ing delight, but legitimately who gives a $#!t? I’m here to talk about Pokémon and make people think more deeply about stuff that they otherwise might not have. I’m pretty good at what I do, but anyone can do it, and that’s actually kind of my goal. People shouldn’t be interested in me, because I’m not the most interesting part of this equation; heck, I don’t even want to be. My ideas should stand on their own, and if they don’t, then that feels like a failing on my part.

KalosianPorygon asks:

What’s your favorite generic Trainer class, e.g. Youngster, Fisher, Hiker, Hex Maniac? And what’s your least?

So, if you shift your gaze upward, you will notice the name of this site, and my avatar above it, and I think these things are arguably clues.

Aside from an affinity with the wild-eyed manic-grinned generation II Pokémaniac, I have a strong love-hate relationship with the Ruin Maniac class, because on the one hand they’re archaeologists, which is what I am, and I love anything to do with the ancient past of the Pokémon world, but on the other hand they’re pop culture archaeologists, which basically means they’re glorified grave robbers who should probably be shot.  Just in general, I’m fond of the “mystical” classes like Channeler, Psychic and Hex Maniac.  I also quite like the Free Diver class introduced in Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, just because I love the way the underwater areas and battles look in those games (even if they do take some, uh… stretching of one’s suspension of disbelief).  As for a least favourite… well, nothing really sticks out to me; I’m not sure it’s ever occurred to me to have a least favourite trainer class.  Is that a thing?  Maybe the “athlete” classes from the Nimbasa Stadiums in Black and White; you know, Linebacker, Infielder, etc.  You’ve all got your own sports, dumbasses; stay out of mine.

And just while we’re here, KalosianPorygon also asks:

Can you rank all eight first Generations based on the generic Trainer designs?

To which the answer is no, I genuinely cannot

NinjaFrog184 asks:

This is probably a frequently asked question, but how do you think will the anime develop? So far, Ash and Go have just been flying around, catching pokémon and meeting lots of pokémon, but there hasn’t really been a goal, or even a real plot. Also, what about Ash? So far, there haven’t really been any mention of his past except for his encounter with Ho-oh, and he just seems…… less important. The focus seems to be on Go and his quest for Lugia. Then there’s the question of his pokémon. As of writing this question, Ash has Pikachu, a Dragonite he caught, and a Mr.Mime, which appears to be his ‘guardian’? I’m not even sure at this point whether he actually caught it or he simply used it for the battle. Will he have older pokémon returning (greninja) or will he still use only the pokemon he caught? He hasn’t caught any Galarian pokémon; in fact, he’s hardly been to Galar. How will it turn out? (I’m sorry if this is too long or if it spoiled anything for you)

So, I prefer watching the Pokémon anime in the English dub, in which the first episode of the new series has not yet been aired or even announced, so I have no opinions whatsoever.  I think if you want to be taken seriously as someone talking about the Pokémon anime you’re supposed to watch the episodes as they come out in Japan, with subtitles if you don’t speak Japanese, and… I should probably be better about this, because in theory I’m supposed to be a serious commentator person rather than “just” a fan, and I should practise my Japanese more anyway, but… ehhhhhh?  I’m an archaeologist; I’m used to turning up two thousand years late and still demanding that people care what I have to say.  If it’s worth talking about, it’ll still be worth talking about in six months.