No "A Pokémon Trainer Is You" this week

…as I am still recovering from my recent death and reincarnation, which, believe it or not, remains the most efficient way to travel from North America to New Zealand, provided you know the appropriate spells to deal with the skull goblins of the underworld dreamways, and have agents on site at your destination to perform the correct ritual.

Technically you can also take a plane but it’s terrible for your carbon footprint and obviously leaves you vulnerable to aerial attack from void geese. Also those long flights just suck, y’know?

Marnie, Piers and Team Yell

Okay; let’s get cracking!  New generation, renewed sense of purpose, momentary spike in my will to live… aaaaaand it’s gone.

Oh well.

I’m going to begin with my character studies of the major players in the plot of Sword and Shield, rather than Pokémon reviews like I’ve done in the past, partly because I want to get my thoughts on the story out there while the games are fresh in people’s minds and it’s more immediately relevant… and partly because I was still doing Pokémon reviews for generation VII just a couple of months ago and frankly I need a minute (also I am kiiiiinda thinking I should go back and do the characters from Sun and Moon that I missed out).  Let’s start with the, uh… pseudo-villains… of Sword and Shield – Team Yell – and their reluctant “leaders” Piers and Marnie.  In more ways than one, Team Yell are a continuation of things we saw in Sun and Moon with Team Skull.  Team Skull are arguably not “villains” in Sun and Moon, and certainly not the main antagonists.  They’re set up as troublemakers and petty criminals, but if anything we’re supposed to come to sympathise with them by the end of the game, and their leaders earn redemption in the epilogue.  Team Yell are the same, but more so: they’re obstructive and annoying, but they never really hurt anyone as far as we see, and once we learn their true nature, it’s clear that their motives are – if not exactly “pure” – certainly understandable.

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A Pokémon Trainer is You! XII: Be Vewy Vewy Quiet

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

How will you frame the situation in your report to Professor Oak?
– Suggest encouraging the Bidoof population and increasing their influence on the area, while searching for ways to mitigate any harm they cause to native species.

The situation here is complicated, and you worry that removing the Bidoof by force could be just as disruptive as doing nothing at all – not just to the Bidoof themselves, but to everything else living in the area.  It would take half a dozen trainers to round up just the ones here (you assume there are other dams), and breaking the dam could easily be destructive.  Besides, the Bidoof aren’t just crowding out or oppressing native species; they’re also creating something new.  Many of the local species actually stand to benefit from their transformation of the landscape, and the end result could be a more diverse ecosystem than Route 22 started with – if the competing needs of the different species are managed correctly.  It’ll be like threading a needle, no mistake, but your instinctive compassion makes you unwilling to dismiss the possibility that all the Pokémon of the area can live in something resembling harmony.  You resolve to write the conclusion of your report in a way that emphasises the potential benefits of the Bidoof presence, but without downplaying the risks to species like Goldeen that could be harmed by their effects on the landscape.

I hope you know what you’re doing, kid.

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jeffthelinguist asks:

So I have some theories but I want to hear what you have to say on this.

So the latest “fossil” Pokémon clearly never actually existed (nor should they now, either), but the most interesting thing about them is none of them are rock type. In your standard reputation of reading heavily into this as world building and not Game Freak not giving a $#!+ about maintaining any sense of consistency, what would be your reasoning for this and why? If you have multiple theories, feel free to share more than one!

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Osprey asks:

I know you get a lot of questions about type chart balance, and it seems like people are always trying to mess around with adding and subtracting weaknesses and resistances to improve their favored types (I’ll cop to a longstanding desire to see a defensive buff for Ice, my favorite type).

But recently on a forum, I ran across a suggestion that I found remarkable for both its simplicity and its potential to have a huge impact on game balance: reduce the super-effective damage multiplier from 2x to 1.5x across the board. What are your thoughts about this?

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Anonymous asks:

So here’s a thought that occured to me; for a series titled Pokémon, many of its plots aren’t really ABOUT the Pokémon themselves, are they? At most, they’re just plot devices while the human characters get all the focus, characterization, and development. You could replace Groudon with a weather dominator Team Magma created, and nothing about Ruby’s story would really change. Even Necrozma, the most proactive Legendary I can think of, is held back until the eleventh hour, and has everything about its character told to us by other characters (who seemingly exist ONLY to provide said exposition) instead of something the player finds out for themselves. What do you think would be the best way to rectify this recurring problem, if you even think it is one?

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Anon the Mon asks:

Hey, sorry if this is too personal, but are you gay, or bi, I’ll rule out hetero because I have been on this blog enough to not be stupid, just wondering.

I’m gay.

That’s kind of the whole answer to this question, but Jim the Editor always tells me that two-word answers are bad for #engagement so I feel like I have to say something else without straying into territory that actually would be too personal.  I do think sometimes that being Gay On The Internet means you have a responsibility to act as representation for people who don’t see much of themselves in popular media, and also that, to a certain extent, this is the #relatable #content for which people are here, so maybe it would be, in a certain sense, good for my “brand” if I talked more about it.  I honestly just don’t have much to say, though.  I come from this culture of academic self-effacement, where I feel that, if people find my orientation and my personal life more interesting than my writing, then my writing must be bad.  And I know this is not how internet success actually works; you’re supposed to be a Personality and cultivate parasocial relationships and so on, but trying to be that still feels deeply unnatural to me.