I invoke the power of Janus to answer a bunch of reader questions rapidfire while drunk

Okay, I’ve gotta-

fµ¢£in’

fµ¢£

I’ve got a very narrow window of time here, is the point

It’s 2022 in New Zealand but still 2021 in most of the rest of the world, which won’t be true for long, but I can use that time to invoke the power of Janus, the Roman god of the New Year, (and also some alcohol) for supernatural aid in answering the GREAT BIG DUMB PILE of questions from readers that I haven’t answered in the past… I dunno, fµ¢£in’ COUPLE OF MONTHS probably???

this is probably, like, super dangerous, spiritually speaking; I might end up owing my soul to a doorknob or something

ah, it’s probably fine

LET’S TALK ABOUT A BUNCH OF STUFF

Leo M.R. asks:

What do you think of the starter selection for Legends: Arceus? I think it’s a rather odd mix mechanics-wise, since all their fully-evolved forms are offensive Pokémon (with Samurott and Decidueye having very similar stat distribution), and a very intriguing mix lore-wise; Cyndaquil possibly represents Johto explorers (understandable as we know Johto and Sinnoh are relatively close to each other via the Sinjoh ruins, and Apricorns in the latest trailer hint towards that too) but I’m at a loss for Oshawott and Rowlet. Other than the obvious ‘samurai’ and ‘archer’ being traditional Japanese warriors.

Would you have wanted a different grouping of Grass-Fire-Water starters?

I put off this one for so long because I just don’t have anything to say about this; I mean, when I saw the Legends: Arceus starters I swear I did not think a single thing other than “yeah that seems reasonable.”  Mmm!  I will say, though, and this is not my thought, this is something I saw on The Tweeter, I can’t remember where or from whom – I will say that it is conspicuous that we haven’t seen any hint of Decidueye, Typhlosion or Samurott in the promotional materials, given that we all know already what these Pokémon evolve into.  I think it’s at least plausible (???) that all three of these starter Pokémon are gonna have regional evolutions (since we know that’s a thing this game is doing).  So I might withhold any further comment on that until the game’s out.  Which I should have done to begin with, because predicting things about games that haven’t come out yet makes me break out in hives and commit pastry-based domestic terrorism.

bob asks:

the other day i found this tiktok that was wondering about why voltorb/electrode aren’t also ghost types with their whole deal being something similar to rotom (complete with possessing different types of pokéballs with different types of effects) and i wanted to know what you think about that idea or even the possibility of other ghost pokémon adopting a “possesses X inanimate object” gimmick for future regional forms?

the tiktok itself: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMexXsr58/

I mean, this is kind of a thing already, right?  Y’know, Dhelmise and Banette and Chandelure and Polteageist and $#!t; there are other Ghost-types whose thing is living in, or otherwise being based on, an inanimate object, and other not-Ghost-types like Klefki too.  And honestly I dunno if it has to be Ghost-types; like, if you’re going to make Pokémon based on inanimate objects, I don’t think you should limit yourself to the ghostly possession angle; there’s other ways to play “object come to life,” including the Voltorb solution of just pointedly not explaining anything for 25 years.

Bidoof asks:

Should Legends: Arceus (or other succeeding games) live up to the graphics and world building in the New Pokémon Snap? Would they, eventually?

Eh, I’m a graphics luddite; I am a radical “go back to sprite graphics” nutcase.  I dunno, I guess I see the value of making pretty landscapes and pretty Pokémon models because so much of the appeal of Pokémon is in the bright and vibrant characters and the feel of exploring a new world, but like… I’ve played a lot of old games with obsolete graphics that hold up really well, I’ve played newer games whose art style just doesn’t function despite their graphics being technically higher-spec, I’ve played games whose sequels didn’t look as good as the originals; I don’t think I’ve ever given a $#!t about any improvement in Pokémon’s graphics past late gen IV.

Osprey asks:

How closely do you follow the major competitive formats? (In particular, VGC for doubles and Smogon OU for singles.) You always have very thoughtful things to say in your analysis about game balance, but I’m curious how closely you track the ups and downs of the metagame, or whether you ever play competitive yourself.

God, fµ¢£, I used to try to pay attention, I don’t feel like I have the time anymore, which is kind of a problem for continuing to comment on that sort of thing in reviews or whatever.  I think if I ever seriously get around to reviewing the gen VIII Pokémon I’ll focus more on the single-player perspective rather than the competitive meta, and on whether a Pokémon is mechanically interesting rather than whether it’s strictly optimal.

Seronimo asks:

Be honest: are you glad Hoenn was remade? You’ve said you don’t really like remakes, but also spoken favorably of ORAS (and how they succeeded where RS had failed).

euuuuuuuuggggggghhhhh, Seronimo, my dude, my good bro, my excellent human, fµ¢£, why did you have to put it like that?  Because I enjoyed those games; I thought they were good; I liked a lot of the changes they made and thought they did some cool stuff and fixed a lot of problems I had with the original Ruby and Sapphire.  Why couldn’t you have asked that question?  God no, I’m not glad the Hoenn games were remade.  I don’t think it’s good for the games industry in general or Pokémon in particular to just re-tread 15-year-old successes rather than create new things; I don’t think Pokémon is in a better place now than it would have been without Hoenn remakes; I don’t think it makes sense to keep “updating” old Pokémon games with current mechanics as if that’s ever going to make the game perfect; I don’t think old stories should have the same people continue to control them and retell them over and over.

listen I’m running off half a bottle of Baileys Irish Cream and the borrowed/stolen divine power of a 2500-year-old fµ¢£ing doorway god, you gotta accept I’m gonna contradict myself a bit here

Agent S asks:

Something I’ve always wondered about is why the Pokedex specifically mentions some Pokemon understanding human speech (like Lati@s), when Pokemon kinda have to understand human speech to begin with, otherwise how can they even follow their trainers orders? Or do these select few Pokes understand it on a ‘deeper level’ or something?

okay

okay, no, I know this one

in the development for the earliest Pokémon games, and you can learn about this in some developer interviews and $#!t, they apparently had a very clear idea of the relative intelligence of different Pokémon.  Like they had a hierarchy of which ones were smart and which ones were dumb, and we don’t know very much about that hierarchy explicitly because they just haven’t said much, except that apparently ocean Pokémon in general are really fµ¢£ing stupid (except Lapras, obviously).  And I think in those very early days of working on the first games, they may have thought of Pokémon in general as being a lot stupider than the impression we get from later games and from the TV show.  I know there was a point in development of Red and Green where trainers had a “Charisma” stat for taming Pokémon, and we still have the residual mechanic of disobedience for high-level Pokémon.  I wonder if maybe they thought of training and commanding Pokémon as being a lot more like working with an actual animal, where you just fµ¢£ing say things and maybe the animal kind of gets that you’re telling it to do something if you repeat yourself enough, but it doesn’t really understand human speech in the way that anime Pokémon seem to.

I assume this answers your question

Katiecat asks:

What are some of your least favorite theories parroted by the Pokemon fandom? I know you hate the Chinese zodiac one.

Okay, anyone who’s been around here for a while already knows this one so maybe this is a cop-out, but I have no patience for “the XY legendaries are based on Norse mythology.”  I just don’t think it’s true, or that there’s any reason to think it’s true, or that half of the evidence cited for it is even real, and I can’t even think about it coherently right now so I’ll just put this link here: https://pokemaniacal.com/2019/06/01/re-the-xyz-trio-asks/.

Phlynx asks:

Intelleon is designed to be a sniper and has never missed a shot. Stakataka is designed to be the ultimate wall and can move its individual “bricks” in its body to dodge attacks in the anime. Who would win?

* Assuming type advantages, physical/special attacks and status moves don’t exist, they somehow fight each other despite being in different dimensions, no trainers, no items, and using “pure” anime logic (but nothing bs like “use thunder armor!” or “the lions could make a lion ladder!”).

Phlynx.  Phlynx, you fool.  You simpleton.  Why would they fight each other when they could team up?  IMAGINE, Phlynx.  IMAGINE the combo of a perfect sniper with an invulnerable, moving fortified tower that can reconfigure itself at will to block enemy attacks and open up firing windows.  Inteleon and Stakataka will RULE THIS WORLD, ONE TOTAL-IMPUNITY ASSASSINATION AT A TIME

Inte fact about fish (and more) asks:

So what are some other games you have played? Legend of Zelda? Skyrim? Any other fire emblem games? Have you tried the monster hunter stories Pokémonlike spin-off game? What are your thoughts?

And here is an interesting fact about fish. Herrings communicate by farting.

No, yes, yes, yes, no, and also I actually did a whole thing about Fire Emblem: Three Houses https://pokemaniacal.com/category/not-pokemon/other-games/fire-emblem/ where I made Pokémon teams for alllllll the characters

I have a whole list of games I’ve played and that have influenced me on my “about me” page that you could take a look at https://pokemaniacal.com/about-me-faq/, and in the future I want to talk more about some games that deal with ancient civilisations, like the Age of Empires and Civilisation series.  Maybe also Hades, but honestly I think enough classicists have given their hot takes on Hades that there’s nothing else left to say; we all know Hades is really good.  Most recently I just finished playing a very chill, meditative, pretty but still extremely heartstring-tugging game called Spiritfarer, where you help a bunch of lost souls come to terms with death; it’s pretty slow-paced and not especially “challenging” but I absolutely recommend it if you don’t care about those things.

That IS an interesting fact about fish and I DEMAND a Poison-type regional form of Wishiwashi that has poisonous gas attacks

Nor Ron Swanson asks:

Do you think that, lore wise, Pokémon should have more of a variety of color?

Aghch, you know, the Orange Islands in the early anime had Pokémon that were all, like, slightly different colours and patterns than the normal Kanto forms, and I think we don’t see that anymore because anything that fµ¢£in’ exists anywhere in Pokémon canon has to be obtainable in some game or another, which… y’know, fµ¢£ that, honestly?  Because, like, yeah obviously you can’t readily have realistic colour and pattern variation of every variety of Pokémon in a game, they can’t all be Spinda, because that’s clearly not worth the effort, but on the other hand are we supposed to imagine that, aside from Spinda, all Pokémon of the same species look fµ¢£ing identical?  That doesn’t make any goddamn sense.

Katiecat asks:

Say some shit about egg groups

EGG GROUPS ARE CAUSED BY MIDICHLORIANS

no, no, I believe this $#!t

because Pokémon have some weird gender-specific inheritance $#!t, where species comes from the mother and egg moves come from the father (or at least they used to, I think egg moves can come from either parent now, which proves that the later generations have RETCONNED THE LAWS OF BIOLOGY AND GENETICS; I’m not looking any of this $#!t up to check my facts, because absolutely not), and there is something in the real world that works like this; we get our mitochondria and mtDNA only from our mothers, not from both parents, because mitochondria way back in the misty past were intracellular symbiotes that gradually evolved into being part of the larger organisms they once lived inside.  And it’s totally plausible that Pokémon could have intracellular symbiotes like this because that’s what Pokérus is.  So my working theory is that an “egg group” is a collection of particular species of fµ¢£in’ midichlorians or whatever you want to call them, which make certain species of Pokémon genetically incompatible by competing with each other.

this is all true

Katiecat asks:

Ok so I originally read your blog for Pokémon but I actually really like when you talk about stuff like gay identities in ancient greece/rome, or the propaganda side of archeology and history, or your essay on 300 and analyzing the ideology behind it. Im not really sure what word sums up all those posts but I feel like there’s sort 0f a common thread to them.. Do you have any blogs or books you would recommend for someone who’s interested in stuff like that?

okay so the “one word” you want is “classics,” or “classical studies” if you can stretch the budget to two words

uh, off the top of my head Kiwi Hellenist http://kiwihellenist.blogspot.com/ is really good, and I think might appeal to people who enjoyed the stuff I’ve written about classics here?  Yeah, try browsing what he’s read, come back to me when I’m not drunk and maybe I’ll find something else for you.

also from Katie, I’m not gonna respond to this one because there is just… too much… but it’s cool so I’m gonna put it here so you can all see it

3 years ago I sent you an ask about what Eeveelutions you’d design to go with different environments and said I’d tell you mine, but I never actually sent you them. I dug them up yesterday and I have no idea if you’re interested but I figured I’d send you them anyway.

1. Tundra: A big, white shaggy creature with a ton of fur to keep warm, and maybe horns like a muskox. Tough aesthetic. I’m going to go with ice-type because it “feels” right, even it doesn’t actually make sense- but maybe being ice-type is a good adaption to a place where it snows all the time. It has tanky stats because it wouldn’t be an ice-type if it didn’t have stats that are terrible for it.

2. Rainforest: A beautiful poison-type with a black body and brightly colored spots like a poison dart frog, maybe with some brightly-colored whiskers or tufts like a nudibranch. Obviously uses defensive coloration.

3. Desert: Probably a cute one. It has big ears like a Fennec fox for radiating heat, and thin fur. It’s probably a ground-type who burrows in the earth during the day (and most Pokemon games seem to have ground-types in the desert), but you could also argue for a fire-type who loves the sun.

4. Cave: A creepy-looking troglodytic Pokemon. It has no eyes (since it lives completely in the dark), is completely albino, and maybe has the creepy double-tail Espeon does. I think it should have weird feelers coming off its face like an Olm. Psychic-type feels appropriate.

5. River: A sleek, aquatic mammal patterned after otters with webbed feet and fur. Could also just do Vaporeon, but Vaporeon always felt too fishlike to really represent a mammal adapting to different environments.

6. Forest: Unlike Leafeon, which supposedly becomes a plant, I’m going to say this is a symbiotic relationship like a sloth: This is an arboreal mammal that has a variety of plants growing on it. It provides access to water and nutrients through its fur, as well as access to the top layers of the forest where there’s a lot of sunlight.In return the plants provide it with camouflage- maybe it’s an ambush predator? It has a cool aesthetic, with Grovyle as probably the closest thing aesthetically.

7. Mountain: The obvious answer here is a big shaggy rock-type, but that feels maybe too similar to the Tundra one. Instead, it can evolve membranous wings like a bat and be a flying type. Bats aren’t strictly mountain animals but evolving flight does feel like it fits the theme.

8. Domestic: Patterned after the domestication of wolves, it would be a fighting-type Eevee that looks like a wolf.

This feels like it’s missing a fire-type and a grassland one, so I guess you could just dump Flareon back in there as #9.

De not a frog asks:

What emulator do you use or think is safe to download?

I’m gonna fold that in with this next one

Sweetpie asks:

I want to try out a Gen 4 game but I don’t want to get BDSP b/c they seem like buggy messes and I don’t have a clue where my DS, much less its charger, are. Do you know how to emulate Platinum on a Mac computer?

Yeah, so, I’m on a Mac and I use a program called OpenEmu, which you can find here https://openemu.org/, you can just google “Pokémon Platinum Rom” or something and you should find something that will work with that.  As long as we’re here, I’m going to make the general statement on emulation that I think it’s not just fine but Good, Actually.  If a company makes a game that will only run on their own consoles in order to drive console sales, then I’m prepared to accept that as just good business, but once they stop making the console, as far as I’m concerned the deal is over.  We got virtual console releases of generations I and II for the 3DS, which is great; I bought them and was happy to pay for them because preserving those games is necessary work that I’m glad was done, but now the 3DS is last-generation and those re-releases aren’t available for the Switch, so… now what?  If you want to have total control over who can play your games, and how, in perpetuity, then… yeah, I guess you can have that, legally, but I think you are then responsible for maintaining that piece of culture and keeping it accessible to everyone, and if doing that isn’t profitable for you… well, then you can fµ¢£ right off and get out of the way of people who are prepared to do it on their own time.

name (required) asks:

What would Dhelmise be before anchors were invented? Would it merely be a patch of seaweed, or would it possess other objects? What would its ability be if not for steelworker?

y’know, I vaguely remember when I reviewed Dhelmise I tried to figure out when anchors were invented, and… it’s a long fµ¢£in’ time ago?  Like, maybe not anchors that look like Dhelmise, but I’m pretty sure “anchors” as a concept go back at least to the Early Bronze Age, maybe to the Neolithic; it’s gotta be shortly after boats were invented, right?  And I dunno if Dhelmise existed before that; I kinda suspect Dhelmise might have come into existence because there were shipwrecks and sailors were lost at sea.  I kinda think it might have been… symbiotic is the wrong word, but… like it may have had some relationship with humans and seafaring from the get-go.

And obviously the ability would be “Rockworker” for a Dhelmise with a stone-age rock anchor.

ex asks:

Eevee and the original three eeveelutions all have a ruff. Umbreon and Espeon went without to make them more lithe and mysterious, and to tie them together better as a pair. Is there any logic for the subsequent evolutions also lacking a ruff? (It would’ve been cute to see a Leafeon with a mane of leaves/flowers!) Do you think there’s any space to interpret this with in-universe reasoning?

uh

I dunno, ex person, look, tbh that description of Leafeon sounds more visually interesting to me than the actual Leafeon

look, I’m from the heretical school that believes there was absolutely zero need for any more Eeveelutions past Espeon and Umbreon, and just not enough ideas or interesting concepts in play to sustain those designs, so… yeah I have no strong opinions here.  A ruff makes your neck harder to attack; it could be a very simple matter of what kind of predation the different Pokémon were facing, what tactics those predators preferred, etc.

Queen asks:

Do you have a set schedule for when you post?

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHaAAHAHAHAHA

BAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAhAHAahAhAhAhAhahAAhAHAHAAHAHHA

HA

no

MonkeyAstronaut asks:

I’m a casual gamer w/ no multiplayer access (my Switch’s online stuff never seems to work), no huge desire for Shinies, no previous experience w/ the Sinnoh games, and burnout from Battle Facilities thanks to the farce that is the Battle Tree. Since I can’t really emulate Platinum (technical difficulties), are BD/SP worth the price, or should I just pray that my old DS actually works and go for Platinum? I don’t mind a cheesy story, I’m more concerned w/ the gameplay.

I mean if you’ve never played the Sinnoh games and aren’t interested in/able to emulate them, yeah, I reckon go for it.  My official opinion of Timey Diamond and Spacey Pearl (no I will never stop calling them that) is that they are Diamond and Pearl for the Switch.  If you want more than that, I think they’ll be a disappointment and you shouldn’t buy one.  If you do want that, I think they’re a respectable interpretation of that brief (with the important caveat that, yes, that does mean Diamond and Pearl for the Switch, not Platinum, which… well, I don’t think it’s the decision I would have made but I guess I can see the rationale to it).  Anyway, it kinda sounds like “Dimaond and Pearl for the Switch” actually is pretty much what you want?  So honestly, yeah, go for it, I reckon.

Moemoemoe asks:

Have you ever heard of a room hack called Moèmon? It replaces every single pokemon with an anime girl (or boy) it’s surprisingly well made.

…I’m goin’ to fµ¢£in’ bed.

SCREW YOU, 2021, I’M STILL ALIVE; YOU LOSE, B!TCH

6 thoughts on “I invoke the power of Janus to answer a bunch of reader questions rapidfire while drunk

  1. “pastry-based domestic terrorism” – so, throwing a Danish at a Swede? Probably better than throwing a Swede at a Dane…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My own headcanon on egg groups is that they purely represent attraction rather than biological compatibility; the recent retcon of Gardevoir into the “humanoid” egg group is the species collectively giving up on trying to convince their trainers that there’s a difference between protectiveness and wanting to have sex with you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I maintain that you could make at least three different good movies by cherry-picking scenes from the Super Mario Bros movie and then filling in the blanks, but trying to make them all the same movie was an incoherent mess. (Mario Mario wasn’t even the only good joke they made about the source material, and that wasn’t their only type of good joke).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. NGL I read the title and thought of Janus, the snake dude from Sanders Sides, not the ancient doorway God.

    Like

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