Pokémon Spain Version: The Red One

It is on, as the saying goes, in a manner not dissimilar to classic 1981 Nintendo arcade game Donkey Kong

Here be spoil- oh, who am I kidding, you all played this game weeks ago; you don’t give a $#!t

I am once again a small child in… in…

…where the hell are we? Is this Málaga? This can’t be Málaga; there’s only two houses. The one that’s not ours is a huge fµ¢£in’ mansion, and apparently Nemona lives there. You know Nemona, right? The rival character? Yeah, you know Nemona; we met her in the pre-release hype. Nemona’s deal, apparently, is that she is a student council leader at the school you attend (Naranja Academy for Scarlet, Uva Academy for Violet; those are the Spanish words for “orange” and “grape,” which are also the respective schools’ symbols) and is also a “Champion-ranked” scary badass who’s starting from scratch with a new Pokémon team as a weird flex. I think this is actually a pretty good way to do the whole “rival character” trope that these games have. Nemona can be a mentor figure and tutorial character, and she can also lose to you over and over again, but each time she just gets more excited for when you’re finally strong enough for her to pull out all the stops against you. Anyway, she lives in Málaga and her family is crazy rich, I guess?

I’ve met Koraidon too; y’know, the big red bicycle dragon. That was pretty cool. I was wondering how they were going to handle Koraidon and Miraidon, because it seems like they’re supposed to be your main way of getting around the big open-world areas, but it’d be weird if that meant giving you a high-powered legendary Pokémon right off the bat. Turns out we don’t really “have” Koraidon, exactly, in the way that a trainer “has” a Pokémon; it’s more of a… cohort? Comrade? Accomplice? I landed on “convivial acquaintance” for Lillie’s relationship with Nebby in Sun and Moon but it’s less illicit than that. You help Koraidon out of a tricky situation, thus displaying trainerly virtues like kindness (giving it your lunch), curiosity (in looking for it and approaching it) and trust (that it won’t eat you), and you are in turn rewarded for those virtues when it stops a wild Houndoom from eating you; I think that’s a pretty appropriate way of introducing a plot-central Pokémon and demonstrating the kind of actions that Pokémon games approve of. It’s still not your Pokémon at this stage, though; it seems to belong to this guy called Arven. Arven is an older Academy student; according to Nemona, he’s a humanities student (this school has a humanities program? It’s already exceeded my expectations) and the son of Professor Sada; according to me, he’s a pompous douchebag. Arven is apparently really annoyed that Koraidon used up all its energy saving the player so it can’t enter its battle mode anymore, and doesn’t want to deal with it, so he just… gives you its Pokéball and tells you to handle it? But the ball goes in your key items pocket, and Koraidon does not join your roster (presumably because it’s still too drained to battle). So… not clear whether it’s the player’s Pokémon now, or still Arven’s? Honestly I’m not even sure whether it was formally Arven’s Pokémon to begin with; he doesn’t say he’s Koraidon’s trainer, just kinda… implies it? It doesn’t seem like he really gives a $#!t about Koraidon or its wellbeing, and he’s pretty quick to dump it on you at the first hint of inconvenience.

okay, I think Koraidon was Arven’s colleague and is now my associate; I’m going to say that’s the appropriate terminology

anyway we’re probably late for the school that we apparently go to, because that’s a thing now and not just an optional extra that most trainers kinda allow to fall by the wayside

What do you mean, I can’t just walk into random people’s houses? Paldea, I understand that you’re new here, but I don’t think you know how this works. I’m a wandering Pokémon trainer. There’s a… let’s call it an informal expectation that your homes will be open to me, and that I will occasionally take things. Not often, just whenever I feel like it. In return, I will… I dunno, probably save the world or something. Y’know, if anything comes up. Not saying it will, obviously, just…. y’know, it’s a nice region you got there, and it’d be a shame if something… happened to it.

Now this is a pretty sweet city. Where is this, anyway, is this Córdoba? I mean, we decided back in the pre-release cycle that the Academy is La Sagrada Família, and this definitely isn’t Barcelona, so maybe it doesn’t matter where this is. Anyway, you’ve got the river on three sides and those fortified bridges, and at your back you’ve got the vast, terrifying vortex of doom at the centre of Paldea; trying to take this place by siege would be rough. Unless you were attacked from the vortex of doom, of course. But if something attacks you out of the vortex of doom then it’s probably some kind of end-of-the-world scenario anyway.

Not that any of this strikes me as terribly likely, of course.

maybe this is also Madrid, a little bit? This could be the Plaza Mayor, with those towers. Maybe Mesagoza is just everywhere.

Loving the bright colours, incidentally. A mosaic representing the eighteen Pokémon types is an interesting choice; I wonder how old this is supposed to be? It’d be a bit embarrassing if Kanto in the mid-90s turned out to have a less solid grasp of Pokémon types than the Paldean renaissance.

Team Star are, I guess, some kind of antagonists? So far it seems like they’re just school bullies, so probably not “The Villains” in the way that Team Galactic or Team Flare are; I mean, I’ve been wrong before, but I’d say they’re just harassing people and maybe, at worst, involved in a pyramid scheme. Something with essential oils, probably.

Yessssss, POWER! According to Nemona, you normally need to take special classes to get your hands on one of these things, and according to other students I’ve met in Mesagoza, your grades have to be pretty good as well. But that’s fine; nepotism is alive and well in Paldea, and Nemona is apparently able to pull some strings and get the player fast-tracked so she can have a better rival.

(I mean, yes, something something “great potential,” something something “gifted trainer,” but let’s be real; Nemona is exercising blatant favouritism in order to make her own life more interesting, and I, for one, approve)

oh no

please don’t tell me this is their catchphrase

how are they even pronouncing that little star emoji

…eh, still better than “plasbad”

fµ¢£in’… expel them, man? I dunno, I got the impression that most of the students here aren’t from Mesagoza and live in the Academy dorms, so you kinda have the power to effectively kick them out of the city and send them back to their respective hometowns. I mean, yeah, don’t get me wrong, expulsion is a drastic step that no-one ever wants to take, but it’s not like anyone actually has to go to school in this world, and it sounds like you’ve tried all your other disciplinary procedures (which is something else I’d like a word with you about, incidentally).

B!tch, try the the stairs up Mount Lykavitos and say that again

What else should I talk about…?

oh, yeah, this is cool, actually – a crafting system for TMs. You can make TMs out of the random assorted junk dropped by wild Pokémon you defeat; generally, Pokémon drop materials for TMs of moves they might plausibly know. Thus, you are rewarded for doing trainerly things, particularly seeking out new kinds of Pokémon and learning about their capabilities, which seems to me like a good system.

Of course, at the end of the day there are only two features I actually want in a new Pokémon game: longer nickname fields and crossdressing. Scarlet and Violet, yet again, have made no further progress on the nickname front, so unfortunately the only good Pokémon games are still X and Y, the first games that give you 12 characters to work with.

(listen, I’m mostly joking, but my god, just try going back to gen I-V and coming up with creative nicknames; you wouldn’t think 2 extra characters would make any difference but it does; gen VI, and Fletchinder specifically, deserve more credit for this than they get)

Anyway, no luck so far on the crossdressing front; Mesagoza seems to have shops selling bags, hats, gloves, socks, glasses, but no actual clothes. Maybe the game wants to encourage you to show up to your first day of school in something that at least vaguely resembles your actual uniform. After all, Game Freak are nothing if not a bunch of squares. That means this game is so far 0 for 2 on literally the only evaluative criteria my tired and addled brain can think of, but I’m not writing it off yet. It does seem to let you have any hairstyle you want regardless of your gender, and boys are allowed lipstick during character creation, so maybe there’s still time for Scarlet and Violet to hop on the “gender is bull$#!t” train and let my boy character live a little and try on a goddamn skirt.

ah, whatever, let’s look at some Pokémon

thank you, Paldea, for giving me a tiny cat made of… *sniff* *sniff*… sage? My tastes are basic and predictable, and you have pandered to them.

Pikachu 9.0 is Pikachu 9.0

Wooper made of forbidden chocolate. The “type” field says “Poison”… but it looks so delicious…

Here is your reminder that there is only one reason for there to be a black pig Pokémon in an Iberian region, and that is so we can have a delicious leg of jamón ibérico.

It is dog, but bread. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is shaping up to be a great generation for edible Pokémon (which, of course, is all Pokémon).

I don’t know what this is but I am watching it closely for signs of betrayal

look at it

it’s suspicious

This is just literally a flamingo

wait, no, it’s a flamingo with a knot tied in its neck at the base

and it kicks you

y’know what, I respect it.

oh, I get it; spider, ball of yarn, spiders spin webs; that’s actually kinda clever, I like that.

okay I gotta… go to school or some $#!t, I dunno; I’ll let you know how it goes, probably

5 thoughts on “Pokémon Spain Version: The Red One

  1. Lechonk is a worthy addition to the franchise – now give us a proper arugula Pokémon and some fine cheese, either a Dubwool Manchego or even a Miltank-and-Gogoat mix… (I can’t resist the urge to gloat about the fact that I’ve somehow gotten into a situation where free jamón iberico gets delivered straight from Spain to my doorstep (which is not in Spain) at regular intervals.)

    …I guess it’s also cool that there are like new Pokémon games, yeah?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I unironically like Flamigo because, it seems really normal at first, but the more you analyze it the weirder it gets. Not only is its neck tied in a knot, BUT the Pokedex reveals that the reason it does that is because it doesn’t want some explosive energy escaping its belly? Like it’s constantly building up Ki in its body for some reason. Also, you probably didn’t notice its body is shaped like a boxing glove, but now you definitely do. XD

    Liked by 1 person

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