Hi! I’m Pokémaniac Chris and this is my Thing That I Do! Since you’ve clicked onto this page, I have to assume you’re interested in knowing a little bit About Me and perhaps About My Thing That I Do, so let’s talk.
I’m an OG Pokémon fan from New Zealand who’s gotten in way too deep to get out now. I’ve been writing about Pokémon, mostly in a fairly analytical vein, since early 2011, when I wrote comedic-angry reviews of Pokémon designs from generation V (Black and White, the Unova generation), originally meant mostly for what I assumed would be a pretty small audience of my friends. It turned out there were a few people who liked that, so I kept writing an assortment of projects and eventually reviewed the designs of generations VI and VII (in a… slightly more mellow style). I’m interested in stories, worldbuilding, the scientific and historical inspirations behind Pokémon designs, and taking video games seriously as a medium for storytelling and even education.
If you enjoy my writing, please consider making a monthly donation to the cause on Patreon. Even a “tip” of $1/month helps a lot if you can afford it – many small donors is more stable in the long run than a few large ones. Anyone giving me any support at all can offer their opinions on my occasional posts about my next project or decisions about the blog’s future, and there are additional perks for people willing to toss in a bit more, which I hope to eventually expand if my support grows (details on the Patreon page).
What are all these posts that begin with “[name of a person] asks:”?
I regularly answer questions from my readers about all kinds of Pokémon-related topics, a legacy of the years I spent running this blog out of Tumblr, which had a built-in system for readers to submit questions. You can ask me your own questions by going here.
What are you working on right now?
At the moment I’m writing an article series series that covers the regional variant Pokémon of both Alola and Galar and warming up to tackle the main roster of Sword and Shield. Meanwhile, I’m writing a vaguely experimental choose-your-own-adventure-ish story called A Pokémon Trainer Is You! (currently updating every other Friday), which is based very loosely on the story of Pokémon: Red and Blue and lets my readers make decisions for the main character through polls in each episode.
Who are you outside Pokémon?
In the real world, I’m a classicist – someone who studies the history, cultures and languages of the ancient Mediterranean, particularly Greece and Rome. I’m in the middle of a PhD thesis on Roman window glass (I haven’t written anything on here that goes into this in detail, but you can learn about some of the background here) and I’ve taught a couple of undergraduate classes on Greek and Roman civilisation. This is all… a bit up in the air at the moment… because of the world ending and everything… but theoretically I’m still going to finish eventually. If you start browsing, you’ll probably notice that people ask me questions about classics and archaeology from time to time – these are just as welcome as questions about Pokémon!
Is this all just you?
Not quite – it’s almost all my writing, but most of it also gets a once-over from Jim the Editor, who is… the editor, and named Jim, and my best friend in the real world. You’ll see him mentioned from time to time, and a lot of my answers to reader questions come out of discussions with him. Jim is a classicist like me; we were undergrads together in New Zealand and both went off to do PhDs, me in the US and him in the UK. You can find him at his Youtube channel – and sometimes me too, since we’ve recently started streaming games together.
So what’s your favourite Pokémon?
Vileplume, almost since day 1. Top picks for other generations are… hmm, probably Kingdra, Milotic, Torterra, Sigilyph, Aurorus, Dhelmise and Dragapult.
Favourite game in the core series?
Tricky. I like the story of Black and White and Black and White 2, the worldbuilding of X and Y and Sun and Moon, the gameplay of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, and the Pokémon designs of Diamond and Pearl and Sword and Shield, and the ones I’ve replayed the most are probably Fire Red and Leaf Green, Heart Gold and Soul Silver and the original Ruby and Sapphire. So… honestly, almost all of them, in one way or another?
I sent you a question, but you haven’t answered it! Does that mean you hate me?
Nah, it probably just means I haven’t gotten to it yet. At the moment my audience is still small enough that in principle I can eventually get to them all, but writing good answers usually takes a while and these days I usually have a queue of at least a dozen. If you just want to say something about an article I’ve just written or only want a brief answer, you’ll usually get a quicker response by posting in the comment section. Alternatively, anyone supporting me for at least $4/month on Patreon can jump the queue by sending me their questions through my Patreon DMs!
What other games do you play/are you interested in?
I’ve always been more of a PC than a console person, with Pokémon being the main exception. I like story-focused roleplaying games – Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, Knights of the Old Republic, Final Fantasy X, Undertale, Pillars of Eternity, Fire Emblem: Three Houses and I guess Pyre (that one kind of defies genre conventions but feels to me like an RPG) have all been big influences on me. I enjoy strategy games, both real-time and turn-based – I’m not particularly good at them, but I’ve always had fun commanding armies and building cities and so on. The original Age of Empires, which I played as a child in the late 90s, was honestly a pretty big influence on me eventually becoming an ancient historian, as was Sid Meier’s Civilisation II, and those are both games I’d eventually like to write about, looking not so much at actual gameplay but at how they portray specific ancient cultures, monuments and events, and the idea of history itself. I’ve had a lot of fun with Dawn of War, Warcraft III, Starcraft II, Thea: the Awakening, Galactic Civilisations and most recently Jurassic World: Evolution (the “tycoon” genre of games is sort of a different thing and not something I usually play, but… dinosaurs!).
Are these actually questions you frequently get asked?
Nope! Mostly people only start sending me questions once they more or less understand what my whole deal is. These are just questions I imagine someone might have if they stumble into my hive of scum and villainy unawares.