Open Discussion Topic 2: Electric-Type Boogaloo

welcome to a This
another This
one of the Thing
another one of These Things. Yes. Two weeks ago I asked you all a dumb question and for some reason many of you saw fit to humour me with well-thought-out and reasoned answers to my dumb question, so I see no reason not to abuse this frankly outrageous goodwill by doing it again. Here is my second dumb question:

What do you think Pokémon is “about”?

And, by this, I mean not “it’s about fighting monsters who are your friends” but what it’s “about” in terms of themes and messages. There are a lot of one-word answers I think I could justify for this question: discovery, adventure, childhood, friendship, ambition, nature, hope.  I think probably most people would agree with all of those to some extent, but certainly wouldn’t place the same weight on each of them as I would, and would have their own additions to the list.  We probably also have different thoughts from Pokémon’s creators, and yet more different ideas on what Pokémon should be about. So… yeah, tell me what you think!

Be as broad or as restricted in the scope of your answer as you feel is appropriate: you may think that the themes of the Pokémon TV show (or individual series thereof) are different enough from the themes of the “core” games’ stories that it’s not worth trying to bring them together; you might even be a TCG player or a Masters player or, gods forbid, a Trozei! player who takes some personal meaning from your experiences with those games that has nothing to do with any of the stuff I usually talk about. Or you might be interested in trying to describe some fundamental theme that you think is present across all Pokémon media. I’m interested in the variety of answers that might be out there, is the point.

Discussion Roundup: Should We Make Pokémon Real?

So: should we take the hypothetical offer from the whimsical deity I imagined two weeks ago?

I think the rough consensus of the comment section is a qualified, reluctant “no,” which isn’t terribly surprising.  Even if we make a lot of nice assumptions in our own favour (Pokémon are able to slot relatively cleanly into existing ecosystems without causing a mass extinction; our nerd-knowledge of Pokémon allows us to help smooth the transition; many people can learn fairly quickly to be competent trainers), I think it’s pretty clear that this scenario would be a major global disruption. I also think it’s probably fair to say that my particular style of bull$#!t probably attracts a fairly analytically inclined type of person who would (like me) find it interesting to think about the ways a more “realistic” setting would break down a lot of Pokémon’s utopian assumptions.  It is, at the very least, an obviously risky proposal.  That being the case, it seems only fair that I attempt to argue the case for “yes.”

I’d say there’s roughly two main categories of objections, with some overlap between the two:

  1. Real Pokémon would be dangerously destructive to both humans and the environment.
  2. Real Pokémon would be exploited by humans, for nefarious ends or simply out of greed.

If we want to say yes, I think we have to make the argument that either these things wouldn’t happen (or at least that we’d be able to mitigate them), or that, to the extent they did happen, the benefits (smol frens who are magic) would outweigh them.

Continue reading “Discussion Roundup: Should We Make Pokémon Real?”

Vital Update on the Asparagus Fleet

If you know, you know.

Thanks to an update from a mysterious figure in the shadows, I was prompted to start searching again for the true origins of the Asparagus Fleet myth (or is it a myth? Maybe it’s real! No classicist I’ve told the story to believes it’s real, but we could all be missing the secret wisdom! Who knows!?). And I have an update. I still don’t believe I have pinpointed the genesis of this elite squadron of vegetable-toting Augustan ships and/or chariots, but I have an earlier source for it, which exonerates Pam Brunning of the International Wine and Food Society of the crime of inventing it. That source is an article, now available online but apparently first published in print as early as April 1999 (more than 10 years before Brunning’s magazine article, which was cited by Wikipedia and probably spread from there to the rest of the asparagus fandom), in the Deseret News, a Mormon newspaper based in Salt Lake City. Said article can be found here. The author’s name, unfortunately, is not listed online and I might have to track down a print copy to get that information [EDIT: one week later, the article now does have a byline. I don’t know why it didn’t before, or what has changed since then. The original writer was apparently food editor Jean Williams, who has unfortunately died in the 23 years since the article’s publication, meaning I cannot pursue her for answers.]. The article also doesn’t say where the asparagus fleet came from. Newspaper articles don’t cite their sources, because by convention the article is the source; whatever the journalist writes is assumed to carry the authority of the paper’s reputation and editorial standards. This works (…up to a point) when a journalist is reporting on current events. When they dip their toes into history… not so much.

Let’s look at the text of the relevant section of the article (a feature on asparagus with a couple of asparagus recipes, just like the dozens of more recent articles that have also picked up the myth):

Continue reading “Vital Update on the Asparagus Fleet”

Black 2 Kingslocke: Episode 11

Rules are here, and if you’re interested in hearing about the tribulations of other trainers suffering through this ridiculous challenge run I’ve created, check out the just-completed season of the EXP. Share podcast!

Iris is beaten, but there’s still more of Unova to explore.  I think the first order of business is to cut through Twist Mountain to reach Icirrus City in the northwest.  Icirrus is a gym site in Black and White, but in the sequels you can’t even visit until… well, now.

I guess this is a change of pace…

Continue reading “Black 2 Kingslocke: Episode 11”

Black 2 Kingslocke: Episode 10

Rules are here, and if you’re interested in hearing about the tribulations of other trainers suffering through this ridiculous challenge run I’ve created, check out the current season of the Exp. Share podcast!

Here we are on the road to the Pokémon League!  We’d better draw a card.

oh, god, not this bull$#!t again

Four – Elements: Your Pokémon may not use attacks that get a Same-Type Attack Bonus, unless they have no un-STABed damaging moves (note that moves with fixed damage like Dragon Rage and Nightshade do not have STAB).  Pokémon in your active party with no un-STABed attacks must learn one as soon as they can (using a TM/TR if you have, or can easily buy, a compatible one).  This rule ends if you draw another Four.  You may catch the first Pokémon you see in this area that does not share a type with any of your current party Pokémon.

So, that’s… no Surf for Woshua, no Hyper Beam for Alvin, no Discharge for Lieutenant Derby, no Surf or Ominous Wind for Shoal and no Shadow Ball for Nefertiti.  Pizza Rat, fortunately, has no STAB moves to lose, since Endeavour and Super Fang deal fixed damage.

Continue reading “Black 2 Kingslocke: Episode 10”

Open Discussion Topic


shut up for a second

actually, don’t shut up, that is the opposite thing of the thing I am specifically requesting that you do

do listen though

I answer questions sometimes from readers, which is always a very exciting opportunity for you to be told, by someone who has a website, that your opinions are wrong and you should feel bad, and is to a certain extent a source of #content for me. This is obviously a win-win, and an important part of what allows the poorly designed and nebulously purposed edifice known as Pokémaniacal to continue functioning.

But sometimes I have a question, y’know? And often I have questions whose topics are, frankly, not things I could usefully write an article or other substantial “feature” about, but if I’m not going to answer it, who the hell am I supposed to go to? It’s not like I have any friends among the ranks of other Pokémon #content #creators, well, except I Chews You, and no matter what the question is, they’d just answer “have you tried eating the Pokémon?” or maybe Exp. Share now, but honestly we’re still at the “trying to make them think I’m cool” stage of that relationship, and I guess there’s Pokéjungle, ’cause I’ve written a little bit for them before, but they’re way too big and too busy to bother themselves with my bull$#!t. So I have these dumb questions and no one to take them to, and I says to myself, I says “I have some extremely intelligent and attractive readers, and Hugh. Why don’t I ask them some $#!t sometimes? They’d all be wrong, but a lot of them would be wrong in amusing ways, and it would probably generate #engagement or some $#!t, right?”

So that’s what this is. I’m going to pose a question, you’re going to tell me what you think in the comments. Depending on how many answers we get and how much discussion there is of the answers, I might collect my favourite bits in a follow-up post. If it isn’t a disaster, I’ll do it again; maybe we can make it a “thing,” maybe one day I’ll even think of a useful question. Anyway this is the hypothetical I want to put in front of you today:

A benevolent but somewhat careless deity offers you the opportunity to just make Pokémon real: they’ll be introduced into the real world, all over the planet, in environments that suit the preferences of each species.  Manufacturers around the world will also receive designs for basic Pokéballs (but none of the other futuristic technology of Pokémon’s setting).

Do you take the offer?  Why, or why not?

(As might already be obvious, I’m less interested in whether the answer is “yes” or “no” and more interested in what reasons there might be for picking either side, because I think there are a lot of possible arguments for each, and probably a lot more that I’m not thinking of.)

Black 2 Kingslocke: Episode 9

Rules are here, and if you’re interested in hearing about the tribulations of other trainers suffering through this ridiculous challenge run I’ve created, check out the current season of the Exp. Share podcast!

First things first: because I’ve beaten a gym leader, I get to free one of my two petrified Pokémon (note: Pepper is disgraced, not petrified; I think on balance she’s actually slightly harder to get back).  Let’s go with Alanis.

(There’s no way Alanis would have been any help in Marlon’s gym, but because the team beat him, she gets freed from petrification.  She thinks that’s ironic.)

This week we’re going to find Team Plasma’s base of operations and kick the $#!t out of them – but before we can do that, we have to head up to route 22 again so we can meet Colress… and someone else special.

Continue reading “Black 2 Kingslocke: Episode 9”

Anonymous asks:

Legends Arceus finally retconned the Indian elephant from Raichu’s dex entries into Copperajah, so I guess real world animals are now completely removed from canon

well, that’s true, but they are also now insisting that Pokémon takes place in an extremely convoluted multiverse, possibly to the extent of every player’s individual save file representing a branched reality… so maybe there are some Pokémon universes where real animals exist and some where they don’t. Maybe Indian elephants are in a quantum state of existing and not existing, and the only way to collapse the wave function is to hit one with a Thunderbolt.

I have thought for a long time that Game Freak, the Pokémon Company and other creators of official Pokémon media have been gradually erasing real-world non-Pokémon animals from their “canon” as they stopped thinking of the Pokémon world as being a version of the real one and began conceiving of it as a more independent fantasy world, this change to Raichu’s ‘dex entry being the latest step in that campaign. But I do also think that they have written themselves into a position where it will never actually be possible to truly erase or retcon anything that has ever appeared in official media out of “Pokémon canon” even if they want to, which is extremely funny to me.