One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
Long-time Friend of the Blog and expert spicy-take-haver Shibarianne has just finished and released her magnum opus: Pokémon Ephemerald, a ROM hack of Emerald with retyped and redesigned Sapphosian forms of every Pokémon (…minus Deoxys, Unown, Castform and Spinda, because apparently their multiple forms are coded into the gen III games in a way that makes them an absolute nightmare to do anything fun or interesting with).
Every last one of these bizarre fµ¢£ers has a new type, and apparently every possible combination of the 17 types is represented (17, not 18: Ephemerald is still gen III; it does not add the Fairy type, or import any other fundamental mechanical changes from generation IV+). Not only that, every Pokémon is obtainable; Shibarianne has found spots in the Hoenn region for all three-hundred-and-whatever, and crafted special areas and events for the legendary Pokémon that aren’t in vanilla Emerald. I believe the plot of Emerald is unchanged, but there are also several optional bonus bosses, a reworked difficulty curve and a little type rebalancing.
Also I know that at least one of my Pokémon suggestions made it into the game, so you should play it just for that.
More information and a download link can be found here. As is standard for ROM hacks, the download is a .ups file, which contains instructions for patching a standard Emerald .gba file, so you’ll also need a program that can read those instructions and apply the patch (Shibarianne recommends Tsukuyomi, Lunar IPS, or UpSet for Windows users; for Mac, I have found success with MultiPatch), as well as a vanilla Emerald ROM and an emulator that can run it; Google can help you find all of these.
I think I’m going to write some more about this, while/after playing it, but I’m not sure what exactly (if for some reason you have strong opinions, leave a comment!). Maybe short-form reviews of the redesigns for a couple of my favourite Pokémon. Maybe some commentary on how the difficulty curve feels, or some of the boss fights like gym leaders? We’ll see.
[I was playing Legends: Arceus, but then after I finished exploring the Crimson Mirelands I dropped everything for, like, a week to perform an archaeological survey and write up the results in the style of an actual academic publication. Was this a good idea? No, obviously not, but I did it and here it is.]
Although the Galaxy Expedition Team’s understanding of the contemporary ecology, geography and society of the Hisui region has advanced dramatically in the short time since the expedition’s arrival here, the region’s ancient past is still largely an enigma. This is largely because no branch of the GET is explicitly dedicated to historical and cultural research. These tend to fall by default within the broad and somewhat nebulous responsibilities of the Survey Corps, as the branch whose members most often interact with Hisui’s indigenous peoples, the Diamond and Pearl Clans. In the interests of pursuing cultural research more actively, and at the recommendation of Survey Corps recruits assigned to the Crimson Mirelands of southeast Hisui, who had encountered several ancient “ruins” while exploring, the GET commissioned members of the Corps to identify sites of archaeological interest throughout the Mirelands and evaluate sites for possible future excavation by a joint crew drawn from the Survey and Construction Corps.
In a break with usual practice in survey archaeology, project staff were not instructed to catalogue surface finds. This is owing to the annoying propensity of the Hisui region’s characteristic dimensional anomalies to deposit artefact fragments of varying ages seemingly at random across the landscape. The resulting archaeological “noise” makes it extremely difficult to extract a meaningful chronology of human settlement from survey data using the standard methods of survey archaeology. Accordingly, the survey has focused primarily on mapping architectural remains that are visible from the surface, as well as features of the landscape that may be artificial in origin. This report discusses four major sites identified by the survey – the Gapejaw Bog Complex, Solaceon Ruins, Brava Arena and Shrouded Ruins – as well as the general characteristics of earth and stone archaeological features observed throughout the Crimson Mirelands.
This survey would not have been possible without the cooperation and guidance of numerous members of the indigenous Diamond and Pearl Clans, particularly Diamond Clan Warden Arezu, Pearl Clan Warden Calaba and Diamond Clan chieftain Adaman, all of whom have freely shared their knowledge and expertise with project staff. Staff also wish to acknowledge the contributions of numerous Pokémon recruited individually by members of the Survey Corps, as well as, and particularly, the regular invaluable aid of the “noble” Pokémon known as Wyrdeer and Ursaluna.
I read an interesting Twitter conversation this morning between two major figures of the Pokémon community: Joe Merrick, who runs serebii.net, one of the most important (if not the most important) English-language Pokémon fan reference sites, and Pokémon YouTuber Tama Hero. The topic at issue: what exactly is a “main series” Pokémon game? Because I firmly believe that no human of Earth should use Twitter, I reproduce the conversation here in full:
I am of course infuriated at being awoken from my deathless slumber to talk about whatever the hell this is, and moreover I am, as always, personally offended that this broadcast was not scheduled with my specific time zone in mind (it was at 2 am NZT). Naturally, I will be seeking spiritual retribution against Nintendo, the Pokémon Company and Game Freak by The Usual Channels in due course. In the meantime… let’s see what secret intelligence has just landed on our doorsteps.
I think we should start 2021 with a weird curiosity, don’t you?
I’ve been reading the excellent book Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination by Anne Allison (2006), which has two chapters on Pokémon (and one on tamagotchi, arguably Pokémon’s immediate spiritual predecessor). In discussing Pokémon’s place within modern Japanese history and culture, Allison cites a very early Pokémon strategy guide, published in Japanese in 1996 (and never in English, as far as I know) and titled simply ポケットモンスター図鑑 (poketto monsutā zukan, or “Pocket Monster Illustrated Guide”). This book has all the things you’d normally expect of a strategy guide, like game maps and encounter tables, but also has some developer interviews and a short section on the history of the Pokémon world. I haven’t laid hands on a copy of this book myself, nor would I be confident enough in my Japanese to translate it myself, but Allison’s summary certainly includes some points that Pokémon fans today might find… eyebrow-raising.
well, it was only a matter of time before I found an excuse to talk about Pokémon for an academic conference
Trinity History Con is an annual conference on intersections of science and pop culture, run out of Trinity College Dublin. It’s been in-person previously, but is all online this year, for… obvious reasons… so the presentations are all on YouTube. And I submitted one! My co-writer and presenter here is Elena Romero Passerin, who’s doing a PhD at St. Andrews (where Jim the Editor did his PhD) on the history of biology in early modern Europe, specifically botanical gardens in the 17th and 18th centuries. We talk in this video about the “collector” mindset of enlightenment naturalists, the involvement of non-professionals in scientific research, the utopian ideals of western science, and Pokémon’s place as a cheerleader for environmentalism and life sciences. We put a lot of work into it, so I hope you enjoy it!
also, if you’ve watched any of Jim’s Final Fantasy streams you will have heard my voice by now, but for most readers this will be the first time you’ve seen my face (albeit in a tiny corner thumbnail), so get ready to be blown away by my sheer on-screen charisma
If you have ever made the dreadful mistake of paying attention to my Twitter feed, which you should be able to see in the sidebar on the right side of my main page, you may have seen instructions for cooking and eating several Pokémon. These are my submissions to a podcast I listen to, I Chews You, where the hosts compete each week to come up with the most appetising and creative recipes for cooking a predetermined species of Pokémon (because I think we all know deep down that, just as Pokémon are smarter and more powerful than real animals, they also taste better). I’m normally not really a podcast person at all – it’s just not a format I particularly enjoy – but Pokémon and food represent a… very specific combination of my interests that don’t normally intersect. I Chews You is nothing intense or super-analytical, just good relaxing fun and generally pretty zany: four friends chatting about Pokémon and food, $#!t-talking each other and, for some reason that I honestly think even they have forgotten, discussing the pros and cons of La Croix sparkling water.
Anyway, I thought it would be nice to have all my recipes in one place, where they might provide some passing amusement to any of my readers who haven’t come across them before. If you enjoy these, maybe give I Chews You a listen, and if your own creative juices are stimulated, you can always send in your own recipes (on Twitter to @ichewspod or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org) for their Wailord’s Mail Hoard segment. I usually submit something each week, and it’d be nice to hear someone from my own audience join in now and again.
okay, we just had a thing, let’s talk about the thing
anyone who hasn’t watched the Pokémon Direct broadcast and wants to watch it for themselves, or just wants to not watch it and wait for Sword and Shield, stay out, ’cause I’m going to be talking about the thing
Now, I’m sure you’ve all
been waiting with baited breath for Chris’ thoughts on Detective Pikachu; well,
I have some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that Chris has a very long post – so long that it might turn out to be 2 posts – with all the thoughts he can muster about the long-awaited live-action Pokémon adaptation.
The bad news is that there
were some minor structural issues I had with the draft and Chris has begrudgingly
agreed to make a few changes here and there to ensure that we put out only the
best content for all of you.
In the meantime, because
we promised Detective Pikachu content today, we decided to give you all a
special Jim the Editor post containing my 5 favourite scenes from the movie!
Look, the raw, unvarnished truth is that I think all hype is dumb and everyone should just sit down, shut up, and wait for the movie in an unfurnished stone cell in perfect, motionless silence without eating, drinking or breathing. But I guess that’s the kind of attitude that people around me are always calling “not normal” or “disturbingly aloof” or “please put down that Necronomicon,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. I’ll just have to say something and get on the record as being just as wrong and dumb as everyone else.