[A Foursome with Chris Pratt, Grant Gustin and That Garbodor Evolution] asks:

I know this is pretty broad and vague, so no pressure to answer it super deeply and completely, but I’ve found it to be a pretty fun thing to think about and I’m curious to know what you would say to it.
Which specific set of Pokémon games do you think had the most missed opportunities, or could be some of the best games in the series but fell short? (That can be in terms of the story, the gameplay or anything else you think you’d want to be changed about them.)
And if you were put in charge, not of making a NEW set of games or changing the series as a whole but just of fixing up that one set of games, what would you want to do to it to take advantage of that potential?
(By “set,” I just mean a pair like Black 2/White 2 or a single game like Platinum, not a whole Generation or every game taking place in one region, haha.)

That is one confusingly recursive name you’ve given yourself there.

So… I feel like in almost all of them there’s something I would change.  Heck, in almost all of them there’s probably something the designers would change if they could; no one ever gets to put everything they want into their game because time and budget constraints exist, even for a franchise as successful as Pokémon.  And I have a really peculiar love/hate relationship with Black and White specifically, because those are the games that started me writing this blog, and I think they are in some ways the best games in the series but in other ways deeply “meh.”  I guess a lot of my old “If I Were In Charge” article series is kiiiiiind of a response to this question with reference to Black and White, but also not at all.  Assorted thoughts on why Black and White are interesting here, here, here, here, here and here, and although I don’t 100% stand by a lot of it anymore you can also pick up something of what annoyed me about Black and White from my assorted reviews of 5th generation Pokémon from 2011.

All that being the case, let’s talk a bit about a completely different set of games instead. Continue reading “[A Foursome with Chris Pratt, Grant Gustin and That Garbodor Evolution] asks:”

Joe Cool asks:

Have you had the chance to take a look at the recently leaked Space World ’97 demo of Pokemon Gold and Silver? I would love to hear what you think about each of the scrapped and heavily altered Pokemon designs. If you haven’t seen them yet, you can find them here: https://tcrf.net/Proto:Pok%C3%A9mon_Gold_and_Silver

Wellll, I saw it, and I kinda went back and forth on whether to say anything about it, and eventually just sort of waffled until it felt like the moment had passed, but here we are, so…

The synopsis for people who haven’t seen any of this yet is as follows: The Cutting Room Floor, a community that studies material from video game development that was cut from commercial release, recently got hold of a very early beta version of Gold and Silver.  This version of the game was available to play at Nintendo’s Space World trade show in November 1997 – almost exactly two years before the games were actually released in Japan.  Only a tiny part of the game was actually accessible in the demo without debug commands, but all the Pokémon and maps of most of the region (though nothing that tells us much about the story) are in the code if you know where to look, and the effects of those two years of development are pretty evident.  It features a region apparently based on the whole of Japan (with Kanto being reduced to a single city – Pallet Town is intact, Pokémon Tower stands in the northeast, and we have the most important buildings from Saffron City and Celadon City, but the rest is almost unrecognisable; the Kanto Gym sits in the location roughly corresponding to the Indigo Plateau), Gold and Silver’s day/night mechanics and Pokégear with radio and cell phone functions, as well as 100 Pokémon that were not in generation I.  Not all of these are the same as the 100 Pokémon that we actually got in the final commercial release of generation II.  Some were already known from concept art that has leaked over the years, such as the scrapped Fire and Water starter Pokémon, or the early version of Girafarig’s design, but several are completely new to us.  Continue reading “Joe Cool asks:”

Anonymous asks:

Is it just me, or do Pokemon Black and White seem like they were intended to be a lot longer? Many Pokemon in the game reach their final stages well after they’d be useful (like Bisharp, Braviary, Hydreigon etc) and the ending sequence feels so rushed, with N’s castle popping up out of nowhere, and you catching your dragon in the very last scene. I know it’s a weird time to be talking about Black and White, but it’s always felt so odd…

Well, that is the only generation so far that included a direct sequel to its main title.  Purely as a practical reality of development cycles, Game Freak must have decided that they were going to do Black and White 2 as sequels long before Black and White were actually released, but I wouldn’t be totally shocked if they had originally planned a more typical “Grey version” – Black and White with some extra bells and whistles – and changed course only when they realised there was too much material that wouldn’t fit in the initial release.  So it’s plausible that there was something unusual about the writing process in Generation V that could be responsible for that truncated feeling you’re sensing. Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Anonymous asks:

If they made a region based on New Zealand, would you be a harsher critic, or an excited one? How would you feel? Especially if (no..if they did New Zealand, they will do it)if they design Auckland. Do you have a house/apartment there? Because if you did, wouldnt it be funny if there was a trainer named Chris in the Pokemon version of Auckland. Oh my goodness, what if they designed you as the archeology champion of New Zealand (first they’d have to contact you…of course..), Archaeology Champion Chris of the new zealand region: A moa pokemon, a thylacine pokemon, a LOTR Orc pokemon, Claydol, Sigilyph, and an Ancient version of Vileplume. The ancient version of Vileplume would be similar to the modern one, except it would be three times bigger, a more wilted looking version of the “body”, with ivy all over, and for the piece de resistance, perhaps instead of the rafflesia arnoldii, it would be a gingko biloba looking plant, or ferns, or other ancient plants…

I feel like I would probably be a harsher critic than I usually am, just because the rest of the world (including Japan) tends to have a very idealised vision of New Zealand as very pure and peaceful and enlightened that kind of feeds into our own denial of the real problems the country has, while also missing a lot of what makes our history and culture really interesting.  So I think it would be very easy for a Pokémon region based on New Zealand to fail to meet my expectations.

I don’t think I need to be a Champion; I’m not that impressive, or that good a mascot for New Zealand, to be honest (and I should point out here that thylacines are Australian – New Zealand has no native land mammals except for bats).  Wouldn’t mind having a Grass-type gym though.

Anonymous asks:

All things considered (gameplay, graphics, nostalgia, Pokémon Roster, storyline, miscellaneous shit… you name it), what is your Top 7 Pokémon Generations?

Without getting into detail (because you could spend hours, maybe days, arguing about this without coming to a conclusion anyone would agree on, and I just don’t want to go there and don’t think it’s particularly useful): Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Anonymous asks:

Here’s quite a question, how do you think gamefreak decides to place pokemon where they are in the game. For example, some things make sense like placing a claydol in ancient ruins and such, but then somethings don’t make sense, such as placing smeargle among the ancient ruins of alph? Or

I think some more counterintuitive examples must have been cut off the end there.  This is a shame, because I actually do think that Smeargle living in the Ruins of Alph makes a kind of sense – Smeargle is (one of?) the only Pokémon who can do something like writing, which is what the whole area is themed around.  But in terms of the general process… Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Anonymous asks:

In generations one/five/six/seven you were just kind of given your starter to go an a journey. In two you were originally loaned your starter to do a short errand before it was permanently given to you (the best introduction to starters, imo). And in three/four you took a starter from a bag to defend someone (the professor/yourself and your rival respectively). How would you do it? How’d you frame being given your starter Pokemon?

I’ve always had rather a fondness for IV, which I think is the most involved version.  It feels like it adds something to the relationship between you and your starter, to have you owe your Pokémon something like this, and for your partnership to begin with sheer chance (and the characterisation of the rival character Barry, through these events and your subsequent interaction with Professor Rowan, was interesting). Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”