James Crooks asks:

React to this: https://www.sbnation.com/secret-base/22177214/which-pokemon-would-make-the-best-basketball

“Which Pokémon would make the best basketball?”… hmm…

Well… the answer’s obviously Jigglypuff, right? Round, bouncy, probably about the right size?

I guess it’s worth further investigation…

This article only examines five Pokémon, which… I mean, I think there are many other possible choices not considered here, but they do correctly assess that Jigglypuff is a good choice. Yes, technically Ditto can just Transform into a basketball, but I don’t think that’s really in the spirit of the exercise. Even if we allow it, there are better choices – Mew can also Transform, but is much less likely than Ditto to faint and lose its shape, while Arceus might be able to just conjure a real basketball from the void. These suggestions are unworthy, in my learned opinion. Disqualified.

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particle asks:

What would you think about scalar-typing? To keep it simpler you could have half, normal, and double value typings. STAB, weaknesses and resistances just get multiplied by .5 or 2. Girafarig could be normal & half-psychic, golem could be double-rock, maybe something like bibarel could be strictly half-water.

My worry is that it sort of… makes the game more complicated without adding any actual strategic depth.  You’re still multiplying together a bunch of factors to figure out whether you can KO a given Pokémon with a given attack in one shot, or two, or three; there are still going to be some Pokémon that survive particular super-effective attacks and others that don’t.  The decision-making processes, both in team building and during battles, are going to be the same; there’s just more variables to keep track of.  I’m not sure there’s any compelling reason for it either; I don’t think there are any Pokémon that really need half- or double-strength types to properly express their identity.  Also, double STAB would be crazy powerful and the idea makes me nervous.  Pokémon already has some pretty big damage multipliers and I don’t think we need bigger ones.

P.S. Merry Christmas to readers who celebrate it, and happy solstice to those who don’t.  I’m just sitting here in my made-up paradise country enjoying the summer sun and the freedom to gather in groups with people outside my household, so… uh… don’t worry about me, and stay safe, everyone – especially those in the US and UK.

x asks:

Was Coalossal created for the industrial revolution, after the revolution, or did it inspire the revolution? Actually, did the revolution happen at all?

Well, the Pokémon world resembles the modern world in enough important ways that I think there has to have been an industrial revolution; like… they have mechanised agriculture, they have coal power, they have mass-produced textiles, they have modern urbanisation.  Maybe those things didn’t happen all at once and in the same place, the way they did in 18th and 19th century Britain, though?  I don’t believe that anyone at Game Freak – or indeed anywhere in Pokémon’s corporate structure – has a detailed idea of what the history of the Pokémon world looks like, outside of the explicit lore of each region (and even then, I’m not altogether convinced they care much about fitting the history of different regions into a single overarching narrative); maybe they used to, because a lot of early stuff suggested that the Pokémon world has the same history and geography as the real one, but much of that is overwritten or contradicted by later media.

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creamCloud asks:

Something that i’ve noticed recently is that despite pikachu being technically weaker than all the other pika-clones in later generations [BST 320 as opposed to the others floating somewhere around 400-430, raichu 485 for reference] functionally it’s better due to having more toys to play with: a larger base movepool and various event moves, light orb and other unique items, eviolite, ect… and while some do have their own unique traits still get overshadowed by the original, So my question is this: what would you give the other pika-clones that would allow each to stand out in it’s own way? such as an evolution, signature move or item, higher stats, new ability?

Well… I’m not gonna design evolutions for half a dozen Pokémon right here, but maybe there are some things we can sketch out here.

I actually did put together rough ideas for evolutions for Plusle, Minun and Pachirisu as part of the “top 10 worst Pokémon ever” series I did way back in 2012; you can find that here: https://pokemaniacal.com/2012/02/06/the-top-ten-worst-pokemon-ever-6-plusle-minun/.  I’m pretty lukewarm on the actual details of these now, but I think the basic ideas (other than just “evolve them to justify much higher stats”) were sound: buff the Plus and Minus abilities to emphasise Plusle and Minun’s teamwork ideal, and give Pachirisu a lot more trickery- and theft-themed moves to go with its cleverness and collection themes.  I was also grudgingly convinced to do the same thing for Dedenne when I reviewed the Kalos generation: https://pokemaniacal.com/2014/07/28/dedenne-2/.  Here, the main thing I wanted was for Dedenne to have a powerful signature move to make up for its lack of any decent Fairy attacks (this obviated to some extent in Sword and Shield with the addition of Dazzling Gleam to its movepool, but… well, Dedenne could still use a bit more oomph).  I think the important thing is to emphasise what makes each Pokémon interesting (to the extent that there, uh… is anything interesting about them).

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Weird question time asks:

Really REALLY out of left field thought on my part… but I’m curious to see how you’ll respond or interpret my potentially mad rambling. Since USUM, I’ve never really gotten over the alien-humans from the Ultra recon squad. And as I have now been replaying Pokémon Platinum and stumbled across the ye olde Sinnoh myth of Pokémon and people being one in the same at one point. Which got me to think like “do humans in the various Pokémon multiverse have types?”. Which isn’t too far-fetched in some cases given normal and ghost for alive and dead people, or psychic for those few individuals like Sabrina. But now that there are technically canonical people that took a different offshoot of human evolution AND how some Pokémon types are based on humanesque myth critters. The idea of people in universe being like the fae or fair folk akin to Fairy types or other types could potentially be a viable canon thing given how darn big and infinite multiverse shenanigans actually are. Here’s hoping what I’m sending somewhat makes sense or isn’t too off the deep end!

So… to my mind that depends on what you think type actually is.  If they’re somehow baked into Pokémon biology specifically, then the answer is obviously “no, that doesn’t even make sense.”  Humans aren’t Pokémon, at least, not in any meaningful way; there are several things that all Pokémon have in common which humans don’t appear to share (I’m not convinced that we’re supposed to literally believe that Sinnoh myth; there are real-world cultures that have similar myths, and we don’t believe those; there are also compelling ideological reasons for a culture that relies on Pokémon training to create a myth like that).

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RandomAccess asks:

The new Dreepy evolutionary line, to me, brings up some pretty interesting questions about the Pokemon world’s evolutionary biology. They’re apparently aquatic Pokemon that lived in the ancient past that became spirits once they became extinct, and now fittingly have the “ghost/dragon” typing in the modern day. What’s interesting about this is you must wonder, why isn’t this more common, that being why isn’t there a ghost type variant of every existing Pokemon, since all Pokemon are living creatures that shed their mortal coil eventually all the same. This seems to imply that becoming a distinct ghost-type pokemon is something only some are capable of, while the rest just become normal wraiths like Pikachu did in the Pokemon Tower episode and presumably eventually pass on. Might there be some “metaphysical” (or possibly just physical, since this is just how things work in this world) laws that determine how adaptive a Pokemon’s spirit is? And judging what we know of Pokemon that are suspected to have once been the departed spirits of humans (such as Yamask and Gengar) and how different they look compared to humans, how many ghost type Pokemon might be the result of the ghost of a known or unknown species of Pokemon? Hell, if we could somehow find the spiritual version of “genes” would it be possible to trace common ancestry with their mortal relatives, and add ghostly branches to the Pokemon tree of life? The implications of this are both overwhelming and exciting.

Yeah, it’s an interesting problem.  I really love the idea of a Pokémon that’s not a fossilised prehistoric creature, like so many we’ve seen before, and instead the ghost of an extinct creature, but it does raise that question – why this Pokémon?  Why is Dreepy unique (well, not quite unique; Galarian Corsola seems similar, but they’re obviously unusual)?  I would not actually default to thinking that Dreepy became lingering spirits because of something inherent to them, though.  In folklore, people become ghosts because of something about the way they died – maybe they have “unfinished business,” or weren’t given the burial rites their culture requires, or were killed by a particular monster, or just died in a particularly unpleasant way that somehow damaged their soul and prevented them from moving on to wherever spirits are supposed to go.  In Pokémon, we often aren’t explicitly told where Ghost-types come from, but when we are, my impression is that it’s more often a magical or spiritual cause than a biological or scientific one (of course, then the follow-up question is whether we’re supposed to believe what we’re told about Phantump, Sandygast, etc. or just see it as a mystery yet to be solved).  Given what little we know, my first guess would be that Dreepy exist in their current ghostly form due to something about the nature of the event (or competing species, or predator) that drove them extinct.  Maybe their species was wiped out by something unusually sudden or traumatic, or maybe there was some Ghost-, Dark- or Psychic-type predator (now extinct itself as well) that could manipulate and damage souls, or maybe – just maybe – they were the victims of some kind of spiritual calamity, like an eruption of the spirit world into the “real” world.  That’s the sort of place my mind goes when you raise the question, at any rate. I think in the absence of anything more explicit from an official source, the “correct” answer is probably whatever you feel is the more potentially interesting.

Camper Smoke asks:

I know you have said India is ideal, but how would you feel if game freak made a Pokemon region out of scandinavia?

I guess predominantly “fine”?  Like, I have multiple preferences ahead of that, and particularly if we’re thinking generation IX – that is, immediately following another northern European region – I don’t think it makes a lot of sense in sequence.  But I’m not sure I can think of any place on Earth that I’d be offended or upset or even really disappointed to see as the setting of a Pokémon game.  Scandinavia’s got a lot of affluent multilinguals who are part of Pokémon’s global community, it’s got distinctive modern aesthetics that fit in well with Pokémon’s distinctive blend of tradition and techno-utopia, it’s got Vikings, it’s got fjords, and what else do any of us really need in life, when we’ve got fjords?

Jim the Editor remarked on this that it could be interesting to have a very cold region, and it certainly would.  On the other hand, the cynic in me says that Game Freak would shy away from creating a region with very few habitats for desert and tropical Pokémon, and especially from having to deal with the polar day-night cycle, in favour of just putting in a few more snowy areas than most games in the series, and otherwise keeping the climate mostly temperate.  Which… I think is an issue not just with this idea in particular but more generally.  There are things that the Pokémon games like to keep formulaic – say, having a variety of biomes to slot a large number of existing Pokémon into, or having a certain ratio of small towns to big urban centres – and if a region doesn’t obviously have those things, I kind of suspect they would get shoehorned in anyway, potentially at the expense of its unique character.  Not that it wouldn’t be great just to see Poké-Stockholm and Poké-Copenhagen, but… y’know, I think if you want to have a Scandinavian region, you want the northernmost areas to experience midnight sun and polar night, and you want that to be mechanically and narratively significant somehow; you want big parts of the map to be sparsely populated like the Crown Tundra, and you want the player spending a lot of time in those areas and thinking about them; you want the ocean to be important as something you explore and learn about, not just travel through.  Honestly, now that I’m saying all this, can we have, like… a sprawling Pokémon region based on the whole Arctic Ocean, something with big environmental themes, maybe some light survival mechanics?  Can we just put that one on the list, after India and Brazil?  I’ll just pop over and let Shigeru Ohmori know that I want that on the list.

Ty asks:

Over 10 years ago, there was a unique fan-made Pokemon project called “Pokemon Spirit Chronicles” that had a very unique concept and nice (but limited) concept art. It’s really hard to find anything related to the project these days since it eventually died out, but I was able to find this thread which contains a lot of the concept art from it: https://plus4chan.org/boards/coc/res/25552.html

The basic premise was an alternate world where Pokeballs were never developed, and you’d have to capture their spirits and forge those spirits into weapons and armor to survive in that world. I’m curious what your thoughts are from that concept and what limited fruits the project came to bare. Also if you could magically pick up those pieces and somehow create that concept in your own vision, what other details might you add to flesh out the concept, the world, and what direction would you take the story? This last part is only if you find the concept interesting enough to warrant a theoretical investment.

So… hmm.

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RandomAccess asks:

I just saw the YouTube video “Trope Talk: Dragons” from the channel “Overly Sarcastic Productions”. Basically a brief summary about how a dragon is defined (or rather how they lack a concrete definition) and how they play an important role throughout almost every human culture in the world. If you have seen the video (or probably more accurately, decided to see it after reading this) I’m curious if you have thoughts on it regarding how these ideas might apply to the variety of the dragon type in Pokemon.

Well, it’s a good video!  No corrections! (Here it is, for anyone wanting to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eXAPwjASEQ)

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