N asks:

Never have i seen a community turn around as fast as the pokémon community when they heard about gen 7. Things like having 2 games with slighlty different pokémon are now being touted as exploitative towards the consumer, critiques against the animations are aplenty. Your thoughts? Do you think the criticism is warranted or is the Internet being a bunch of crybabies again?

I don’t know if something specific prompted this question – “again” makes me think there’s been another change in the wind since I posted this, but I’m not aware of anything in particular?

The thing is… there are loads of legitimate criticisms of Pokémon, and I am totally here for criticising Pokémon; it’s what I do.  The whole “paired game” thing has always been weird and is frankly kind of obsolete, and the practise of releasing what amounts to an expansion as a full new game in (almost) every generation honestly is pretty consumer-unfriendly.  No one owes Nintendo and Game Freak their money or time, and we should all be prepared to criticise the media we consume.  The trouble is that the internet is a toxic cesspit that unfailingly reduces all human communication to corrosive bile sooner or later, which is why Jim the Editor should let me delete my Twitter account.  Even perfectly legitimate points just get subsumed into this appalling tidal wave of angry unreflective hot takes and reactions, because the internet is deathly allergic to nuance.  That’s not even the fault of any individual person involved in the discussion; it’s just the inevitable result of a structure that favours clickbait over substance and encourages us to outsource all our opinions to figureheads or group identities.  I’d like to decide what I think of this game after I’ve actually played it.  Not everyone can do that, because games are expensive and we don’t have infinite money, but you can pick a sensible reviewer, whose opinions on a range of other games are similar to your own, and wait for them to play it and decide what they think.  It’s okay if launch day arrives and you still don’t know whether you want to buy the game or not; I’ve never preordered a Pokémon game or started playing on day 1.  There’ll be plenty of time to make up our minds about what criticism is or is not deserved after that.

hugh_donnetono asks:

Hi! This https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGhpDOx0CMk ! Thoughts?

This is certainly a thing

The details of it are mostly ideas I agree would be good.  Probably the only thing I really dislike is separating the starter Pokémon over three different games, because I think being locked into one starter hurts replayability and doesn’t have much upside (other than we’re now explicitly encouraging people to buy three games instead of one, which… ehhhhhhh, I can see how Nintendo marketing would love it but it leaves a sour taste in my mouth).  I’d rather have the different themed starting locations being options within one game.  A lot of it has similarities to some things I’ve suggested myself in the past, some of it in my old “If I Were In Charge” series, some of it in miscellaneous question-and-answer posts – see especially here on mechanics that emphasise treating our Pokémon well, here and here on thematic gyms, here on paired games and the idea of separate ‘upgradeable’ hometowns for each game, and here on the role of legendary Pokémon.  I have some differences with the broad scope and aims of the project; given the choice, I would prioritise a complex story over an open structure and non-linear progression, and I think there’s a middle ground to be had between the massive-scope bad guys of generations III through VI and the “we’re just mobsters” bad guys of generations I and II.  That’s top-level design choices though; there’s not really wrong decisions there, just preferences, and subsequent decisions can serve those top-level choices well or badly.  I don’t think a Pokémon game can be everything that everyone in the fan community wants Pokémon to be, and do it well – design is about trade-offs, and mostly I can respect the ones made here.

Osprey asks:

This is a slightly odd question (or set of questions), but I’ve been thinking lately about how Pokemon perceive or relate to their own type, and whether type distinctions induce some kind of cultural difference among Pokemon. Are Pokemon aware of their own type? Do type distinctions arise “naturally,” or are they simply human-created terms used to organize and taxonomize Pokemon by their salient features? Do Pokemon feel culturally closer to Pokemon who share their type? What about Pokemon from “allied” types, like Water and Ice, or Rock and Ground? Is a Pokemon like Abomasnow who has two types that are fairly “far apart” from each other able to “code switch” to an extent– to “lean in” to his Grass-type features when he’s hanging out with other Grass pokemon, and to his Ice-type aspects when he’s up on the mountain with the other Ice-types?

What do you think about this?

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

I tend to think that the world makes more sense if Pokémon type is a construct created by humans in order to understand how Pokémon fight and predict which Pokémon will have advantages against certain others.  If Pokémon type is a natural thing that exists independently of humans, then you need to do a lot of work explaining what it is and how it arises (especially considering that Pokémon of the same type do not usually seem to be related species), and this is work that Game Freak has not done.  I think it would probably imply that each type corresponds to some metaphysical source of magical power that Pokémon can tap into – and honestly I think that might be true anyway for some of the more mystical types like Dragon and Fairy, but for most of them there simply isn’t anything that hints at it in official sources.  Of course, because this is something that Pokémon’s creators probably haven’t thought about, there are a few stray things that do strongly suggest Pokémon types are in some way natural and absolute, like Arceus having forms for every type, and Hidden Powers existing for every type (except Fairy), and there being no exceptions to the type chart.  So… basically, I know what the answer would be if I were in charge, but I’m not confident in anything given the world as we actually see it.

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James Crooks [Patreon cultist] asks:

In light of the reveal of Alcremie, who looks like an Eton Mess(?) what’s a dessert/series of desserts that you think could be adapted into a new Pokemon?

There’s kind of a… maybe theme that Game Freak might be trying to start, of having Pokémon that are based on desserts associated with the real world cultures that their regions are based on. Slurpuff is a meringue Pokémon for France and Alcremie is a strawberries and cream (or perhaps Eton mess, as you suggest) Pokémon for England. Vanilluxe… well, you can debate how fair it is to call ice cream cones American, but they were first popularised in the United States, and for Pokémon’s first non-Japanese region something generically “Western” is probably enough anyway, and Castelia City has a Vanillite-themed dessert that you can buy. Alola doesn’t really have one, but I think arguably Hau counts as an honorary dessert Pokémon for his obsession with malasadas (a characteristic Hawaiian dessert) and his diabetes-inducing personality. That being the case… we could look at some iconic desserts of other regions.

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kyurem asks:

did you notice that in gen 7 mega evolution was quietly retconned from an emotional bond-based transformation to being more of an energy-fueled mutation and generally a cruel thing to do to a pokemon? the SM and USUM pokedex entries for mega evos are pretty much all about how much pain the pokemon is in, how it’s been mutated into a grotesque form that distresses it, how it hates being in that form, etc. and none of them are positive or mention the pokemon’s bond with the trainer

Well… I’m looking through the Pokédex entries and I think it’s a bit more ambiguous than that.  There are several Pokémon for whom this seems like a fair description of the Pokédex text on their Mega Evolved forms, but they’re certainly not a majority, and there are also two Mega Evolved Pokémon who explicitly like their new forms: Mega Slowbro is said to be “pretty comfortable” ensconced inside Shellder, while Mega Pinsir supposedly never touches the ground because it’s overcome with happiness at being able to fly.  There are two more that explicitly cite the importance of the Pokémon’s bond with its trainer (Mega Charizard Y and Mega Gyarados).  I think that pretty well rules out any general statement about what Mega Evolution is like for all Pokémon; it affects each of them differently (which, well, makes sense).  But there are also those more disturbing entries referencing things like “sharp pain and suffering” or body parts becoming “misshapen.”  I think in most of these cases it’s relevant that the Pokémon involved are… well, let’s just say they’re not necessarily Pokémon you’d want at a child’s birthday party.  Mega Evolution is – in my opinion – an exaggeration of everything distinctive about a Pokémon.  Whatever a Pokémon already does, Mega Evolution turns it up to eleven.  I don’t think they were designed with the intention that they should be proper viable organisms in their own right; they’re ridiculous overpowered battle modes that are supposed to be assumed for minutes at a time, at the very most.  It sort of makes sense that they should often be quite stressful.  Furthermore, if you have a Pokémon already known for viciousness or destructiveness… well, let’s see what happens, starting from the ones that aren’t particularly objectionable.

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The Babadook asks:

In celebration of Pride what’s your ideal queer-themed team? Include nature’s, movesets, abilities and held items?

It’s still June in the US; I’m not too late!

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm…

I feel like… movesets and abilities and held items would mostly have to be really specific jokes that I just don’t think I can do well, being only the G of LGBT and not having all that much insight into the other letters.  We can pick six Pokémon, though, and I think we should probably start with Pokémon who have gender properties that are in some way interesting…

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Herald of Opera asks:

So, apparently the National Dex is going away. For all the Internet riots that have been going on about this, wasn’t it pretty much inevitable that the series would eventually create more Pokémon than it could fit in one game? And I’m saying all this despite knowing my personal favorite is almost certainly getting the axe (sorry Piplup, but you’re a non-Kanto starter, your animal basis doesn’t live in the same hemisphere as Britain, and your anime appearance was an obnoxious spotlight stealer)

Okay, I’m gonna hijack this question to get out everything I think about this and be the one and hopefully only time I talk about it, so here goes nothing:

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