Katiecat asks:

I was reading your eeveelutions reviews. You mention the whole “adaptations” thing isn’t really done that well, since most of them don’t really match their environments all that well.
Theoretically, how would you design an octet of eeveelutions to go with different environments from scratch? I have my own but I wanna hear what you’d do first.
The other thing you mention is that they go for many different aesthetics, such as cute (flareon/sylveon), cool (jolteon), beautiful (vaporeon/glaceon), and mysterious, but kind of leave off a brutish aesthetic. I would also add they leave off the under-appreciated weird aesthetic- the dunsparces and exeggcutes of the world that end up in “top 20 worst pokemon” lists but a small number of us keep close to our hearts.

What catastrophically awful person puts Dunsparce on a Top 20 Worst Anything list?

So, some of the eeveelutions I actually am totally fine with; I’d just associate them with different environments to their canonical ones. For instance, although the core games don’t say much about Flareon’s habitat, spinoffs tend to put her in volcanic or lava areas with all the other Fire Pokémon, but if we’re thinking of eeveelutions in terms of being adaptations of Eevee to a specific type of environment, well, Flareon kinda looks to me like a cold-adapted form. Thick fluffy fur is useful in a cold place, and fire powers are useful if most of the other local Pokémon are Ice-types. Alternatively, and this is what I said when I discussed Flareon for my eeveelutions series years ago, I could buy that Flareon belongs in a temperate grassland habitat, using her fire abilities to scorch areas of dry vegetation and drive out prey. Whether Pokémon in general are actually suited to the kinds of biomes the games tend to put them in… is kind of a big and complicated question and not worth getting into at the moment, but I think if you’re going to do it, Eevee is the place to start, because her lore draws attention to the concept of adaptation and (arguably) to the problems with the way Pokémon portrays adaptation.

Which is my long-winded way of saying “this is too damn complicated to get right with a short post that I wrote in like an hour,” but fµ¢& it, let’s give it a whirl Continue reading “Katiecat 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:”

Ty asks:

Glad the Mr. Mime question got the ball rolling! I just have one more for the time being regarding your favorite Vileplume. With Alola forms in mind, if you could pick any region where Oddish’s evolutionary family had a regional variation, which region would it be, and what would make the Oddishes, Glooms, Vileplumes, and Bellossoms different there?

Yeah I think when I moved to WordPress people… forgot(?) for a while, I guess, that they could do this?  So thanks for that!  Anyway, Vileplume.  I wasn’t sure how to begin going about this, but I did some reading and learned about a property of the Rafflesia genus of flowers (which Vileplume is based on) that I hadn’t previously known about.  Continue reading “Ty asks:”

Robin asks:

What are some of your least favourite Pokémon, and for what reasons?

This is the sort of question that gets me into trouble.

I… try to muster a semblance of objectivity when I write reviews; of course I do, and of course that is impossible, and of course personal aesthetic sensibilities colour everything I’ve ever written, because if they didn’t, then it wouldn’t be me writing, and what would even be the point?  But there’s a couple of Pokémon that I have… issues with.  Issues which, I will hasten to point out, are personal and strange and in general offensive to people who actually like those Pokémon, but that does seem to be what you’re asking for.  So. Continue reading “Robin asks:”

Elchar asks:

Wait so we can just asking you about your thoughts on random Pokémon? I think you have just set a dangerous precedent for yourself. Anyway. My favorite Pokémon ever are Voltorb and Electrode actually. What are your thoughts on them and their battle power? And if Electrode could get Mega evolution, how would you set its stats, types and abilities? Thanks.

Ehhhhhhh… yeee-es?  In principle, sort of.  I try not to make a habit of it, because it has in the past led to an inbox piled high with more “ooh, talk about my favourite next!” than I can deal with.  I prefer to prioritise more specific questions, and I don’t particularly enjoy coming up with design ideas for mega evolutions, because to do a good one requires thinking at right angles to a Pokémon’s base design in a way that I’m not terribly good at.  Having said all that, you did ask, so… Continue reading “Elchar asks:”

Ty asks:

What are your thoughts on Mr. Mime? He was always an odd Pokemon that most kids thought were weird back when Gen I was the only Gen, at least as much as I remember. Do you think that persists? Is there a reason why Mr. Mimes can be both male and female when Jynxes are only female? Would you say the addition of Fairy-type helped or hurt Mr. Mime thematically? Is there anything you would do, if you could, to empower Mr. Mime competitively?

…hmm?

What?

A- a question!?

A question!  A real proper question that isn’t from an obnoxious cartoon squid!  Get our whole research team on it, right this-

What do you mean that’s just me!?  Well, get the front-of-house staff on it, stoke the forge, advance our king’s bishop to C4, set up snipers on the roof, and someone take this guest’s coat! Continue reading “Ty asks:”

RandomAccess64 asks:

I personally always liked the fan Pokémon concept of basing a poison/ice type after a cold, with a counterpart poison/fire type after a fever.

And Anonymous asks:

When I think Ice/Poison, my mind first goes to pollution. Some sort of frozen sludge monster, perhaps, or a rotting corpse trapped under a layer of permafrost, its putrescence leaking into the surrounding environment.

Some interesting ideas!  The cold/fever one could definitely be played with in some neat ways… maybe as alternate forms of a single Pokémon, even?  If it’s a disease-based Pokémon, it might need to spread illnesses in order to keep itself healthy, which could make training one a challenge.  The rotting corpse might be pushing it for a Pokémon game – I don’t know if Game Freak would go for that one – but the sludge monster idea sort of makes me want to see a Polar Muk regional variant.