Lupina Howls asks:

Any updates on the advanced kingslocke rules?

Well, I was going to finish that test run of Heart Gold before publishing them, and I didn’t mean to have a very long break before starting the Kanto section of the game, but then I got COVID, and then my laptop broke down and I had to send it away to be fixed, and both of those things set me back on finishing my PhD thesis which is now very much in full crunch time, and will be for at least the next six weeks (by the way, and this isn’t related to what you’re asking and I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating for anyone else who might be paying attention, I am absolutely not going to touch Scarlet/Violet until mid-December at the very earliest).  So… maybe I need to accept that I’m never actually going to finish that run, just make what revisions I can on the basis of what we saw in the first half, and publish what comes out of that.  Hmm.

pie asks:

I just realized–remember that post you made about Pokemon and Food where you concluded that the Pokemon world has no bacon? Well now we have LECHONK, who is a chonky fellow that is Normal type and basically just a pig, and therefore we have now achieved bacon.

Oh, it’s even better than that, because Lechonk is a black pig in an Iberian region, which means it’s definitely the specific breed of pig used for making the fantastically rare and expensive gourmet cured pork product known as jamón Ibérico.  Black Iberian pigs are raised to forage wild acorns according to ancient traditional practices, making them strong and muscled but also full of marbled fat; their meat is the Wagyu beef of pork.  A leg of Iberico ham will set you back several hundred dollars.  Lechonk isn’t just a pig: it is the most delicious pig in the universe.

They’re practically asking for us to eat our Pokémon.

[EDIT/FOOTNOTE: this is the ancient post in question. Obviously there are pre-gen IX pig Pokémon, but I argued that all of them are, for one reason or another, not good candidates for food production at a commercial scale.]

Evil Pokemaniacal asks:

Thoughts on Wiglett, the new convergent mon unrelated but similar looking to Diglett, and the implications this has that Diglett bodies are Pokémon’s form of Carcinization?

…no, no, you don’t understand what’s going on here at all; I’m evil Pokémaniacal – well, no, not even that, I’m evil Pokémaniac Chris, Pokémaniacal is the blog (a distinction that made sense in the 2000s but that people really seem to struggle to understand in the age of influencer culture), which is not a sapient entity and has no moral alignment.  You’re, like… if anything, you’re… good Pokémaniac Chris.

And believe me, I’m gonna put a stop to that $#!t.

What was the question?

Oh yeah.

I don’t know that I have strong feelings about it, to be honest.  It will probably evolve into something, and I’m more interested to see what that is.  Creating a Pokémon that looks just like Diglett just to say “look, convergent evolution!” seems a bit silly to me, honestly, because Pokémon already has lots of examples of convergent evolution.  There are Pokémon based on real animals that are examples of convergent evolution, like Aerodactyl and Golbat both having leathery bat-wings, or Arbok and Masquerain both having defensive eyespots.  Hell, Pokémon even has examples of carcinisation; Crabrawler is a coconut crab and Dwebble is a hermit crab, which means neither of them are “true crabs”; they’ve evolved crab-like shapes independently from true crabs like Krabby and Klawf, starting from a more lobster-shaped common ancestor.  Then there are also Pokémon with special powers that must be the result of convergent evolution, like reptilian Charizard and mammalian Heatmor both having fire-based abilities (unless they mean to imply that all Pokémon of the same type come from a common ancestor, which is pretty flatly contradicted by Eevee, the egg group system and almost every Pokémon with regional forms).  Basically it’s cute that they’re trying, but I hope that’s not the whole reason they made Wiglett.  Garden eels are cool, though, and I can imagine the evolved form could go in some interesting directions.

sweetpie asks:

is A Pokemon Trainer Is You continuing? It is/was a really cool series and I’m glad it gave some more unpopular species like Wurmple and Minun love. I also really liked the ecology parts.

Ye-ess???  I mean, I hope so?  I mean, I agree with you, I like those things too; it’s just a bigger and longer commitment than ever I intended for it to be (and, honestly, less silly than I thought it would be), and right now I can’t handle updating it regularly, and the premise doesn’t really work if it’s not regular.  I may need to re-evaluate how it works, what kind of choices it presents, which bits get the most detail… Part of me says reboot it in a new form, part of me doesn’t want to lose what we’ve seen so far; on the other hand it’s sort of… so stretched-out at this point that I could hardly expect anyone new to go back and read the whole thing.  I think it’s worth the effort it’d take to pick it back up again, just… not right now.

P.S. Apologies (to you and everyone else in the queue) for being slow at the moment; on top of my usual bull$#!t, I am currently afflicted with the Dreaded Rona.  I hope to destroy it in a blasphemous ceremony and absorb its power, but failing that, of course, I expect all loyal readers to contribute what they can to my resurrection (the necessary components of the contingency ritual are hidden throughout my recent writing; remember: the serpent shall feast at dusk).

Cassidy Arnold asks:

how do you feel about the new region being based on Spain?

it also seems like it has a “past” / “Future” motif which you may be interested in.

I am going to continue to insist on saying “Iberia” rather than “Spain” because, y’know, there is a name for that whole region Paldea is based on, which actually contains countries not called Spain – not that anyone’s told either Game Freak or the fandom that.

Although, on the other hand, I do think it would be extremely funny if Scarlet and Violet somehow recognised Andorra but not Portugal, and would be prepared to endorse this course of action.

Anyway.  I’m not sure that it occurs to me to feel one way or another about it.  I don’t think it’s a bad choice, nor is it exactly what I would have chosen.  If the last few generations are any indication, we can expect a significant fraction of Paldea’s Pokémon to draw inspiration from Iberian flora and fauna, as well as regional history and culture; we’ve already seen Smoliv (can’t have a Mediterranean region without olives, after all) and Lechonk (the black Iberian pigs that produce ibérico ham).  I suppose I am also curious how the games’ depiction of Paldean culture might be influenced by the history of Iberia.  I think in general the Pokémon games tend to reference real-world history in ways that are pretty oblique and allegorical, on account of how actual history is so often a bit of a downer.  They’ll put a little Roman soldier Pokémon in Galar and give Circhester the same Georgian neoclassical architecture as Bath, but they won’t imply the existence of a Roman Empire, if you see what I mean. If there are any references to the role of Spain and Portugal in colonising the Americas, for instance, we can expect them to be heavily sanitised; there might be some pretty buildings here and there inspired by Moorish architecture, but only vaguest possible allusions to the religious conflicts that have characterised so much of Spain’s history. I do wonder whether they might somehow work in a Galarian connection with Gibraltar (and even if they don’t, there are plenty of vacation spots in Spain and Portugal beloved by British holidaymakers); Pokémon does like implying historical links between different regions, like the Kantonian cultural influence on Alola. Speaking of Alola, actually, the malasada is originally a Portuguese dish, and one of Oricorio’s forms is a flamenco dancer – I’d be interested to know whether there’s a Paldean connection in either of those.

Past/Future does seems like something that would interest me, but “that seems like something that would interest me” is kinda all there is to say about it so far.  I’m of the opinion that Past/Future (or its cousin, Tradition/Innovation) is at least a minor theme of almost every Pokémon game in the “core” series, so when Scarlet and Violet say explicitly that it’s going to be a primary theme… well, yes, I’m interested, but that’s because I’m usually interested whenever it comes up in a Pokémon game, which happens pretty often, and the fact that these games are labelling it as a core aesthetic motif doesn’t necessarily mean much.  X and Y have some interesting things to say about tradition, lineage, individual responsibility, collective good and redemption, but they don’t really say anything particularly insightful about life and death – nor, in my opinion, are the merits of Diamond and Pearl’s story in their ideas about space and time, nor are Black and White at their best while talking about “truth” and “ideals” (words which are, in those games, close to meaningless).  So I guess what I’m saying is “we’ll see when we see,” which is something I try to say about every Pokémon game, but seems to get harder and harder every time.

Further Opinions are to be found here and here, in case you haven’t already seen those.

Leo M.R. asks:

I’ve a couple of questions about Cassandra, the Trojan princess/seer:

1) Were the conditions of her curse known to other people? I assume not – otherwise it’d defeat the purpose of the whole ‘will never be believed’ thing – but you never know.

2) How *did* her prophesizing work, anyway? Was it involuntary like she’d get pseudo-possessed à la Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter (which I imagine contributed to her madwoman status)? Or did she actively divined like she had to read the movement of birds or something (in which case, couldn’t she have just… *not*?)?

So, part of Cassandra’s deal is that, although we think of her as a character from the Trojan War, which we associate with the Homeric epics, the major surviving texts where she actually does anything are all tragedies (in fact, Cassandra is such a minor character in the Iliad that I don’t think Homer ever mentions her gift/curse of prophecy – it might even have been a later addition to the myth, although of course I can’t prove that). And Greek tragedies are all about mortals rushing headlong into terrible fates that they could easily have avoided if only things had gone a little bit differently. I think we’ve gotta see Cassandra’s prophecies as the same class of Thing as, like, Oedipus’ prophecy about killing his father and marrying his mother: even when you know it’s coming, you’re powerless to stop it, because that’s just the kind of thing Fate does to mortals who know the future.

Continue reading “Leo M.R. asks:”

Katiecat asks:

Why do you think Pokemon is still so damn popular? I work with kids and they’re *still* obsessed with the damn things. It feels like so many trends have come and gone but Pokemon is weirdly enduring. And what’s weird is a lot of the kids today like the original Pokemon best- I talk to kids I work with and almost all of their favorite Pokemon are from the original 151. If it were like, mewtwo or mew it might make sense but there are kids I know whose favorites are tauros and jynx!

If I had to guess, I’d say that I think it plays to desires and values of the 90s that have only gotten more important in the decades since.  There’s the desire for a lost connection with nature in a modern urban world, the consumerist impulse to collect, the search for companionship through electronic media that was originally behind Tamagotchi, the promise of definite bounded knowledge and learning in a world growing steadily more and more complicated… I think a lot of Pokémon’s more escapist promises have more allure now, not less.

Anyway that’s very much a guess based on my personal observations of how I and other people seem to relate to Pokémon; this next part is even more of a guess.

As for the gen 1 Pokémon still being the most popular… well, I’m not an authority on what younger people like or what draws anyone to a specific Pokémon, nor am I in possession of any relevant stats, but I honestly kinda think it might be mainly exposure.  The Sacred 150 are still pretty front-and-centre in a lot of marketing, as well as many side games.  More importantly, older Pokémon fans know them better and create more art and fiction that uses them, and memes about them get more traction – in the 90s, we mostly consumed official Pokémon media because that’s what existed, but kids using the internet today are also getting a lot of unofficial material that was made by… well, us.  Official merch also skews towards what marketers think we will buy, either for ourselves or for our children, and we recognise and respond to the old designs.  That’s probably not the whole of it, but that’s all I can offer without making a bunch of unsupported assumptions about what kids are thinking.

I can’t think of a joke name asks: 

What do you think about the death of the queen

Well, it proves that Her Queenship’s original body was not biologically immortal, which actually shoots down several theories I previously considered fairly plausible. Jim the Editor and I are currently working under the assumption that, after a brief and decisive spiritual struggle, she took over the body of the Lesser Liz during their first official meeting as monarch and PM (no British Prime Minister since Thatcher could possibly have had the sheer evil resolve to resist her, but Truss may have been especially vulnerable because of their shared name). Now inhabiting the body and office of the new Prime Minister, and with her loyal son ruling as Charlie 3, she will seek to establish a new Holy British Empire by conquering the EU and Brexiting each of its member states, one by one. The Second Elizabethan Age has ended, but the reign of the dread Eternal Queen is only just beginning!

Other than that, I’m mostly concerned by what this might mean for the great Prophecy of the Queen of Pentacles in my ongoing Kingslocke of Heart Gold. I mean, I just posted the episode where I defeat the Champion this morning and I didn’t have either of the True Queens of Johto in my party; could that have been the final straw? Are these events symbolic of the final death of monarchy itself? What will happen if we don’t fulfil the Prophecy?

Also, does this mean Charlie 3 will be on all the money by the time I get home in December? That’s going to be weird.

Heart Gold Kingslocke: Episode 16

Introduction/rules here.

okay, we’re gonna

we’re gonna do the thing, or we’re gonna try, anyway

Like I said last time, the test here is basically that I only have four Pokémon and I didn’t choose them, but I can play normally with those four.  Parker, who doesn’t have Champion status, is mostly going to be a spectator, unfortunately – with the Death card in play, if he gets knocked out even once, he’s gone for the foreseeable future.  Hell, if he even takes damage, I can’t heal him because of the High Priestess.  My team is also heavily slanted towards Poison-types, which the first member of the Elite Four, Will, is set up very well to deal with, but hopefully our levels are now high enough that we can just kick the $#!t out of him and it won’t matter.

Well, no point in standing around; let’s give this a go.

Continue reading “Heart Gold Kingslocke: Episode 16”