Rebecca Panks asks:

Do you ever do play-throughs where you have to stick to particular rules? Like the Nuzlocke challenge? If so, what are your favourites and what are the ones you vow never to do again?

I’ve done a few Nuzlockes.  They have… ended poorly.  One of them featured an Illumise spontaneously exploding.  Sometimes Jim the Editor will pick teams of terrible Pokémon for me (honestly, though, I don’t think I’ve yet had a Pokémon challenge experience that made me really firmly swear “never again”).  Once I even wrote a Nuzlocke story, which I never finished, and honestly I don’t know if I’m ever going to have time to finish it (maybe I should just tell everyone what I had in mind for the rest of the story, I don’t know).  But anyway, if you don’t mind that it cuts off about 3/4 of the way through the story, or think you might want to start bugging me to finish it instead of the other things I have in mind to do, you can read it here.

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Ty asks:

Hello,

I don’t recall if you ever did a post on your thoughts on Z moves as a whole, or particularly how you reacted to their extreme animations. Would you share your thoughts on each one in a few words?

I haven’t, but I might have promised that I would later.  Let me check.

[Also, just while we’re here, I feel I should note (just to completely weird out the Americans in the audience) that, as I think most New Zealanders would, I have always instinctively pronounced it “zed-move” (not “zee-move”) and this should be the way you imagine me saying it whenever you read my words on the subject.]

damn it Past Chris, get your $#!t together

Y’know, in the past I have definitely made noises about it, but I was never sure what I should commit to, because I thought I might end up talking about them in the context of my review of Necrozma, since the power of Z-moves comes from Necrozma’s light.  That’s something I’m now less optimistic about, since there’s a buttload of lore to study and clarify surrounding Necrozma.  I think I’m going to have to beg to defer this, because it probably does deserve a full article (I did one on mega evolution, after all; I mean, it was completely bat$#!t but I did write it) but I don’t think I can properly tackle the subject with my customary brilliance until I get my facts straight on Necrozma and the cosmic light.

State of the Blog

uh… nothing is on fire… none of the Pokémon are dead… the horrors of the space between the stars are quiet… I need to buy milk tomorrow but I can probably remember to do that… things are good! I think!

Y’know, there is something weirdly addictive about the WordPress stats page. Day by day, hour by hour, the figures go up, and some number of people are paying attention to my deranged claptrap, fuelling my long, slow and inevitable descent into crippling narcissism.

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hugh_donnetono asks:

Out of all the early game rodents – Raticate, Furret, Linoone, Bibarel, Watchog, Diggersby, Gumshoos, and maybe Alolan Raticate too – which ones do you think are the most poorly-designed, both fluff-wise and gameplay-wise, and what would you change about those worst ones if you could? (I told you it’d probably be me.)

GOD DAMN IT HUGH

okay, let’s see

Diggersby is pretty much fine on both fluff and gameplay, to my mind.  Gumshoos is… fiiiiiine?  I mean, it’s weird, but I will concede there is something clever going on with the noir detective/mobster aesthetic between Gumshoos and Alolan Raticate.  It could do with an increase to its defences, and maybe a better priority move than Quick Attack (buffing the Stakeout ability would be nice too – maybe have it raise Gumshoos’ attack when something switches in against it?).

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jeffthelinguist asks:

I think you might have mentioned in another answer that you will cover this in a later article, but in case you aren’t going to… can we get your thoughts on the Rainbow Rocket thing that happened in Smoon? Like… I’ve no idea if it’s considered canon (though what even would canon be in Pokémon anymore?) but your speciality is overly dissecting implied lore in these games and, as much as Rainbow Rocket feels like a fan fiction (I mean it pretty much is one)… well I’m curious what you have to say about RR both in terms of your reactions and how you think it affects the world building here. Please be as pokemaniacal as possible!

This actually is on the list of things I plan to write full articles on after finishing the last few gen VI Pokémon, along with, uh… Team Skull/Guzma, the Aether Foundation/Lusamine, Lillie/Hau/Gladion, the player as Champion, maybe something Z-move-related… oh, and one of my Patreon supporters suggested doing something on the Alolan trial culture (which frankly is peak Pokémaniacal nonsense and something I will absolutely do).  But yeah, the whole Team Rainbow Rocket thing is… well, it… I mean, I like nostalgia fuel as much as the next millennial, but I don’t understand it at all.  Giovanni is a mob boss who ran an illegal casino – he’s actually in some ways the smallest-scale villain Pokémon’s ever had – but out of nowhere they’ve turned him into this comic book supervillain whose sheer overwhelming malice has bound every other villain in Pokémon history to his will, in order to… well, honestly I’m not even sure, but to conquer the multiverse, I guess???

I say all this now; often when I actually sit down to write a full-length article about something I start to discover things that I actually like about it and make it worthwhile, and can no longer bring myself to outright condemn it, so I guess we’ll find out, but right now I think the most valuable thing about the whole incident is that We, The Gays now own Team Rocket because rainbows (I don’t make the tea; I just serve it).

Steven asks:

Hey, love the blog! Apologies if this has been asked before, but overall, looking back with 4 generations of hindsight, what are your feeling about how Gen 4 devoted a ton of space to new evolutions of older pokemon? I say that now because, at the time, it was a trendy idea that instead of new pokemon, they should go back and make cool new evolutions to old pokemon that deserve it. But looking back on Gen 4 which devoted 21 spots to new evolutions (20% of Gen4!) personally, its hard to see it as anything more than “well this was a mistake to never try again”. I personally only really find a couple really appealing (Weavile, Mismagius). What do you think? Was this an attempt better left in the past? Did they just not do a great job with those specific pokemon? Or heck, do you actually like these pokemon? I’m curious to see what you think.

Hmm; I count 22.  And don’t forget 7 baby Pokémon (damn it, Game Freak, did you really have to mock poor Chimecho with a baby form when other, already much better, Pokémon were getting evolutions?).  But… yeah, this is tricky.  I think it’s inherently more difficult to come up with a good addition to what was already a self-contained design than it is to come up with that design in the first place.  You’re constrained by the themes and aesthetics of the original design, but the original design “thought” that it was finished, so it’s going to fight against you.  The trouble is that evolving an old Pokémon is one of the most natural-feeling ways to give it a buff, and a lot of generation I and II Pokémon frankly needed it.  This is why I simultaneously hope Farfetch’d and Dunsparce will one day get evolutions and dread the possibility.  Farfetch’d and Dunsparce are both very self-contained, elegant designs; there’s not a lot of fluid, natural directions to take them because… well, if there were, they would have had evolutions in the first place.  And it’s not always like that; sometimes there is an interesting elaboration that you can make.  Ambipom… lives in my nightmares… but also is an unexpected yet somehow laterally logical step forward from Aipom’s design.  Mamoswine and Yanmega are the most interesting examples of generation IV’s mechanic of “Pokémon that evolve by learning certain moves” because they transform into “prehistoric” versions of themselves by learning Ancientpower.  Gallade and Froslass work because they’re split evolutions and are able to take their base designs in the opposite directions to their counterparts.  Roserade works because Roselia didn’t have that much personality to begin with (fite me IRL) and whatever else you might say about Roserade, it doesn’t suffer from a deficit of personality.  Honchkrow is… bizarre, because Murkrow had a pretty clearly defined aesthetic and Honchkrow just… fµ¢£in’… throws that out the window and is a mob boss instead, but I also kind of love Honchkrow anyway???  Most of the rest… for me lie on a continuum of “this is worse than the original design, but basically fine and I get that this Pokémon needed a buff” to “I know this Pokémon needed a buff, but… why???”  And I think that second reaction is why we don’t really see them anymore.  In the past two or three generations, Game Freak have realised they actually have a lot of different tools for buffing underpowered early-generation Pokémon that don’t force them to design new Pokémon they didn’t want in the first place.  There’s mega evolution, there’s regional forms, there’s movepool additions, there’s valuable new abilities, hell, there’s straight up literal stat increases.  I wouldn’t put money on new evolutions of old Pokémon being gone forever because, again, sometimes they are warranted and do turn out well, and I hope Game Freak recognises that, but I doubt we’ll ever see another generation that includes as many of them as II and IV did.

Guzzlord

Guzzlord

We now come to the final Ultra Beast of Sun and Moon (though not the final one of generation VII as a whole), Guzzlord, a.k.a. UB05 Glutton, a.k.a. the Junkivore Pokémon.  Guzzlord consumes all, drawing everything into itself and growing ever larger, and in just the same way it has engorged this entry to a truly unreasonable size – so without any further preamble, I’m just going to jump into it.

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