One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
You really need to hurry to reach your destination and get on with that… mission… thingy… or whatever. I mean, not that I give a $#!t but it seemed important to you. The going’s going to be much slower now that you’re climbing the mountain and trekking through caves. Still, Mount Moon isn’t completely inhospitable. Yeah, the cave floors are pretty uneven – lots of stalagmites and unexpected potholes – and gravel and dust keep falling on your head in a very unsettling way. Your Pokédexes have GPS, but with so much rock over your heads they might as well be cardboard compasses. On the other hand, you and Blue both have torches (plus the glowing tail flame of Blue’s new Charmander) and Brock’s map shows the layout of the caves on your direct route in fairly high detail. There are even a couple of softly-glowing phosphor lanterns that must have been left by the dig team as waypoints. You more than once trip over an unruly Geodude, but Scallion and Aura both have Grass attacks that can quickly send them packing; with Blue’s Squirtle on your flank, they’re no trouble at all. There are also Zubat just… everywhere. You love all Pokémon, Professor Oak groomed you to be a paragon young trainer and scientist, but if there were ever a Pokémon that could stretch your patience to breaking point, it’d be the one constantly trying to perch on your shoulder and give you a quick anaesthetic bite so it can suck your blood unnoticed while you walk onward through the dark caves. Fortunately, Nancy the Negator isn’t having any of that bull$#!t. On top of everything else, you have this uncanny sensation of being watched by something just outside your torchlight. When you bring it up, the Pokémon just seem to think you’re being paranoid, but Blue bites his lip and mutters something about how it’s not paranoia if “they” really are out to get you.
You already know his name; the Narrator’s being a jerk
Excuse you, I am a fµ¢£ing delight. But whatever, if it’s that important to you I guess I’ll put in an effort. What’d you say his name was? “Blue”? God that’s so fµ¢£ing dumb. Blue is, like, at best a passable name for a small predatory dinosaur. Kids got no damn business being named Blue. Who gave him that, his dumb parents? Probably named him that so he’d be, like, “calm” and “sensible” or some bull$#!t? Ugh, no wonder he’s such a basket case. We gotta see about changing it.
Yeah, yeah, whatever, I heard you, get off my ass already.
Which Pokémon do you try to catch?
Try to find the source of the fires [you might not catch anything]
Aren’t you supposed to be, like… doing… something? Eh, whatever, not like it’s any of my business. Scallion and your other Pokémon have a pretty vague and subjective concept of time, and Blue has no sense of responsibility or commitment. Besides, you’ve made surprisingly good time this far, so if you want to spend a couple of hours clambering up and down dry dirt hillsides looking for an unknown Fire Pokémon, no one’s going to stop you.
What would you like to do as you head out towards Mount Moon? [Choose up to two]
Catch a Pokémon
Study the environment and ecosystem
Ask the other guy to join you?
Sure, why not?
The other g- I mean… Indigo or… whatever his name is- look, are you gonna learn his name at some point? ‘cause if you’re not gonna, I’m not gonna, and at some point it might start to seem rude if you’re hanging out together.
The light is swelling. You’re not afraid of it. Why would you be? You’ve studied with Professor Oak, so you know how evolution works – or at least, as much as anyone does – but you also know there’s a spiritual aspect to it. Evolution is the path to fulfilling a Pokémon’s potential, to realising their full powers and finding their place in the world. You’d never make Scallion evolve if he didn’t want to – but reassuring him that nothing bad will happen if he chooses this? That’s kind of your job. You tell him, in a few soft words, that it’s okay to let go; you’ll still be here on the other side. And he changes.
Which of the debaters at the museum do you agree with? – Hammond-Spruce: There’s so much science can learn from ancient Pokémon, and it isn’t fair to write them off as savage monsters that are too dangerous to bring back.
There’s obviously a lot of reason to be cautious about the technology they’re discussing – in fact, didn’t you see a disaster movie with this exact premise once? – but you think the bottom line on this one is pretty clear. The technology to return extinct species to the world is within humanity’s grasp; how can you not reach out and take it? Yeah, you’re pretty committed; research to resurrect extinct Pokémon is a good thing, full stop. I don’t know why that matters, of course; it’s not like you’re ever going to be in a position to make major world-changing decisions directly related to this topic. Why the hell would you be?
Surrounded by six huge spider Pokémon, what do you do?
Well, I’ve heard worse ideas. True, most of them were Larry’s, but under the circumstances I guess talking is relatively unlikely to get you all killed.
Abner, Stacey and Dane are standing back-to-back and glaring defiantly at the spider Pokémon surrounding them, with all their own Pokémon at the ready. Dane’s Weedle and Stacey’s Caterpie are clinging to their trainers’ arms, but are poised to fire String Shots; Abner’s Metapod and Kakuna are both on the ground, already using Harden; and Stacey’s Ledyba is zipping around their heads, glaring at each of the fierce-looking Bug Pokémon in turn. Ellis and his Beedrill move to join them, but you catch him by the elbow and hiss a warning. Between the five of you, with all your Pokémon, you have your attackers well and truly outnumbered, but frankly they’re bigger.
How much of the way our experience with “a pokémon trainer is you!” was based on the background we picked for our character? Obviously, there were the story beats with us doing ranger/biologist work besides training.
But I’m assuming that our capacity to find Pokémon that you usually only see in Kanto under special conditions (The Hoenn Radio In Soulsilver) is because our scientist background lets us examine the environment better? And our compassion is the reason we’ve had your first non-misanthrope character. I assume even if we weren’t a big battling fan we’d still know most, if not all, type matchups though? (The games and the anime pretending 10-year olds wouldn’t know that ground is immune to electric is just… the worst worldbuilding I’ve seen.. ever? )
Uh, but tangent aside- I meant to ask you about what you would do with each specialty! “Swords” seemed weird as fuck and I’m confused, but I’m pretty interested in Athlete- would that let us basically be our own HM pokémon?
[Before saying anything else: I do want to bring this back, but things are… well, crazy right now, as I think most people have probably noticed. When I do, it will probably be a two-week schedule rather than every week, because that was taking too much time away from articles.]
[…what is my life]
But yeah, the point of that “choose your background” question was basically to decide what kind of story this was going to be, what aspects of the Pokémon world we were going to focus on. Part of that is just dictating the kinds of details I emphasise and explore in the narration, but the character’s skills also determine some of the options I offer when we have a choice to make. I didn’t have everything planned out, but for every “special skill” I had some idea of a few things that it would let us do to take the story of Pokémon: Red and Blue off the rails, and a few ways that our character would react differently to the events of the story. The point is that the things we do to influence the world in significant ways should mainly come from those “special skills.”
What do you want to do tomorrow? – Explore the deep forest.
Part of you wants to focus on getting to Pewter City so you can get that whole gym challenge thing back on track after your frustrating false start in Viridian City. On the other hand, though… this forest is fascinating to you. People in Viridian City called it a “natural maze” because of the way the vegetation swallows any artificial path that isn’t constantly maintained, leaving a tangled mess of Pokémon migration paths, treefall clearings and hill crests as the only real landmarks. No one alive really knows Viridian Forest, and even your new friends who’ve spent time here before are only truly familiar with a small part of the southern reaches. Still, with your scientific knowledge, their wilderness skills and a bit of luck, you’re confident you can map out a sector of the forest and gain some valuable data about the ecosystem – maybe even find a cool new Pokémon or some kind of, like, lost treasure or whatever. You all pack up your gear and set off northward, most of your Pokémon out of their balls and playing together as you move.
Which Pokémon will battle Ellis’ Beedrill, and how? – Use Scallion the Bulbasaur, and try to think of an unconventional strategy.
A Beedrill is a tough opponent, especially for a Grass Pokémon like Scallion, and unlike the other bug catchers, Ellis seems to have experience to balance your knowledge of Pokémon and battle tactics. You’re going to need to pull some kind of bull$#!t to win this one. You glance around the clearing – tents, leaf litter, a couple of hillocks, tall trees all around…
You glance down at Scallion, catching his eye, and jerk your head at the tree branches. He follows your gaze and looks back at you in confusion. You jerk your head again and make a motion with your hands as if pulling on a rope. Scallion stares, baffled, then something clicks and his eyes widen. He looks at you nervously and tilts his head. You nod vigorously and give him a manic grin.
I gotta tell you, kid, I do not like where this is going.
What do you say to Stacey about her love triangle situation? – Commiserate but don’t interfere; it’s none of your gosh-damn business.
You only just met these people yesterday. It may not be the most interesting way to approach this situation, but you decide it’s best to stay out of it. You listen sympathetically to Stacey as she tells you about her crush on Abner and possible rivalry with Ellis, nodding along and making thoughtful “hmmm” noises at the right moments, and doing your best not to sway her towards any particular course of action. Before too long, the two of you are close to base camp, and Stacey changes the subject before you get into earshot of the others.
Would you like to battle in the bug catchers’ tournament? – Battle with Aura, the Silcoon.