Anonymous asks:

Gamefreak have tried before to design insanely powerful pokemon with a shockingly bad ability (Regigigas, Slaking, Archeops) and they’ve generally failed or at least turned out pretty shakily. Do you think it would be possible to ever do this and make a consistently usable pokemon?

Hrrm.  Tricky.

I feel like it has to be possible, because we have items that give their users severe disadvantages, and those get used all the time.  If you imagine for a moment a Pokémon with really high attack and special attack scores, maxing out somewhere in the 550-600 region, and decent stats elsewhere, whose ability locks it into using only one attack until it switches… people would almost certainly use that, right?  Because people use Choice Band and Choice Specs, and that’s basically what I’ve just described, in ability form.  Obviously this particular example is impossible because if a Pokémon like that existed, people would stack choice items on top of its existing advantages for no extra cost, and all hell would break loose, but the point is that some disadvantages are clearly worth it.  The trouble is that I’m pretty sure the competitive multiplayer environment is not really on Game Freak’s minds when they playtest these things, and that’s the only way you’re ever going to draw the line between broken-because-good and broken-because-bad, both of which will be serious possibilities whenever you create a Pokémon like this.  I mean, Archeops is fine in single-player; I used him in my first playthrough of Black and he was fantastic.  Slaking has the potential to be ridiculous in the right hands because the AI doesn’t know how to exploit his weakness.  So the designers are kind of firing shots in the dark here, I think.  That makes it unlikely that they’re ever going to get it exactly right, but sooner or later they’re bound to get something that falls on the overpowered rather than the underpowered side if they keep trying.

On Fossil Pokémon

Let’s talk about fossil Pokémon.

Official art of (left to right) Kabuto, Kabutops, Omastar, and Omanyte, by Ken Sugimori; quoth the raven "copyright Nintendo!"
From left to right: Kabuto, Kabutops, Omastar and Omanyte

Ever since the glory days of Red and Blue, the scientists of the Pokémon world have been trying to resurrect ancient, extinct species of Pokémon from their fossilised remains – and, in many cases, they’ve succeeded.  Every generation except for the second has brought a new set of fossil Pokémon with it; Omastar, Kabutops and Aerodactyl from Red and Blue, Cradily and Armaldo from Ruby and Sapphire, Rampardos and Bastiodon from Diamond and Pearl, and now Archeops and Carracosta from Black and White.  One could also include, as an honourable mention, Ruby and Sapphire’s Relicanth, who, like his inspiration the coelacanth, is an extremely archaic species believed for many years to be extinct until a few were unexpectedly found very much alive in the deep ocean.  I talked about Archeops and Carracosta at some length when I was reviewing the Unova Pokédex last year, so there’s little point in discussing them further, and I’m not especially anxious to do detailed reviews on all of the others either when there are so many other projects on my list, but I do think it would be worthwhile to talk about them as a group, since the whole concept of a ‘fossil Pokémon’ is quite interesting, particularly with reference to the context in which Game Freak started using these ideas in the first place.

Continue reading “On Fossil Pokémon”

Archen and Archeops

9b6b7-archen…hang on, didn’t we do this already?  Like, way back in Generation One?  There was this prehistoric aerial predator, and it was a Rock/Flying-type, and it was really fast, and- oh, wait, no, that was Aerodactyl.  Aerodactyl is a pterosaur and Archeops is, well, an archaeopteryx, so there you have it.  Personally, as something of a dinosaurs-and-other-Mesozoic-beasties buff, I think that there’s quite enough of a distinction between an archaeopteryx and a pterodactyl to warrant having separate Pokémon, but that’s just me.  I suspect many (read: normal) people might disagree.  So, anyway, if we fire up the old Pokémadex, we learn that Archeops is the “First Bird” Pokémon from which all modern bird Pokémon supposedly descend.  This… raises more questions than it answers, actually.  Like, how come all prehistoric Pokémon were Rock-types?  Continue reading “Archen and Archeops”