Sid-cada asks:

Occasionally, once in a few generations, Game Freak will take the time to go back to the older Pokémon’s Pokédex entries and take the time to update and add new information to them, rather than recycle the same facts. My question is, do you think that it is worthwhile? How much effort do you think it takes to add new facts to an older Pokémon? Would that time have been better spent on refining the newer things? Or are the new Pokédex entries really not that important and noticeable?

I like it a lot, mostly because one or two Pokédex entries aren’t really enough to cover all the angles on what might make a Pokémon interesting or fully develop the concept.  The fact that Pokédex completion, as of generation VII, is now decoupled from any one save file (Pokébank can now display all possible Pokédex information of all the Pokémon you’ve captured on any of the games you own) I think helps to put all of this stuff front-and-centre a bit more, and emphasise the accumulation of information across multiple generations.  A lot of this stuff really helps to fill out the world and give us a sense of its ecology and culture – especially in Sun and Moon, where many old Pokémon (even those without Alolan forms) have Pokédex entries that describe how they live in Alola or relate to Alolan Pokémon, in keeping with generation VII’s greater focus on world-building and developing the character of the region itself.  I’ve been thinking about doing a sort of “Pokédex appreciation” series – trawling the Pokédex for interesting bits of trivia we’ve learned about Pokémon over the years, because frankly I do regularly learn new things about old Pokémon that surprise and delight me.  Would that appeal to anyone?

A rambling chat about game balance

In lieu of a Pokémon review (because what even is my life right now, arghghghl; next weekend my students are handing in essays and I have to write an exam for the week after that), here is a message log with a conversation between me and Jim the Editor about game balance in Pokémon (and elsewhere).  This is the kind of thing I might post regularly to a Patreon page, if I ever actually create one?  So, comments would be useful.

Screenshot 2018-10-21 at 6.41.51 PM.png Continue reading “A rambling chat about game balance”

Anonymous asks:

All things considered (gameplay, graphics, nostalgia, Pokémon Roster, storyline, miscellaneous shit… you name it), what is your Top 7 Pokémon Generations?

Without getting into detail (because you could spend hours, maybe days, arguing about this without coming to a conclusion anyone would agree on, and I just don’t want to go there and don’t think it’s particularly useful): Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Anonymous asks:

Now that Gen VI is over, which, in your opinion, has been the weakest/worst generation of the main series games so far? (Not counting VII) Conversely, which generation do you think was the best?

I’m not sure I do have an opinion on that.  Like, obviously they’ve been improving over the course of the franchise’s lifetime, but just as obviously I’ll be lynched if I say that I and II were clearly the worst.  Also they’re not uniformly better and worse at everything they do.  Like, V in my opinion has the best story, but I was never wild about its Pokémon designs, IV made some really important changes to the game mechanics but does some kinda screwy things with the world-building, and III was basically decent all around but nothing really sticks out about it for me other than its unique musical style.  It’s sort of difficult to say “right, this one was overall the best,” because how on earth do you compare things like that?  VI was just pretty solid all around, I suppose, and I liked aspects of its general design philosophy, which makes me optimistic for when I check out VII.

Phi8 asks:

Why do you think Kyogre was flying in the last episode of Generations? Isn’t it supposed to be swimming, since it’s a whale/fish? Because if it’s flying it actually shares a lot of similarities with Lugia, who also flies and also summons storms and also has weird fins/wings with fingers on it.

Well, I don’t think it needs to fly to be similar to Lugia; they’re both colossal aquatic guardians of the deep ocean, even if Lugia isn’t a literal Water-type.  But as to the question… well, since Kyogre’s primal form is transparent and doesn’t seem to have much in the way of insides, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if it turned out to be somehow made of “spiritual energy” or something, and just isn’t subject to gravity to the same degree as its normal form (note that the primal form is more than twice as long, and presumably twice as wide and twice as tall, so we should probably expect it to be more than eight times heavier, but in fact its weight increases by less than 25%).  Besides, do you want to be the one to tell Primal Kyogre that it can’t fly?

VikingBoyBilly asks:

Do you feel pokemon has ever jumped the shark? Granted, jumping the shark does not automatically mean “became bad,” it just means hitting a drastic turning point it can never return from. For me that’s gen 3, because [long list of reasons].

Well, I would take issue with your understanding of the term “jumping the shark,” because I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a single use of it that hasn’t been negative – TvTropes says “it’s reached its peak, it’ll never be the same again, and from now on it’s all downhill,” while Wikipedia says “the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality.”  But whatever; drastic turning points it is.

Continue reading “VikingBoyBilly asks:”

Incidentally,

I saw this on Pokémemes today, under the title “Technology Lent to More Design.”

The artist may have been trying to make a point, but I’m not entirely sure what it was.  Purely because it was on Pokémemes, I initially assumed it was an attempt to prove the superiority of either the first or the fourth generation as compared to the other, but if so it’s not clear which one the artist favours, so I’ve decided that this is unlikely.

As the picture illustrates, the newer designs are generally more detailed; the older ones are more likely to have large plain areas of block colour without ornamentation or patterning (broadly speaking – you might get the opposite impression by comparing, say, Jynx and Abomasnow).  Personally, this is something I like about the newer designs – I think, on balance, that I prefer the original Garchomp to this redesign, but I feel there’s a lot to be said for this Charizard (though I don’t like the way the flame’s been done; it looks more like a bristly tail than fire, which fits when you see that style of flame on, say, Emboar or Typhlosion, but not on Charizard).  I think the thing to take away from this, though, is that they both work.  There’s more than one way to interpret a design concept, and some people are going to like one way of doing it, and some people another.

What do you think?

– Do you like your Pokémon clean and simple, or detailed and elaborate?
– What are the advantages and disadvantages of these two extremes?
– Has the artist still managed to capture ‘Garchomp’ with this different aesthetic?
– How about Charizard?
– And what the hell is the title “Technology Lent to More Design” supposed to mean, anyway?