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.

Lupina Howls asks:

Wait, you’re using this again? Neat. Well thoughts on Tarastalization? (The Crystal hat thingy in Scarvio)

No-one sent any questions in for, like, six months! There were, like, one or two comments, but nothing that seemed worth posting a response to. This question-and-answer routine is a terrible system for two complementary reasons: one is that if no one asks any questions for a while, people forget it’s an option or think I’m not doing it anymore, and continue not asking any questions (to be honest, until last week I was beginning to suspect that perhaps it had finally died a natural death); the other is that if I get a lot of questions in a short time and manage to answer them, people get excited about it and send in more than I have time to write proper answers to, and then sometimes if I’m busy in real life it starts to feel overwhelming and I actually do give up on it for a while. It’s an extremely bad system that I only have in the first place because it was there by default on Tumblr, but hey, it means sometimes I talk about topics I wouldn’t have thought to talk about, without making it a whole thing that I have to have a researched and sober opinion on.

sorry, what were you saying?

oh yeah, sparklification

Well, I’ve never been one to get super enthusiastic about the big flashy mechanics like Mega Evolution or Z-Moves, but I have to admit, the strategic possibilities of being able to set up a Pokémon to change its type are interesting. The way it’s described, it sounds like sparklified Pokémon get a sort of double-STAB, so they’ll certainly have raw power on tap, but it seems like something that will take a bit more finesse and forethought than Dynamax or Mega Evolution. To be honest, I think the sparkly hats look pretty goofy, but I suppose they’re a reasonable compromise in this dilemma Game Freak seems to keep facing, where they want the flagship mechanic to be something all Pokémon can participate in (rather than a small minority, as with Mega Evolution), but also want it to be something visually striking that isn’t practical to tailor to every Pokémon in the game. I actually quite liked how Dynamax was part of the regional battle culture of Galar; I don’t think we’ve seen yet how/whether Scarlet and Violet plan to work sparklification into Paldean culture, but it seems clear that the phenomenon is tied to the land and perhaps the geology of Paldea itself, and I don’t believe any of the trailers or promos have claimed it’s a recent discovery, so I have to imagine there’ll be some kind of local tradition around it.