Ash’s abandoned Pidgeot asks:

I was reading old reviews and chuckled at your disgust for Ash and Pikachu’s magical friendship bull$h!t but it made me curious as to your feelings on Let’s Go incorporating aspects of it into gameplay (Pokemon curing themselves if status conditions, enduring one shots, i.e.)

I haven’t played Let’s Go (maybe it does something new I’m not aware of), but those things have been in the games since X and Y, haven’t they?  Pokémon with high affection stats from Pokémon Amie (in generation VI) or Pokémon Refresh (in generation VII) can cure themselves during battle, endure attacks, dodge attacks, score extra critical hits, maybe a couple of other things I’m forgetting.  I actually kind of like it, since it gives us a reason to care about our relationships with our Pokémon – something that, up until generation VI, didn’t really have much gameplay effect outside of some fairly niche things like Return/Frustration and a handful of evolutions (of course now we have to figure out what the hell the difference between “friendship” and “affection” is supposed to be, since they sound like pretty much the same thing and are broadly characterised the same way, but are apparently totally independent).  I think one of the big challenges for Pokémon’s game design is the disconnect between the fantasy of partnership, spiritual bonding and, frankly, magical friendship bull$#!t that’s always been core to the series’ ethos, and the… well… somewhat interchangeable, even disposable nature of individual Pokémon as gameplay elements (how many baby Pokémon have you hatched and then immediately released into the wild while IV-breeding?  I have no idea – which in a way is kinda the point – but I’m pretty sure I’m in quadruple-digit territory).  I’m glad that the last few sets of games have seen efforts to try and resolve that tension.

Brick3621 asks:

I take it you haven’t fiddled around that much with Pokémon-Amie, but I personally think it’s one of the absolute best additions to the series simply because of how much thought went into each Pokémon’s uniqueness; try petting Slugma or feeding Kangaskhan or touching Honedge’s tassel and you’ll see what I mean. What’s your favorite interaction you’ve had so far in Amie?

I’m extremely fond of Pokémon Amie, just because of how it changes the way players relate to their individual Pokémon.  Personally, I like the idea of feeding cream puffs to really big, scary Pokémon like Gyarados – or Wailord, who just sloooowly opens his mouth wide and gulps the whole thing down in one bite.  The fact that you literally cannot touch Slugma without burning yourself is cool but also kinda sad.  I want to pet my adorable little lava slug abomination!  Note to self: triple-thick asbestos gloves…