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.
[I was playing Legends: Arceus, but then after I finished exploring the Crimson Mirelands I dropped everything for, like, a week to perform an archaeological survey and write up the results in the style of an actual academic publication. Was this a good idea? No, obviously not, but I did it and here it is.]
Although the Galaxy Expedition Team’s understanding of the contemporary ecology, geography and society of the Hisui region has advanced dramatically in the short time since the expedition’s arrival here, the region’s ancient past is still largely an enigma. This is largely because no branch of the GET is explicitly dedicated to historical and cultural research. These tend to fall by default within the broad and somewhat nebulous responsibilities of the Survey Corps, as the branch whose members most often interact with Hisui’s indigenous peoples, the Diamond and Pearl Clans. In the interests of pursuing cultural research more actively, and at the recommendation of Survey Corps recruits assigned to the Crimson Mirelands of southeast Hisui, who had encountered several ancient “ruins” while exploring, the GET commissioned members of the Corps to identify sites of archaeological interest throughout the Mirelands and evaluate sites for possible future excavation by a joint crew drawn from the Survey and Construction Corps.
In a break with usual practice in survey archaeology, project staff were not instructed to catalogue surface finds. This is owing to the annoying propensity of the Hisui region’s characteristic dimensional anomalies to deposit artefact fragments of varying ages seemingly at random across the landscape. The resulting archaeological “noise” makes it extremely difficult to extract a meaningful chronology of human settlement from survey data using the standard methods of survey archaeology. Accordingly, the survey has focused primarily on mapping architectural remains that are visible from the surface, as well as features of the landscape that may be artificial in origin. This report discusses four major sites identified by the survey – the Gapejaw Bog Complex, Solaceon Ruins, Brava Arena and Shrouded Ruins – as well as the general characteristics of earth and stone archaeological features observed throughout the Crimson Mirelands.
This survey would not have been possible without the cooperation and guidance of numerous members of the indigenous Diamond and Pearl Clans, particularly Diamond Clan Warden Arezu, Pearl Clan Warden Calaba and Diamond Clan chieftain Adaman, all of whom have freely shared their knowledge and expertise with project staff. Staff also wish to acknowledge the contributions of numerous Pokémon recruited individually by members of the Survey Corps, as well as, and particularly, the regular invaluable aid of the “noble” Pokémon known as Wyrdeer and Ursaluna.
As we all know, Timey Diamond and Spacey Pearl are coming out in a little over a month, with Legends: Arceus following early next year. I feel like revisiting Sinnoh, so I want to do a playthrough of the original Pearl version – but not just any playthrough. I think it’s time to revisit the dumbest Pokémon challenge run ever devised: the Kingslocke.
This is a challenge run I created with basically two aims in mind:
That it be more forgiving than a Nuzlocke, with mostly temporary penalties and consequences, as well as fewer unwinnable scenarios, but also…
That it be absolutely bat-fµ¢£ insane and require the player to rethink their party and strategy constantly.
In pursuit of these goals, Jim the Editor and I developed a challenge ruleset where the player would regularly draw from a normal deck of playing cards, with each card changing the rules. The effects of the different cards are very loosely based on a popular drinking game that we call “Circle of Death” in New Zealand (because, at least in our version, the cards are arranged in a big circle around a vessel in the middle of the table), but which is more commonly known in America as “Kings” or “King’s Cup,” hence the name “Kingslocke.” You don’t have to drink to play with these rules, but to be honest you probably should.
Do you think there is a case for objectuve morality exsisting in the Pokémon world given that a literal creator god exsists?
I think I reject the premises of the question, which is
something I have a bad habit of doing and try
not to do, but sometimes I’m just too stubborn and argumentative to avoid it.
‘cause, like, 1) most people alive on Earth today would say
“but a literal creator god does exist
in the real world,” and that hasn’t solved the problem for us, 2) some people
who don’t believe in a supreme being still think that morality is objective
anyway, and believe you can discover moral truths through scientific means, and
3) apart from anything else, I’m not
convinced that Arceus is a literal creator god – just that some people in
the Pokémon world have claimed that
it is, which to my mind is not conclusive proof of anything (and this is
something I used to be willing to accept but have become steadily more and more
sceptical of in the years I’ve been writing for this blog).
Hey, love the blog! Apologies if this has been asked before, but overall, looking back with 4 generations of hindsight, what are your feeling about how Gen 4 devoted a ton of space to new evolutions of older pokemon? I say that now because, at the time, it was a trendy idea that instead of new pokemon, they should go back and make cool new evolutions to old pokemon that deserve it. But looking back on Gen 4 which devoted 21 spots to new evolutions (20% of Gen4!) personally, its hard to see it as anything more than “well this was a mistake to never try again”. I personally only really find a couple really appealing (Weavile, Mismagius). What do you think? Was this an attempt better left in the past? Did they just not do a great job with those specific pokemon? Or heck, do you actually like these pokemon? I’m curious to see what you think.
Hmm; I count 22. And don’t forget 7 baby Pokémon (damn it, Game Freak, did you really have to mock poor Chimecho with a baby form when other, already much better, Pokémon were getting evolutions?). But… yeah, this is tricky. I think it’s inherently more difficult to come up with a goodaddition to what was already a self-contained design than it is to come up with that design in the first place. You’re constrained by the themes and aesthetics of the original design, but the original design “thought” that it was finished, so it’s going to fight against you. The trouble is that evolving an old Pokémon is one of the most natural-feeling ways to give it a buff, and a lot of generation I and II Pokémon frankly needed it. This is why I simultaneously hope Farfetch’d and Dunsparce will one day get evolutions and dread the possibility. Farfetch’d and Dunsparce are both very self-contained, elegant designs; there’s not a lot of fluid, natural directions to take them because… well, if there were, they would have had evolutions in the first place. And it’s not always like that; sometimes there is an interesting elaboration that you can make. Ambipom… lives in my nightmares… but also is an unexpected yet somehow laterally logical step forward from Aipom’s design. Mamoswine and Yanmega are the most interesting examples of generation IV’s mechanic of “Pokémon that evolve by learning certain moves” because they transform into “prehistoric” versions of themselves by learning Ancientpower. Gallade and Froslass work because they’re split evolutions and are able to take their base designs in the opposite directions to their counterparts. Roserade works because Roselia didn’t have that much personality to begin with (fite me IRL) and whatever else you might say about Roserade, it doesn’t suffer from a deficit of personality. Honchkrow is… bizarre, because Murkrow had a pretty clearly defined aesthetic and Honchkrow just… fµ¢£in’… throws that out the window and is a mob boss instead, but I also kind of love Honchkrow anyway??? Most of the rest… for me lie on a continuum of “this is worse than the original design, but basically fine and I get that this Pokémon needed a buff” to “I know this Pokémon needed a buff, but… why???” And I think that second reaction is why we don’t really see them anymore. In the past two or three generations, Game Freak have realised they actually have a lot of different tools for buffing underpowered early-generation Pokémon that don’t force them to design new Pokémon they didn’t want in the first place. There’s mega evolution, there’s regional forms, there’s movepool additions, there’s valuable new abilities, hell, there’s straight up literal stat increases. I wouldn’t put money on new evolutions of old Pokémon being gone forever because, again, sometimes they are warranted and do turn out well, and I hope Game Freak recognises that, but I doubt we’ll ever see another generation that includes as many of them as II and IV did.
Because Pokemon fans love their patterns, there’s obviously a lot of talk about potential Generation 4 remakes on the horizon. I reckon I could guess you opinions on that, but imagine if they did and replaced the Gyms with Totem Pokemon, what Gen IV pokemon do you think would make cool “boss” encounters for each type?
Well, I don’t think they would, though. I actually am coming around to the idea that there might be a fourth generation remake on the horizon as I move through Moon – there seem to be more than a few references to Sinnoh buried in the game, and I’m struck by how few Sinnoh Pokémon there are to be caught in Alola. But it doesn’t make any sense to force the Alolan system of trials and Totem Pokémon on Sinnoh; the whole point of that system is to be a cultural feature that’s specific to Alola. My bet is that Gym Leaders would be back for a Diamond/Pearl remake (I also, incidentally, doubt that generation VIII will feature trials and Totem Pokémon – I think it’s more likely that this is the beginning of a series of regions that all have their own culturally specific approaches). In any case, I think for the most part you’d simply be looking at the Pokémon that are already the partner Pokémon of each Gym Leader: Cranidos, Roserade, Lucario, etc.
I really like the Sinnoh starters, how their typings countered each other and how they all have mythological influences behind them! It helps set the atmosphere of D/P/Pt and shows that a lot of thought really go into the starters. Do you think Game Freak should do more of that kind of thing?
The Sinnoh starters are definitely my favourite trio, and the way Game Freak chose to play with their type combinations is certainly part of that. It’s nice to have a bit of variety mixed in with the Grass/Water/Fire standard, and the way Torterra can beat Infernape with Ground attacks, Infernape can beat Empoleon with Fighting attacks, and Empoleon can beat Torterra with Ice attacks gives it all a pleasing symmetry. As long as we have to keep Grass/Water/Fire, I’m glad there’s some scope to play with it.