Tag Archives: ocd

FGC #380 Pokémon (Ultra) Moon / Sun

DawwPokémon Sun & Moon is the first Pokémon game to feature a memorable story and characters.

It’s also the first Pokémon game to feature dynamic camera angles, dedicated cutscenes, and full animations for as many of its humans as its pokémon.

Gee, what could be the connection?

For many people, the plot of any given Pokémon game is about as essential as a story in a fighting game. In fact, you could easily make the argument that the Pokémon titles are fighting games. Sure, there’s a complete JRPG GUI, and you talk, level up, and manage your ‘mons as if they were straight out of Final Fantasy Legend, but the battles are the main draw. And, while that’s true of many JRPGs, most JRPGS are not two player, and even less are head-to-head two player. For a countless number of Pokémon fans, the “main campaign” is a way to tinker with random party configurations at best, and a complete waste of time at worst. The real appeal is producing the best team ever, marching into your local poké-tournament, and cleaning house with your Level 100 Medicham. Or, like fighting games, popping online to play with the “meta game”, and feel really great when you wipe out a Mewtwo… that was trained by an eight year old. You monster.

And, for about the last every Pokémon game ever, it seemed like Game Freak agreed with the audience that didn’t give a damn about plot. Yes, every Pokémon game even going back to Pokémon Green had a whole plot with unique characters and trials/villains to overcome, but the plot was always completely secondary to the sheer weight of one day becoming the Pokémon champion and scooting into the postgame. Slow?Hell, in one of the later Pokémon titles, a cyclopic, light-haired bad guy raised an entire evil castle from the Earth while summoning some manner of god- mon… and I can’t even remember which game contained that event. I want to say Black/White? Maybe? Look, I’m still anime racist, and I can’t tell these silly magic emperors apart.

But Pokémon Sun/Moon changed all that. It introduced Lillie and Nebby, and, in one fell swoop, flooded Deviantart with more Pokémon fanart not featuring a naked lady version of Pikachu than anyone ever thought possible. Lillie not your thing? Don’t worry, we’ve got rude boy Gladion and his beloved Type:Null to keep you company. Hau ain’t bad, either, Team Skull is unforgettable, and Lusamine is a great villain because she’s such a threat to not only “you”, but the people you inexorably care about as well. Sure, every Pokémon villain has threatened the world with flooding or ghost dinosaurs or whatever, but how many of those rogues had the sheer malevolence to torture a lil’ dude that has been living in a gym bag? For the first time in Pokémon history, the people of Pokemon Sun/Moon are more memorable than the ‘mons, and, considering they’re competing with Rowlett, that’s no small accomplishment.

But, sad to say, you don’t care about Lillie, Gladion, or even Professor Kukai because of their personalities and design (though, admittedly, you might like the Prof for his topless lab coat fashion combo), no, you the stars of Pokémon Sun/Moon shine because of scene direction.

Yay!Other Pokémon games had heroes, friends, and villains, but they all lived in a decidedly primitive JRPG world. Pokémon X/Y , Sun/Moon’s direct ancestor, had excellent graphics (and outfits!) available, but every story beat played out with protagonists that may as well have been Dragon Warrior sprites. Lord Whatshisname is threatening the planet with his pokémon-based death ray, but I can’t remember his damn name because he just stood there like a doof and generated text box after text box of “dialogue”. Yes, you’re a generic bad guy, I get it, can my gyrados eat you yet? The average Pokemon villain is no more threatening than the bug catching kid on Route 1, and it’s all because they’re presented in exactly the same way. In fact, that kid in the shorts might be more threatening, because he’s there when you just started, and your most effective offensive measure is to friggen growl at your opponent. By the time you’re stomping down Team Rocket, your favorite pokémon has evolved into a rhobeast, and the average battle takes just long enough for you to open a menu. Looks like you’re blasting off again, Giovanni, compliments of six different hyper beams.

But Pokémon Moon/Sun does something completely different. PSM actually treats the camera like a tool, and not a necessary evil. There are close ups of character’s expressions. There are mad scientists that giggle when they think no one is looking. There are villains framed against their helpless captives, and screens that convulse and shake as cherished Nebbys are beaten and hurt. When you first meet Hau, it’s a happy occasion, and everything about the direction, from the angles employed to the joyful music playing, tells you that. When you first meet Lusamine, you know something is up, because the direction reminds you that something isn’t quite right here. And when you find yourself trapped in another world with a raging, monstrous Pokémon, you don’t have any questions about the stakes of your next battle. Pokémon Sun/Moon goes the extra mile to tell its story, and everything about the “ignorable plot” of the title sparkles as a result.

And it’s a damn shame more games can’t take a page from this new Pokémon book.

Yay!Somewhere in the history of gaming, we started to think that “plot” simply meant “more words”. You could blame it on the possibility of more words (Newer words! Bigger words!) with the expansion of game storage space, or you could just point to the success of Final Fantasy 7 and call it a day. Super Mario 64 was only kind of a hit, and it had like a paragraph of words; Final Fantasy 7 was practically a novel… so clearly what the public wants is more words! And it doesn’t matter that Final Fantasy 7 had amazing visuals, set pieces, and “sprites” that may have looked like Popeye’s spikey haired cousins, but never stopped emoting; no, what’s important is the big, long plot and all those precious words. It doesn’t matter if we pump out a JRPG where heads just talk to each other for hours at a time, and the average infodump is accompanied by maybe one still image, what we need is as many words as our typing monkeys can spit out! Throw in the word “evil” over and over again! That has to be interesting, right? A couple of dudes sitting in a non-descript room talking about what is inevitably going to be the final boss and how it fought some brave hero twelve billion years ago? More! “Press X to advance text” is the most exciting thing a person could do with a controller!

So congratulations to Pokémon Moon/Sun for advancing the storytelling capabilities of not only the franchise, but the entire medium. Nobody had to do such a thing, and we would have been perfectly okay with another preteen saving the world from old men and their rattatas, but you went the extra mile, and created an unforgettable experience. Congratulations, development team, you are Pokémon Masters.

FGC #380 Pokémon (Ultra) Sun / Moon

  • System: Nintendo 3DS for all time.
  • Winner!Number of players: As many players as there are on the Global Trade System, so probably something approaching the total population of Europe.
  • Ultra Moves: I’m going to consider this “review” as something that applies to the Ultra versions as well. Give or take a lame sidequest with Looker, the Ultra versions are better in every way than their less interesting ancestors, and there’s pretty much no reason to ever go back now. They even included a surfing minigame that makes absolutely no sense! That’s always good!
  • Favorite Pokémon (this generation): Okay, yes, I know Rowlet is the breakout star of this generation. But did you know that one of the other starters turns into a freaking angry wrestling black cat? How could I ever say no to that!? Its signature attack is a spinning lariat of doom! Dooooom! Keep your round boy, I’ll go for the lucky cat any day of the week.
  • Think of the children: Look, I get that we all like big, showy Z-Moves. But it’s one thing for a torchic to use scratch on a psyduck, and it’s quite another thing for a Lunala to suck an opponent into another dimension, focus a multi-beam laser on its target, and then spit the poor sucker back out on the ground. That’s just bad sportsmanship.
  • Other cruelty: Immediately having the choice of adding a poke to your party or sending them back to the PC is great! I just feel like there could have been a better way to phrase it all…

    LOSER!

    YOU GET SENT TO THE BOX!

  • So, did you beat it? I am the very best.

    Winner!

    Like no one ever was.

  • Did you know? There are only two new dark type pokémon in this generation: the previously mentioned Incineroar, and Guzzlord, Snorlax’s evil cousin. Given dark type is my favorite type (because it’s the only type that contains a Godzilla), I take personal offense at this choice.
  • Would I play again: This is the most recent Pokémon generation as of this writing, so, yes, I’ll play it right up to the very moment a new Pokémon generation hits the streets. I’m very predictable that way.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Diddy Kong Racing for the N64! Time to race a wizard pig for dominance of a genie elephant. Or something! Please look forward to it!

Winner!
Bahamut got nothing on this

FGC #360 Monster Rancher

You never know when some particular piece of media will strike you. Monster Rancher might be the most personal game I own.

Let’s start with the facts: I played Monster Rancher a lot. How much is a lot? Well there are these stats:

Double Winner!

720 Wins! And add that to the slight fact that that screencap was taken in the Monster Rancher year of 1062. The game starts in 1000. My player avatar has been a monster rancher for 62 years! Holly, the ever-present assistant monster rancher, should be in a retirement home! I can’t even remember my first monster!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the basics: Monster Rancher is a Playstation 1 game that was released in 1997. To be clear on the timeline here, that would put MR’s release a solid year before Pokémon Red/Blue hit the states in 1998. And the comparisons between Monster Rancher and Pokémon are appropriate. They’re both games about loving and raising unusual creatures, and then forcing them to fight for your amusement/money. The big difference here, though, is that Pokémon started with 151 fairly unique creatures (electrode and voltorb are objectively similar), while Monster Rancher mostly relied on less than a dozen “types”, and mixed and matched their attributes in a couple hundred different ways. Tiger plus Eyeball = Hairy Eyeball isn’t exactly as original as a Jigglypuff, but it still leads to a larger bestiary. And where do you find these fantastic beasts? In Pokémon, they’re hiding in tall grass, but Monster Rancher was a little bit different. Monster Rancher concealed all of its monsters in much more mundane locations…

Eye of the Tiger!Let’s rewind even further in this inevitably autobiographical article. I was a gigantic videogame nerd as a child, but music wasn’t really my thing. Or, to be more precise, I simply happily listened to my parents’ oldies stations, and I was fairly convinced The Beatles and The Traveling Wilburys were the be-all end-all of harmony. This belief had a brief hiccup in about fifth grade, when I discovered “Weird” Al Yankovic and proceeded to demand his every last tape. So, while I wound up with Amish Paradise, I passed on every last Gangsta’s Paradise or practically anything else that was supposed to be interesting to my generation. Yes, this means I missed Nirvana. But I had Bomberman to keep me company, so I didn’t much mind. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school that I started to listen to my own music.

And then the floodgates were open.

Ignoring a few “comedy albums” (technically, my first CD ever was a Simpsons soundtrack… I regret nothing), I still remember buying my first three “real” CDs: Squirrel Nut Zippers – Hot, Ben Folds Five – Whatever and Ever Amen, and Jethro Tull – Greatest Hits. My tastes are very… eclectic. From there on, I started collecting albums like I collected videogames. In fact, since this was a time when Playstation titles were at an all-time low ($40 brand new across the board), buying a new CD of any kind, game or music, was roughly the same financial decision. And, given this was also the first time in my life I had a disposable income (welcome to teenage employment!), I quickly amassed a glut of CDs of all shapes and sizes (okay, they were all the same shape and size, but their covers were different!). Now who wants to listen to the Barenaked Ladies discography and play Mega Man X4?

Don't look directly at itSo enter Monster Rancher. At first, MR appeared to be another random monster raising game. Yes, we all knew about incoming Pokémon at this point. Yes, I’m pretty sure we were all at least dimly aware of Digimon, too. All the ‘mon games were on the cusp of global dominance, but before all of those, we had Tamagotchi, the insidious little “virtual pets” that were crying and (virtual) pooping “augmented reality” experiences before the term even existed. For anyone that missed that trend, we’re talking about electronic babies. You had to care for them at all times, react to their insistent beeping, and, if you were a good little monster parent, you wound up with a twenty pixel dragon or something. As if you can’t tell from my present level of disdain, I loathed the little (wannabe) monsters, and, as a result, even the likes of Pokémon sounded like some lame cash-in on the monster-raising fad. I eventually played Monster Rancher, not because I wanted some of that cool, monster ranching action, but because I wanted to rent a videogame, and literally nothing else available looked like any fun. Congrats, Monster Rancher, you were the absolute last choice.

But to say that “last choice” worked out well is something of an understatement. The main hook of Monster Rancher? Stick any CD in that Playstation slot, from Butthole Surfers to William Shatner Sings the Hits, and you’ll get a brand new monster. Your favorite album might create a winged dinosaur, or that demo that came with your CD wallet could produce a hulking golem. The CDs are seemingly randomized, but they’re consistent, so if you find a monster you like, keep that disc handy for breeding later. And some discs are decidedly less random, which would explain why I bought a Madonna album exclusively for its unique Pixie. Yes, in an age a solid decade before DLC, Monster Rancher found a way to get its dedicated fans to go out and buy Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits for some inexplicable reason.

When I first discovered the hook of Monster Rancher, I’m pretty sure I didn’t actually play the “game” for a week. I had collected my CDs in real life, and now here was a virtual world rewarding me for such hoarding. I was on cloud nine. What’s more, I was spending all my time on that cloud scanning every last disc I owned. When that ended, I went through my dad’s entire CD collection. By the time that had ended, I’d already bought the game (and a Van Halen album that contained another unique Pixie), and started monster ranching in earnest.

That’s about when the OCD really kicked in.

MURDERYou can summon monsters from real world CDs, but some CDs are “locked”. While you can acquire an absolutely rocking naga from any old disc, some of the more unique monsters, like dragons, magicians, and giant robots, may only be summoned if you’ve “earned” that species in the game proper. So, yes, Billy Joel can provide a unique ape, but you have to earn the right by careful monster rearing, battling, and some good ol’ fashioned luck on expeditions. This infuriated me. Here I was, entitled to some awesome monsters for deigning to own Tecmo’s Deception, but, no, I can’t have the little biters, because I haven’t played the game enough. I’ll show ‘em! I’ll show ‘em all! I’ll earn every last monster in this stupid game, and then I’ll finally have a completed personal bestiary. It’s not about catchin’ ‘em all, it’s about knowing that every last disc I own is equally accountable.

And then I played the game for 62 years.

Did I enjoy every minute of it? Of course not, this is a ranching sim, so a healthy amount of Monster Rancher is just navigating menus and killing time. Battles are long and tedious, and, while they’re not entirely unpleasant, they do involve a lot of time invested before potentially losing everything (you could easily win six matches, take an unlucky crit in the seventh, and literally watch your monster die as a result). Expeditions are a necessary part of unlocking any interesting monsters, but, even with perfect stats, they’re little more than reskinned slot machines. And, in general, the dialogue is perfunctory and randomly accusatory (I’m spoiling the monster? Really? He only gets fed once a month!”). Monster Rancher unquestionably has its good points, but the minute-to-minute of the experience is sorely lacking.

I was a teenagerBut that didn’t matter. To this day, Monster Rancher is still one of my favorite games, unmatched by even its sequels. It was, for all purposes, a particular moment in time, crystallized in a videogame. By just a few years (maybe even months) later, I’d be hording MP3s, and buying entire albums would become a part of grandpa’s generation. New Playstation titles would rise in price, and, for a little while (poor college days), I’d barely buy a new game at all. Had Monster Rancher dropped just a half year later, it would have been a random rental I’d forget about forever. But, no, Monster Rancher was there just when I needed to indulge my ridiculous collector tendencies, and it became as synonymous with my teenage years as my first girlfriend (who, incidentally, got a monster named after her in my save).

Monster Rancher might not have been the best game, but it is one of the best games to me.

FGC #360 Monster Rancher

  • System: Playstation 1. Given the central gimmick, I’d say this one is nigh impossible to emulate/port without bringing the rest of the late 90’s with it.
  • Number of Players: Two! And you can import a buddy’s monsters for battles, too! I… I never found another human being that owned this game.
  • Speaking of Discs: You can play this game on the Playstation 3, but I did not test if the central CD summoning mechanic still worked. I don’t want to push my poor backwards compatible Playstation 3 disc reader any further than I already have. I need that thing for LPs!
  • Favorite Breed: Pixies were always my favorite as a teenager, as I was a teenager, and a half naked lady monster is naturally going to seem appealing. As an adult (and when I actually wanted to beat the game), I usually went with the humble golem or magic. To be clear, there’s a monster that is just named “magic”. It kinda looks like Michael Jordan. This is a weird game.
  • It’s good to have fans: There’s a popularity gauge for your monster in this game, and filling it can lead to some excellent fan mail.

    Winner!

    I am great!

  • Did you know? For whatever reason, all monsters are assumed to be male, so male pronouns are used universally. This is very odd for the clearly female pixie breed. “It” should be allowed when you’re talking about a creature that eats raw meat off the ground.
  • Would I play again: I love this game. I love it more than I’ve loved some other particularly dear inanimate objects. But I’m probably never going to play it again, because it is very much a product of its time. We’ll always have the memories…

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Psychic Force 2012! Journey to the marvelous future of 2012, and join the Psychic Force! Or fight them! Please look forward to it!

Don't you look at me
We do not talk about Doodle in polite company

FGC #186 Pokémon Blue/Red

Pokémon Blue shattered my faith.

Since videogames first made the scene, there was an implicit trust between the player and game: this is a game, and, thus, it can be won. This, of course, goes further back even beyond the invention of the monitor, as, ultimately, all games throughout history had some kind of “win” (or at least “best”) condition. Cone with a ball on a string might not have had a proper ending, but you could beat your last high score, and the same could be done with Tetris centuries later. All videogames have rules; if you follow those rules, and excel at the mechanics, you too can “beat the game”.

Now, in many cases, the game itself determined what the win condition might be. There’s a scoreboard in Super Mario Bros., but it’s irrelevant if you can’t save that all important princess (what was her name, again?). Dr. Wily is going to be back another six or ten times, but what’s the point in being powered on if you can’t beat all his robots and his stupid little saucer this time? And, while you might be able to tack “low level” or “no equipment” challenges onto the typical Final Fantasy, your goal is still to save the world and knock all the villains down. Personal challenges are still a part of any game whether it’s digital or not, but what’s important to most gamers is the game’s narrative, and how you, player, are going to accomplish your digital avatar’s goals.

But… why doesn’t the game just lie?

I say “the game” here, but what I really mean is “the developers”. When I was in first grade, my best friend had a theory on game design. “Why don’t they just make the first level the hardest?” he queried. “That way, no one could beat the game unless they were really good.” Even at seven, I knew the answer was, “Because then no one would play the game at all. Duh.” And, in a way, that’s the rule all videogames, from Deadly Towers to Super Mario Galaxy, follow. Start easy, get the player used to everything, and then ramp it up to more difficult challenges. There are some outliers, but, by and large, that’s the rhythm you can expect from a videogame. It’s easier to beat Level 1 than Level 8, but you can beat Level 8 if you practice and try and maybe sacrifice a goat to the Nintendo Powers that Be. Well, sorta?Ultimately, the developers want you to win, because then you’ll be happy, and you’ll tell others (‘ wallets) of your joy. It’s no coincidence that some of the most popular Final Fantasy games are incidentally easy and Marsh Cave-less.

But developers do have other aims, and sometimes it’s hard to ignore the baser instincts of man. Let’s face it: we all know “how people work”, and, aside from the circle of friends within our own monkeyspheres, it’s pretty common to assume everyone else is “out to get you”. Alright, yes, that sounds paranoid, but it is reality in many situations. End of the day, I know that I would rather have a buck in my pocket than yours, and you likely feel the same way. It’s human nature to look out for your own and hoard that which you think is going to help you survive, so it’s also natural to assume that game developers want as much as your hard earned gil as possible. This translates poorly into our modern era of DLC and other add-on content. I used to pay $40 and get a full game, now I pay $60 and have to pay another $20 for a season pass? These game companies are trying to cheat me! … Never mind that you’re likely getting more game than ever before (I would have killed for more Mega Man “DLC” when I was seven), what’s important is that you’re opening that wallet again for some greedy developer, and your precious hobby has become an avarice-fueled tug o’war. I want my GP to stay in my pocket!

Actually, semi-relevant to the subject matter, let’s take Pokémon Go as an example. Pokémon Go, at its core, is a completely free game that encourages you to walk around your neighborhood. You absolutely do not need to spend a dime in this game. Even if there is only one pokéstop in your vicinity, you can hit that same spot repeatedly, and fill up on consumables you need to play the game. Even the most remote locations seem to be stocked with rats and birds, and that earlier mentioned pokéstop may net you eggs that you can hatch with your free, unlimited incubator. SlapIt may take weeks, but you’ll see a gyrados in your stable before they release the next generation.

But…

It’s hard not to see the gears that keep this machine rolling. Pokéballs may be purchased, so it’s in the developer’s best interest to make Pokémon difficult to catch. Lucky Eggs double experience points and may be purchased, so it’s in the developer’s best interest to make the goals for that next level up more and more astronomical. Incubators break after a set number of eggs and may be purchased, so it’s in the developer’s best interest to provide more rapidly hatched eggs than valuable, slow eggs. In short, there are a number of different “random” occurrences in Pokémon Go that, with just a few tweaks, could net the producers of the game millions. A fun walking companion becomes a slot machine so gradually…

However, what’s important is that Pokémon Go doesn’t feel like it’s fleecing its customers. I have personally captured over 80% of the pokédex on random walks by the ocean, and only spent a Jackson on some egg hatching. Granted, I know damn well that I’m in a poképrevalent area (why hello there, my fourth jynx), but with random bouts of insomnia and some decent sneakers, I’ve found that, for all the ways the developers could steal my change, I’m making out okay. It might be an illusion, but I feel like I might be able to capture all those digital critters.

Which is more than I could say for Pokémon Blue.

The motto of Pokémon, as ever, is “Gotta Catch ‘em All”. Naturally, being a young (teenage), impressionable (cynical) child (teenager) when Pokémon first came to power, I believed that that was the ultimate goal of any Pokémon game. Being a gigantic nerd, I mapped out my pokéjourney beforehand, The most animation in this gamefinding any online resources I could (and Nintendo Power issues), and finally settling on Pokémon Blue (because it had Meowth). I knew the legendary birds and Mewtwo were one-time events, and I readied my savescumming skills with King’s Quest. I was equipped to catch ‘em all, dammit!

And I didn’t, because Pokémon Blue is a jerk.

I knew I needed to trade to get all the Pokémon. That’s baked into the experience, and I was certain to “assist” a greasy-haired friend of mine in his purchase of Pokémon Red. I traded for my growlithe and other “exclusive” Pokémon. I caught Mewtwo and the birds, and even combed the Safari Zone for every last ‘mon (Dratini, my sweet little worm creature…). I evolved Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Jigglypuff.

And then… the wall.

I’m pretty sure I can name the “issues” off the top of my head. There are three moon stones in the entire game, and four Pokémon that require the rocks to evolve. One eevee, three choices. Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan? Two different fossil Pokémon, and each one evolves. And, the worst of the worst, there are three starters, but you can only ever have one. Like the fossil issue, this is terrible, because it’s inevitable that your buddy is going to evolve his starting Pokémon as quickly as possible, and then, whoops, no chance to ever get Charmander in your pokédex. I think God every day that I chose Bulbasaur as the starter, else the fact that my pokédex didn’t start at #001 would have killed me.

In short, unless you had another copy of the game that was a slave to a “real” copy (and was willing to be completely reset around Eevee acquisition), it was utterly impossible to “catch ‘em all”. Good try, sport, Mew Mewbut the unevolved form of Kabutops is forever out of reach. Maybe you’ll find someone right at the right point in the game, but for now, guess you’ll just have to dream.

And that… just about broke me.

Well, I mean, I survived. I didn’t have to be committed thanks to a severe case of pokéOCD, but it pretty much dashed my dreams for game completion. The Mew event came and went, and who cares? It’s just one more Pokémon out of fifteen that I’ll never see. There was a period of about two years where I didn’t give a damn about “the latest thing” in videogames, and I don’t think it was a coincidence that it was right after Pokémon Blue/Red was released. If videogames were impossible, what was the point?

Eventually, I got over it, and…

No. That’s a lie. Let’s try this again.

Eventually, Pokémon Silver/Gold was released. The newest Pokémon title allowed for “breeding”, which meant one could fish out those unevolved Pokémon. And there were free moonstones every Monday! So, years after its release, I caught every last Pokémon, and filled up the Kanto pokédex. Some dude from Gamefreak gave me a certificate, and I went on my merry way.

I guess, eventually, faith may be found again.

FGC #186 Pokémon Blue/Red

  • System: Gameboy, but better on the Super Gameboy. Gameboy Color, too? Why not.
  • Number of players: Two. Thanks, Link Cable!
  • Favorite Pokémon (Gen Red/Blue/Yellow): Hypno. I know psychic type ‘mons are overpowered in Red/Blue, but I’ll take the lil’ dream eater over any spoon bender or mutant any day. NOW SLEEEEEEEP!
  • SpookyWhat about the battle side of Pokémon? Bah! I got a team of psychic Pokémon, who needs to worry about that “meta game”? Everything will fall before Psychic!
  • Forgotten Pokémon Memories: I’ve lost the save file on my Pokémon Blue cartridge twice: once thanks to a N64 communication error over Pokémon Stadium, and once in the last decade thanks to a save battery failure. I’m not planning on hitting the game again, so I’ll just have to remember what it feels like to complete the first pokédex.
  • Other Pokémon Memories: I was the first of my friends to beat the Elite Four. It was, somehow, a spectator event, and everyone in attendance had no idea how to defeat the previously unseen dragon type. I finally remembered that ice was their weakness, and slaughtered the lot with a Slowbro. And then we were all surprised to see Gary as the real final opponent. I know, in reality, this occurred on a school bus with a borrowed Gameboy, but in my memory, I’m pretty sure it was in a stadium on an enormo-screen. There may have been cheering.
  • Did you know? Wrap sucks.
  • Would I play again: I mentioned this before, but Pokémon completely denies any and all reason to replay old versions. I know there are some people that enjoy the classics, but I absolutely cannot go back to manual box switching and moonstone hording. I only have so many years before the grave!

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Chiki Chiki Boys for the Sega Genesis! Oh boy! I bet we’re going to have a mega time! Please look forward to it!