Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Journey into Darkness: 7: The Two Towers

Pokémon is a game for kids, right? You know all the colorful, chirpy Poke-friends are never going to leave your side because you treated them well and kept them in good health and didn’t chop them into bits and serve them as dinner to entitled white people.  Well, that is until they go to that great pokéball in the sky.

I was instructed by Skyla the Mistralton city gym leader to climb to the top of Celestial Tower because she saw a sick pokémon on top of the tower while she flew by (no, she’s not demilich (she’s a pilot (you dummy))). As I traveled to the tower I envisioned a majestic tower, standing tall like the Minas Tirith I assumed it would be.

Instead I got a healthy reminder of my paralyzing fear of death...

The Celestial Tower consisted of floor after floor of graves, ghost-type pokémon and weirdoes who were just standing around. You know, lookin’ at graves. When I got the top of the tower the gym leader was waiting for me (why did I need to to this again?). When I inquired about the sick pokémon, she quickly explained that she fixed it up and sent it on its way.

Yeah, I’ve read Where the Red Fern Grows.

I know what happened.
Pictured: Pokémon Mass Grave

Later I learned that N was searching for Zekrom (I hope he got my tweet) in Dragon Spiral Tower. At this point in the game I have a power team of pokemon so getting through the tower ends up being a little tedious. Not because it's hard but because I get interrupted with a random encounter of which I have to wait through opening animation, battle and closing animation. This wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to do this every 2 seconds.

Finally, after thumping a bunch of Team Plasma grunts like the veritable Hot Topic patrons that they are, I finally find N. In typical N fashion, he as a lot to say in the most I-was-home-schooled way possible, wrapping it all up with the summoning of Zekrom. N hops on the obviously NOT tech-savvy dragon-type pokémon and flies out of the tower to wreak pokéterror all across the land of Unova.

It's kind of like a reverse 9/11.

Next up: who knows, haven't been playing lately because I got stuck in another cave...

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Journey into Darkness: 6: Naming Conventions

Throughout Pokémon Black, a theme of “live and let live” is constantly being hinted at. Everything from people want to be the most powerful trainers, others want to simply have fun with their Poké-friends and then there are some who want to disguise their Gym as a honeycomb and hire mimes to attack you with once-feral animals. 

I choose you, Distemper Ocelot!

The central theme was highlighted by the last conversation with N where he explained: 

"Many different values mix together, and the world becomes gray... That is unforgivable! I will separate Pokémon and people, and black and white will be clearly distinct! Only then will Pokémon become perfect beings!”

It’s no secret why Pokémon Black/White were given that specific name. The title implies the inherent conflict of the main antagonist. And if you want to get down to brass tacks the game isn’t really about the underaged mute you control – the game is about N.

So, why in the hell would you call the sequel to this game Pokémon Grey?

Nintendo has recently announced the release of Pokémon Black/White 2 but in the time before that every nerd game site in the world was talking about what “Pokémon Grey” would be like. I know that this may seem like a moot point but Jesus-pizzas how dumb do you have to be to have not picked up on how asinine that is.

It would be like claiming that "The Dark Knight Begins" or "A New Striking Back of Hope" or "The Girl with the Dragon Ta-2" or "2 Fast 2 Furious" are really great names for sequels. What it does is reaffirm that everything I assume about how dumb people are, I should stop assuming. Wait, what?! That last one actually happened?

ANYWAYS, as I continue on my path to be the best Michael Vick impersonator I am once again approached by N. He decides to give me a break from all the having-to-point-at-the-dolly-were-he-touched-me business and decided to mind meld with my Pokémon and grill him on my parenting abilities, which seemed a little unfair.

...and sometimes he converts me into energy
and puts me into a physics-defying "poke ball".

Next stop: the harrowing beauty of The Celestial Tower: the Pokémon cemetery.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Journey into Darkness: 5: That ****** Cave

You know what I hate in Pokémon games?


You know that scene in Xmen: The Last Stand where the Juggernaut says the whole, “I’m the Juggernaut, Bitch!” thing and every dumbass in the universe cheered? Then they went home to watch that video of He-Man singing whatever the hell song it was and laughed their asses off because he was SOoOoOo gay? And you remember when I finally snapped and murdered all those people because they are ruiners of all things ruinable.  

Just wait for the last one.

Caves in Pokémon White are for those people, people who don’t understand how to enjoy anything. For people who STILL insist that Pearl Jam was not the catalyst for all the crap that came after it. Or people who wouldn’t dare do anything different because if they did little gremlins would come out of the walls and turn all the quarters to pennies and all the pennies into copies of the Carpenters album Passage. In short, people who are crazy.

The lesser-known Gremlin of Neophobia
As I’ve explained before, I hate grinding. If you don’t know what grinding is let me explain. First you walk around and fight an enemy, then you do it a million more times. Why would you do this thing that sounds suspiciously like work? Because if you don’t your little Pokermans won’t get stronger.

In Pokémon White random encounters only happen in tall grass. The purpose of doing this is so that if your Pokémon are weak you can avoid random encounters by not walking on tall grass. But OH NO, not in caves where random encounters can happen anywhere. At the end of the day you end up being forced to grind which isn't good for me because I have authority issues. Caves in Pokémon games are typically mandatory, arbitrarily long and a huge pain in my ass.

There is also a problem with the random encounter coding.  You see, when your character walks around a piece of code runs to determine if there is going to be a random encounter from tile to tile. Apparently the people at GameFreak can’t set a range for how often this happens because sometimes you’ll walk forever and you’ll be encounter-free. Other times you can literally change the way your character is facing and that will register as movement and therefore the code must run, sometimes causing an encounter which causes me to lose my fist in my own skull.

It’s re-goddamn-diculous. 

At the end of the cave I found N waiting to share his most recent Winston Churchill/Hunter S. Thompson/John Wayne Gacy inspired speech. As usual, I politely listened and made note of height, weight and distinguishing marks for my report to the police. But then something really unexpected happened.

Enter Professor Aurea Juniper.

Professor Juniper is the Pokémon scientist who gave me the mission of “gather information about all Pokémon in your Pokédex, child of which I am not a guardian of”. However, N isn’t having any of that Biological Classification shit. He explained (in an uncharacteristically catty manner) that Juniper is putting Pokémon into categories that they did not choose and therefore denying Pokémon freewill.

fig 1: Shit, N will have none of.

As myself, it sure did sound like sexual tension to me.

As my character, it was just another reminder of the broken home from whence I came.

Next up: More Philosophy Lessons

Friday, March 9, 2012

Colored Blocks are Falling Down

What do I like?

I like puzzle games that feature boxes! Whether it be boxes falling from the sky to save Mother Russia or boxes hell bent on rating your IQ, I've always had a very special place in my heart for deviations from the Rubik's Cube.

I've been wanting to write this for a long time and Pokemon Black is starting to get on my nerves. I want to talk about something I love. So, today I'd like to give you a top 7 best games that have involve both boxes and puzzles.

This one is kind of long so, hit dat jump!