Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Pokemans

Behold! My latest team of Hall of Famers!

My Chikorita was named Carmen! She grew to become a Bayleef, then a Meganium! She wasn't as strong as I'd hoped, but I loved her anyway.

My Cyndaquil was named Camille! I imported her from Pokemon Pearl. She was level 1. Now she is almost level 50! She was a late bloomer, evolving into a Quilava and then a Typhlosion far later than usual. Maybe that's because she's actually a he. I didn't notice her sex until now! I'm sorry, Camille. You probably had a rough time at Pokemon Day Care thanks to my careless naming.

My Slowking is named Cork. She was once a Slowpoke. The Slowpoke is one of the stupidest Pokemon, but Slowking has big brains. This quote from Bulbapedia explains it all: "Slowking are regular Slowpoke who suffered a peculiar event. The King's Rock they rarely hold attracts Shellder, and gets bitten on its head instead of its tail. The poison that some Shellder secretes reached Slowpoke's brain, turning it extremely intelligent." This is why Pokemon is the best. This is why Slowking is my new favorite Pokemon.

My Mareep was named Sheep Man. Probably not the most original name! But he was a sheep before leveling up and turning into some weird kangaroo thing. I kinda wish I'd kept him cute forever, but that would have been cruel, right? A true Pokemon master respects his Pokemon. He lets them grow.

My Miltank is named Pasteur. Is Miltank the happiest Pokemon? I think so.

My Hoothoot was named Toot, a name I wasn't really fond of but was too lazy to change. Maybe that is why he always lagged behind, level-wise. Maybe that is why I gave him the boot before the Elite Four, replacing him with a Lugia named Giorgio. I usually don't use legendary Pokemon, but Toots wasn't pulling his weight. Someone had to step in. Giorgio did an acceptable job, but I feel guilty about it now. You belong in the Hall of Fame, Toot. Please forgive me for being a failure as a Pokemon trainer!

I had this party from the get go. Yeah, a few of them were traded from Pokemon Pearl -- which you can do within minutes of starting the game, which is one of the great improvements in this version, along with the snappier battles and interface -- but they were babies. No one had a head start! And while it was not the most well-balanced party it was my party, and I wasn't going to break it up, even if things got rough! I was under-leveled and ill prepared for the final battle! I had to reset many times. But I eventually took down all those Dragonites. I won the game, and its name was Pokemon Soul Silver!

I wasn't sure Pokemon could be enjoyable when played as a straight RPG. I feared that my love for it was shallow, nothing more than OCD checklist bullshit made palatable thanks to an exceedingly cute package. But after blasting through this one without bothering to catch 'em all I've learned that my fears were unfounded, and Silver holds up quite well as a Dragon Quest-style RPG. It's surprisingly open, offering far less guidance and more alternate paths, side quests, and mini-games than many modern games aimed at older players. It's a game that doesn't mind if you get lost for a bit. Probably because that helps sell strategy guides. But still! It's a game for children that didn't treat me like I was a child. It let me explore, make mistakes, and dress up like a member of Team Rocket. There are few mandatory tutorials. There is lots of discovery. That is what makes an RPG good. Not complex battle systems or an epic storyline, but a game world that's worth discovering and open to letting me discover it. And any world teeming with Miltanks, Swinubs and Luvdiscs is a world worth discovering.

They really gotta ditch HMs for the next game, though. Those things are the worst.

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