Monday, November 12, 2012

A Look at Lentimas Town

While traveling through the Unova region again, I stopped by Mistralton City and ran into Skyla and Professor Juniper. Professor Juniper was talking about wanting to visit this really cool place with all these unique Pokémon and blah blah blah. To be fair, I zoned out and didn't listen to half of what she said. So after Bianca literally ran into me and begged to go with us, we took off in Skyla's plane to Lentimas Town.

When we got off the plane, I was greeted by a sweltering sandstorm. Volcanic ash filled the air of this arid town. For the first time in my Pokémon history, I had to pull out the town map because I had absolutely no idea where I was! While Bianca went off to Reversal Mountain, I decided to stick around town and absorb the local atmosphere.

Unlike other cities of Unova, Lentimas Town is quite small. The Pokémon Center is the biggest building and the center hub for the townsfolk. There aren't any Gyms or Battle Facilities for trainers. There is a move tutor that teaches some powerful moves like Dark Pulse if you give him some blue shards. Lentimas serves as a rest stop for travelers hiking through the mountains, so most people there are merely passing by. Still, Lentimas has quite a unique Latin flavor to it that sets itself apart from the rest of Unova. Listen to the music above, you'll know what I mean.

Of course I'll throw a Pokéball!
I later made my way to Reversal Mountain to see what wild Pokémon live in the area. Judging from the desert climate, I wasn't surprised when I ran into wild Trapinch and Skorupi. But I was completely caught off guard when a wild Drifblim approached me! Drifblim is one of my favorite Pokémon, so I caught two of them! I also ran into the Psychic Pig Pokémon Spoink and Grumpig.

Yeah, I'm not going inside.
It was odd to see Psychic and Ghost type Pokémon in an environment like this. At first, it didn't make sense until I approached the Strange House. The Strange House is an urban legend in Lentimas town. Some say that horrible genetic experiments that rivaled Cinnabar Mansion took place there. Others say the original owner ordered his Raticate to kill his family, which then turned against its owner and killed him. There's even some who claim that the Strange House was the birthplace of the first Vanillite. As for what the Strange House really is...even I couldn't tell you. I got the heebie-jeebies when I approached the front door and ran like a scared Skitty. 

Same cave story, different day.
After my short detour to the Strange House front doors, I met up with Bianca at Reversal Mountain. Bianca wanted to study the Pokémon living there, so we walked around and fought wild Pokémon inside the mountain. Your run-of-the-mill cave Pokémon like Golbat and Boldore make an appearance, so at first glance I didn't think much of it. We got to a room and Bianca was upset we couldn't find Heatran. I was curious, why would the Fire/Steel legend of Sinnoh be in Unova? Apparently, Reversal Mountain is quite similar to Stark Mountain. Recently, Reversal Mountain made headlines for its recent eruptions. I'm not going to lie, I was a little apprehensive when I found out I was walking in an active volcano.
Sounds like Heatran is hot-blooded! Get it, because of the magma-like blood...forget it.

Luckily we didn't find Heatran and the volcano still remained dormant. We parted ways and I made my way to Undella Town, thus ending my brief excursion in Lentimas Town. While I've been traveling for quite some time, the wonders of the Pokémon world never cease to amaze me. While my trip was short, the memories of Lentimas Town will always stay with me.   

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Tune of the Pokéflute

While it'd be nice to sleep in all day, we are unfortunately not Snorlax. Eventually, we have to begrudgingly wake up to the irritating beeping sounds of our alarm clocks. This loud cacophony of noise rivals the bellowing of Exploud, but what if you could replace it with the sound of music? I've previously talked about my admiration for the music in Pokémon, so what better way to wake up than with Pokémon music! So sit back, relax and listen to the tunes of the Pokéflute.

Lacunosa Town, famous for being located near the Giant Chasm, is a quaint little town. The residents of this northern Unova town follow the same schedule day in and day out. During the day, everyone is out and about, welcoming travelers and retelling stories and legends from long ago. At night, not a single soul is out for everyone retires back to their homes when the sun sets. Unlike Castelia and Nimbasa City, Lacunosa is a calm, quiet place to live. As one policeman said, "I don't have anything to do ever since I took a post here. Since nobody goes outside at night, it's very peaceful."

Sonicwave1000 takes the original tune and adds some percussion to further enhance the calm mood of Lacunosa Town. I'd recommend listening to this with headphones; Sonicwave1000 playfully switches the main tune from the right to the left ear, making it a fun listen. The song isn't crowded with instruments, which helps maintains the quiet atmosphere of Lacunosa. As the song progresses, instruments are slowly left out until only the main track remains.

Lavender Town, voted Kanto's scariest place to live, is home to ghost-types that lurk Pokémon Tower. Or...that's what it used to be. Ever since Trainer Red stopped Team Rocket a few years back, the restless Gastlys and Haunters can finally rest in peace. The Pokémon Tower has been converted into a Radio Tower and the graves were moved to the less intimidating House of Memories. While the original theme is somber, this one is more optimistic. Even though you have to say goodbye to your Pokémon, you'll always have your memories together to cherish.

I wish I could say more about this remix, but the truth is I never played the Pokémon TCG game. I know right?! It's blasphemy, especially when the music in the game is as good as this. The normal duel theme gives an adventurist vibe. I can see myself running down a grassy route with my Pokémon racing to get to the next town. I love the choice of instruments for this remix, especially the guitar. This song has single-handily convinced me to try out this game. Maybe I can scavenge a copy somewhere...

What? The music is evolving! Rukentsu took the simple few notes from the Evolution theme and created a chill hip-hop remix. After all the battles and training, your Pokémon is finally ready to evolve.  As I stand in the blinding light of my evolving Pokémon, I reflect on our past experiences. I remember when I first received Bulbasaur from Oak's lab and defeated our rival. I remember when I called upon Piplup for the first time to defend us against a swarm of Starly. I remember Cyndaquil's first fight against Youngster Joey and his "top-percentage" Rattata. I gaze in awe as the blinding light fades and a new form of my Pokémon emerges. We then continue on, ready for the next step of our journey. Rukunetsu's remix is beautifully composed and invokes strong emotion. I can't help but feel nostalgic every time I listen to this.

Whether looking for something to get you up in the morning or just some new tunes to listen to, look no further than the music of Pokémon. Music immerses players in the world of Pokémon and makes you feel connected even if you're not playing. Both the original scores and the community driven remixes are simply awe-inspiring.   

...Alright! I'll give you one more song. This will help you out if you're having trouble sleeping.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Causing Commotion with Explosions at Nationals

This past weekend, me and my brother were battling it out at the Pokémon VGC Nationals tournament in Indiana. Thanks to my brother's earlier victory at Regionals, we got (partially) free airfare and a free hotel room. Since April, we've been training and making adjustments to our teams. Did our hard work pay off?

Let me introduce the six Pokémon I took to Nationals:
Iago, Bolin, Eeyore, Miss Piggy, Dr. Doom and Zant are ready to battle!
An odd team for a fact. One of my Pokémon is not even fully evolved! It might be hard to see what my team was about unless I said it's Explosion! The idea was first a joke my friends threw around, but then I started playing it and developed this team. Landorus and Metagross have the job of exploding on the opposing team, and it's up to the rest of my Pokémon to help them do it. Even if I don't explode, I still have a few tricks up my sleeve to help me out.

My favorite part of this team is my Murkrow, Iago. Murkrow has the ability Prankster, which gives priority to non-attacking moves. Murkrow also knows the move Quash, which postpones an opponent's move making them attack last. I didn't want the opponent to knock me out before I could use Explosion, so I have Murkrow stop them from attacking first. As Murkrow is the only Pokémon to have both Prankster and Quash, I had to have him on my team. Tailwind also increased my speed to help get the leg up on my opponent.  

This team wasn't perfect, and in practice Terrakion (Eeyore) and Musharna (Miss Piggy) didn't pull their weight. I lost every battle that I used Murkrow and Musharna together. Terrakion and Musharna had their shining moments, but overall I think I can get better Pokémon. Gengar is no slouch, but a Dreamworld Chandelure can do the job of both Gengar and Musharna. I ended up with a losing 3-5 record, which is somewhat disappointing. I like my team, but I'd definitely change it up if I had the chance.

Here's a battle that shows how my team worked. My opponent was a funny guy. When I was checking out of the hotel, he asked if he borrowed anything from me. He must have had a crazy night, haha!

So how did Champion Scott's battles go? Day 1 wasn't bad. Thanks to his two byes, Scott managed to get a 5-2 record. Since he fought the hardest fighters, his percentage was higher and he managed to advance to Day 2. Scott's results were similar to last year's nationals. He won his first match but barely missed his chance to get into semifinals. The guy who beat Scott eventually won the whole thing. He had a perfect win record until my brother beat him once in a best 2 out of 3. Scott fought hard in his battles, which makes him a champ win or lose. Besides, there aren't many people that can call themselves 7th best in the nation. Scott is very secretive about his team, so I can't show any gameplay here. But his battles are nothing short of legendary.

Besides battling, we managed to get in a few trades. We got to check off some Pokémon on our cardlist. I was personally excited to trade away my Togepi for a Shiftry. Either that guy really wanted a Togepi, or I'm a really good barterer! Either way, we've made some impressive trades.

Trade a Togepi for this? Heck yeah!
When we weren't immersed in the world of Pokémon, we were either eating or just chilling at the hotel. The hotel we stayed at was actually an old train station. There were two full size trains that had their cabins turned into hotel rooms. We didn't stay in one, but it was nice to check out the rooms. Trains still pass through the hotel, but the concierge desk didn't need to tell us that. Subtle rumblings my butt! Those things woke me up twice every night!
The hollowed out train had rooms in them. The real ones woke me up every night!
All in all, Nationals was a fun experience. Sure, a homeless person made off with my quesadillas, but I got to meet some of the coolest people around and see my brother kick butt and take names! It was great to meet so many people who played Pokémon. I want to say thank you to all the cool people I met, congratulations to the winners, and a very special thank you to my dad and Scott. Nationals was awesome and I can't wait to compete again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Memories of a Card Collector

I spent about six days reorganizing my Pokémon cards, separating each artwork and putting them in different binders. Reorganizing my cards gave me a better scope of my Pokémon card collection. I can proudly say that after over ten years of collecting, I have 1,492 different kinds of Pokémon cards (not including duplicates). It's quite an extensive collection and each card has its own story.

The first card in the binder is this Venusaur I got during my friend, Michael's, birthday. When he first pulled this card out of the pack, I knew that I wanted this card more than anything. So I begged and pleaded with him to trade me during the rest of his party. At the end he finally agreed to trade it for my Rhydon. Looking back, it was a terrible trade and my friend got ripped off pretty bad. But, our friendship survived and I still consider this my favorite card of all. This card symbolized the first true friendship I had.

If you have this card you too went to Pokémon: The First Movie when it first hit theaters. As this was the time when Pokémon was in the "fad" state, everyone and their moms, dads, and distant relatives were at the movies. My sister's tenth birthday was at the local movie theater (which is odd considering I am the bigger Pokémon fan). We took a tour of the projection area, went to a room to eat cake and took pictures with a guy in a  Pikachu costume. Michael, the same guy who traded me his Venusaur, put his hand in front of a projector for a split second. We had a good laugh, but seriously sorry if you missed part of your movie because of him. While I'm still nostalgic about the good old days when everyone played, I personally like Pokémon more now then I did back then. It doesn't matter if everyone else plays; it only matters if you enjoy playing the game.

During VGC Worlds, me and my brother took a break from all the battling and sight-seeing at the casual battler's room. I don't remember the exact name of the place, but it was a ballroom in the hotel where people were at tables trading cards. Me and my brother were conducting business as usual until we met a crazy guy I'd like to dub "Patrat Kid." All Patrat Kid wanted were more Patrat cards. Of course, I traded him all my Patrats. I got a couple of cool cards, including this sweet Japanese Promo Ducklett from him. Maybe I'll see him again next year. Hopefully I'll have enough Patrats to trade for a Mewtwo EX! ;)

While I was at school, one of my brother's friends decided to give his entire collection to us. It was quite a hefty donation and we received a lot of third gen cards. In fact, this is the biggest amount of cards we received at once. Some of the cards were fakes and others were in terrible condition, but we sorted through them and got quite a haul. One of them included this Salamence ex, which was in near-mint condition.

This Pikachu is possibly the rarest card in our collection. It was the unlisted card in the initial Black and White series. I don't remember exactly when we purchased the booster pack, but I remember it came inside a tin. The card is smooth all over, and Pikachu has a special foil treatment over it. Plus he looks so happy skipping merrily in the meadow! I might not have the best luck in pulling out rare cards, but I'm at least lucky to own this one.

My college friends go to Dave N Buster's on Wednesdays during their half-price days (we're poor college students). Me, Duc, UyenAnh and sometimes Sparks cash in our tickets for Pokémon cards and then open them up together. It's no mystery that I have terrible luck at getting good cards, but Duc and UyenAnh always get crazy good pulls! When I get a Starmie, UyenAnh pulls out a Kyurem EX. Duc is always complaining about how he keeps on getting a holographic Zapdos in his pack. For my 21st birthday, Duc and UyenAnh bought me a pack and I pulled out this Shaymin! I guess some of their luck rubbed off on me. This is the only EX card I got from a booster pack, so I might need to take Duc and UyenAnh to the store next time I buy cards. Like Venusaur, Shaymin symbolizes true friendship. 

So where do I go from here? My collection is definitely nothing to sneeze at, but I'm far from finished. I plan on collecting at least one of every species before I'm done. I'll be done buying packs afterwards, but my brother wants to continue collecting. Maybe this time again next year, I'll reach my goal. Regardless, it'll be a story to tell.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It Doesn't Matter If My Pokémon is from Blue Or Black

Recently, I've hit a lull in writing for this blog. So I went to the wonderful world of Twitter (the Pokémon world has something similar called Pidgey-er) to ask about what I should write about. One guy suggested talking about why people hate on the second generation. I was taken aback; how can anyone think little of Gold and Silver? I might have taken this a little too personally because second gen was my favorite, but then it hit me. Every time a new generation comes around, there are always haters. You got people who claim that the "first 150 were great and everything after is just garbage." Then you have those who claim that through better stats and typing that the newest Pokémon are better. And then you have everyone else in between who greatly favor one generation and completely bash on the rest. But why? At the end of the day it's Pokémon! Every generation has their fair share of game mechanics and Pokémon that make it awesome in its own respect.

So let's start with the first gen games, Red and Blue. These games set the precedent for what trainers could expect with Pokémon. Catch creatures in the wild, collect the eight gym badges, stop the evil team, defeat the Elite Four and become the champion. A big complaint about these games were that the Pokémon looked creepy in comparison to later games. To be fair, this was before the look of Pokémon were fully established. By Yellow, the sprites looked pretty normal and a lot like their show counterparts. But there's still that charm that comes from Red and Blue's grotesque sprites. These oddly disproportionate sprites might look weird, but they have attitude.

 Another complaint is that Red and Blue had more glitches than you could shake a Farfetch'd's stick at. Again, these games were the first. For the most part, game series improve overtime. I'd even argue that the glitches in Red and Blue are fun to exploit. Everyone and their mother at one time or another used the Missingno. glitch to duplicate items. With so many glitches in the game, lies like the ability to catch "Pikablu" or Togepi were believable. It's actually quite possible to catch Mew, but the glitch takes some serious work to pull off. The gameplay of Pokémon has been polished over the years, but it's still fun to mess around with glitches in Red and Blue.

Don't catch it! You'll game will become %$*q"%2{ 

Honestly, I can't see how people can complain about the second generation. Gold and Silver took the original formula and made vast improvements. First off, Gold and Silver were direct sequels to the originals. So not only did you get to collect the badges in the Johto region, but you also got to collect the badges in the Kanto region. That's 16 badges in all! What's even more cool is that the final battle is against the original trainer you played as in Red and Blue. Time was also a big factor in this game. If you played at night, wild Hoothoots would appear instead of Pidgeys. With 100 new Pokémon, two new types, the introduction of held items, new methods for evolution, shiny Pokémon, breeding, a chance to rebattle trainers and so much more, Gold and Silver added so much to make Pokémon better. I honestly can't find a reason why people could complain about this gen. Maybe they didn't even try it? It's a shame really, they've missed out on one of the best Pokémon games. 
The most epic battle is about to unfold

And now we get into the 21st century with the launch of the third generation. Out of all the games, I think Ruby and Sapphire received the most hate. For one thing, there was no backwards compatibility between the previous generations and this one. While it was somewhat of a letdown, it makes perfect sense once you see how vastly different the game mechanics changed. For one thing, IVs or individual values of a Pokémon increased from 0-15 to 0-31 (up to this point they were called DVs). Other attributes such as gender and shininess were calculated through a different set of numbers instead of being reliant on IVs. This led to the possibility of getting a shiny female starter, which was impossible in the first two generations. The third generation also fixed the clunky PC system. Instead of saving everytime to switch a box, you can just scroll through boxes until you find the Pokémon you're looking for. The third generation overhauled the system to make Pokémon games easier to play.

The biggest improvement that third gen brought was in respects to battling. I already mentioned how IVs increased in range, but the effort value system allowed further customization of a Pokémon's stats. Basically, how you train a Pokémon can increase certain stats. There are plenty of articles online about how to EV train, so I won't go into further detail here. There's also the addition of natures which gives a further boost to a Pokémon's stats. A Modest Alakazam is better than a Adamant Alakazam because a modest nature boosts Special Attack (which Alakazam uses) while an adamant nature boosts Attack (which Alakazam doesn't use). And of course, who could forget about abilities! Abilities are special attributes that a Pokémon has that give them an edge in battle. A Pokémon's ability is a major part of strategy in competitive play. Your Gengar has a nasty weakness to Ground? It has Levitate so it can avoid hits from Earthquake! Need to patch up Gyarados's weaker defense stat? It has Intimidate to automatically lower its opponent's attack. Natures, Abilities and EVs have made Pokémon a more competitive game. Without the third generation, this couldn't have happened. That's why I like to refer to Ruby and Sapphire as the "fathers of modern competitive battling."

Oh yeah, and third gen was the first to remake older Pokémon games. If that doesn't convince you that third gen was awesome, then I don't know what will. 
Third gen game mechanics with first gen scenario and story? Yes please!

Now we move on to the not-so-distant past with the fourth generation of Pokémon, Diamond and Pearl. I personally love this generation mainly because this was when my brother first got into Pokémon. Besides family bonding, fourth gen brought great changes to the table. For one thing, fourth gen introduced the Physical/Special split of moves. Before, moves were classified as either physical or special based on their type. Now, moves are either physical or special depending on their own classification. So what did this mean? Hitmonchan could finally use the elemental punches effectively, Moltres could now use stronger flying moves, Arcanine could bite things with Thunder Fang. You get the idea. Basically, Pokémon gained movepool diversity. You'll notice that back in earlier generations, movepool coverage was pretty limited. Pokémon were lucky if they could use their STAB (same type attack boost) effectively. You could say it's super effective! ....All bad jokes aside, fourth gen did a great job in giving Pokémon a boost. This was also when I started playing Pokémon competitively.
Arceus commands you not to bash the fourth generation!

The DS was a warm welcome for Pokémon games. With the DS's internal clock, time was reintroduced in the Pokémon world. Furthermore, the touch screen made it easier to select attacks, switch Pokémon and use items. Granted, the way Diamond and Pearl organized the now limitless bag was kind of clunky, but Heartgold and Soulsilver cleaned up the interface. 

An easier interface to navigate
Speaking of HGSS, they are possibly the best games around. With the original story of the second gen and the gameplay mechanics of the fourth gen, HGSS put the best of both worlds together. I simply LOVE these games; there's no other way to put it. If anything else, the fourth gen should never be bashed simply because of HGSS.

So now we're here in the present with the fifth generation of Pokémon. Just a year ago, Pokémon Black and White hit shelves in the U.S. and Black and White 2 are coming later this year. Like every other generation, this one is greeted with the same old "eww, new Pokémon are ugly! I like the originals!" Really? If Nintendo only kept the original
 Pokémon without adding new ones, what's the point in making new games? It always surprises me how Nintendo can still make creative creatures, and the fifth generation is no exception. In fact, I might be inclined to say that fifth gen has some of the most creative Pokémon around. They went crazy with the type combos this time around. Steel/Grass, Ghost/Fire, Bug/Electric, Dark/Fighting, the list goes on and on. While fourth gen added movepool diversity, fifth gen added type diversity. It was a smart move to only have new Pokémon catchable until after you completed the main story. It gave time for me to appreciate the newcomers. I have to admit, it took me awhile to accept the new Pokémon. But I'm glad I gave Black and White a try.
What's not to love about Scrafty? It's a straight up gangsta!
The fifth gen is still going strong with the inevitable release of Black and White 2. Now I can go on and on about all the awesome features like the story being a direct sequel, fighting old gym leaders from past games, catching wild Eevees, new forms of Pokémon and all that. But instead, I'll show you why the fifth gen is awesome with an animated trailer. *Note: turn on captions for English subs.

This sums up my feelings on Black and White 2 in six words:

Really, every generation of Pokémon has been great. While it's understandable to have a favorite gen, it doesn't mean that every other generation besides it was terrible. It has and always will be an entertaining video game series, no matter which version you play. No matter if it's Black or Blue, I'll always love Pokémon.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

VGC- An Adventure through Victory Road

Two weekends ago, me and my brother finally competed in the Pokémon VGC tournament again! For those of you who don't know, VGC is the Videogame Competition that Pokémon holds every year. Last year, my brother Scott qualified all the way to Worlds in San Diego. This year, we trained harder than we ever trained before in hopes to win it all.

The tournament rules for VGC were different than last years. Instead of single elimination, the tournament was conducted in Swiss Rounds. Instead of being eliminated, players would continue to battle each other. The players with the highest win-streaks would fight each other until only one would have an undefeated record. The juniors played for 6 rounds while the masters played for 8. The juniors had about 48 contestants while the masters had about 148.

We got up pretty early to get to the Hilton on time. The tournament location was about an hour away. I was excited to try on my N costume. My mom's expression when she first saw me was priceless. She said something along the lines of "you're going to change right?" Not likely, because I've been working on the costume for a couple of months now. Besides, N's outfit is the most normal looking in Pokémon, which is really saying something.
See the resemblance? We're like twins!

I wanted a Hydreigon, but hey it's still cool.
We got there around 8 in the morning. My brother promptly registered and went straight to grab some breakfast. While my family was chowing down like a couple of Snorlax, I couldn't eat. Fear was gripping me. What if we forget what moves work best on what Pokémon? What if we run into a threat we didn't predict? What if his DS dies during battle? I clutched my commemorative Shelmet card as we walked in. I could only hope that he would do well.

Scott chatting it up with another competitor. He always has a calm demeanor going into battles.
Unlike me, Scott is pretty calm. You might say he has a high Special Defense! Get it? Because in the game, having a Calm nature boosts your Special Defense and...forget it. Anyways, after a close first match my brother claims victory! I don't remember how the match went, but they took out Scott's main sweeper. Still, he kept a cool head and emerged victorious. His other matches go well and Scott continues to defeat trainers each round. We get into the finals, and this is when things start to heat up.

 Last year at regionals, my brother fought a kid named Kobe (not Bryant, I don't think he even plays Pokémon) and lost. When the announcements for the final pairings came up, you bet I had Butterfrees in my stomach when I saw my brother had to fight Kobe. It was like facing your rival in Red and Blue; the entire Pokémon journey was leading up to that fateful battle. Only one would be declared a champion.

Scott and Kobe before their final match.

Honestly I had no idea how the battle went until my brother was done. One second, my brother was smiling, the next his face was buried in the DS screen. It was a close match, but in the end my brother clenched victory for a perfect 6-0 record! At the end, they were both beaming and shook hands. It was an sincere act of sportsmanship. After the battle, Scott told me that Kobe was a really good friend. It's moments like these that really make me love Pokémon; games like these have the power to bring out the best in people.

My matches weren't as good. Granted, I was using last year's team so my strategy was pretty antiquated. Still, I walked away with a 4-4 record, which isn't too shabby. I always got beat by people who used shiny Pokémon. I guess I couldn't attack pretty looking Pokémon. Darn you shiny Volbeat! I want one! Anyways, here's my last battle of the evening. I got pretty lucky at the end, but it was a great battle nonetheless.   

So what now? Well, since my brother won we'll be going to Nationals this June in Indianapolis. He's already called me up and we've started planning changes to his team. Hopefully when school ends, I'll have time to build my own team. We've met a lot of cool people at regionals and overall had a great time. We've survived the trek through Victory Road. Up next, the Elite Four! They'll be plenty of fierce challenges ahead but I know we'll be ready for them. 
My brother's trophy and hat. Congratulations Scott! You deserve it :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Traveler's Guide to the Pokémon World

Plan on traveling for Spring Break but haven't picked a destination yet? How about making a trip to the Pokémon world. The Pokémon world is both vast and beautiful. From the humble grasslands of Route 1 to the majestic mountaintop of Spear Pillar, the scenery in Pokémon is breathtaking. I'll show you some of the hotspots that you should definitely visit.

The desert Orre region isn't one of the most famous regions in the Pokémon world, but is beautiful nonetheless. The Orre region is known for having well developed cities, including the water city of Phenac

A jewel in the desert that overflows with water
Phenac City stood as an oasis in the arid Orre region. The city is flowing with water and the stadium is simply gorgeous. The citizens are all cheerful with smiling faces. You can always count on seeing that jogger with his Castform running around the central fountain. For fun, I would stand in front of Castform to make it stop moving :P. While the city was once run by a corrupt mayor, efforts from a valiant trainer put the Cipher member behind bars. It might be peaceful, but there's still plenty of action for trainers wishing to hone their skills. Those itching for Pokémon battles should make their way to the Pregym and Stadium, where there's always a competition going on.

One of the many floor in Mt. Moon
Most trainer's first encounter with a mountain would have to be the Mt. Moon. In between Pewter and Cerulean City, Mt. Moon has a complex interior filled with Zubats. Their use of Supersonic can get bothersome, so it's highly recommended that trainers carry repels with them. A while back, fossils of Pokémon were discovered. While the original Kabuto and Omanyte fossils are long gone, it's still possible that more fossils lie inside Mt. Moon.

In the Kanto region, Mt. Moon serves as the exclusive home for Clefairys. These usually shy Pokémon come out to play every Monday night. They dance on the mountaintop as the starry sky sparkles on the water's surface. It's truly a sight to behold, but trainers must be cautious. If spotted, the Clefairys will hastily retreat. They usually leave behind a Moon Stone. Many Pokémon that evolve when exposed to a Moon Stone live in the surrounding areas. Mt. Moon is a mysterious place. It's full of wonder, magic and Zubats. Lots and lots of Zubats...

Feeling homesick on your journey to becoming the Pokémon master? Well plan a trip to Hearthome City, a home away from home! Located in the Sinnoh region, Hearthome is one of the larger cities in the region. 
Home is where the heart is
Going out on the town is a great way for you and your Pokémon to relax. There are many things to do in Hearthome. Amity Square is a park where you and your Pokémon can frolic. It's possible to pick up some rare items while roaming around, so be sure to talk to your Pokémon often. The Super Contest Hall hosts Pokémon contests. People from around the world travel to Hearthome to see and partake in contests. It's a great way to show off your beautiful Milotic to the world! There's also a Poffin House where you can make tasty treats for your Pokémon, a cathedral, and even a Pokémon Gym. Fantina uses Ghost type Pokémon not only in battle but also in contests. A visit to Hearthome city is a heart warming experience.

The Unova region has some remarkable landmarks like Skyarrow Bridge and Celestial Tower. One location that's fun to visit and filled with history is Liberty Garden.
A shiny beacon of hope
Accessed by taking a boat from Castelia City's pier, Liberty Garden stands as a symbol of victory for the Unova people. The garden is lush all year round and people gather from all over to visit the lighthouse. It's said that a Victini makes its home in the basement of the lighthouse. Victory, Victini, you get the idea. While there isn't any battles or wild Pokémon running amok, it's a nice place to visit if you're looking to relax and bask in the history of Unova. You could also go to the Desert Resort if you wanted to learn more about Unova lore, but the sand in your eyes might not be enjoyable.

The Pokémon world is a unique place to visit. There are places for every type of traveler to explore. So what are you waiting for? Hop on your Pidgeotto, teach it Fly, and go out and explore the Pokémon world!  

Friday, January 6, 2012

Xatu used Future Sight!

It's been six days since the new year started and I'm already excited for what the future holds. New games, cards and other cool stuff have already been announced for Pokémon this upcoming year. Grab the nearest Psychic type near you, order it to do Future Sight, and take a look at what 2012 will bring! ...Or you can just read this post and get a glimpse of what's going down this year.

New cards! The newest expansion, Next Destinies, will be hitting shelves early February. Unlike previous Black and White expansions, Next Destinies features Pokémon from all 5 generations. There is also the return of Pokémon EX cards. I drooled all over the computer screen when I first saw Mewtwo-EX. The theme decks look pretty cool, but I already own the Reshiram and Zekrom card from the first series.  

Can't wait to add this to the collection

While I wasn't as big of a fan for Pokepark as my brother was, I'm still excited for its sequel to come out. The cool thing about Pokepark 2 is that you can control Pikachu, Snivy, Tepig, and Oshawott. There's also multiplayer minigames. My favorite part about the first game were the battles. It's the closet thing to battling in the anime. 

A Pokémon crossover? Meowth that's right! Completely out of the blue, it was announced that Pokémon will appear in a crossover game with Nobunaga's Ambition. Nobunaga's Ambition is a turn-based RPG where players go around conquering feudal Japan. It's quite interesting how they applied Pokémon to the formula. The gameplay sort of reminds me of Advance Wars. The trainers look pretty cool, especially the guy who owns the Articuno. Unfortunately there is no release date outside of Japan, but here's hoping!

The thing I'm most excited for is to compete in VGC again! A few cities already had their regional tournaments last November. April 15th has been marked on my calendar for a long time, and I've been working all break trying to get my team ready. The competition will be fierce, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

There's still plenty more to come in the year 2012. The year so far is shaping out to be a good one, and I can't wait to see where my Pokémon adventure leads me next!