Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Starting Off on the Right Foot

Sixteen. Only 16 days till Sun and Moon. We're almost there, guys. I've already decided my version (Sun, cause sun kitty), but there's still an important decision to make. I usually wait until the final evolutions have been revealed, and that happened officially last week. So, one question remains: Who will my starter be?

Decidueye, Incineroar, and Primarina say aloha! ... I mean "alola."

Let's start with Decidueye -- which is by far the hardest name to pronounce for a starter. Grass/Ghost isn't a unique type thanks to Trevenant and Gourgeist, but its design is a unique interpretation. Not gonna lie, I'm really digging the archer theme. Although, it's a bit weird that Rowlet and Dartrix didn't have much of this theme present. I guess they can throw their feathers like darts? Eh, missed the mark for me. Anyways, Decidueye's hoodie gives it a Robin Hood-esque feel, but I wasn't a fan of the drawstrings -- it looks like a middle school emo kid when it uses them.

Rowlet, Dartrix, and Decidueye.

Hands down, though, Spirit Shackle's the coolest  of the starter signature moves. An attack that works like Shadow Tag? Yes please! I hope Decidueye has the base stats to handle competitive play -- this move would be so helpful!

The spirit's shackle you!

Next up, we got Incineroar. Name sounds like a spicy cinnamon bun. I'd imagine an "Incineroar" would be a cinnamon roll from Cinnabon with jalapeños on top -- a true gimmick. And likewise, Incineroar's design feels like a gimmick. Sure, there are evolutions like Dragonair to Dragonite that don't make sense, but I feel Incineroar's way too far of a stretch from Litten and Torracat. It's a total shame -- Torracat's design looked so promising!

Litten, Torracat, and Incineroar.

And before you ask, it's not a Fire/Fighting-Type. Game Freak must have realized they accidentally created another Fire/Fighting starter and changed its type to appease people. It worked ... almost. But yeah, this Fire/Dark-Type even has a signature move that screams fighting! The transition from two normal-looking cats to a macho wrestling cat-man hybrid doesn't make me a fan of Incineroar. 
Twirling, twirling towards freedom!

Finally, we got Primarina. Primarina was the opposite of Incineroar for me. Unlike Torracat, I wasn't a fan of Brionne because of how gendered it was. Brionne seems to be based on a female Japanese pop star -- which is odd considering starter Pokémon have a 75:25 male-to-female gender ratio. Primarina's design carries this gendered look over as well. Pokémon like Machamp and Gardevoir haven't bothered me in the past, but it's weird a starter would look more like one gender over another. That being said, I applaud Primarina's line for being consistent throughout. Popplio was actually my first choice, and it's cool to see the theme of being a performer translated in its evolutions. Granted, the type of performer changes, but I could imagine a Primarina putting on a show with Popplios and Brionnes backing it up. Take note, Misty.

Popplio, Brionne, and Primarina.
Water/Fairy's an effective type, but Primarina's signature move is meh. Wouldn't healing your opponent's burn with an attack help them? Unless if it doubles the damage, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

This came up when I searched "Sparkling Aria." Will this heal burns?

So, for my decision. Drum roll please ...

Yep, two! (Sorry, Incineroar). This is the first time I decided to go with two starters in my playthrough. I feel both Decidueye and Primarina bring a unique flavor to the game, and I'm excited to try them out. Hopefully, 16 days will be enough to learn how to say Decidueye. Is there emphasis on the "I" or "eye"?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

It's Go Time!

Right before I started typing, a Clefairy popped up on my radar. Good news, I caught it.

As you can tell, Pokémon Go has been pretty much been top of mind as of late. Not just in my life -- the whole world seems to be playing! I remember when it was first announced and knew Pokémon fans would be all over it. But never would I imagine Pokémon Go would have this much of an impact in little over a week.

Y'all have seen the news coverage, the promotions from small businesses and big corporations, and the Snapchat stories of people ranting and raving. But what really inspires me is how much appeal this game has for fans and non-fans alike. The day right after Go came out, I got in the office pretty early -- two of my coworkers walked over to show me their collection. One of them had never played a Pokémon game before, so it was really cool to relive the sheer joy of discovering Pokémon through a new player's perspective. Soon, the office started a chat group and organizing Pokémon hunts during our lunch break. Pretty much everyone got into it -- even my manager! Even if she didn't know its name, she was pretty pumped to catch a Weezing.

You hear that, Weezing? Someone likes you!

Pokémon Go honestly brought me back to my VGC days. Oftentimes, you'll start chatting up with random strangers on these Pokémon hunts. On our second visit to the Capital, we helped a couple of trainers find a Pikachu. A few days later, I talked to a gentleman about a Squirtle he caught, gave some tips to a lady about what to do with all her Zubat candy, and pointed a couple to a Bulbasaur at Walmart. These are people who, under any other circumstance, I might have not said hi to. There's something magical about how a simple game can bring so many people together.

You can talk about the cool AR features and how revolutionary this game is -- it's all good. But the appeal of Pokémon Go for me is the same appeal as any other Pokémon game. It's a shared experience -- something that breaks down barriers and can be understood in any language. Pokémon Go just breaks down that barrier even further. So whether repping Team Mystic (like your boy Smiles), Valor, or Instinct, go out there and make new friends! After all, that's what Pokémon's about.

Pokémon Go with the Pokémon Bros.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Setting Sails for Gen 7

Alright, so we all pretty much know the big news. Earlier this year, Pokémon announced Sun and Moon for the 3DS. New generation on the 20th anniversary -- it's going to be big. Now, we know who the starters are:

Who will you choose?
 It was a pretty fun day at the office talking about who we'd pick. Even non-Pokémon fans weighed in! I got texts from friends, Twitter was in a frenzy -- it was definitely a sunny day. But you know what I'm pumped for? Grab a box of tissues and watch this:

YES! Pokémon tugged at the heartstrings with their Super Bowl ad, but even that pales in comparison to this. If they were trying to make me bawl like a baby, mission accomplished. A story about connecting with new friends and strengthen relationships is one that truly resonates with me. Three years back, I ended up buying X and Y because I knew friends were going to play it. Yeah, I went on for months about how they were "ruining Pokémon", but you know what? That's ridiculous! At its core, Pokémon is about connecting with a community.

Since X and Y, I've met new Pokémon fans, and I know these two versions will introduce me to plenty more. Like the boy who moved to Hawaii, I hope to share this journey together. Can't wait to say aloha to Sun and Moon!

It's a whole new world we live in.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

King of the Poké Fist Tournament

Yeah, I know it's been two weeks since Pokkén's been out and I'm very late on this. What can you do when the real world beckons you? It's crazy -- I remember writing about this two years back when it was first announced. I never would have imagined it ending up like this. Pokkén in a sense is an attempt to create live-action Pokémon battles. Or, that's what I thought at first.

To put it simply, Pokkén's chaotic. The core gameplay switches between two phases: Field and Duel Phase. Field Phase has you fight in a 3rd-person view while Duel pits you in a more traditional fighter like Street Fighter. It's not time or rounds that switch you between the two phases -- it's by hitting your opponent with certain moves. Crazy right? This was the first time I had to sit through the tutorial before I could grasp the gameplay!
Changing between Field and Duel Phase becomes easier over time.
Once you get the hang of things though, the gameplay's pretty simple. Similar to Smash Bros, attacks are usually a button inputted with a direction, so there's no real complex combo system.

This simplicity translates to the overall gameplay. My girl Chandelure pretty much crushed the competition by just barraging the opponent with a flurry of attacks. Early on, you'll realize that the best strategy is to wail on the opponent until you win.

Of course, what's a game without customizable outfits! I look pretty spiffy if I do say so myself.
Back at it again with the white vest!

I enjoy that Pokkén doesn't take itself seriously. Like I mentioned, you mash buttons to win. But the battle animations -- they're absolutely ridiculous! Just witness all the anime flair!


ANIME x 1,000!!!!
Even the assists are crazy. Farfetch'd didn't make it in as I hoped, but he shares the same honor of being an assist like Reshiram and Yveltal. And a clever nod to Sejun Park -- Pachirisu knows Follow Me!

Pokémon legends.
When Pokkén was first announced, I thought of it as a serious game. Instead, we got a goofy, over-the-top fighter, and I couldn't be happier! Many games, especially fighting games, try to take themselves seriously. Pokkén Tournament is a breath of fresh air for those who want to, well, just have fun!

Monday, February 8, 2016

I Can Do That

Exhausted after a long week, I almost didn't make the three-hour trek home. I had everything packed and ready to go, but paused momentarily at the door. It would have been easy to take it easy and rest up for the weekend, but I quickly dismissed the thought -- I could do it. I could make the drive. Besides, it was the least I could do for my parents. As expected, my mom was thrilled to see me for her birthday (which coincidentally is the day Mewtwo was born).

My mom and Mewtwo aren't related.
The following day was also a big day -- the Super Bowl. The game was more background noise for me, but there was one commercial I wanted to watch. I've already seen it, but I wanted to see my folks' reaction. After all, they were the ones who allowed me to go on this crazy Pokémon journey in the first place.

The 20th anniversary commercial made its TV premiere, and it was everything I knew it would be. Inspiring, motivational, uplifting -- judging from my mom and dad's reaction, it seemed to have captured their imagination. Of course, my dad and brother made some small quips about our past VGC days, but it was all in good fun.

What resonated with us was the phrase "I can do that." I remember saying something similar to myself when I started the drive home. I remember saying something similar whenever I have a ton of assignments and try to squeeze one more in. Heck, I'm saying it right now as I type this up, trying to stop myself from falling asleep on the keyboard! Everyone in the commercial saw someone do the impossible and challenged themselves to accomplish greatness for themselves. That's how I felt at least, so I wanted to share that with my parents.

So, in the spirit of Pokémon's 20th anniversary, I'm going to train on. That means making new posts, as opposed to the one last year. That means getting out there to face new challenges. That means pushing my limits even further to achieve new goals. It's a huge commitment, but I'm ready to be the very best like no one ever was. Soon, I'll change "I can do that" to "I did do that."

Let's make this year one to remember, trainers!