Quote of the Day – No, You Gotta CATCH Them All! October 23, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Nintendo, Pokemon.
“When it comes to business, the one thing I’ve always said ‘no!’ to is ‘the act of buying Pokémon with money,’” says Sugimori. “That is something that has been said since the days [Satoshi] Tajiri was completely involved in everything.”
-Ken Sugimori, Art Director for Pokemon, on Pokemon DLC
In a world where we have things like Skylanders, it is interesting to hear from a company that has a line they won’t cross.
Granted, it isn’t like Nintendo doesn’t exploit the Pokemon franchise. There are the original GameBoy role playing games, the hooked-in add-on games like Pokemon Ranch and Pokemon Battle Revolution, the decent spin-off games such as the Rogue inspired Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games, the dubious (in my opinion) spin-offs like Pokemon Snap or Pokemon Ranger, there is the collectible trading card game with its various sponsored tournaments, the guest appearances by Pikachu and others in games like Super Smash Bros., and then the whole television series which is now past the 800 episode mark, with 16 full length movies along with some short subjects in there as well.
Nintendo clearly grasped Miltank by the udders and commenced to make the cash flow with as much vigor as they could manage.
But there is a limit. Selling you a Pokemon directly would potentially “ruin the world view” set in the game. You can catch them in game or pick them up by participating in special events, but going for outright Pokemon sales might damage the brand.
And given how lucrative the Pokemon franchise is, protecting the brand certainly has to be a high priority. The latest versions of the game, Pokemon X and Y, look to be on track for best seller status, like so many versions before them.
Then again, the amount of 100 Yen (about one dollar) came up a few times during the interview. Would you buy a Pokemon for a buck?
What if it was the last one you needed to complete the National Pokedex?
A Farewell to Pokemon October 15, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in DS, entertainment, Nintendo, Pokemon.
Tags: Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS Lite, Pokemon X & Y
We were out shopping on Sunday. For some reason my wife asked me to come along and for equally inexplicable reasons I said yes. I do not like wandering around the mall “shopping” and begin to behave like an 8 year old in making up games and distractions to pass the time. This, in turn, annoys the crap out of my long-suffering wife, so clearly neither of us was thinking straight on this call.
But as we made our way through the electronics section of Target, my daughter went over to the Nintendo section and spotted the new Pokemon X and Y games.
She actually seemed both surprised and excited to see a new Pokemon game out. I knew it had shipped. I still get email updates from Nintendo and was aware that the new games were releasing world wide this past Saturday. I just hadn’t said (or written) anything about it. (Keen and Graev have some posts about the new games.) But I have to admit I have been interested in the game.
Pokemon used to be one of our things.
My daughter was attracted to the game a long ways back, when we saw a Nintendo DS on display at a store with Pokemon loaded up. It was colorful, the basic functions were immediately comprehensible to her, and the idea of capturing little pets and making them battle held an attraction for her. She was into bugs and dinosaurs and animals when she was that age. (Now, however, she screams bloody murder if there is a moth in the shower with her.)
Of course to play Pokemon you had to buy the hardware, a Nintendo DS. That was the stopping point, until we were about to go on a trip and my wife gave me the mandate to go buy one to keep our daughter entertained on the plane for five hours. So I went out and bought a pink Nintendo DS Lite along with LEGO Star Wars, Mario Party DS, and Pokemon Diamond.
I could have skipped the first two. We spent the whole trip playing Pokemon. My daughter was in kindergarten at the time and needed help reading some of the text in the game… this was before she had been trained by World of Warcraft to skip all quest text… so I spent a chunk of that time reading the game text aloud to her. That was a bit of a chore for me, but got her motivated to read.
The game was such a success that a couple of months later my wife bought me a cobalt blue Nintendo DS Lite and my own copy of Pokemon Diamond and we were off.
We played through that together, went on to Pokemon Platinum, and really hit our peak during Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver. We were wearing out Pokewalkers everywhere (and cheating a bit using physics and LEGO). There were mishaps and tragedies and meddling cats, but we were into it. We went to the Pokemon regional championships, played with Pokemon Ranch, and in went to the Pokemon Black and White tour when it showed up at a local mall. I even caught ‘em all, nabbing all 493 Pokemon that were available in the series up to that point.
But then Pokemon Black and White came along and we were not quite as interested. In part that was because we had played so much Pokemon up to that point. We might have been a bit burned out having burned through all the predecessors on the DS, plus a couple of the GameBoy Advance versions, which also ran on the DS Lite.
Then there is also the fact that all Pokemon games are very much alike at some basic level. You start out in the world as a youth, you meet some Pokemon expert, you get your first Pokemon, and you head out into the world to catch Pokemon, battle gym leaders, and eventually take on the regional champions, all while battling a rival and some oddly dressed organization bent on evil. And all of it takes place in a world completely obsessed with Pokemon and where all conflict is resolved by Pokemon battles.
After a few runs through that, you might get a little tired of it.
And then there are the special features each game brings to the table. My daughter and I used to enjoy playing together in the underground in Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. It was a shared environment you could link up in on WiFi. We were also fond of the Pokewalker and the way your lead Pokemon would walk around with you in HeartGold and SoulSilver. In Black and White the key features were the graphics, which were improved, 150 new Pokemon (groan), and a lot of online WiFi connectivity (like Global Link) that did not really click with us. Neither of us finished Black or White and we never bothered with Black 2 and White 2. (Which I still think were dumb names.)
Finally, there were just other distractions. Other games to play, other things to do. My daughter was growing up and little things like Pokemon were no longer quite so important. So we have not been playing Pokemon for quite a while. I would say that we are at least two years past the last time either of us played with any read drive.
But the memory of those times, of playing together, of figuring out where to go next, of catching and trading Pokemon, that all remains. And I think some of that came rushing back to her when we were standing there at the counter looking at the new Pokemon. She was gushing a bit when she asked, “Can we get it?”
I had to tell her we could not.
While Pokemon X and Y have the usual range of features and even a slick way to transfer your old Pokemon over to the new games via the internet (assuming you have them all in Pokemon Black or White) using a feature called Pokemon Bank, there was a problem.
Pokemon X and Y are the first versions of the main line of Pokemon games that are exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS generation of handheld gaming devices. Our Nintendo DS Lites are now pretty much obsolete. When Nintendo stops shipping Pokemon on a platform, it is done.
There certainly seems to be some hunger for a version of Pokemon on the 3DS platform. It is on track to be a big seller, moving 4 million units on its first two days. The top Pokemon games of all time are Pokemon Diamond and Pearl which together move nearly 18 million units.
My daughter had an immediate solution to this problem, which was to buy new hardware!
I have clearly failed to instill any sort of sense as to the value of money in my daughter.
I had to tell her that wasn’t going to happen either. At least not right then. Something like a Nintendo 3DS is a Christmas/Birthday present (or maybe a going on long trip present) and not something we just buy on a whim while at the store on a Sunday afternoon. Even the more moderately priced Nintendo 2DS, about which I am a bit dubious given what I have read (turns out it has just one big LED panel for both screens), falls outside of the impulse buy price range in my opinion.
My daughter’s response was in the “Oh well” range of emotions. She didn’t seem all that put out by it and I somehow doubt that a Nintendo 3DS is going to make it to her Christmas list. And if it did, I think she is more interested in Animal Crossing: New Leaf than Pokemon.
So I suspect that we have had our time with Pokemon.
Our Wii Lingers, Waiting for Retirement April 18, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Hardware, Nintendo, wii.
It was at the height of the Wii’s popularity. People were talking about it. Wii remotes were breaking TV screens. It was fair game for humor. It spawned hilarious peripherals. It was practically a meme on its own.
The previous Christmas season you could not find one for love or money… well, unless you wanted to spend a LOT of money on eBay… while competing consoles were sitting on the shelves, primarily due to their high price tags. My wife was able to score one in the post-holiday season, but it had to stay under wraps for a couple months because we were moving.
But once it was out of the box, it was a hit in our house. My daughter and I played a lot of Wii Sports and Mario Party 8 and LEGO Star Wars, various flavors of Mario Kart (though never Mario Kart Wii), and old classics from the Wii Virtual Console. Miis were created in imitation of friends and family.
It was a time of excitement, as the Wii represented something new.
It was also perfect timing in our lives. My daughter was just five years old when the Wii showed up, which was just about the perfect age for the games we were playing.
It became a Saturday morning tradition. My daughter would wake me up early… before 7am early… and we would get up, jump in the giant Love Sac not-a-bean-bag-chair in the family room ( I really miss that thing… one of our cats was constantly peeing on it, so it had to go), and play games for hours.
Later, the Nintendo DS and Pokemon took over our Saturday morning focus, though the Wii still found ways to stay a part of the picture. There was Pokemon Battle Revolution, which was deeply integrated with Pokemon Diamond and Pearl (but not any of the subsequent Pokemon titles) and Pokemon Ranch, which let you store and track your Pokemon collection.
Time went on. Pokemon began to fade. My daughter got a Nintendo DSi XL, which could download demo software on its own, without having to connect to the Wii, a restriction we faced with the DS Lite units.
But there were still things to do. Rock Band was a big hit. We actually had adults coming over to play.
And my daughter started playing Wii games that I did not like, such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, or at which I simply sucked, like Super Mario Bros. Wii. But her friends liked those games and played them with her instead.
At that point I was pretty much done with the Wii aside from Netflix streaming service, which at the time was free for any Netflix subscriber.
Time passed, the old TV died and we got a new, high def TV. That, in turn, prompted me to get a PlayStation 3, as the Wii does not support anything beyond 480p. We could now stream Netflix in HD and watch movies in Blu-Ray. The Wii started to get used less and less.
Then Little Big Planet showed up on the PlayStation 3. That became pretty much the only console game getting played.
My daughter’s interests are better served with by her iMac. She has PhotoShop Elements and a Wacom tablet hooked up for art. She has Minecraft. WoW doesn’t thrill her any more, though maybe if Runic could get to work on Torchlight II for the Mac as they promised, that might be of some interest. I already bought her a copy.
But my daughter, now very much a pre-teen, is not so interested in the Wii, or even the PlayStation 3. It is all about her phone, her Nook Color, and her iMac.
And I am a PC gamer from way back, so console games, which always feel limited to me, have little pull.
I think the Wii went from Christmas to Easter without getting used once. At Easter we had friends over, and their kids have a Wii, and Super Mario Bros. Wii is still on the list for them, so we broke that out. Our Wii got played with a little bit. But it will likely make it from Easter to Thanksgiving without much of a workout in between.
Its days are numbered. Even Nintendo is beginning to shut down services on the Wii as they try to push people towards the Wii U. We have no interest in the Wii U around our house, which seems to be a common theme.
It is probably just the small size of the unit in the entertainment console that is keeping it around. And the fact that the Wii Fit balance board fits under the whole setup.
At some point it, the controllers, and its games are going to get boxed up and stored away, waiting for somebody to get a pang of nostalgia.
The Wii was a fine console for our family, and showed up at just the right time.
Wii Sports was great, Mario Party 8 and its mini games were lots of fun, and all the LEGO games were great until they started doing split screen, which gave me a headache.
But that time seems to have mostly passed at this point.
I have said in the past that I get a game console every 15 years. There was an Atari 2600 in 1977. A Sega Genesis in 1992. And then the Wii in 2007. The PlayStation 3 doesn’t really count as it only gets used for Blu-Ray, streaming video, and, since I set up the NAS service with a hard drive on our router, a bit of music streaming now and again.
So I guess the next stop is in 2022. What will we have then?
Tags: Pokemon Black, Pokemon Video Game Championship Series, Pokemon White
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Pokemon.com has the information up for the Spring 2012 Pokemon Regional Championships.
Unlike last year, where the regional matches were part of a big Pokemon road show and occurred on consecutive weekends throughout Spring, this year the matches are being run by regional partners and are all taking place on the same day, April 15.
In California, the nearest regional event is still close by my home, just across the bay in Pleasanton.
Links to information about other regional matches are available at Pokemon.com.
The US National Championships will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 30th – July 1st, 2012, and the World Championships will happen in Waikaloa, just up the road from Kona, on the big island of Hawaii on August 10th-12th, 2012.
Tags: Pokemon Black, Pokemon White, Reshiram, Zekrom
Pokemon.com has announced that Nintendo is offering a chance for owners of Pokemon Black and White to get the legendary Pokemon that is not available on each given game as part of the regular adventure.
The text of the announcement reads:
Add the Legendary Pokémon Reshiram or Zekrom to your game with a special distribution event beginning on March 10th and ending April 8th via the Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection service*! The Pokémon that you’ll receive into your copy of Pokémon Black Version or Pokémon White Version will be the Pokémon that is not available in that version during normal gameplay. So, you’ll receive Reshiram into your Pokémon White Version game and Zekrom into your Pokémon Black Version game.
These Legendary Pokémon are Level 100, and have moves that make them extremely powerful in battle. Plus, you’ll know they are special Pokémon because they come in a Cherish Ball and are adorned with a Wish Ribbon.
The opportunity to get these Legendary Pokémon won’t be around long, so don’t miss your chance to get Reshiram or Zekrom for your game!
*Wireless broadband access required for online features. For more info, go to support.nintendo.com.
What is boils down to is that for a limited time, if you have Pokemon Black, you can download the legendary Zekrom.
And if you have Pokemon White, you will be able to download the legendary Reshiram.
The downloads are available now. I have downloaded Reshiram to my copy of Pokemon White already.
The event is slated to last from March 10th through April 8th, though as we saw with the Mewtwo download event, Nintendo some times changes their mind, so download yours sooner rather than later.
These special Reshiram and Zekrom also unlock a special in the Pokemon Dream World.
This is not an in-store event. This download is only available via Nintendo WiFi. Instructions are available here at Pokemon.com.
Tags: Pokemon Black, Pokemon Black Version 2, Pokemon White, Pokemon White Version 2
Nintendo has announced the next versions of the ever popular Pokemon franchise on their handheld game system. They are to be, giving them their official names, Pokemon Black Version 2 and Pokemon White Version 2. These two titles will be out in Japan by the summer and in Europe and North America some time in the fall.
This sort of breaks the pattern of Pokemon game releases that have gone before it.
Over the years, a pattern has evolved that Nintedo will release a pair of games, like Diamond and Pearl, each of which has some Pokemon not available on the other. This is to encourage, depending on your level of cynicism, playing and trading with friends, buying both damn versions of the game, or boosting the sales of those cheat add-ons which some no doubt believe Nintendo secretly funds.
Then, in a year or so, Nintendo will launch a single, slightly revised version of the the two games, Pokemon Platinum in this example, which has all of the Pokemon from both Diamond and Pearl, so you can feel like a schnook for playing through both of the original games AND the new one. Pokemon Emerald and Crystal were also examples of this sort of update.
And then Nintendo goes back to remake an older version of the game. HeartGold and SoulSilver were remakes of Gold and Silver. Remakes always get that modifier in the name it seems. FireRed and LeafGreen were further examples of that.
Then, finally, Nintendo gets around to knocking out a new version of the game, which is where new Pokemon get introduced (and I have to think this is the tough part, putting together a batch of 150 new Pokemon that are balanced and useful and don’t seriously offend any cultures that buy a lot of these games) in a new land.
So really, while there have been about 20 Pokemon games (not the spin-offs, the classic Pokemon role playing games), there are only really five settings in which they take place and, honestly, one damn story played out over and over again, a young boy/girl sets out to defeat some oddly dressed bad guys and become the reigning champion in a world obsessed by Pokemon.
And while I sound cynical, the system has worked. I have the games on the shelf to prove it, and the sales numbers do not lie. Any year a classic Pokemon RPG title gets released, it is on the top 20 list for game sales that year, and often the next year as well.
So it is always a bit surprising when a company like Nintendo, which has been living off Mario for 30 years and Pokemon for the last 15, deviates from their traditional path, especially when such deviations often fail. (Compare Mario Party 8 sales to Wii Party… Mario Party with Miis versus Mario… and well, they are not that far apart actually, but Nintendo is still going back to tradition and Mario Party 9 will be the next version.)
I was expecting that single wrap up title to come out, to combine all of the Pokemon in Black and White with a name like… well, Gray isn’t a great plan I guess… maybe Pokemon Checkerboard?
Instead, we are getting two rework games with the continuation of exclusivity of Pokemon between the two and what have to be the worst name choices ever in the main Pokemon game line. Version 2? Really?
And even the main Pokemon in the game, the legendaries that you play through the whole game to catch, are on the lame name bandwagon. Rather that two distinct yet unpronounceable names, we have Black Kyurem and White Kyurem. And they appear to be basically the same Pokemon with just a different color scheme and a slightly different accessory kit.
There is not much out there… at least not in English… about the Black and White Version 2 story or new features that might get introduced, but at a high level it feels like the Pokemon team is running out of ideas.
I know, complaining that the latest two games feel repetitive when the whole series is, quite frankly, the same game retold nearly 20 times is silly, but it is like they aren’t even giving us the fig leaf so that we can pretend that this is something new.
In the end Nintendo will have to do more than merely crank up the repetitive dial another notch in order to keep this from being a best seller. There are a lot of people out there who are mad for Pokemon.
And a new release will mean launch events and special downloads and all sorts of thing that I will no doubt participate in over the spring and summer.
And when fall comes, I am sure we will buy a copy of each game. Because that is the way it works.
Mewtwo for Me and You – Pokemon Download Coming Soon January 29, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Nintendo, Pokemon.
Tags: Mewtwo, Nintendo Wi-Fi, Pokemon Black, Pokemon White
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Pokemon who get their own entry in Wikipedia are pretty rare, there being 646 Pokemon available at this point, so Mewtwo is pretty important in the Pokemon mythos. Nintendo says about the impending Mewtwo event:
The legend of the Genetic Pokémon Mewtwo has grown ever since it debuted in the Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version games. The Psychic-type Pokémon has always been considered one of the most powerful Pokémon available, and also very tough to catch.
You’ll have a new opportunity to get the Legendary Mewtwo once again! Starting on February 12th, you can receive Mewtwo for your Pokémon Black Version or Pokémon White Version game. Take part in a limited-time distribution event to get this amazing Pokémon. This Mewtwo is incredibly strong and fast, and it even has an exclusive move that Mewtwo cannot normally learn!
However, while Nintendo is being coy, Siliconera is reporting that they have already done this same download event in Japan and they are unlikely to change things up for the distribution in North America.
So if you have Pokemon Black or White, be ready come February 12th for this Nintendo WiFi special offer. I suspect the instructions will be similar to the Victini event they had at the end of December.
Victini Available for Download Again Through Dec. 31 December 3, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in DS, entertainment, Nintendo, Pokemon.
In celebration of the release of the Pokemon movie… erm… movies… you see there is Pokémon the Movie: Black—Victini and Reshiram and Pokémon the Movie: White—Victini and Zekrom… because that is the sort of forward thinking that got Nintendo where it is today… now where was I?
Because of… the movie thing… Nintendo is making Victini available for download via Nintendo WiFi again.
This Victini download is different from the previous one. This Victini is higher level, has a special ability, and is the star of the 14th Pokemon movie (and only the second or third not to go straight to video). This Victini also goes straight into your party. There is no need to get the Liberty pass and go catch him.
The instructions on how to download Victini are available at the Pokemon Black & White web site.
Remember that this is NOT an in-store event, but a download you can do from any WiFi internet access point.
Meanwhile, there is still no official work from Nintedo on the next Pokemon game.
Augmented Reality Pokemon for the Nintendo 3DS October 4, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in DS, entertainment, Nintendo, Pokemon.
Tags: 3D Pokedex, Augmented Reality, Nintendo 3DS, Pokedex, Pokemon Black, Pokemon White
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That seemed to me a bit of a gimmick, though at least it was a freebie. And people who bought 3DS units right away probably need all the support they can get, what with the short battery life and such.
This allows you to print out what they call and “AR Card,” place it at some real, physical location, such as on your kitchen table, and then, when you view that through the 3DS, the Pokemon whose AR Card you have appears to be there, on the table.
Again, something of a gimmick in my mind. People have played with this sort of thing. Apparently, the side of the card you print out dictates how big the item will be when viewed, so there was a story over at Kotaku about people printing out poster sized cards to insert life-size Marios into the world.
Nintendo even has a poster sized AR Card that will let you view your Mii (yes, the 3DS has Miis) in full, human scale height.
Not having a 3DS as yet (call me when they get to the second generation… and only if they improve battery life) I do not know exactly what you can do, other than view the images and take pictures of them. Though that might be enough. I’d put a giant Mario next to my car for a photo op if I could.
But the Pokemon AR Cards also give you something else.
Use the AR Viewer in Pokédex 3D to view Pokémon projected into the real world! When you point the camera at these special Pokémon AR Markers, you’ll be able to see and take pictures of Pokémon in 3D. In most cases, when you view one of these Pokémon AR Markers you will increase your chances of receiving the Pokémon that you’ve scanned. But if you scan certain Legendary or Mythical Pokémon’s AR Markers, you will receive those Pokémon instantly!
Okay, you can only see Pokemon you already have. And using the AR Card for ones you do not have will increase your chance of getting that Pokemon as part of a SpotPass.
But if you view a legendary or mythical Pokemon, and you do not have it, you will receive it immediately?
I hate to cry “welfare epics,” but isn’t stalking and catching those rare and elusive Pokemon part of the reason to play the game?
Okay, I suppose when the obsession is upon you, you will do many things to fill that Pokedex. I know how that mania feels, and the lengths to which you will go to catch them all.
I can even go along with the SpotPass option, as it is one of the ways of getting Pokemon that are not in your version of the game. (Black and White each have their own exclusives.)
But handing out legendary Pokemon for printing out an AR Card?
That seems… hollow.
At least to me.
Yes, I have gotten my share of legendary Pokemon from download events. But at least those were out of the house, limited time, go somewhere and see other Pokemon players activities.
Ah well, gotta sell those 3DS units somehow I suppose. I bet some Pokemon fan is even now planning to buy a 3DS just to get the legendary Pokemon.
Zoroark Download Event Coming to Toys R Us! September 15, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in DS, entertainment, Nintendo, Pokemon.
Tags: Download Event, Pokemon Black, Pokemon Download Event, Pokemon White, Zoroark
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It has been somewhat quiet on the Pokemon front, with Pokemon Black and White being limited to WiFi downloads since the launch back in March and only the 2011 Pokemon World Championship Series in the news since.
However, Nintendo has a Pokemon movie going to DVD, and that is just the thing to get them to cough up a download event with a special Pokemon.
From September 18th through September 25th you will be able to download a special level 50 version of Zoroark at Toys R Us. Find the details here.
Previously, the only way to get Zoroark was to have downloaded and transferred the three shiny legendary Pokemon from the Pokemon Black and White pre-release events. If you missed that, you now have another opportunity to get Zoroark.
In addition, Pokemon.com is running a number of additional promotions to go along with the release of the movie to DVD, including a Win With Zoroark Sweepstakes that runs through the end of September. The prizes include copies of the movie, but the grand prize is a Nintendo 3DS and a full suite of Pokemon Black and White games and accessories.
The download event is for Pokemon Black and White only. All of the details are available at Pokemon.com.