The Nintendogs and Cooking Mama cartridges have been set aside and Pokemon Diamond has occupied the Nintendo DS of at least one young person around our home.
When it comes down to it, I only ever really play Pokemon Diamond on my DS, so if I am not playing that, my DS is sitting on the charger and waiting. Sure, I might be up for Mario Party DS once in a while, or maybe Mario Kart, but Pokemon is where it is at for me.
We started playing Pokemon Diamond about a year ago, my daughter getting a DS and a copy of the game on Valentine’s Day last year while I got me own DS and copy on my birthday, a little less than a month after that.
My daughter and I enjoyed the main storyline of the game. It takes you through the Sinnoh region where you catch Pokemon, challenge other pokefans, defeat gym leaders, fight the nefarious Team Galactic, and fill out the Sinnoh Pokedex for Professor Rowan.
It is Professor Rowan who starts you down the path in this game.
And, at the end of the main storyline, when Team Galactic is thwarted and you have defeated Cynthia the regional Pokemon League Champion, you run off and fill out the last entry, the 150th, in the Sinnoh Pokedex and earn a star on your trainer card.
The essential part of the game is done at that point. You can say you have played Pokemon Diamond (or Pearl).
There is a follow on story and some more to do along that line. There are contests to enter, people to challenge, and a few more places to explore, but you have that star. You could walk away satisfied.
The thing of it is, you can get more stars.
Stars. Why is it always stars with Nintendo?
And the next and most obvious star to get is the one for completing the National Pokedex. Professor Rowan hands you over to his mentor, Professor Oak, who upgrades your Pokedex so you can catalog all of the known Pokemon.
You think you’re ready for the National Pokedex just because you’ve finished up the Sinnoh Pokedex?
Here is a way to measure what you are up against.
There are two Prima guides to Pokemon Diamond and Pearl.
The first one, which is 269 pages long, is devoted to teaching you how to play the game, including how to do all the side activities you run into along the way, as well as guiding you through the main story through to that first star.
The second one is 456 pages long and it is mostly devoted to completing the National Pokedex.
You see, Professor Rowan is a softy. He let you fill out the Sinnoh Pokedex by just “seeing” the 150 Pokemon native to Sinnoh.
Professor Oak though is a cast iron bastard of the old school.
To complete the National Pokedex you have to personally capture or otherwise obtain and have in your possession all of the Pokemon. That is 493 Pokemon, and you gotta catch em all.
And many of them aren’t even in the game!
And I am not talking about the few that are in Diamond but not Pearl and vice versa.
I set out to master the National Pokedex.
Some Pokemon are just evolutions of the Pokemon you already have, though sometimes you need a particular stone or situation to bring on the evolution. I have farmed the underground for such stones and worked to develop friendship levels that would all evolution to occur. I am lucky that my daughter and I both play, as some Pokemon need to be traded to another person via wireless for them to evolve.
Some Pokemon you need are actually in the game, but are rare or only show up at special times or under special circumstances. I have jumped through hoops to trigger events. I have set my Outlook calendar to remind me of special dates. I have checked the game every day to see if today was the mass outbreak event that would yield an as yet uncaught Pokemon. I have spoken the owner of the Pokemon mansion regularly to see if there was a needed Pokemon in his garden that day. I have stalked the Pastoria Great Marsh in search of the daily rare rotation.
Some of them can be brought into the game via an Pokemon breeding program that involves putting two Pokemon in daycare. The an egg mysteriously shows up and you have to get it to hatch. This does not involve sitting on it, but rather traveling with it as part of your Pokemon team. I have hatched many an egg now.
Some Pokemon only appear in game if you have one of the older GameBoy Advance versions of the game inserted in the front slot of your Nintendo DS. I initially scoured eBay for low cost, used copies of those games. I found that there is such demand that they go for almost retail. So I have purchased some new off the shelf when I have had a Toys R Us coupon or the like. I have hunted down all of those that could be obtained while having FireRed, LeafGreen, Emerald, or Sapphire inserted.
Some Pokemon must be migrated from those older games. That means you have to have played that game and captured that particular Pokemon. In a bit of luck, the copy of FireRed I got used had a game in progress on it and I was able to snaffle a couple of Pokemon that way. My daughter also played quite a ways into Pokemon Emerald and picked up a couple of needed Pokemon.
Some Pokemon you can only get through special Nintendo events, all of which I announce here to help spread the word.
You can obtain Pokemon via an international wireless trading network that Nintendo has set up, the Pokemon Global Trade Station. You can visit the website for it and see statistics on how many Pokemon are being traded on a given day, which ones are popular, and so on. From the Global Trade Station I have obtain Pokemon from all over the world. Japan is the most common location, but I have Pokemon from Australia, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Antigua, Egypt, South Africa, and places in between. I had quite a long string of success farming Meowths from FireRed and trading them for rare Pokemon. People in Japan will trade you anything for a Meowth it seems.
And after all my end game work… I “finished” the game and got that first star back in May 2008… I have obtained 358 Pokemon. (I have seen 403, but that won’t get my anywhere with Professor Oak.)
That is 134 short of being done.
And while there are another 40 I could get with a little work on each one… get around to hatching another few eggs… get a few more levels for some… trade a few with my daughter… that still leaves me nearly 100 shy of being done.
I am sure I am not alone in failing to complete the National Pokedex in Diamond/Pearl. I have never met anybody who has completed it. Not honestly, anyway.
I always ask the kids hanging around at the Pokemon download events if they have finished it. The only one who said yes also said he had to cheat to do it. I did not ask how he cheated, but I have no doubt there are ways.
I just have to face it. I am not going to complete the National Pokedex, not before Pokemon Platinum comes out. I am worn out from trying. Once Platinum shows up, I look forward to starting a fresh storyline, unconcerned with finishing the National Pokedex, at least for a while.
But once I have finished the main storyline in Platinum I bet Professor Oak will be there, waiting for me, ready to upgrade my Pokedex, ready to send me out in to capture nearly 500 Pokemon.
Will I be ready for the challenge?
I’ll have 358 in my pocket, so to speak, ready to transfer into the game.
There will be a new and improved Global Trade Center with which to obtain those final hundred and thirty four.
I’ll have a couple of years before the next version of Pokemon comes out.
It could happen.