Tag Archives: Pokemon Blue

Friday Bullet Points from Beyond the Blog

Or just some tidbits I want to bring up which didn’t quite justify posts of their own.

Nintendo and More Nostalgia Validation

As part of the 20th anniversary of Pokemon, Nintendo released Virtual Console version of the original Pokemon Red, Blue, & Yellow on February 27th of this year.

Old games come to the Virtual Console

Old games come to the Virtual Console

They just reported some sales numbers, which included more 1.5 million copies of those three titles.  Not bad for 20 year old games.  Of course, as I noted, vanilla Pokemon, if you will, plays pretty well.

EverQuest II hits Game Update 100

I can’t recall if EQII has gone through every number, 1-99, with updates, but still, hitting 100 is something of note.  And this update has a bit of a nostalgia twist to it.  While I’m not exactly thrilled about the owl mounts, the re-use of Zek, the orcish wastes zone for additional content has me happy.  It has always been one of my favorites among the original zones, probably for its consistent/coherent “orcs, orcs, orcs” theme.

I won’t be playing it however.  For openers, I think my highest level characters are still in Kunark… which is late 2007 content.  And then there is the fact that I am still pottering around on the Stormhold nostalgia server, where I am level 22.

Nostalgia on Wayne!

Nostalgia on Wayne!  Often the theme of this blog.

However, Stormhold still seems to be lively enough.  There aren’t five versions of The Commonlands running any more, but Freeport always has a couple versions running due to population.  Still, it is nostalgia one way or the other.  That seems to be a theme of late.

Blizzard Might Give You a Free Copy of Warlords of Draenor

Way back after Blizz announced the Warlords of Draenor expansion, I had a post about phishing attempt offering a free version of the expansion.  One of the key tells was Blizz giving you a free copy of… well… anything.

Of course, things change.  As Keen reports, Blizz now has an offer out to long lapsed subscribers offering them some free game time as well as a FREE copy of Warlords of Draenor.

Nostalgic old WoW logo, image swiped from Keen and cropped

Nostalgic old WoW logo, image swiped from Keen and cropped

Blizz must be staring at the reality of a long spring/summer until WoW Legion hits.  They stopped announcing subscription numbers last year, but it would be hard to imagine they have gone up from 5.5 million in the last six months.

Of course, this offer has only gone out to people who didn’t purchase Warlords of Draenor, which is making me think about my pre-order of WoW Legion.  Given that my post-Cataclysm experiences in WoW have generally been best when I am late to the expansion party… being a year late to Mists of Panderia was excellent timing… I am tempt to just cancel my pre-order and wait a year or so until Blizz is ready to give me a free copy of WoW Legion.  Or until they open a retro server.  One or the other.

DC Universe Online and on XBox One

Well, the first title for the company formerly known as SOE has made it to the XBox.  As promised earlier this year, the five year old DC Universe Online has gone live on the Microsoft console platform.

XBox One! Would you like to know more?

XBox One! Would you like to know more?

Back during the Daybreak transition, this was one of Smed’s selling points, the ability to get titles on to XBox.  We shall see if it was worth the effort.  But at least they made their “Spring 2016” target.  Making dates is generally a good sign.

Diablo III Season 6 Starts Tonight

Just a passing note on this.  I had a lot of fun with Diablo III and Season 5… right up until the moment I got that last achievement and stopped logging in.  Goal driven much?  Still, the Season thing seems to work well, especially for those of us who are goal drive.  And here comes Season 6.

It has a 6 on a leaf, because leaves are seasons or something

It has a 6 on a leaf, because leaves are seasons or something

However I am not sure at this point if Season 6 is in the cards for me.  I might need to skip a season to keep it fresh.  I would want to play a fresh character again, but not another crusader, so I would have to figure that out.  And I would have to see if the rewards appeal to me at all.

EVE Vegas is Coming

One of the final announcement at EVE Fanfest this past weekend was the date for EVE Vegas this year, which has sort of become the US EVE Fanfest.   The official EVE Vegas site has all the details.

The would be Halloween weekend

The would be Halloween weekend

Tickets went on sale while players were still in Iceland and the early bird discount tickets were gone in a flash.  I am tempted to go.  I had a good time last year.  However, Halloween weekend seems like an awkward time to plan such an event.  It will definitely not be an “off” weekend for the strip, which means prices for everything will be up and venues will be crowded.  Not a problem for the party animals I am sure, but for a grumpy old guy who prefers discussion groups with maybe four or five people, this might not be the ideal date.  Anyway, tickets are going fast so my decision to go or not might be made for me.

Anyway, those are all the items that I had on my list of notes.  Tomorrow there will be an end of month post and then we will be in May.

Pokemon – Into the Blue

My relationship with with core Pokemon RPG games on Nintendo handheld systems began about eight years ago with Pokemon Diamond and the Nintendo DS Lite hardware.  That is my foundation point when it comes to the series, my intro and indoctrination into Pokemon.

Pokemon Diamond and the DS Lite

Pokemon Diamond and my DS Lite

I obviously enjoyed the game as I have come back for every new version of the game… eventually… since that time.

But starting when I did, the game had already been in play and evolving for twelve years, through three generations and a remix of the original games.  Or I assumed it was evolving.  So when the series hit its 20th anniversary back in February and released virtual console versions of Pokemon Red, Blue, & Yellow, I saw this as a chance to explore the origins of the series, to get the feel of how things were back in 1996 when the whole Pokemon thing was just starting.

Old games come to the Virtual Console

Old games come to the Virtual Console

When they came out my daughter said she wanted to play Pokemon Red… though I don’t think she has even launched the game yet… so I went with Pokemon Blue.  I thought about Pokemon Yellow for a bit, but decided against that because it was a revision that came later and might be different enough to matter.

So I downloaded it and off I went.

The first thing I want to say is that it runs very well and looks better than I expected.  Yes, my 3DS XL has more than enough horsepower to run an old GameBoy game, but the GameBoy also had a wee 160 × 144 pixel LCD display.  The upper screen on the 3DS series is 400 x 240 pixels, so I was a bit worried that Pokemon Blue might end up tiny to look at even on the bigger XL display.

However, they appear to have scaled it up well so it fills the screen vertically in emulation.  The game also looks good.  I was wondering how a 4 shade gray scale game might end up looking on a color screen.  The graphics are better than I expected and quite readable.  I don’t even have to put on my reading glasses to play, though first version Pikachu looks a bit more plump than the star of the series is rendered today.

Finding a Pikachu!

Finding a pudgy Pikachu!

It also plays very well.  It is zippy and responsive and aside from the fact that I keep reflexively pulling out the stylus when ever I want to name a captured Pokemon… no touch screen in the GameBoy era, so you have to move the cursor with the D-pad… I settled into the game very well.

The surprise, for me, is how fully formed the game came out back in 2006.  The story line is the same neglectful parent letting you wander the world at the whim of a Pokemon professor named after a tree.  There is an group bent on evil that you must defeat.  The progression through the world is the same, with all the usual way points in forests or underground passages.  You get a bicycle, there is a bicycle only road, there is a tower haunted by ghost Pokemon, there is your rival, there are Poke Marts and at the Poke Center Nurse Joy hopes to see you again even though this must mean that you have injured Pokemon.  There is the safari park, a ship, and the GameFreak offices.  Pokemon gyms have themes and you sometimes have to go find the leader, and you have to go find the Poke flute in order to wake up a sleeping Snorlax that is blocking your path.

I seriously went into the game thinking I would list out all the things that were the same as Pokemon Diamond and quickly found that listing out the difference was a much better plan.  I am 6 gym badges and about 20 hours into the game and items on my list include:

  • NPCs don’t have individual names
  • No running shoes
  • Very limited inventory space
  • Pokemon daycare center doesn’t do breeding
  • No personal base

That isn’t a lot. (There was more, but I can’t find the damn list I was making.)  I left out some specific things, like Nintendo WiFi, but the series seemed to have come out more fully formed than I thought it might have.  I am kind of impressed at how much stuff they got into a GameBoy game.

On the flip side of that, one of my repeated gripes about the series is that it can sometimes feel like you are playing the same damn game over and over with only minor variations.  I thought that might have just been for my eight years of the series, but it looks to be the way things have gone for 20 years now.  Talk about sticking to a formula!  There is an article on the standard aspects of Pokemon RGP game play that lays it all out.

Anyway, the lesson I have learned over my time with the series is that it usually pays to take a break between games, lest the sameness overwhelm the individual variations and nuances that each title brings to this very specific genre.  Because, while they do all feel like they start with the same basic pattern, each game does have its own flavor.  But sometimes your palate has to be clear to detect the subtle flavors.

And the initial game isn’t all that seemed to arrive on the scene fully formed.  The game took the world by storm such that before many months had passed there was an animated TV show, a collectible card game, comic books, and the image of Pikachu on just about anything you could plaster it on.  It all appeared over here in the states in such quick succession that back then I couldn’t have told you what the initial start point for Pokemon was off hand.

But it all goes back to the original GameBoy games, and it has built a pretty amazing legacy over the last 20 years.

Now I have to defeat Team Rocket, get the last two gym badges, and go face the Poke League.

Pokemon Sun and Moon Coming for the Holidays

As we sit here on the day before the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Pokemon franchise, Nintendo has some new Pokemon related announcements.

The big one is, of course, the next new Pokemon games in the series, Pokemon Sun & Moon.  You can see the brief statement about the new games here.

Coming in Q4 2016

Coming in Q4 2016

While the setting and new features slated for Pokemon Sun & Moon are yet to be announced, we do know that they will link into the Pokemon Bank application available for the Nintendo 3DS series, which will allow players to move their Pokemon from Pokemon X & Y and Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire to the new title.

In addition, the revised versions of Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow, the original generation which started it all back in 1996, and which should be available in the 3DS store tomorrow, will also connect into Pokemon Bank.

A diagram from the presentation, so it must be true!

A diagram from the presentation, so it must be true!

This will allow you to catch the original 151 Pokemon… well, not Mew, but the other ones… in the initial setting and then bring them into the current generation of games.

Old games come to the Virtual Console

Coming to the Virtual Console February 27, 2016

It will be a one way trip from Pokemon Red, Blue, or Yellow, but you might as well catch them there, as we still have most of the year left to wait until Pokemon Sun & Moon come our way.

I have been waiting for this announcement for a while now, as we seemed due for a new Pokemon release announcement.  I guess waiting for the anniversary makes sense.

The questions that remain for me include, which of the original three should I grab, will I be able to endure a 20 year old version of Pokemon, and will I finally finish up Pokemon Alpha Sapphire before the holiday launch of the new titles?

And, if you’re dying for more Pokemon history, Polygon has a Pokemon timeline posted covering the last 20 years.

The Next New Pokemon Games are Old Pokemon Games

My daughter and I were talking about Pokemon about two weeks back and I was wondering when we might hear about the next Pokemon game.  Nintendo and Game Freak had been on about an “every 18 months” schedule, where they would release a title, announce the next title a year after that, and release it six months later.

And when I say a Pokemon game, I mean a game from the core RPG line of games on their handheld platform, the games started it all way back when and not one of the many subsidiary titles.  The last pair in that long line of games to come out was Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, just about a year back.

So I figured we were about due to at least hear about the next entry in the line.  And it just so happened that Nintendo had their Nintendo Direct event last week where they announced a pile of new games.  I watched on Twitter as they announced one thing after another… and then the event was over… and no NEW Pokemon game in the core RPG mold was announced.

But back in the list of things was an OLD Pokemon game… actually three… that had been mentioned.  Here in the West we will be getting the original, first three Pokemon titles to come out way, Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow.  The full announcement is here.

Old games come to the Virtual Console

Old games come to the Virtual Console

The titles will be arriving in the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console section of the Nintendo store right on the 20th anniversary of the original launch of Pokemon Red in Japan.  And we won’t even have to wait two and a half years to get versions for other markets.

The games that started it all 20 years ago

The games that started it all 20 years ago

And that is pretty cool, bringing back a 20 year old game for players today.

I’m just not all that excited about it.

Yeah, I an pro retro gaming and going back to examine our roots.   And I thought Twitch Plays Pokemon was pretty amusing.  But the GameBoy era wasn’t my time.

So the old monochrome graphics really don’t do much for me.  I started on the Nintendo DS hardware with Pokemon Diamond & Pearl nearly a decade after the originals.

Still, I will take this as a sign of things to come.

I noted previously that the Nintendo DS series of Pokemon games, Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, SoulSilver, Black, White, Black Version 2, and White Version 2, had all been pulled from store shelves because the Nintendo WiFi network support for them had been brought down, so Nintendo could no longer live up to what was being promised on the side of the box.

Go ahead, try to find some of those games for sale.  Some people are charging a premium for the more popular titles on that list.

Top Prices at Amazon

Top Prices at Amazon… better buy used…

I was able to get White Version 2 for a discount a year ago, but Black Version 2 was going for well over list already.

So my hope is that we might get some re-worked versions of the DS titles for the Virtual Console some day… though I wouldn’t throw over a new title for those quite yet.  I have grown used to the updated graphics on the 3DS.