Tag Archives: Pokemon Diamond

The Next Pokemon Release Will Be…

My guess is that the next Pokemon title will be a remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.

Pokemon Diamond & Pearl is where I joined Pokemon

And when I say “next Pokemon title” I mean the next release of the core RPG game that runs on the Nintendo handheld platform and not some subsidiary title riding on the Pokemon fame like Pokemon Snap or Pokken Tournament.

So why remake Pokemon Diamond & Pearl?

The core Pokemon franchise has been one of patterns over the years.  They are not always consistent, but they seem reliable enough to give one insight into what might come next.

The pattern started off with a release of a pair of titles… Red & Blue, Gold & Silver, Ruby & Sapphire, followed by a third title that represented a revision of the initial pair, respectively Yellow, Crystal, and Emerald.

Once Nintendo moved from the GameBoy and GameBoy Color to the GameBoy Advance and then the DS hardware, GameFreak used that as an opportunity to remake titles.  So Pokemon FireRed & LeafGreen, HeartGold & SoulSilver, and Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire came to be, reviving old locations and old foes (and already existing Pokemon) on new hardware with new features.

Having recently released a pair of titles set in a new location with new Pokemon being added to the Pokedex, it seems logical that the next title they go with will either be a remake of a past title or a third title to go with Pokemon Sun & Moon.

There are actually rumors of a Pokemon Stars out there, rumors that even I have heard, and I don’t pay much attention to much outside the official press releases for Pokemon. But that name sure fits the theme.

However, the rumors seem to be about this title coming to the Nintendo Switch as opposed to the 3DS platform.  If that is the case, it doesn’t count in my book.  Meanwhile, the whole “third title” pattern seems to be in decline.  The last true “third title” was Pokemon PlatinumPokemon Black & White got a Black & White Version 2, which stayed in the same region but which was a different story line, so that was sort-of a third (and fourth) title, but not in the spirit of past releases in that mold.  And then Pokemon X & Y, the first 3DS-only title, got no follow on third title, even though they had a Pokemon setup already for feature in a possible Pokemon Z.

Because of this, I think third titles might be out for now, which leaves a remake as an option.  So when I went to look for the oldest Pokemon generation that had yet to be remade, Pokemon Diamond & Pearl was the result.

Pokemon Diamond & Pearl seems about prime for a remake.  It came out in Japan over ten years ago, and is coming up on its ten year release anniversary in other regions soon.  That makes it feel like it is about due, as previous remakes were of titles 8-10 years in the past.

One difference however is that you can still play Pokemon Diamond & Pearl on the current 3DS hardware.  The flip side of that though is Nintendo looks to have stopped shipping the DS only titles, likely because the infrastructure to support those games, the old Nintendo WiFi and such, has been dismantled. Nintendo is up there with EA in closing stuff down as soon as the next title comes out.  So while you can find copies at Amazon or eBay, but they aren’t on the shelves at Target, WalMart, or Toys R Us for a reason.

And when it comes to that Pokemon Bank integrated National Pokedex of which I wrote last week, there is no official way to buy Pokemon Diamond & Pearl (and Platinum as well) in order to obtain the full range of generation 4 Pokemon.  And, unlike the Pokemon Black & White games, even if you have a copy you can’t get your Pokemon straight into Pokemon Bank.

Of course, there is another alternative.  Since Pokemon Diamond & Pearl already runs on the current 3DS hardware, Nintendo and GameFreak might decide to simply spruce the titles up a bit and put them in the Nintendo online store as Virtual Console titles the way they did with Pokemon Red, Blue, & Yellow back at the 20 year anniversary of the franchise.  Then it would be back to the old school look.

Pokemon Diamond back in the day

That wouldn’t be horrible.  I might buy a copy if they included Pokemon Bank integration, which I am sure they would would.  But I would really rather have a remake title the way they have done in the past.

No matter what is coming next for the Pokemon franchise, I bet we won’t hear an announcement until autumn.  I will just have to wait to see if my guess is correct.

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.

Honest Game Trailers – Pokemon Diamond and Pearl

Pokemon has been around for 20 years and a day now… and I’ve been on something of an Honest Game Trailers kick this month… so here is their take on my first Pokemon title, Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.

Yes, they put names on all of the Pokemon added with this generation.

And, if that isn’t enough, there are Honest Game Trailers for:

 

Pokemon Turns 20 Today

The Pokemon franchise turns 20 years old today.  It was back in 1996 that the original Pokemon Red & Green launched in Japan for the Nintendo GameBoy.

Pokemon20

With all of the things that have come since that initial launch… an animated TV series that is nearly 19 years old at this point, 19 movies, 10 TV specials, a collectible card game that remains hugely popular, and a host of spin-off games… it is sometimes easy to forget the rather humble beginnings of it all.  I was actually aware of the collectible card game and the TV series before I ever saw the game on a Nintendo handheld.

I had a Pikachu on my desk at work back in 1999 or so, and a few Japanese Pokemon cards that a friend gave me. I had even seen the TV series a few times… hell, the seizure causing episode is a bit of cultural lore at this point.  But my own journey with the core Pokemon role playing game didn’t come until 2008.

In February of that year we were going on a trip and, in order to keep our then six year old daughter occupied on a long flight, I was sent out the obtain a pink Nintendo DS Lite and a few games.  I think I grabbed LEGO Star Wars and Mario Kart along with Pokemon Diamond as the game selection, though I could have just picked up the last one.  It was all she played on the flight both ways.

During the trip I was impressed by the Nintendo DS Lite hardware.  It was compact, solidly built, had a great screen, long battery life, and built-in WiFi support.  But more than the hardware, I was impressed with the game.  My daughter, being six, had me help read some of the dialog in the game during the flights.  That exposed me to the game sufficiently that I decided I wanted to play too.  So, for my birthday the following month, I ended up getting a cobalt blue Nintendo DS Lite and my own copy of Pokemon Diamond.

Since then I have played a lot of Pokemon.

I have binged and played through titles in focused sprints.  I have played some of the spin-off games, like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon (basically a Rogue-like with Pokemon).  I have gotten burned out and let titles sit half way played for months at a stretch.  I’ve gone to watch tournaments and to download events and even a special Pokemon celebration at our local mall. I even collected them all at one point.

There are currently 133 Pokemon related posts on the blog, all under the Pokemon category.

The hardware has changed.  The DS Lite screen seems so small now… I used to be able to read it without glasses… and I have a Nintendo 3DS XL to play on these days.  The graphics have been updated.  But the basics of the game haven’t changed all that much.  And I am still looking forward to the launch of the next games, Pokemon Sun & Moon, which were officially announced yesterday.

But this is where it all started for me.

Pokemon Diamond and the DS Lite

My Pokemon Diamond and old DS Lite this morning

Now to decide which one of the three originals I want to grab from the 3DS store.  The obvious choice is Pokemon Yellow, because Pikachu.  But that also seems like the safe choice.  Plus it is in color.

Download Mythical Celebi at GameStop

Nintendo is running their Pokemon Black and White Tour currently, and one of the attractions is the ability to download a special Pokemon to your copy of Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, or SoulSilver, the Mythical Celebi… who I guess isn’t all that much of a myth if you can just download it.

Mythical Celebi

However, the Pokemon Black & White Tour is only visiting a few cities over the next few weeks.  So that Pokemon fans not near those locations won’t miss out on everything, Pokemon.com has announced that from February 21st through March 6th of this year, GameStop will be hosting the same Celebi download event that is accompanying the tour at all of their US locations.

Download Celebi – Meet Zorua

Downloading Celebi and transferring it to Pokemon Black & White will allow you to meet (and capture) the Pokemon Zorua.  That Pokemon is otherwise unavailable in the game.

This is an in-store only event.  You must got to a US GameStop store during the dates listed to be able to download these Pokemon.

However, since it is an in-store event, you will be able to download these Pokemon to Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold and SoulSilver.

As usual, all of the details are available at Pokemon.com.

The Last Weekend for the Shiny Pokemon Download at GameStop

The last of the shiny Pokemon download events, part of the build up to Pokemon Black and White, ends this weekend at GameStop.

The final shiny Pokemon, Suicune, is available to download through this coming Sunday, February 6th.

You appear to need all three shiny Pokemon for Pokemon Black and White.  When you transfer them to Pokemon Black or White you will unlock the ability to catch the new Pokemon Zoroark.  Zoroark will otherwise not be obtainable in the game.

And, while you are out on your download mission, you might as well stop by your local Toys R Us to download Ash’s Pikachu.  The download event for Ash’s Pikachu runs until February 13th.

Go Pikachu!

That will then be followed in some areas by the Pokemon tour.

And then, finally, Pokemon Black and White will ship on March 6th, at which point we can actually sit down and play the game!

Download Ash’s Pikachu at Toys R Us

Nintendo is really cranking up the download events for the launch of Pokemon Black and White.

First they announced the GameStop shiny Pokemon download event(s).

Then they announced the Pokemon Black and White Tour, which includes a download of its own.

And now Pokemon.com has announced that from January 30th to February 13th they are bringing in Toys R Us for… a Pikachu download event?  Really?

I am famous, everybody loves me!

I mean, yes, Pikachu is the head honcho, the top of the Pokemon Pyramid of Fame, he even has his own page on Wikipedia unlike most of his 392 fellow monsters, and his own balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but after that Yellow Forest Pokewalker route, does anybody not have enough Pikachu yet?

OMG Pikachu!

The place was nothing but Pikachu.  You had to catch dozens of ordinary Pikachu to get the mildly special Pikachu. I knew people who were very sick of Pikachu after that.

To be fair, this download event is for a Pikachu that has all the same abilities that Ash Ketchum‘s Pikachu has in the long-running Pokemon Anime TV series.  This includes, according to the promo page, Volt Tackle, Thunderbolt, and Iron Tail.  I’m not sure why they wouldn’t mention the fourth ability, since Pokemon can only have four abilities, and I am going to guess that regular viewers of the TV series could probably name it, so why hide it?

To create some minor mystery I guess.

And Pikachu also comes holding the Light Ball, which doubles up his attack stat and makes him 19% more adorable.

This event works with all of the DS native main-line Pokemon games, so you can download to Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, and SoulSilver.

Since we’re big on Pokemon at our house, I am sure we’ll be at Toys R Us downloading this extra special Pikachu to all of our copies of Pokemon.

Details on the event and how to download Ash’s Pikachu are available here.