Pokemon Diamond first showed up about two years ago.
And it was a huge hit. Big enough that I ended up with a DS Lite of my own for my birthday that year along with a copy of Pokemon Diamond.
That immersed us in the Pokemon subculture and we have been Pokemon fans ever since. We formed our own little Pokemon gyms at home, finished the main storyline of the game, and kept on in the seeming eternal struggle to finish up the national pokedex along with all of the other end game achievements. We go to all the download events and generally still play Diamond on a regular basis.
The popularity of Pokemon Diamond at home lead, of course, to other Pokemon games. There was Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, which is sort of NetHack meets Pokemon. It was a decent game, but the promised WiFi play proved to be so limited that it was a joke, which soured me on the game. (My daughter still plays it.)
My daughter also picked up Pokemon Ranger, which didn’t appeal to me so much, but which she seemed to quite enjoy.
We even picked up some of the GameBoy Advance games like Pokemon FireRed, LeafGreen, and Emerald because those need to be available to have a prayer of completing the national pokedex.
On the Wii there was Pokemon Battle Revolution, which got a lot a play time from us. We spent more than a few weekends battling each other or strangers over the Nintendo WiFi connection.
And there was Pokemon Ranch, which was more of a video toy than a game, but which helped drive the national pokedex effort by setting goals and occasionally coughing up a needed Pokemon.
We even got Pokemon Snap from the WiiWare shop, which is a rail shooter of sorts, only you take pictures of Pokemon rather than shoot them… regardless of how much you would rather be shooting them some days.
But nothing ever really supplanted Pokemon Diamond. Our travel gear always included our DS Lites, our Pokemon Diamond cartridges, and the Prima guide to the national pokedex to help us continue our hunt.
We had hope for Pokemon Platinum though. Being a classic Pokemon game, we thought that when it came out, we’d give up on Diamond and start playing that instead.
But we never quite made that transition.
Pokemon Platinum is one of those odd games in the Pokemon niche. The pattern of game release usually has a pair of games (Diamond/Pearl or Ruby/Sapphire) which each have Pokemon exclusive to one or other of the pair, followed up by a re-work of the game (Platinum or Emerald) which keeps the same basic storyline and only adds features and access to more Pokemon.
So when it arrived, Pokemon Platinum fell flat.
We got through the first couple of gym badges, then went back to Diamond where we were having fun battling and catching those remaining Pokemon.
So when we were packing for our recent trip to Maui, I was sorting through which DS games to bring along. Our Diamond cartridges went into the case, naturally. So did a few other games. And, which a couple of slots left, I decided to throw in our Platinum cartridges as well.
It turned out to be a good idea. On the plane my daughter and I, with five hours to kill, started getting back into the game. We moved along, collecting up a gym badge each while getting our bearings.
And once on the ground in Maui, when we had some time to play, we began to work out our strategy to get through Platinum.
With each gym badge you are able to control Pokemon that are traded to you of a higher and higher levels. This meant that, with our Pokemon Diamond cartridges along for the ride as well and two DSs on hand, we started upgrading our Pokemon with each new gym badge by trading back and forth from Diamond to Platinum. This accelerated our progress considerably.
Sure, you can use ugly words like “cheating,” but the game allows it and you are limited to a given level cap with each gym badge.
We both now sit at 6 gym badges and our goal is to finish off the base game by defeating the Elite Four and the Sinnoh League champion before Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver come out. However, we would really like to finish it before the special Pichu download event ends on February 14th.
So this weekend might see some serious Pokemon action at our house. We’re stuck in the Distortion World area, which is something that wasn’t in Diamond. Once we find our way through that though, we should be good.