Tag Archives: Pokemon Ranch

Return to Pokemon Platinum

Pokemon Diamond first showed up about two years ago.

It came with my daughter’s Nintendo DS Lite back on St. Valentine’s Day of 2008, all of which was part of the plan to keep her busy on the plane for our trip to Maui that year.

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.

Deoxys Obtained – Now for Vacation

My daughter and I hit GameStop this morning and downloaded the special Pokemon Deoxys. We even saw our neighbors while we were there. They were downloading too, and buying a Wii. Another candidate for Pokemon Ranch.

Deoxys shows up in game at level 50 (I read that the last time they made it available, it was level 75), has the moves Psycho Boost, Zap Cannon, Iron Defense, and Extreme Speed. The original trainer is listed as “Gamestp.”

And, speaking of Pokemon Ranch, I found out that when you trade Pokemon with Haley, the owner of the ranch, you can then migrate those Pokemon back to your DS. No thrill when she is offering you a Pikachu, but I hear that after a few trades you start getting some interesting Pokemon, like a unique Mew.

But now we are packing up and getting ready to head to the airport. Pokemon on a road trip, plus I might have a chance to catch up on podcasts. The collective has been quite prolific of late.

I have my vacation length skills set in EVE Online (Exhumers V and Minmatar Industrials V). My buy orders and items for sale are all up to date as well.

I have a couple of posts set up to display next week while I’m away, but nothing thrilling. Moderation of comments though, may be delayed unless they have web access on the ship. (We’re headed out on a cruise.)

And, I guess with Darren on vacation, I should go too. I was a guest on Shut Up We’re Talking #29, where we spoke about Blizzard’s mystery and Dr. Bartle. Hopefully the smoke will clear by the time I get back!

Round up at Pokemon Ranch

Over the weekend, while my wife was out getting her hair done, my daughter and I were watching the Nintendo Channel on the Wii. The Nintendo Channel is a marketing gimmick from Nintendo that lets you watch trailers for and download demos of current and upcoming games for both the Wii and the DS. The DS game demo download capability is especially sweet.

While we were going through the list of things on the Nintendo Channel, we came across the trailer for Pokemon Ranch.

Once my daughter knew that there was some Pokemon related item out there that she did not posses, it became imperative we get it. We had 1200 Wii points sitting there unused, so I caved in and we grabbed it.

From a game perspective, this may be the worst use of my Wii points so far. There is no game there.

What you have is a farm, where a Mii named Haley raises Pokemon. The Pokemon are have about the same level of detail as a Mii and all end up looking cute in a low-res, spherical sort of way.

Haley has six Pokemon on the farm and you can bring in up to five of your own Miis to come hang out on the farm. Your Miis all get nice little cowboy outfits like Haley and they wander around petting or getting zapped by the various Pokemon while you watch.

And watch is about all you can do. You cannot really manipulate anything in the game. I could barely control the camera. Once in the while the Pokemon do a routine, like stand at attention in a spiral or form a totem pole, but that is about it. You can take screen shots of them which you can save off to an SD card if you so desire. Being JPEGs of television screen grabs, they are about as bad as you expect. Here is an overview of the ranch:

Down on the Ranch

Every day Haley adds a new Pokemon to the farm. The longer you have the game, and the more Pokemon there are, the more things they do.

All in all, if that was all there was to Pokemon Ranch, it would be complete crap, a screen saver featuring ill-drawn Pokemon.

But if you have a Nintendo DS and Pokemon Diamond or Pearl, there is more you can do. Not a lot more, but enough.

You can link your DS via wireless to the Wii and move some of your Pokemon to the ranch. The capacity of the ranch on day one is 20 Pokemon, so you cannot drop a ton into the game, but every day the ranch grows a little and is capable of accepting more Pokemon and more Miis, with a peak capacity of 1,000 Pokemon.

My daughter grew bored with the six Pokemon in the game, so moved a few of hers to the ranch.

Once you have linked though, something new happens. The game downloads your National Pokedex information and then creates a set of three wanted posters for Pokemon which you have not yet obtained.

This, of course, is the challenge. You now have to go out, get those three Pokemon, then transfer them over to the ranch. All you get are more wanted posters as a reward for getting the current wanted, but as a driver, this turned out to be just compelling enough for my daughter, and we spent the afternoon trying to catch or trade for various Pokemon, only stopping when we hit the ranch’s capacity of 20 Pokemon.

And, as it turns out, the more Pokemon who end up on the ranch, the more interesting or amusing watching the ranch becomes. The flying Pokemon sometimes pick up and fly around with their ground based friends. The Pokemon ride around on each other. Every so often the hit one of the Miis with an attack. They run from each other, fall asleep, wake up, and interact in some minor ways.

One of the most amusing interactions, for me at least, is the fact that a Pokemon or a Mii will become interested in another Pokemon or Mii. With the Pokemon it is cute, but with the Miis it can be quite funny.

At one point it said that Haley was interested in Wilhelm. Then Wilhelm was interested in Patty (the Pat Benatar Mii I made, showing my age). Then Patty was interested in Haley, and I thought we had the makings of a soap opera.

Haley and Wilhelm:

Wilhelm and Haley

Haley and Patty heading off to…

Haley and Patty

All told, Pokemon Ranch stayed up on our TV for about six hours that day.

Yesterday morning my daughter got up early… because it is Summer and she does not have to go to school, or so I have surmised… and found that the ranch had been expanded and could now hold 50 Pokemon.

Then, when I got home from work, I found that she had figured out all the controls and discovered all sorts of new little things you can do in the game. Before bed she was busy trying to put the Pokemon in what she designated the sleeping area.

I suspect we will be working on the Pokemon Ranch for a while to come. I just hope that they update the sound track some day. The music has got to go. Maybe my daughter will figure that out as well.