Tag Archives: Pokemon X & Y

From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun

I did it.  I finished the Alola Pokedex in Pokemon Sun.

Alola Pokedex at 100%

It took a bit of work.   I ran the final series of missions that send the player off to catch the ultra beast Pokemon.   The missions send you out to catch five different ultra beasts, along with having to engage in three trainer battles to prove you are up to the task, before you are done and rewarded with 1,000,000 in the local currency for the effort.

I did the missions and caught the five ultra beasts.  The catch is that there are seven ultra beasts, two of which only appear in Pokemon Sun and two which only appear in Pokemon Moon.  So, in order to get all seven, which is required to complete the Pokedex, you have to trade… trade or own two copies of the game or, in my case, use your daughter’s copy of the game.

So I grabbed my daughter’s 3DS and looked into doing the missions on her copy of Pokemon Moon, since she had no interest in doing so herself.  She finished up the main story back in December, long enough ago that she couldn’t remember if she had defeated the Elite Four.  It turned out she had, though with a really odd team… odd to me anyway… so I ended up trading my team over to her game to run through the missions.

Once I completed them I traded my team back to my copy of Pokemon Sun, then swapped two of the Sun-only ultra beasts for two of the Moon-only ultra beasts (you end up catching multiple of both) and the Alola Pokedex was finally complete.  You only need 300 for that, but I hit 301 because of the Magearna download, which you get by using the QR scanner.

I then went to the GameFreak office in the game and got my trainer book stamped to mark the achievement.

Achievement notarized

After that I figured it was time to unlock the National Pokedex.  The ritual for that in past Pokemon titles generally involved going to speak to the local tree-named Pokemon Professor to get them to unlock the National setting on your Pokedex.  But when I spoke to the shirtless Professor Kukui, he was still giving me the same line he had last time I spoke to him.  There was no mention of a Pokedex upgrade.

After poking about a bit more, I headed to Google to search up the answer.

As it turns out, there is no National Pokedex within Pokemon Sun & Moon.  This was a bit of a let down.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to attempt it, but being denied the opportunity stung a bit.

I was instead directed to Pokemon Bank, Nintendo’s Pokemon cloud storage application.  It had been upgraded back in January to integrate with Pokemon Sun & Moon, something I mentioned in a Friday bullet point post.  The app has its own rather sparse site here.

How things line up now

One of the features I did not notice… and which really wasn’t called out all that well… was the integration of the National Pokedex option into Pokemon Bank.  That is all you get with Sun & Moon.

I have Pokemon Bank, because of course I do, so I went in to check it out.  If you launch it, choose Pokemon Sun or Moon, and go to the menu, there is now a Pokedex option.

Accessing the Pokedex

This went off and catalogued what I had collected in Pokemon Sun and gave me a total.

My total for Pokemon Sun

That gave me a total of 330 Pokemon, both caught and seen.  I had moved some of the legendary Pokemon from last year’s distributions last year over to the game along with a few of the starter Pokemon from past titles in anticipation of a National Pokedex hunt.  330 isn’t bad, but the total is over 800, so I was far from there.

Pokemon Bank also lets you view the Pokemon in a table view by generations if a simple number isn’t enough for you… it certainly isn’t enough for me.

First gen Pokemon, Bulbasaur through Mew

As you can see, I moved some over, but Pokemon Sun & Moon also included a lot of Pokemon from past generations as well, which was a good thing I think.

In all it was kind of neat… though after using the new box interface in Pokemon Sun & Moon, navigating felt very awkward… but was I really going to have to move everything to Sun & Moon to finish the National Pokedex?

But then I wondered… since it didn’t actually say this anywhere… if this was actually a cross-title National Pokedex.  If I had it scan other Pokemon Bank compatible titles, would those sum up into a single National Pokedex?  So I had it scan Pokemon Y and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, and the answer is yes, it is a single cross-title National Pokedex.

My totals across the three titles

So there it is.  Across the three titles I have caught 512 types of Pokemon and have seen 650.  That gets me a little closer to the past 800 number of the total National Pokedex.

Pokemon Bank also gives you some stats as well under Adventure Records.

Wild Pokemon Encounters

You can tell the game I worked on the Pokedex hardest.

This also means that if I want to work on the National Pokedex, my best option is probably to go back to Pokemon Y and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and finish up the regional Pokdexes in those games.

My Pokemon Y stats… and see, National Pokedex built-in

The problem there is that going back to earlier games means giving up whatever UI and control improvements the current generation has introduced, and Pokemon Sun & Moon really went far in improving controls, especially for simple things like handling Pokemon in your storage.

Still, that might be a thing to pursue.  I am pretty much done with Pokemon Sun since I don’t do battles and such.  Catching them all is generally the end of a title for me, and I haven’t caught them all yet in the past versions.  So it is play older titles or wait for the next new title to be announced.  The thing is, I think I already know what the next title will be.  But that is a topic for another post.

Honest Game Trailers – Pokemon X & Y

It is Thanksgiving here and I am not writing a long post.  Instead, since Pokemon is a thing at our house at the moment with Pokemon Sun & Moon, a look back at the last original pair in the series, Pokemon X & Y.

 

And if that isn’t enough, HGT has videos up about past generations of Pokemon as well:

Pokemon 20th Anniversary Download Events Kick Off with Mew

Later this month Pokemon will celebrate its 20th anniversary.

There will be all sorts of things going on to mark the occasion, but for the serious Pokemon player, the download events will be a key element of the whole show.  There will be 11 special mythical Pokemon to download this year, starting this month with Mew.

The Mew you can have...

The Mew you can have…

To get Mew you have to run out to a participating GameStop to get a code that will enable the download.  My daughter and I have already been to our local GameStop.  This is what the card looks like, front and back.

Mew GameStop Card

Mew GameStop Card

This download event is limited to the 3DS versions of the classic Pokemon RPG series, Pokemon X & Y and Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire.

For more about what they are doing to celebrate 20 years of Pokemon visit the Pokemon 20 site.

  • March – Celebi
  • April – Jirachi
  • May – Darkrai
  • June – Manaphy
  • July – Shaymin
  • August – Arceus
  • September – Victini
  • October – Keldeo
  • November – Genesect
  • December – Meloetta

Wrapping Up and Summing Up Pokemon White Version 2

I made it to through the final four and defeated Iris, the Unova champion, the evening after my last Pokemon post.

Iris awaits

Chamber of the final battle

It was pretty much inevitable that I would win sooner rather than.  I had already made it through the final four to Iris on my second attempt.  It was just a matter of tuning up my team a bit.

I used some of the stat increasing items I picked up along the way on my team, and bought a few more at the department store on Route 9.  I trained LazTel my Azurmarill the Ice Beam move, which was a key weakness in Iris’ lineup.  I used a few PP Ups to increase the number of times I could use key moves.  As an example my only grass attack, Giga Drain on Wibla my Verizion, only had five uses, which was not enough.  And I tossed out a couple Rare Candy level ups and made sure everybody was holding an item that would boost key aspects of their abilities.

All that, plus knowing now which abilities to use against which opponents meant that the run was pretty smooth.  My victory was not in doubt.

My winning team

My winning team

I still need to work out the best way to take pictures, but I think I am getting a little bit better.  There, from the 6 o’clock position, moving clockwise, are:

And there we are.  The last great battle, the main story arc is over, and roll the credits.

That last item is literal, when you finally defeat the regional champion, the game saves and then shows you the credits.  It is one of the conventions of the series.

Of course, the game is not done yet.  Not by a long shot.  Technically, you are not even done with the story yet.  There are still remnants of Team Plasma to encounter, some more key battles to fight, half a dozen key locations to visit, and legendary Pokemon to catch.  In regards to that last, Pokemon White Version 2 was a bit stingy compared to its immediate predecessor, which let you catch one of the legendary Pokemon before the championship battle.

This is generally where the official guide book for a given Pokemon game tends to become very useful to me, as a lot of the end game stuff can be… obscure, for lack of a better word.

I know with enough patience I could figure a lot of it out.  12 year old me would have had no problem, current me is no longer motivated enough for that sort of thing.  For example, in Pokemon X & Y, one of the legendary Pokemon you can catch post-story is Moltres, who has been around since the original games.  You run into him pretty readily if you are stomping around in the tall grass where Pokemon show up.  However, he flees immediately upon entering battle, so you cannot catch him.  The “figuring it out” bit is that you have to encounter and lose him eleven times… and you can only find him once per day… before you can go to a specific spot for a chance to catch him. (And I only get Moltres because I chose Froakie as my starter Pokemon.  It is convoluted, but that is part of the appeal of the series.)

I did not buy the official guide this time around, but the internet knows all.  You can find guides in plain text, HTML, pictures, and even in video format.  I just can’t sit over on the couch or in bed, away from my computer with the game in my hand and the book at my side, which is one of the aspects of the handheld console gaming I enjoy.  Well, I can with the iPad in tow I guess, but I find web navigation much more efficient with a keyboard and mouse.

The upshot of this is that there is still a pile of Pokemon in the game to be caught.

And then there is the moving of Pokemon from the older DS generation games into Pokemon White Version 2 so I can use the Poke Transporter to send various Pokemon on a one-way trip to Pokemon Bank, where the 3DS generation Pokemon games will be able to access them.

Pokemon Bank - $5.00 a year

Pokemon Bank – a deal at $5.00 a year

Getting the Pokemon out of Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, or SoulSilver is a process that requires two Nintendo DS consoles. (Not a problem in our house, where we have five)  You download a special game from the DS running one of the Pokemon Black and White series, pick six Pokemon you want to move over (usual restrictions apply, no Pokemon with hidden moves… never train hidden moves on your legendary Pokemon…), and then play a little game where you have to catch your chosen Pokemon before they will be moved over… because nothing is ever easy.

Aim and catch

Aim and catch

This involves shooting Pokeballs at the Pokemon who are hopping around the screen or hiding behind bushes.  There is a timer, and anything you don’t catch goes back, though you can load them up and try again.  It seemed like it might be a chore at first, especially since the more rare Pokemon seem to move a lot faster.  However, since I have never failed to catch all six in half the time allocated, it is probably okay.  And you can do it as many times a day as you like, unlike the .  Now I just have to figure out which Pokemon I really want to move over and where they are.

So Pokemon still to catch and Pokemon to move.

Along the way I think I also figured out why the DS generation Pokemon games are in short supply, with unopened copies selling for a premium most places.  One of the things that Nintendo did as part of the changing of hardware generations was turn off all of the back end services for those games back in May.  There is no Global Trade Station or other online content available for them any more.  If you try to access anything like that… and by the time they got to Pokemon Black & White Version 2 there were quite a few features that required back end support… you just get an error indicating that the service is no longer available.

Unfortunately for Nintendo, all of those online features are heavily advertised on the various retail boxes and the sites dedicated to the various titles.  So I suspect Nintendo decided to cut whatever liability it feels it might have in no longer supporting those online features by no longer shipping any of those titles.  That Amazon is blowing out their back stock of Pokemon White Version 2 hints, at least to me, that Nintendo might have future plans for those titles.  We shall see I suppose.  But if you want a new, in box copy of one of the other DS generation Pokemon games, be prepared to pay a premium.

Finally, I returned to Pokemon Y to pull some Pokemon over from the Poke Transporter app, which led to some odd moments.

I said a while back that the new rendered graphics style of Pokemon X & Y felt pretty natural when I picked up the game.  Then I went back to finish up Pokemon White and then Pokemon White Version 2, which involved a few weeks of binge playing.  That transition wasn’t too bad either.  I quickly got used to the sprite based graphics again.  Visual closure is a wonderful thing and their overly blocky look on the bigger XL screen soon seemed quite natural.

Then, after all of that, I went back to Pokemon Y and it really felt strange.  I think the most noticeable difference is that it just doesn’t feel like you see as much of the world around you as you do in the earlier games.  That and your character and everything else is so much bigger on screen.  It was a little disorienting upon my return.

However, after about 20 minutes my brain settled down and accepted the game as it was and I got back into that groove.

Now it is just the clean up and catching and breeding and such prep work while we wait around for Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire to come out this November.  My daughter and I have already turned in our coin jar for an Amazon gift card and pre-ordered the titles.  We’ll just need to find time to play them.  November is going to be a busy month for releases.

And Then I Totally Binged on Pokemon…

Raptr sends me a report every Monday telling me how many hours of video games they tracked me playing the previous week.  When yesterday’s report indicated I had played less than two hours in the last week of August, I should have been quite skeptical.  It had me playing an hour and ten minutes with the Strategy Group on Friday night, with a bit of World of Warcraft, and about enough time in EVE Online to account for logging in to update skill training queues.

Last week was a bit problematic for Raptr.  They pushed a new version that doesn’t seem keen to log into the system, and so never goes live and never tracks any game time.  This sort of pushes my “Why am I using Raptr again?” doubts to the forefront.  But even if Raptr had been working, it probably wouldn’t have caught much more play time on my PC because I was busy playing Pokemon.

I mentioned that I starting to prepare for a potential run at the National Pokedex when Pokemon Alpha Ruby and Omega Sapphire come out later this year.  So I have been playing some Pokemon Y fairly regularly in order to catch Pokemon unique to it.  I could stuff those in the Pokemon Bank and bring those in when needed in the new game.

However, I still had a large number of Pokemon stored away in older versions of the game.  Rare Pokemon that I am unlikely to get in trades or be able to catch in the new versions.  The only path t0 being able to bring those forward was to finish Pokemon Black, White, Black 2, or White 2.  You can transfer from the Pokemon Diamond and Pearl forward into those four, and from those four there is a one-way ticket available into the Pokemon Bank, which will make them available to the Nintendo 3DS generation of Pokemon games.

Pokemon Bank - $5.00 a year

Pokemon Bank – The Black and White route

So I got out my Pokemon White cartridge to see what could be done.

According to the tracking on my copy of the game, my character (always named Wilhelm) started his journey on March 6, 2011.  That was launch day back in 2011.

Pokemon Black and White

Pokemon Black and White

My wife even incorporated the whole black and white theme into my birthday.

Black and White all over

Black and White all over

The haul included the games, a black and white Wii remote, and the special edition, hard bound copy of the guide book for Pokemon Black and White.

My daughter and I went straight into the games, with her playing Black and I playing White.  As usual, she got out in front of me quickly using her usual plan of just leveling up her lead Pokemon as much as possible and hoping like hell that it can take on all comers at each gym battle.  I tagged along, always a gym badge behind, trying to balance out my party and level up a full set.  So she usually goes into gym battles way over level and wins straight up… unless the gym is focused on her main Pokemon’s weakness, which means a water gym because she always picks fire… while I tend to go into gym battles with a full party that is somewhat under level for the attempt.  But I mostly muddle through.

Somewhere along the way we lost interest though.

The game shows that I picked up the 5th gym badge on April 23, 2011.  I know I played a little more after that, but I started to lose interest.  I think it was in the ice caves.  There are always ice caves in a Pokemon game.  There are always a bunch of standard events or locations in a Pokemon game, and I think that was starting to wear on me.  By this point I had played through Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, and SoulSilver in pretty quick succession and might have started to tire of the specific tropes of Pokemon games.  Plus this was about the time that middle-age eye sight issues started to show up.  I started needing reading glasses and the little screen on the Nintendo DS Lite is pretty small.  So I doubt I continued to play past May of that year.

So here it was, more than three years later and I was going to try to carry on and finish the game.  Hey, I had five of eight gym badges, so I just needed three more.  Then it was the final four, the regional champion, with a side trip to finish off Team Plasma somewhere along the way, and I should be set.

Of course, first I had to shoot myself in the foot.

I didn’t have to look far to find my Pokemon White cartridge, because it was already in my 3DS XL.  I had already decided to play with Pokemon Bank and had vacuumed up every Pokemon in my storage boxes in White.  So when I went back to play I only had the six Pokemon in my party.

Blitzle!

Blitzle!

Not a bad set of Pokemon I suppose.  That group could probably take down the final four without too much effort, carried by Reshiram and Mewtwo alone.  But I was only just done with the 5th gym badge, and one of the things that gym badges bestow upon you is the ability to control Pokemon over a certain level.  I was currently good to level 50, and would be good to level 70 with the next gym badge.  But for the moment I had to deal with two of my team that would only do what I wanted maybe 20% of the time.  That is what happens when you have a Pokemon over level.  They won’t do what you ask during a battle.  And while, certainly in the case of a level 100 Reshiram, they generally aren’t in any danger of dying, it can take some patience as the loaf about, fall asleep, or otherwise ignore you.

In no danger of dying

In no danger of dying

And I also had to be careful not to level up Zoroark, as if he hit level 51, he would join the uncontrollable contingent in my party.  But I managed to muddle through.  I dropped Blitzle at the earliest opportunity and picked up a Mienfoo in the Dragonspiral Tower, who hit 45 by the time we were headed into the final four.

Mienfoo - Fighting Pokemon

Mienfoo – Fighting Pokemon

I named him Chow Fun and he turned out to be quite the asset to the party, though after the final four he hit the point where he evolved into a Meinshao, which does not look nearly as cool.

After the 8th gym badge I made my way up victory road, which is always a bit of a maze… yet another Pokemon trope… and was able to take down the final four.  Then the game surprised me a bit by deviating from the normal resolution.  First I had to capture Zekrom (which I managed on the third try without using my master ball), at which point I swapped him in for my Tranquill, which was an Unfezant by then, but which hadn’t kept up in levels.  Then it was time for the final battle and victory.

While Reshiram was the ace in the hole, Mewtwo actually carried the day through most of the fight.  Mewtwo didn’t have moves quite as powerful Reshiram, but all of his moves allowed 10-30 uses, unlike Reshiarm, whose key moves were set at 5 a piece.  Actually, three big attacks at 5 runs each would probably have been enough, but I put in my other guys just to get them the exp.  In the end I won.  See the horrible picture of the screen taken with a digital camera because you still cannot take screen shots in Pokemon.

The winning team

The winning team

So, step one was complete.  I finished the main storyline. And one of my key worries was dispelled.  I thought that, after growing used to the rendered look of the series in Pokemon X and Y, that I would find going back to the old, sprite based graphics difficult to look at.  But, as with playing Diablo II on my big monitor, while it looks blocky at first, visual closure has you covered and you stop noticing it pretty quickly unless you are trying to see it.  And the nice screen on my 3DS XL is big enough that I do not have to wear reading glasses to play.  So all went well.

Now I just had to find the place where you could transfer Pokemon from other games without having to do a 1 for 1 trade.

Another trope of the Pokemon series is to have such a direct, one-way transfer method, but to require the player to jump through hoops in order to accomplish it.  I remember back with Pokemon Diamond and wanting to transfer some Pokemon from Pokemon FireRed, where I was importing Meowths, as they were totally in demand at the Global Trade Station and I was able to trade them for a lot of Pokemon I needed to fill out my Pokedex.  To do that you had to bring up FireRed on your system, having plugged it into the GBA slot, select 6 and only 6 Pokemon for transfer, put them in transfer limbo, and then exit the game.  Then you had to bring up Pokemon Diamond, go to the Safari park, and then go find and catch all 6 with a limited number of Pokeballs in under a given time limit.  And you could only do this once per 24 hour period.

Well, Pokemon Black and White are on board with that, having their own little twist.

You need two Nintendo DS units to do this.

First you get to the PokeTransfer Lab on Route 15 in Pokemon Black and White.  There an NPC explains the process as well as possible, but it still left me going, “Huh?” until I actually did it.  You start the process at the Lab, which then tells you to start up the second DS unit.  When that comes up, you need your Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, or SoulSilver cartridge in the DS.  It works for all of those games.  But rather than launching the game, you choose the DS Download Play option at the main screen on your DS.  This downloads a special app that lets you browse the Pokemon stored on your cartridge, showing which ones can or cannot be transferred. (As usual, Pokemon with HMs are verboten from transfer.)  You select the six Pokemon you want to transfer and then you have to play a game.

This time around the six Pokemon appear on the upper screen of your DS, while a crossbow-like Pokeball launcher appears on the lower screen.  As you move your stylus on the lower screen you can see a targeting reticule moving on the upper.  With this setup you have to shoot Pokeballs at the Pokemon on the upper screen and hit them to catch them.  Of course, it isn’t a slam dunk or anything, the Pokemon are jumping around the screen or hiding behind bushes.  You have to time your shots to get them on the move, and when they are hiding you have to flush them out by shooting them before you can catch them.  And there is a time limit for this.

While it wasn’t easy, it was manageable.  I did get all six on my first try before the timer ran down, which wasn’t bad because the game doesn’t spend a lot of time explaining what to do.  And, on the plus side, there is no limit to the number of times a day you can do this.  You just have to expend the required effort catching Pokemon, six at a time, over and over again if you have a long list to move.

I did three batches then took a break.  But at least now I have a way to move Pokemon from all the way back in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl… and even earlier, since I can get stuff off of the GBA Pokemon games I have sitting around if I really want… and into the Nintendo 3DS generation of the game.

And, banging out Pokemon White made me consider picking up Pokemon Black 2 or White 2. though looking at the pricing at Amazon, I think it might have to be White 2.

Amazon Pricing

Amazon Pricing

For some reason White 2 is about half the price of Black 2, and that isn’t just an Amazon oddity.  It seems like stocks of Black 2 must have run low and now people are charging a premium for the game.  But I think I have enough of a gift card left to cover a copy of White 2.  Hrmm…

Anyway, Raptr did not track much for me last week because I was playing a game that it does not track, Pokemon!

Preparing for Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby

[Addendum: Since I am getting a lot of search traffic on this, I describe how to transfer Pokemon from Pearl, Diamond, Platinum, HeartGold, or SoulSilver in the middle the post linked here.]

When I finished up Pokemon Y a month back, I felt like I was about done with the game.  I can be very focused and very goal oriented when it comes to short-to-medium sized tasks.

This is how, as an example, I have been able to tackle some of the Loremaster achievement tasks as readily as I have.  The achievement is broken up into a series of smaller tasks, each of which the player can take on individually.  Handing me the sum total of quests to be done would be too much.  But zone by zone, it isn’t so bad… for the most part.

After finishing up Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms I hit something of a wall.  Facing the prospect of Outland, I didn’t really log into the game for about a week.

And so it was with Pokemon.  While I played Pokemon Y over the course of nearly four months, I ended up doing it in essentially three focused sprints, with the last one, end goal in sight, probably being equal in duration to the other two combined.  And at the end of that last sprint, mission complete, I was ready to put Pokemon down for a bit.

But after a couple of weeks away, my interest in the game has started to grow again.  This has largely be because of the upcoming release of Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby.

PokemonAlphaOmega_450My daughter and I are already set to play.  She has picked Omega Ruby as her title, so I will be playing Alpha Sapphire.  We just have to take out jar of coins down to the CoinStar machine and turn that cash into an Amazon gift card to be ready to pre-order.  We are good to go there.  And the launch date, November 21, isn’t that far away.

But it is Nintendo who has been driving my interest a bit.  They have had a couple of special download events to keep people interested while also putting out new bits and pieces of information about the new game to build excitement.  Polygon has created a special section on their site devoted to Pokemon, so I have been gorging on information there.  One of the latest tidbits to come down about the upcoming titles is the return of the secret base.

The secret base idea was part of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl back in the day, as part of the whole underground environment where you could play with other people (and actually see them running around) over WiFi.  That was one of the great features those titles, my daughter and I spent hours just tooling around in the underground. But it was also one of those features that lasted for just that generation and went away with the next.

A base back in the day

A base back in the day

Pokemon games are rife with such features, each version having a couple that disappear with the next.  And while there are some you don’t miss, others stick with you.  So the fact that there is going to be some form of secret base again that others can visit, including the whole flag stealing mechanic, is a pretty big deal for me aside from the whole “place of your own” housing aspect.

So that has gotten me interested in getting ready for the new versions to come out.  But the question of what to do still stands.  I have started going out and collecting some of the “new with X and Y” Pokemon to transfer over when the time is ripe… just in case I go insane and decide I need to fill out the National Pokedex again.  Nintendo has also put up a guide to collecting all of the mega stones for mega-evolutions.  It is a downloadable PDF file.  While the whole mega evolution aspect of Pokemon X and Y wasn’t a big deal to me, I might as well complete the set while I have the chance.

I will have to go through the guide book for Pokemon X and Y to see if there are any other things I ought to do before the new versions come out.  I always buy the official guide.  It isn’t strictly necessary to get through the main story line… though if you put the game down for a few weeks, it can help you regain your orientation when you return… but for activities outside of the main story the official guide can be invaluable.  And while, in this day and age, there is always some place online where you can find the information for free, I have a good deal of fun sitting in bed or on the couch or someplace else away from my computer and leafing through the book, looking up where to find a particular item or Pokemon, and then running off to get it.  The key bit there is “away from my computer” where I spend most of my time.

So clearly some excitement is building within me for the new release.  Even looking at the map they have put up of the Hoenn region makes me happy.

Hoenn region revamped

Hoenn region revamped

I can practically see the story laid out there and all of the places I will go.

Of course, if I really wanted to get myself ready for the possibility of another run at the National Pokedex, I would get out my copy of Pokemon White and finish that up.  That would give me access to a pile of Pokemon in that game as well as being the only route to move some of my rares from Pokemon SoulSilver, where I did the National Pokedex, into the current generation of games on the Nintendo 3Ds platform.

I am just not sure if I can go back to the old sprite based graphics.  Pokemon X and Y may have spoiled me in that regard.

Pokemon Y and the Nintendo 3DS XL

Back in April I mentioned that I had picked up a Nintendo 3DS XL and a copy of Pokemon Y with some Amazon gift cards and credits I had.

I haven’t really said much about it for a few reasons.  Mostly it my feeling that single player games don’t quite have the same “shared experience” potential as MMOs… and me being lazy.  But, this blog being something of a gaming diary… as much as it is anything… I setup a placeholder post to write about Pokemon Y once I was done.

And I am done!

Pokemon Y Hall of Fame

Pokemon Y Hall of Fame

You can see the laziness factor, in that I finished up  back at the start of the month.  And, of course, “done” in a Pokemon game is open to interpretation.  I completed the main story line, thwarted Team Flare, collected all of the gym badges by defeating each gym leader, and then went on the beat the elite four and Diantha, the regional champion.

PokemonXYlogo

That is, by about any measure, the minimum you need to do to say you “beat” or “completed” the game.  I spent about 32 hours just doing that without getting into trying to complete the National Pokedex, explore every nook and cranny (there is always a lot of stuff hidden in the game), run through the battle mansion/tower/subway, pick up the Lumiose City side quests, get involved in battling against other players, or probably half a dozen other things I am forgetting.

Pokemon games are deep and getting deeper with every turn of the franchise.

If Nintendo did not see its mission in life as selling hardware, putting Pokemon on Windows as is… not even talking about making it an MMO… would kill.  And the fact that Pokemon X and Y are 3D modeled, rather than being sprites as they have been in past generations, means that they could probably pull this off and end up with a game that looked pretty good on a big monitor.

But Nintendo sells hardware, something that is embedded in the culture of the company, and even disappointing Wii U sales won’t convince them to move off of the platforms they control ala Sega.  Besides which, Pokemon is on the GameBoy side of the business, and the Nintendo 3DS hardware is selling well.

Anyway, that aside, I finished up the game, as defined above, and naturally have some comments to make.

Let me start with the good.

The Good

First, of course, is that it is a Pokemon game and delivers all you would expect from the series.

It also looks great.  The update bringing Pokemon to a 3D rendering technology was a big move, but it paid off.  It was completely natural, not a shocking change, because they got the “feel” of the graphics just right in my opinion.  I had to go back and look at an older version of Pokemon to remind myself of the difference. (Comparisons with older version in a previous post.)

It let the game camera move, so that not every moment of game play was a top down view.

Pokemon X & Y

Not the top of my head!

And, since the it rendered rather than being sprites, it scales up to the bigger screen on the 3DS XL hardware.  This is a big deal for me.  I am now at the age where I need reading glasses to decipher any small text, such as that on the screen of my faithful old DS Lite.  But moving to the DSi XL meant I got bigger text, but the graphics just got blocky.  But with Pokemon X and Y and the 3DS XL hardware, it scales up nicely and looks good.

I will say that the 3DS XL is a very nice piece of hardware and, in my opinion, well worth the price over the standard size 3DS.  You get a bigger better screen and much better battery life, since they were able to fit a bigger battery in the unit.

But back to the game.

Connectivity to the internet seems to have been solved.  Back with Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, it was something of a chore to get yourself hooked into the Nintendo WiFi network.  That got better with Pokemon Black and White, but was still more complicated that it ought to have been.  Now, with the 3DS hardware and Nintendo’s latest revision of its online presence, it is much easier to get online.

Being online is also a bigger part of the game.  The 3DS hardware looks for other units in its area so you can see if somebody has their wifi on and is playing Pokemon in the vicinity. (I used this to catch my daughter playing Pokemon under the covers after lights out a few times!)  One of the new features I like is the “Wonder Trade” option in which you just pick a Pokemon from your collection and offer it up for a random trade with somebody else in the world.  I have gotten a few neat Pokemon that way and try to choose interesting ones to send out.  This feature is on top of the global trade center, which is the Pokemon trading auction house serving the world.

The story is good.  Team Flare and their leader are involved in a Bond villain conspiracy to protect the beauty of the world by destroying most of mankind.

The world looks great.  The new region, Kalos, is based on France and includes a few cultural stereotypes.  A new Pokemon that looks very much like a French poodle is conspicuous in the game, as is a high speed train that looks like the TGV and Lumiose City which is modeled on Paris.

The Kalos Region

The Kalos Region

The coveted experience share item, which was used to pass half of the experience gained by one Pokemon to another in your party, so you could boost up lower level Pokemon without having to go back to low level areas, now shares experience with your whole party.  My daughter, rather than ending up with one high level Pokemon doing all the work and five more way below level Pokemon hoping that the big one would not faint and expose the rest of them to almost sure defeat, actually ended up with a pretty well balanced party.  I know that it saved me from having to do a bunch of passing the item around to first level up one Pokemon and then another.  In fact, I did very little grinding experience just for levels.

And then there is your avatar which you can now customize.  There are clothes shops and items to pick up all over the game.  When I look at the avatars in the Wonder Trade, they all look very different, not just a few variations on the same theme.  It is actually quite impressive.

Finally, the game saves very quickly.  Past versions of the game took a long time to save.  But Pokemon X and Y save so quickly you might not notice it saved at all if you blink.

The Less Than Good

I don’t have anything hugely negative to say about the game, so don’t take these the wrong way.  But they are part of the whole package.

The camera gets out of control at times.  The thing with the 3D rendering and the camera being able to move can become a problem.  There were a couple of times in Lumiose City, where I was trying to get to a specific location and the camera would just not point in the direction of the building I needed to see.  To quote Yahtzee Croshaw, “The camera is like the working class: if you can’t control it, it will plot to destroy you.”  I ended up having to go away and come back again at a different angle to see the right doorway.  This feels like a rookie mistake, Pokemon never having been 3D before.  I suspect it will be better in the next game.

I am still disappointed I cannot take screen shots whenever I darn well please in the game.  Since the 3DS XL unit uses an SD card for memory, it seems like the hardware maker’s paranoia about memory usage ought to have dissipated.  I can just get a bigger card… and the approved method for upgrading cards is literally “copy the files to your PC, then copy them to the bigger card”… if I run out of room.  But having worked with the hardware team at various companies, I understand how deep seated that need to keep things in the smallest footprint possible is.  But I was hopeful in that the game allowed you to take pictures at certain photo spots and save them off.  Screen shots of a sort.  And then I copied some of those photos off of the system and… they are tiny.

I expected a little more.  And to take the pictures there is a whole convoluted camera interface where you have to focus and hold the 3DS just right and set the depth of field… all for a tiny screen shot.  It isn’t like they couldn’t render the pictures bigger, they just didn’t want to.  So 400×240 is all you get.  Such is life.  Better than nothing I suppose, but not close enough to my dreams.

Then there are 719 Pokemon.  At some point more just is not better.  But I do like the new ones with Pokemon X and Y better than some of the ones that game with Black and White.  And if you play the “Name the Pokemon” category on QuizUp, you’ll find that the names mostly reflect what they look like.  A friend who had never played Pokemon did surprisingly well just guessing.

The 3D effects work everywhere in the game, but you have to hold the 3DS unit just right for them to look good.  I turned the 3D slider to “off” unless there was something I really wanted to see mostly because I got tired of holding the 3DS XL in exactly the right position.  But the same goes for every other thing I have tried on the 3DS XL.  Everything is good enough in 2D, except Netflix, which looks like hell on the small screen with lots of pixelation and artifacts.  But that isn’t a 3D problem, that happens no matter where I have the slider. The hardware just isn’t up to decoding video.

But the biggest thing I can say against the game… which some will take as no insult at all… is that it is very much a Pokemon game and follows the set formula of all the games that went before it.  Each game has some new bits and pieces… Pokemon X & Y have aerial battles and Pokemon you use as vehicles in a few special sections of the game… but the core structure remains the same.  You are a young person in a land where everybody is obsessed about Pokemon.  Your mother is surprisingly accepting of you traveling around the region at the behest of some professor of Pokemon studies in order to capture Pokemon, battle strangers, defeat the various gym leaders, and take down some criminal syndicate by defeating them in Pokemon battles.  You then go on the challenge the elite four and the regional champion and enter into the hall of fame.  There are caves, both rocky and made of ice, puzzles to solve, a bicycle to ride, a power outage to fix, random strangers to battle, and a legendary Pokemon to catch.  Same as it ever was.

But that is not a necessarily a bad thing.  A Pokemon game will never feel as fresh as after your first pass through, but the conventions are comforting in their way.  You know, in a way, exactly what you are getting.

All in all, Pokemon X and Y reaffirmed my devotion to the series.  I am looking forward to Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire coming out this fall.  That will be just in time for my daughter and I to binge on over the break at Thanksgiving.  I actually like the remakes quite a bit.  Color me conservative.  At least the remakes do not feel the need to include another 150 Pokemon.

A Return to Pokemon

I can hear some of you groaning even now.  Hush!

While 2014 might be the Year of Faff elsewhere, around here it seems more like the year of renewal and return to past happy times.  Nothing new around these parts.  I am bland about The Elder Scrolls Online, completely indifferent to WildStar, and can’t think of any other new games that have sparked any real interest in me.  No, it has been all throw backs to paths already traveled of late, what with the return to World of Warcraft, poking about in EVE Online, running up some time in Diablo III, dragging out the revamped version of Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, and even revisiting Warcraft III.

Which, on reflection, does sound like a lot of time spent faffing about, so my year might actually be in tune with the godmother’s.  Might have to go grab that Year of Faff logo.

Anyway, with the year shaping up as it has, why not add in Pokemon?

It was just about six months back where I was ready to bid a final farewell to Pokemon.

Pokemon X & Y had shipped and required you have one of the new(ish) Nintendo 3DS models in order to play.

PokemonXYlogo

While we had a couple of DS Lites and a DSi XL sitting around the house, the current 3DS generation wasn’t really in our plans.  So that looked to be that.

But as Christmas approached, my daughter had a change of heart and put a Nintendo 3DS XL on her wish list… because that is what grandparents are for.  And, sure enough, at my dad’s house on Christmas Day there was just such a unit (in red) under the tree for her, along with a GameStop gift card from my sister.

We had to get out of the house right away after Christmas to get some games.  GameStop is a very busy place the day after Christmas.  And while my daughter was primarily interested in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, she did also pick up a copy of Pokemon X.

Still, I am not sure that we had shaken the malaise that Pokemon Black & White put us in. (Some long term veterans of the series reported similar feelings.)

Pokemon Diamond & Pearl was where we started.  The game was fresh and exciting.  Pokemon Platinum came along, the traditional interim remix of the previous titles, and we were still engaged.  Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver, remakes of Pokemon Gold & Silver, were the peak of our time with the series.  The game, the details, the Pokewalker (which I wore every day for a couple years) were all great.  That was when I actually sat down and caught them all.  At that point, “all” meant 493 Pokemon.

We were excited for Pokemon Black & White.  We went to events, pre-ordered the games, and were ready to go on day one.  And things kind of fell flat.  Some combo of having played through several versions of the game already (and the base game is always nearly identical at a certain level), missing elements like your lead Pokemon walking with you in-game or the Pokewalker, and something of a general coming of age for my daughter and her becoming interested in more “girly” things than playing video games with dad contributed to this.

There was no spark there.  We tried a couple of times to go back and finish the game, but we both sit at 6 gym badges out of 8 and no further.  Pokemon Black 2 & White 2 were pretty much ignored by us.

So when my daughter started on Pokemon X on the 3DS XL, I was interested to hear how she liked it.  While she gave it generally favorable reviews, there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm behind them.  She was much more interested in Animal Crossing.

So it sat for a couple of months.  I liked the idea of the 3DS XL and its big screen as well as another shot at Pokemon, but there didn’t seem to be a enough interest from my daughter for me to take the plunge.  And then a couple weeks back, suddenly she lit up on the Pokemon X front.  She seemed to be quite into it, so I looked around and saw I had enough gift card credits at Amazon to pick up a 3DS XL myself.

Gift card money at Amazon is a special resource to me.  If somebody gives me money, it goes into the general fund and gets used to pay bills or buy cat food or whatever.  But credit at Amazon feels like it is uniquely mine.  I can’t use it to pay the mortgage or the phone bill.  I can set that aside and used it on something for me.

So I splurged last week and spent my credits on a black 3DS XL, which for some reason was $10 cheaper than the other colors along with a copy of Mario Kart 7… because Mario Kart.   Well, actually, I needed to but the 3DS XL and another title to get a “free” copy of Pokemon X or Y as part of a promotion Nintendo was running.

Last Wednesday the unit arrived.

I unboxed it, started it charging, then began setting it up.  I had get it on our wireless, then create a Nintendo eShop account, then link that account to my Club Nintendo account, and then get everything registered so I could get my code for a copy of Pokemon Y that could be downloaded from the eShop.

As annoying as that might sounds, it actually went pretty quickly, mostly just worked, and was still a lot easier than getting one of the old DS Lite models up and connected to Nintendo WiFi back in the day. (One of the most common email questions I got for quite a stretch was, “How do I get Nintendo WiFi to work?!?!?!?!”)

I was a little hesitant to only have a downloaded copy of Pokemon Y.  The tradition is to have the physical cartridge, and we have at least 10 such Pokemon games in our storage box along with just about everything else purchased for the DS series.  The 3DS line, which can use the DS series cartridges, stores data and downloaded games on an SD card.

The SD card thing is probably good in the long run.  The 3DS XL came with a 4GB card and you can upgrade it to a 32GB card if you need more space.  The upgrade process is a bit… simple?  You take the card out of the 3DS, copy the files to your PC, then copy those files to the bigger SD card, and then put it back in the 3DS.

But that just makes it software, which can go away, be erased, or otherwise corrupted, as opposed to being burnt forever(-ish) into a ROM in a plastic cartridge.  Such read-only media traditions go back to the days of the Atari 2600 for me.  Something about it being on writable media makes me twitch a bit.  Old habits.

But the game itself… is great.

It is, of course, straight from the traditional Pokemon mold.  Youth with surprisingly permissive parents allowed to go wander the world, filling up their Pokedex for the local tree-named Professor of Pokemon Studies (Sycamore this time), battling various oddly focused gym leaders, thwarting an eccentrically dressed evil organization (Team Flare this time), all while on the way to becoming the Pokemon champion of the region… and collecting them all.

And the number for “all” is now 719.  Oh my.

But while everything is the same, everything is also different… or better… or bother.

Everything is now represented on the big screen with 3D model… and when I say “3D” I mean it in the way we mean it when we talk about EverQuest or World of Warcraft.  There is also the 3D movie effect of depth, but like most everybody else, I turned that off once the novelty faded and it started making my head hurt.

And the new models and motion in the world and the world itself… just work.

There was no moment of “Oh, now this is much better!”  Instead it was just a sense of things being as they were meant to be.  In fact, I was rather shocked when I went back to Pokemon Black & White to check where I had left off.  Things were much flatter and pixelated just one version ago.  Samples gleaned from the internet, because you cannot take screen shots in Pokemon games. (You can, in a very, very limited way in Pokemon X & Y, but that is for another post.)  More is the pity.

Pokemon X & Y

Pokemon X & Y – 2013

Pokemon Black 2 & White 2

Pokemon Black 2 & White 2 – 2012

And just to show the progression over the last decade, the first Pokemon game on the DS platform and the last one on the GameBoy Advance platform.

Pokemon Diamond

Pokemon Diamond – 2006

Pokemon Emerald

Pokemon Emerald – 2004

A lot of work clearly went into Pokemon X & Y and it represents a considerable leap in the rendering technology used for the game.

And while I can be Mister Nostalgia and long for the good old days, I have to say I am very happy with the updated graphics.  Of course, that might have something to do with them being tuned for the 3DS screen… and the big 3DS XL screen especially.  That screen looks really nice, Pokemon X & Y render beautifully on it, and it is big enough for me to play the game without wearing my reading glasses!

Can’t do that with my faithful old DS Lite.

I will have more to say about Pokemon X & Y in future posts, as well as the Nintendo 3DS XL hardware (besides the fact that it may be the best made handheld unit they have ever produced) in future posts.  This post can basically be summed up as:

Pokemon is back!  There will be posts!  You have been warned!

 

December in Review

The Site

How many extra embarrassment points to I get for misspelling the word “embarrassment” in the title of a post?

The usual story, I throw some text in the title as a placeholder, write the post, hit publish, and realize some minutes later that I didn’t actually look at the title.  While I fixed the title here right away, the error was immortalized in the URL and on G+ and Twitter.  Go me.

WordPress.com broke a few less things than usual this month and provided me with the 2013 version of their blog annual report:

WP2013TAGN

I have flagged the report as public, so you can go and read it here if you want.  There isn’t much to it really, just a few basic Top 5 lists.  Interestingly, a couple posts that never bubble up to the top 12 I post monthly still get enough traffic over time that they end up on the top 5 for the year.  Of course, they produced this report more than a day early, so if as few as 5,000 people suddenly decide to view one of my posts, it could be rendered incorrect.  That doesn’t seem likely, but it could happen in theory.  If you are really into this report, you can compare it with the reports from 2012 or 2011.

And I mentioned quite a while back that there was a huge surge in Brazilian email list and SEO spam coming in.  That seems to have subsided.  The new thing this month appears to be online casino spam in Swedish.  Vive l’esprit international!

One Year Ago

I wrote a post looking at 50 years of James Bond.  It included ranked lists for people to argue about.

There was my standard Highs & Lows post for the year gone by, and I reviewed my questions for 2012.

Turbine announced that they were bringing back Asheron’s Call 2.  I am not sure what became of that.

I was deep into my World of Tanks binge.  I was up to the KV-2 on the Soviet heavy line, choosing that path after the three way split at the KV-1. (And the T-28.)  I was also still working on the German tank destroyer line.

We were having a bit of fun in Need for Speed: World.  I even made a holiday video.

In Rift we were having some trouble getting a full group together, so we were doing some lower level instances as a group of four.  I was also struggling with the whole dimension thing.

Gaff and I took a quick peek into EverQuest II.  Nostalgia didn’t last long.  I also took a one-time shot at Wizardy Online.  It just wasn’t a game for me, but not every game has to be.

I was looking back on a year in null sec in EVE Online.  The Retribution expansion went live.  And I hit 90 million skill points.

I crammed together all the ads I could find from the EVE Online splash screen.  The launcher killed off those ads.

Five Years Ago

December seemed to be all about the micropayments and the like.  Sony Online Entertainment surprised some by putting Station Cash driven stores into EverQuest and EverQuest II.  The selection wasn’t great and the pricing seemed a bit off, but I was more interested to know what other SOE products would get the Station Cash treatment.

And then EA announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic would be microtransaction financed.  Or maybe they didn’t.

In EverQuest II I ran Reynaldo Fabulous from creation to level 50 in an very short (to me) stretch of time.  And then I stopped.

In Azeroth we were still coming to grips with the Northrend instances.  In Utgarde Keep we managed to kill off Prince Keleseth, but couldn’t hold it together to finish the instance.  Outside, we were running around doing quests.

Meanwhile, somebody was working on a WoW code, akin to the old geek code that used to clutter many a .sig file back when Usenet was cool and we knew the spammers by name.

I actually found some time to play Lord of the Rings Online.

And on the MUD nostalgia front I was reminding people what quests used to be like and sharing some really bad limericks.

New Linking Blogs

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogroll, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in December

  1. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  2. Greetings from the Timeless Isle… of DEATH!
  3. Quote of the Day – CCP Layoffs and World of Darkness
  4. Shroud of the Avatar… It’s a Thing
  5. Do You Know the Way to Blackrock Caverns?
  6. Seated on the Throne of Tides
  7. Remembering Warhammer Online
  8. LOTRO and the Latest Insta-Level Scheme
  9. The Instance Group… Under the Sea
  10. Four Space Operas and a Funeral
  11. An Embarrassment of Options…
  12. Looking Back at 2013 – Highs and Lows

Search Terms of the Month

love strawberry hate raspberry
[I’m with you on that.]

eve online missiles or guns?
[As much as it pains me, guns.]

ccp mintchip fired
[Not that I have seen.]

why would someone transport plex?
[That is one of the mysteries of EVE.]

jita make lego bolo
[All those words mean something, but not when strung together.]

EVE Online

I passed the two year mark in null sec this month.  Despite being in something of a lull for the last couple of months due to the lack of a really intense deployment, I still keep my hand in with a fleet now and again.  I still enjoy a big fleet fight and sovereignty wars in general.

World of Warcraft

The Azeroth binge continues.  I think I have said this before, but everybody in the regular group is playing at about their maximum rate.  I know I have been playing WoW more than anything else by quite a margin.  It is a combination of Blizzard smoothness, familiarity, and each of us discovering in turn that Mists of Pandaria is actually a pretty meaty expansion… and that there was still quite a bit left uncovered in past expansions.  I keep going back to bits of The Burning Crusade with various characters.  I feel like I haven’t done very much in that expansion to this day.

Steam

The Steam Winter sale has almost run its course.  I did manage to find a couple of titles I wanted on deep sale.  Company of Heroes 2 is the one I have actually spent some time playing.  It isn’t bad, though it isn’t quite Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin in depth.  The other game I bought was Endless Space, which I have heard both good and bad about, but which dropped to a price point that I just bought it.  Now to find time to actually play it.

Coming Up

It will be the new year, which means tomorrow I will have a post with some ridiculous predictions and such as well as a somewhat delayed yet probably very predictable 2014 MMO and like games outlook.  Things I do every year so at least you can plot my insanity/inanity over time.

My daughter also got a Nintendo 3DS XL for Christmas, and immediately used some gift cards she got to go buy Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Pokemon X.  She has played quite a bit of both since then.  I will have to give the unit a closer look.  It seems very nice and the big screen means I can read the text without my glasses.  Anyway, there will no doubt be a post on that at some point in the not too distant future.  Is the 3DS XL worth it, or would a DSi XL and a pile of older games be a better choice?

Then there is the ongoing adventures of the instance group, which I have been slacking on the last two weeks and all the things that go along with that.

And, finally, I have a Mystery Code from the EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition to give away.  There will be a contest.  I expect it will involve screen shots.  I can’t help it, I can sit and look at EVE Online screen shots all day.

A Farewell to Pokemon

We were out shopping on Sunday.  For some reason my wife asked me to come along and for equally inexplicable reasons I said yes.  I do not like wandering around the mall “shopping” and begin to behave like an 8 year old in making up games and distractions to pass the time.  This, in turn, annoys the crap out of my long-suffering wife, so clearly neither of us was thinking straight on this call.

But as we made our way through the electronics section of Target, my daughter went over to the Nintendo section and spotted the new Pokemon X and Y games.

Pokemon X and Y

Pokemon X and Y

She actually seemed both surprised and excited to see a new Pokemon game out.  I knew it had shipped.  I still get email updates from Nintendo and was aware that the new games were releasing world wide this past Saturday.  I just hadn’t said (or written) anything about it.  (Keen and Graev have some posts about the new games.)  But I have to admit I have been interested in the game.

Pokemon used to be one of our things.

My daughter was attracted to the game a long ways back, when we saw a Nintendo DS on display at a store with Pokemon loaded up.  It was colorful, the basic functions were immediately comprehensible to her, and the idea of capturing little pets and making them battle held an attraction for her.  She was into bugs and dinosaurs and animals when she was that age. (Now, however, she screams bloody murder if there is a moth in the shower with her.)

Of course to play Pokemon you had to buy the hardware, a Nintendo DS.  That was the stopping point, until we were about to go on a trip and my wife gave me the mandate to go buy one to keep our daughter entertained on the plane for five hours.  So I went out and bought a pink Nintendo DS Lite along with LEGO Star Wars, Mario Party DS, and Pokemon Diamond.

I could have skipped the first two.  We spent the whole trip playing Pokemon.  My daughter was in kindergarten at the time and needed help reading some of the text in the game… this was before she had been trained by World of Warcraft to skip all quest text… so I spent a chunk of that time reading the game text aloud to her.  That was a bit of a chore for me, but got her motivated to read.

The game was such a success that a couple of months later my wife bought me a cobalt blue Nintendo DS Lite and my own copy of Pokemon Diamond and we were off.

We played through that together, went on to Pokemon Platinum, and really hit our peak during Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver.  We were wearing out Pokewalkers everywhere (and cheating a bit using physics and LEGO).  There were mishaps and tragedies and meddling cats, but we were into it.  We went to the Pokemon regional championships, played with Pokemon Ranch, and in went to the Pokemon Black and White tour when it showed up at a local mall.  I even caught ’em all, nabbing all 493 Pokemon that were available in the series up to that point.

But then Pokemon Black and White came along and we were not quite as interested.  In part that was because we had played so much Pokemon up to that point.  We might have been a bit burned out having burned through all the predecessors on the DS, plus a couple of the GameBoy Advance versions, which also ran on the DS Lite.

Then there is also the fact that all Pokemon games are very much alike at some basic level.  You start out in the world as a youth, you meet some Pokemon expert, you get your first Pokemon, and you head out into the world to catch Pokemon, battle gym leaders, and eventually take on the regional champions, all while battling a rival and some oddly dressed organization bent on evil.  And all of it takes place in a world completely obsessed with Pokemon and where all conflict is resolved by Pokemon battles.

After a few runs through that, you might get a little tired of it.

And then there are the special features each game brings to the table.  My daughter and I used to enjoy playing together in the underground in Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum.  It was a shared environment you could link up in on WiFi.  We were also fond of the Pokewalker and the way your lead Pokemon would walk around with you in HeartGold and SoulSilver.  In Black and White the key features were the graphics, which were improved, 150 new Pokemon (groan), and a lot of online WiFi connectivity (like Global Link) that did not really click with us.  Neither of us finished Black or White and we never bothered with Black 2 and White 2. (Which I still think were dumb names.)

Finally, there were just other distractions.  Other games to play, other things to do.  My daughter was growing up and little things like Pokemon were no longer quite so important.  So we have not been playing Pokemon for quite a while.  I would say that we are at least two years past the last time either of us played with any read drive.

But the memory of those times, of playing together, of figuring out where to go next, of catching and trading Pokemon, that all remains.  And I think some of that came rushing back to her when we were standing there at the counter looking at the new Pokemon.  She was gushing a bit when she asked, “Can we get it?”

I had to tell her we could not.

While Pokemon X and Y have the usual range of features and even a slick way to transfer your old Pokemon over to the new games via the internet (assuming you have them all in Pokemon Black or White) using a feature called Pokemon Bank, there was a problem.

Pokemon Bank - $5.00 a year

Pokemon Bank – $5.00 a year

Pokemon X and Y are the first versions of the main line of Pokemon games that are exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS generation of handheld gaming devices.  Our Nintendo DS Lites are now pretty much obsolete.  When Nintendo stops shipping Pokemon on a platform, it is done.

There certainly seems to be some hunger for a version of Pokemon on the 3DS platform.  It is on track to be a big seller, moving 4 million units on its first two days.  The top Pokemon games of all time are Pokemon Diamond and Pearl which together move nearly 18 million units.

My daughter had an immediate solution to this problem, which was to buy new hardware!

I have clearly failed to instill any sort of sense as to the value of money in my daughter.

I had to tell her that wasn’t going to happen either.  At least not right then.  Something like a Nintendo 3DS is a Christmas/Birthday present (or maybe a going on long trip present) and not something we just buy on a whim while at the store on a Sunday afternoon.  Even the more moderately priced Nintendo 2DS, about which I am a bit dubious given what I have read (turns out it has just one big LED panel for both screens), falls outside of the impulse buy price range in my opinion.

My daughter’s response was in the “Oh well” range of emotions.  She didn’t seem all that put out by it and I somehow doubt that a Nintendo 3DS is going to make it to her Christmas list.  And if it did, I think she is more interested in Animal Crossing: New Leaf than Pokemon.

So I suspect that we have had our time with Pokemon.