Collection Tale – Pokémon Colosseum + Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness

Welcome to Collection Tales! This is the series where I pull stuff from my shelves and talk about the history that I have with them.

Today’s post is a special one since this is a part of the Pokémon Creator’s Catch Collaboration that was organized by NekoJonez and features posts from 12 bloggers altogether. We all came together to write about the Pokémon series in our own special ways. Make sure check out the hub by clicking the link above or the image below that will take you to everyone’s post, and thank you to everyone who helped and contributed to the project.

For today’s Collection Tale, I wanted to look at one of my favorite games on the Nintendo GameCube, Pokémon Colosseum, and its sequel, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness.

While I have the most memories and nostalgia for Colosseum, I have played about half of Gale of Darkness to form an opinion. If I start rambling on and on about Colosseum more than XD, just know that it is the one that I’ve played the most.

I don’t remember exactly when we got Colosseum, but it wasn’t too long after it released on March 22, 2004 in the states. There were three factors that got me and my brothers excited about this game. One, we thought this would be close to a mainline game on a console. Around the time, people were wondering if we would ever see a mainline Pokémon game on the big screen. From the commercials that we were looking at, this seemed like a test run to see if it could work, or lead to a whole new separate series. The second factor was that it could also be an evolution to the Stadium games. A stadium is just a small colosseum if you think about it, so this new game could have been like those games with a story mode added to it. While those two predictions didn’t come true at the end, both games did a great job of giving players a great adventure on a smaller scale (on a bigger screen). 

The third factor was this commercial:

Credit: Japancommercials4U2 YouTube Channel

This commercial is silly and cring, but I remember it well. 

Onto what the games are about. Pokémon Colosseum followed a story where an evil organization, Team Snagem, is stealing Pokémon and turning them into fighting machines. They do this by closing their hearts and turning them into the equivalent of mindless animals. You play as Wes (or whatever you want to call him) as he breaks into Team Snagem’s hideout and steals a device known as the Snag Machine. With this machine, Wes can steal Shadow Pokémon from trainers before they can cause further harm. Assisting him is Rui, a strange girl who is able to identify Shadow Pokémon. Together you team up to solve the mysteries of the Shadow Pokémon and stop the people behind it.

The story is a little one-note, but it has interesting characters and a tone that is much darker than most games. The Orre region that the game takes place in is an almost barren wasteland where only the tough come to duke it out, which is the only thing to do. The Orre region features no wild Pokémon since it is not a place where Pokémon can be found normally in the wild (even though we’ve seen Pokémon exist in areas like this). People come here to participate in colosseum battles which are normal battles, just in a large arena. 

Gale of Darkness is a similar story but with a different cast. You play as a young kid who lives at a Pokémon research center in the Orre region. After hijinks occur, you are given a new snag machine to capture shadow Pokémon which have once again appeared and rescue the professor of the center. It is not nearly as mature as the original game, but it retains the same great gameplay and mechanics with a few new things. Since I haven’t finished the story and I honestly don’t remember much outside the main plot, I think of Gale of Darkness as an expansion to Colosseum and a look at the aftermath of the Shadow Pokémon incident. 

The Shadow Pokémon themselves are interesting because they look like normal Pokémon to most people. Shadow Pokémon will not hesitate to attack anyone rather you be another Pokémon or human. Snagging them from trainers is the only way to acquire them and get them off the streets. What’s stopping you from taking your opponent’s entire team? Morality, and the game won’t let you. To reverse the effects of the shadowing, you have to use the Pokémon in battle and reduce it’s darkness gauge. As you dwindle the gauge, the Shadow Pokémon will regain some moves that it forgot, and reveal some of its nature to the trainer. Once the gauge is empty, you will take it to a shrine blessed by Celebi to purify its heart. The Pokémon will then obtain all experience points it earned from battles, and may evolve if it can. Purifying all the shadow Pokémon becomes one of the end goals of the game since you can then grow your team and take on the different battle challenges in the game. Gale of Darkness changes the purification aspect a bit by allowing you to store Pokémon in special boxes that purify them over time. I would love to see the concept of Shadow Pokémon return in game in the future, but as of this writing, the last time we would see Shadow Pokémon would be in Pokémon GO.

The copy of Colosseum that I have is the original that I had from childhood. We didn’t preorder it, so it didn’t come with the download code for Jirachi. A quick ebay search will tell you how rare a copy of that is. My game still has the original case and manual that has been through a lot. Along with the game, we got the Official Nintendo Players Guide to the game. We were obsessed with guide books since we didn’t have the internet to magically solve all our problems (you young people will never know the struggle sometimes). I was lucky enough to find our copy of the book recently at my brother’s house. Unfortunately, he had stored it in a cardboard box in his outside shed (my inner librarian weeps), so I’m cautious about the potential of hidden mold. It has been out there for years though, and if it hasn’t been destroyed by the elements since, then there might be hope for it. 

It wasn’t until college that I got a copy of Gale of Darkness. For some reason, we never got it when it released and it flew under our radar since. I was able to find this copy at my local GameStop around the time they were cleaning out their GameCube inventory. I was lucky enough to only pay $13 USD for the game which is nowhere near how much you have to pay now for a copy. I ended up with two versions of the guide book thanks to my own stupidity. I had forgotten that I purchased the Prima guide and paid a good amount to get the Official Nintendo Players Guide. 

Now onto a story that I share with these games. I already mentioned that I’ve spent the most time with Colosseum, but maybe one day I will have stories to share about Gale of Darkness. I think Colosseum is one of the few games that I have played multiple times. That is mostly thanks to my younger brother who loved to see me play this game. He would request me to play this whenever I had the chance to play the GameCube, and he would watch along as I took on the different challenges in the game. I didn’t have a problem with it, since there are plenty of content to do in the game. One such thing was a Mt. Battle, a 100 battle gauntlet as you ascended up this mountain. The challenge takes a while since battles can start to get tedious after a while. What made the challenge worth it however is the prize at the end. If you manage to collect all the Shadow Pokémon and purify them, then you can get Ho-oh at the top of the mountain. This prize alone made us both want to complete it. After a while, we were able to reach the top of the mountain and defeat the last challenger. We made sure that all Pokémon had been captured and purified before we finished, but no Ho-oh showed up. After reviewing the guide book, we discovered that we had to do the Mt. Battle challenge in Battle mode. We had done it in the Story mode. It is safe to say that we never got the Ho-oh after discovering that.

To wrap things up, I highly recommend playing these games if you have the means. They are my favorite spinoffs of the series since it introduces this semi mature not found in most Pokémon games. The games were not afraid to show off one of the darker sides of the Pokémon universe and show one of the more sinister sides of things. If you have Pokémon Ruby or Sapphire, a Gameboy Advance, and a link cable to you can hook up to your GameCube, then you can have battles with your friends on the big screen. Why you would go through the trouble of doing that in this day and age is your business and I am not one to judge. You can also transfer Pokémon from Ruby/Sapphire to use in game and vice versa. I would love for them to bring the Orre region back for another adventure, or introduce a new small region facing their own shadow Pokémon incident. If we ever get a rerelease or another game in this spinoff, I highly recommend you to give them a try.

Once again, thank you to everyone who contributed to the Pokémon Creator’s Catch and make sure that you give the other articles and videos and read/view!

Pokémon Sun and Moon is Too Relaxing of a Vacation.

Today’s post is a special one since this is a part of the Pokémon Creator’s Catch Collaboration that was organized by NekoJonez and features posts from 12 bloggers altogether. We all came together to write about the Pokémon series in our own special ways. Make sure to check out the hub by clicking the link above, or the image below that will take you to everyone’s post, and thank you to everyone who helped and contributed to the project.

When I first heard about Pokémon Sun and Moon, I got excited. There is a certain level of joy that a new Pokémon generation brings. There are the new Pokémon to discover, the locale of the new region, and if the series will continue to give us hot professors (I will get there). Not only did Sun and Moon deliver on those aspects, the series gave birth to a new concept that would have changed the flow of the games if they had executed it properly. Sun and Moon would be the first games in the series to ditch traditional Pokémon gyms, and instead focus on trials. This was big news since the premise of a mainline Pokémon game was to defeat gym leaders to collect badges in order to become Pokémon Master. I liked the idea of this. I am always in favor when a long running series decides to change its core mechanics and try to do something new. Would this new mechanic change the way we view future entries in the series? Well….

I will come upfront and say it. I do not like Sun and Moon (and Ultra Sun and Moon as well). To me, playing it from beginning to end feels like an insult to anyone who has played a Pokémon game before. Before you say it, I will say it since I believe in it as well. Pokémon is not a game meant for people who have played it since Red and Blue. Pokémon is supposed to be an easy RPG marketed for kids, but has deep mechanics that older players can have fun playing them as well. Every time a new generation of the games come out, I always hear the complaints that the stories are not deep or dark enough for an older audience. That would be a dumb move for Game Freak to do since they want to appeal to a younger audience since they are a huge part of the target audience. As long as there are young people in the world, Game Freak will make the games appealing and accessible for them.

With that being said, if I was a small child who somehow played all the previous versions, even I would know that these games are just….boring. I think Game Freak went way overboard in dumbing down the challenge and activities that you can do in the game. Some of the decisions were not bad ones. They just lack a certain…oomp I guess to make this generation stand out. Game Freak took a big risk in changing up the formula, but felt cautious at the same time that new things feel half attempted.

So. I’m going to go over what I felt were the good and bad designs of these games. Some of the issues I have with the game may not sound bad to others, or just sound like a general complaint that I have with the game. We can all agree to disagree, so I hope my points sound valid enough to why I don’t like it.  

Region – Aloha (Good)

As a region, I think it is an excellent one to have. So far in the series we have regions where most places were connected to one another with one or two islands (five in Ruby/Sapphire if you include the Battle Frontier) floating out in the ocean. With Aloha, there are four main islands that have their own characteristics to them. I kinda wish there were more to the islands than just two to three towns and then areas that just happen to be trial areas. Let the islands speak for themselves and show what makes each of them different and unique from the others. Other than that, I love the tropical setting and themes that the islands set up for the region as a whole.

Starter Pokemon (Good)

There are always hit and misses when it comes to the starter Pokémon in each generation. I honestly believe the Sun and Moon have some of the best starters that everyone likes.

Rowlet

Forever S tier. Look at this dank boi! I may be biased since owls are my favorite animal, but look at this guy! The bowtie, the friendly eyes, the attitude of a potato! I love this little dude and it is a constant struggle between him and Bulbasaur as my top favorite. I wish his second form, Datrix, was more interesting. I’m not a fan of this design, but I see what they were going for. It’s a price to pay since Decidueye elevates it back up. A solid design of an archer and his wings that make it look like a cloak. Obviously, my favorite out of the starters.

Litten

Litten isn’t bad. Just a little fire cat that somehow reminds me of my own cats. There have been other cat Pokémon before Litten, so its inclusion doesn’t do much for me. Likewise, Torracat is just….meh. I like its little bell, but it looks more like an asshole cat. Incineroar….ok. I appreciate that it is not a fire/fighting type, but I think it would work better with its design. I like that it is a wrestler, but other than that, eh. It sorta comes out of nowhere in the evolution line, so it confuses me as to why the cat suddenly is a wrestler now. If Torracat had some type of design to hint as to where the evolution was going, then it would bother me so much.

Popplio

I know there are a lot of Popplio fans, but I am back and forth with this one. It doesn’t really do much for me. I would pick it over Litten since it feels more unique. Brionne has more personality I feel. Out of the other second forms, I think Brionne is the better one. I actually like Primarina’s design more than I thought I was. It’s a weird seal mermaid thing and I think the evolution line flows all the way through with this one. 

Your Character (Bad)

I know that your character is supposed to be a blank slate, but that stupid blank state infuriates me in this game. There are moments in the story where something serious is happening, and the camera shows your character with this big ol’ dumb smile on your face. I know that it is an unfair point to bring up, but all the other characters are capable of showing expressions, so don’t be lazy and not give it to the playable character. I do appreciate that this version allows you to customize your character from skin tone and clothing for the very first time.

Rival (Good)

Originally I thought Hau was one of the weakest rivals to have, but the good boy made me have a change of heart when I was looking more into his character. Hau is a good boy, but not rival material. I believe he was the first “not threatening” rival introduced in the series. He has determination to become a strong trainer like his grandpa, but he doesn’t try to outshine you throughout your journey. He’s just a happy sunshine boy that doesn’t let anything get him down, until you come along. I know it is just a fan theory for now, but a lot of people believe that you are the mean rival this time around. Your journey with Hau makes him have doubts in himself at different parts of the story, but he resolves to believe in himself and his Pokémon rather than seek out great power. It is almost like how in the first game Professor Oak tells your rival that the only reason you won is due to the trust you have in your Pokémon. Does this work in Hau’s favor? No since at the end of the day he is just a pushover like all the other trainers in this game.

Professor (Good)

I actually like Kukui for the type of person and researcher he is. For the first time, we see someone who is interested in the moves and power of Pokémon. Kind of an out there topic to study, but when you consider no one has been studying how destructive a Pokémon’s potential can be, then I can see why someone’s field of study might be so. I also know he’s research ties into one of the gimmicks in this game (more on that later), but it is still better than just “I research Pokémon” open-ended answer other professors have given.

Trails (Bad)

Ok. You can fight me on this. The trial system in Sun and Moon is boring, uninteresting, lazy, too simple, and does not feel as good as challenging a gym leader. 

When I heard about trials, I was thinking along the lines of older titles where you had to solve some type of puzzle in order to challenge the gym leader. Those felt like a test to see if you were ready/worthy of challenging the gym leader for the gym badge. These trails don’t feel challenging or rewarding when you beat them. Some trials require you to just go to reach a goal or complete a simple task. Afterwards, you have to fight a totem Pokémon, a normal Pokémon with higher stats than normal. Totem Pokémon can call in backup to help with the fight, but if you come prepared (which isn’t hard) then some of them feel like an annoying obstacle rather than a challenge. Here are the exciting challenges you can look forward to do:

Trail #1 (Normal): Find three Pokémon, beat them up, and then challenge the totem Pokémon, Gumshoos or Raticate.

Trail #2 (Water): Fish. Fight Wishiwashi. 

Trail #3 (Fire): Play “What’s different in picture number 2?” Fight Salazzle.

Trail #4 (Grass): Find items in the forest. Watch out for random Grass Pokémon. Fight Lurantis.

Trail #5 (Electric): Answer my riddles three. Fight Vikavolt.

Trail #6 (Ghost): Play a water down version of Pokémon Snap for about three minutes. Fight Mimikyu.

Trail #7 (Dragon) Walk up to a podium and fight Kommo-o. No challenge.

Sigh. Ultra Sun and Moon changes the challenges up just a little bit. Instead of fishing, you have to lead a group of Wishiwashi to their destination, but it is still a simple process. You can avoid all fights in the forest trial if you choose the right ingredient. The electric trial is changed completely to a puzzle where you have to connect Charjabugs. There is also a new trial exclusive to Ultra Sun and Moon where you have to go and beat all the trial leaders. It would be a fun challenge, if they put up a fight. The last trail leader doesn’t even fight you because they see how pointless it all was. Overall, Ahola’s challenges feel like a joke. I know the islands are supposed to be peaceful with not a lot of challenges going on, but they talk about making Aloha more than just a tourist site and a place where Pokémon trainers can test their might. I just can’t help but to feel that their peaceful lives makes them the weakest trainers compared to the other regions. Which is a shame because there are some really powerful trainers out there. 

Kahunas (Good and Bad)

In my opinion, these are the strongest trainers on the islands; which is why they are the kahunas. That being said, they don’t provide a real challenge even when they go “all-out.” Each kahuna acts as a final test on each island where you have to challenge them to a battle to complete the Grand Trial. They are essentially the Elite Four of Aloha and each have swagger to them. Unlike the trail leaders, you can see the experience that they carry and why they are leaders. Defeating them is the real trial of the island challenge, and beating them originally meant that you completed the trial. There is one thing that this generation did that I kinda appreciated.

Pokémon League (Good)

I may be going into spoiler territory with this next part. If you would like to experience this part of the game on your own, then skip this section.

While on your grocery list of island trials to do, you come across construction happening on Mt. Lanakila. Professor Kukui (of all people) explains that they are currently building the region’s first Pokémon League. Prior to the story, Aloha never had a Pokémon League due to just being a tourist destination. He desired to create the League to show the world that Aloha has amazing trainers and powerful moves. You get to see a new beginning for the region that you don’t really see in the other games, and for some reason that resonated with me. I will touch back on this point towards the end of this post.

Once you finish your journey, the Pokémon League completes its construction and is ready for its first challenger, you. You face off against the island’s Kahunas once more with the exception of Namu. After you defeat them, you go up against…Professor Kukui? They finally bring back an old idea from the original concept and have you face the Pokémon Professor as the “final” challenger. It is actually interesting to have this outcome, but you see it coming a mile away if you are paying attention. And like always, once you defeat him, you become the official Pokémon Champion of Aloha. Only this time, the game recognizes this fact. If you go back to the Pokémon League after becoming the champion, the Elite Four will challenge you to make sure their champion hasn’t gotten weak. After you defeat them, you get to sit on your throne and challenge whoever dares to try and take your title. The person you face off will be random, so you won’t be able to predict what team you will be facing off against. This mechanic is one thing that Sun and Moon got right. It always felt weird re-challenging the previous champion after you beat them the first time. You are the champion now, so why are they still there? This is a mechanic I would like to see them keep (they kinda did it for Sword and Shield) as it fits an annoying mechanic of the series.

“Evil Group” – Team Skull (Good and Bad)

Eh. As evil teams go, they are harmless. I do like their design and personas as they are a bunch of goofs and not trying to cause catastrophic damage and genocide using ancient Pokémon. Nah. These guys just have a bumping theme song and try to make a living. Visiting Po Town did make me feel sorry for the group, and you get to learn more of why they follow Guzma around. It makes for a nice redemption moment toward the endgame, but if I’m rating them as an organization as a whole, then they are pretty low on my list. If you are wondering who the real threat is, then just start the game and you can put two and two together.

New Pokémon and Gimmicks (Good and Bad)

Finally! I can stop talking about the “story” and focus on what other new things this generation bought with it. To save time since this post is already one of the longest I’ve ever done, I’m not going to go over every single new Pokémon. I will instead just talk about the 10 that stand out to me the most. They may not be my favorite out of the bunch, but they did get some reaction out of me.

 Charjabug

This was an interesting Pokémon that kinda dropped when it evolved into Vikavolt. I like the idea of people powering their devices with this weird bug that can store electricity. The Battery ability is also good to have with a team that specializes in Special Attacks.

Crabrawler

I hate this Glass Joe looking mofo. I had one in my first playthrough of the game thinking it would be amazing later on in the game, but then I learned how you can only evolve at a certain place late in the game and then I just gave up on it. It’s evolution Crabominable is not impressive to me either.

Wishiwashi

At first, I did not care for this Pokémon or its gimmick. After having one on my team in Ultra Sun, I can say that this Pokémon is a powerhouse. It’s ability Schooling brings tons of these little guys together to make one ferocious fish. This skyrockets Wishiwashi’s stats through the roof minus its HP and speed. The effect will remain as long as its HP remains above 25%. When it is low on HP, it will change forms back into its pathetic weak form. I like the risk and reward for this little powerhouse, and its shortcomings can be easily fixed with the right setup.

Toxapex

I had a mean Toxapex in my first playthrough. Just give it Toxic, Baneful Bunker, Venoshock, and Recover for a slow and painful death. You can substitute Toxic for another move that would help dealing with Steel and other Poison types.

Salazzle

I hate how this Pokémon looks and poses. Please make it stop.

Stufful/Beware

What a cute concept of a Pokémon. Everyone loves having a Stufful because it looks like a stuffed animal, so naturally, you would want to hug and cuddle it. Well Stufful either likes this or hates it, but it can’t hug you back with its little arms. So when it evolves into Bewear, it turns into a hugging killing machine. Beware over cuddling your stuffed animals. They might one day wish to return the favor.

Comfey

I get the whole theme of Comfey, but why? There are some designs that I look at and give a chuckle, but for some reason I feel like Comfey is just pushing the line of creative, lazy, and just doing something because it fits the region.

Sandygast/Palossand

Did I immediately seek this Pokémon when I first saw it? You betcha butt I did. This is one of those stupid designs that I love to bits. It is a haunted SANDCASTLE! It took real guts to create this Pokémon and think people would fall for it. Jokes on them, this is now one of my favorite Pokémon of all time.

Mimikyu

I like the story and lore behind Mimikyu. It does make me wonder though, do all Mimikyu wish to be adored by Pikachu? Surely one of them would like to be a Charizard since it is constantly popular. It might have been cool to see different variants who disguise themselves as other starter Pokémon.

Dhelmise

I would have used Dhelmise if I didn’t already have a Ghost/Grass Pokémon on my team. Ghost Pokémon have a lot of creative freedom to them since they can possess any object. The idea of spirits from ships that sank is haunting and makes you think why they didn’t appear on the wrecked ship in Ruby/Sapphire.

Legendary Pokémon (Bad)

Unpopular opinion. I don’t really care for the legendary Pokémon in this generation. With the exception of Lunala, they just seem bland to me. The Tapu Pokémon have a better connection to the region than Solgaleo and Lunala, but other than that have little interest to me.

Aloha Forms (Good and Bad)

This generation introduced a new concept that I’m surprised didn’t happen sooner, region variant forms of older Pokémon. Certain Pokémon who live in Aloha have different appearances and typings compared to their Kantonian forms. The game only sticks with Pokémon that come from the Kanto region, but expand a little bit more in Sword and Shield. I like this idea, but some designs felt they just did it because they had the idea for a while and went with it. Pokémon that benefit from this are Executor who looks like a coconut tree and turns into a Grass/Dragon type. Vulpix and Sandshrew turn into Ice types and gain an additional typing when they evolve. The weakest ones in my opinion are Rattata, Raticate, Diglett, Dugtrio, Meowth, Persion, Grimer, and Muk. I felt like they were given a silly design and nothing to really justify the cause of their change. The real travesty however is how dirty they did my mon Raichu. I like the idea of finally having a “surfing Pikachu,” and I’m happy they incorporated it into Raichu’s long tail. The design though…just…it’s not for me. I used it in my full playthrough of Sun, but the design kills me some days.

Ultra Beast (Meh)

The last type of Pokémon introduced are Ultra Beast, Pokémon from another dimension. I don’t know where the line of Pokémon and aliens are, but you can’t call something a Pokémon just because you don’t know what else they could be. The fact that you need special balls to catch them effectively means that they may be more than your common Pokémon roaming around. Some of them are good and can have crazy typings, but they mostly served as bonus “legendary” Pokémon to capture during the endgame.

Z-Moves (Bad)

Now to special gimmicks. X and Y introduced Mega Evolution and I for one liked that concept. How would Sun and Moon evolve on that concept? By not including Mega Evolution until the post game, and instead introduce a new McGuffin, Z-Moves. You see, when you complete a trial, instead of getting a shiny badge to show off, you instead get a Z-Crystal. Giving a Z-Crystal to a Pokémon lets it pull off a super move that has a ton of power behind it.

Here is my problem with Z-Crystals. Depending on the Pokémon you have holding it and the situation of the battle, the payoff to use the move isn’t worth it in most battles. Z-Moves can only be done once per battle by one Pokémon only. So if your whole team is holding a different Z-Crystal, only one of them can use it and the rest of your team could have had a better held item on them. Adding to that, the attack power and type of move (physical or special) of the Z-Move is dependent on the move that your Pokémon knows. It is hard for me to explain in simple words, but take the Normal type Z-Move, Breakneck Blitz, for example. As long as the Pokémon holding the Normal Z-Crystal has a Normal-type move, they can use Breakneck Blitz. Depending on the attack power and type of move that it is, it will have a different result of how much damage it will do. Z-Moves start with a power level of 100, and go up by 20 starting with the base move’s power of 60 (60 = 120, 70 = 140, 80 = 160, etc.) Going back to the damage calculations (I know math I’m sorry but this is important), if your Pokémon is better suited for Special Attacks and not Physical, then using a Physical Z-Move is almost pointless since you don’t benefit for using it at its greatest potential. Also if you don’t have any Power Points (PP) to use that move regularly, then you can’t use the Z-Move version of it. You need to have at least 1 PP of that base move to use the Z-Move. The Bulbapedia page that I used for reference for this part explains it all better, but it is much more of a read than I can explain.

With Mega Stones, you were losing the Pokémon benefitting from a better held item, but the payoff was better with the Pokémon’s stats increasing and potentially gaining a new type to turn the tides. Z-Moves are pointless if your team is strong enough to carry on their own with their current move set and appropriate held items to get through tough battles; which I already established that there aren’t that many challenging battles in this game. If Z-Moves gave you a stat boost after using the move, then I could see why it would be worth using more often. You can change some stat boost moves into a stat affecting Z-Move, but you would still need to have an appropriate base move to use it. It just got to a point where having access to a Z-Move felt pointless and not much of a game changer like Mega Evolution or even Gigamaxing in Sword and Shield.

S.O.S Mechanic (Good)

The last aspect of the game that I want to talk about is the S.O.S mechanic. Sun and Moon added another concept that I’m surprised it took them this long to come up with. If random encounters weren’t annoying enough already, wild Pokémon can now call for backup if they need help. This can successfully call another Pokémon from its family to come and help, or its pleas will be ignored. And yes, the Pokémon can do this as many times as it wants in a wild encounter. As annoying as this sounds, why do I like it? Two reasons. The first is that if you can keep the chain going, you have a better chance of finding a Pokémon with higher IVs or a hidden ability if you are that kind of player. This also increases the rate at which a shiny version may appear. The second reason is my favorite reason. There are certain Pokémon that only appear using this mechanic. Their encounter rate is low during these encounters, so you may be waiting around for a while. The payoff is worth it in my eyes. When I heard it was possible to obtain a Salamence on the first island using this mechanic below level 10, you know I spent over an hour trying to summon that S.O.B. I carried that Salamence throughout my entire journey mostly as a giant flex. There are other powerful Pokémon that you can get early if you have the patience to get through the process.

Final Thoughts

There are surprisingly some good things that I like about this generation. However, the negatives are pretty big to me, and that brings my overall rating of the game down. This game might have worked better for me if it was a spinoff game. You come to an island resort where you participate in these non-gym battles and get rewards for completing them. The “conflict” in the game also felt forced at some points and shows that no one is really evil in the end. My frustrations aside, some may like the change of pace a bit and the lower difficulty to just enjoy the Pokémon experience. If that is your M.O., go for it then. If I had to give these games some kind of rating, I would say that these games are a beach vacation with your over organized family/friends. Some people enjoy the beach. Its not for everyone, but those who like going to the beach are going to go to enjoy it. It’s when that one participant forces everyone to manage their fun at the beach so they can enjoy other “fun” activities that isn’t the beach. You want to relax and enjoy the beach, but you can’t because now you’re being dragged to laser tag where an eight-year old is having a birthday party. You go because you have to go, but instead of relaxing, you are now playing a mundane game of tag with a bunch of kids everywhere (who provide no challenge whatsoever). If you are looking for a relaxing vacation with new Pokémon and a whole region to explore, then this is a good trip to take. In my opinion, this is the weakest mainline Pokémon game in the series for having some good ideas, but not making them fun or engaging as other challenges.

Once again, thank you to everyone who contributed to the Pokémon Creator’s Catch and make sure that you give the other articles and videos and read/view!

Love Your Backlog 2021

Love Your Backlog month is back and it is slowly becoming one of my new favorite holidays. If you don’t know what this is, Kim from Later Levels and Genni from Ace Asunder created this event for all of us to celebrate the existence of our physical and digital mountain of joy. This event was created to celebrate something that is special to you and own it with pride. This is my second year participating in this event, and I wish I could say that I prepared for it. Well jokes on me, I kinda, sorta did when I decided to re-inventory my entire game collection last year. Being able to catalog all of my games all over again was an eye opening experience that helped me reconnect with some games that I completely forgot that I had, and some that I wonder why I have in the first place. Nevertheless, I cherish each game in my collection since I never thought I would have something like this in the past.

With the introductory paragraph out of the way now, I can start talking about my backlog! The pictures below shows how my collection grew from last year:

A whole new shelf had to be added last year. It’s kinda odd to see how it has exploded in what feels like a short time. I don’t want to spend a lot of time speculating how that happen, since this post would be even longer.

To also help visualize how much my collection has grown, I recreated my video game collection spreadsheet that I created back in 2015. This new version contains all of the games that me and Kat have currently in our physical and digital collection. This new version also fixes some issues that I had with the old spreadsheet (all of the different colors to start with). If you would like to view it, you can click the link above, the giant badge in this post, or the link on my homepage.

So, with all of my games recounted and accounted for, my new grand total of unfinished games is:

763

*Damn. I really wanted that 1000+ badge….

So. How did this happen? Last year I had reported that I only had 482 games in my backlog. How did I almost double that number!? I will answer that question towards the end of this post (the suspenseful hook!) For now, let’s answer some questions that Kim has prepared for us!

The effect that the 2020 apocalypse had on your backlog

Uh. I didn’t leave my house. Since I didn’t leave my house, I didn’t spend it all on eating out almost all the time. The result? I saved a bunch of money for gaming thanks to switching to isolation. The pandemic allowed me to save money and invest in a lot of things that I wanted. The biggest thing I was able to do was buy new components for my PC, so now I can play almost anything on PC comfortably. The sad thing is that I still haven’t touched most of my games on PC…

The oldest game in terms of release date

Um let’s see here….

Technically it would be Super Mario Bros 3, but my brother has that along with our Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis games. In terms of what I currently have on the shelf, I think it is Super Mario 64, which is a shame because I don’t think I will finish it anytime soon. Not that I think it is a bad game, or its not for me, or I’ve seen my brother finish it a gazillion times, but because I don’t know if the cartridge works anymore. I think it does, but I haven’t checked in a while. *Edit: It does work!

A game you bought on day one, only to not play it

I surprisingly don’t do this a lot. The only exceptions is I buy it a day or week later and then don’t play it. I did found one game though that fits this bill, Persona 4 Golden on Steam. I remember being at my in-laws house when I heard the news that it got released on Steam. I immediately bought it after seeing the announcement since it was for only $15/$20 dollars, and have not touched it yet. I love that game, so playing it will happen soon.

The game which has spent the most time on your backlog

Oh boy. Here comes the hard question. The original purpose of my spreadsheet was to help me remember when I bought something. I like to think if I got this before starting college, then I’ve had it for a long time. With that, I’m going to nominate Yu Gi Oh! GX: Duel Academy. I would consider this my second favorite Yu Gi Oh! game, and it is one that I have not finished since it requires you to actually past test and be good at the game. I think with how simple this game is compared to the current ruleset, I might be able to reach King of Games now.

The most recent addition to your library

As of writing this, the last game that I bought was Fallout 76. It was during a Walmart purge I guess and they had tons of copies for just $15. We got two copies so Kat and I could share the wasteland shenanigans together.

The person responsible for adding the most entries to your backlog, due to their good recommendations

This is it! The answer you were all waiting for! If you have been waiting to find out why my backlog grew so much in a year, then I’m sorry that the answer is kinda anticlimactic. It goes back to my spreadsheet (where all bad decisions are made). I originally did not want to include Kat’s games in my collection, since there are some games that I’m just never going to play (I’m looking at you Neopets: The Darkest Faerie). But, there are some games that she has that we both want to play, but it just happens that she went out of her way to buy it and play it first. So, I changed my mind about not including her games as part of my collection. We both contribute to the shelves that might be worth a fortune down the road, so I will share in the burden of finishing it one day. Also blame my friend Eric for making me buy games on Steam that I’m never going to finish if I just keep playing Overwatch.

So that’s all I got. A special thanks to Kim and Genni for once again bringing this event back this year, and I will see you next month for part 2!

DanamesX

My Entries For The Great JRPG Character Face Off!

Japanese Role Playing Games (JRPGs) are an all-time favorite genre of mine. I didn’t discover my love of the series until my teenage days. My love for reading and storytelling captured my interest in the genre and has kept me satisfied to this day. The most prominent games that come to my mind are Tales of Symphonia, Final Fantasy VI, and Trails of Cold Steel. While I could go one about each individual game, this post is focused on the characters from this genre. 

The dynamic duo of Pix1001 and Winst0lf has asked the community on who are our top 5 favorite characters from any JRPG. To take a look at their choices, you can find Pix1001’s here and Winst0lf’s here. If you would like to participate as well, feel free to write a post about it, or let Pix1001 and Winst0If know via social media or in the comments.

With that out of the way, let us get to the difficult part; selecting characters. Choosing from all of the JRPG games that I have played, I had to ask myself why did I like this character to begin with. It became more difficult to define my reason why I liked them based on their character, personality, and significance to the story. There is a good chance that I missed someone while thinking things over, but I am satisfied with my choices. So without further delay, here we go (by the way, none of these are ranked in any particular order).

  1. Elliot Craig

At first glance, there is nothing really special about Elliot. It is strange that this fragile good boy is enrolled in a military academy, but has no intention to harm anyone. Being the son of a famous lieutenant-general also doesn’t help his awkward predicament. So why do I like him among his fellow classmates? Two reasons.

One, he is the best white mage that I have ever played as. The Master Quartz that he is given at the beginning sets him up for greatness as his healing arts have greater potency and cost less. If his quart is leveled up all the way, he can easily fully heal someone with a single Tear (beginning healing art). His crafts can also heal and buff characters and normally cover a good area to include everyone in one go. Finally, in the heat of the moment, his S-Craft ability, Remedy Oratorium, lets you not only revive everyone, but fully restore them, replenish CP, and gives them regan for 2 turns.

Second reason, he is a man of music. As a fellow musician myself, I appreciate his philosophy of healing the world through song. Not everyone his stature can find the strength and courage to meet danger head-on, but Elliot doesn’t let his weakness bother him in order to protect his friends. His mission in life is to heal the world through music and I greatly appreciate that.

  1. Magilou

Mazhigigika Miludin do Din Nolurun Dou (or Magilou for short) is a funny and annoying character. While her character can be seen as a comic relief to balance the team out, she also carries a dark, unfortunate side to her. She’s not afraid to stare death or Velvet in the face, because she is that confident/cocky in her abilities. What made her really stand out for me was her gameplay in battle.

At first I was hesitant to use her because she felt slow. That was until I learned how to play her and discovered that she is a bane to all spellcasters. Magilou has the ability to siphon her opponents’ magic while they are casting, and then use it to unleash powerful spells of her own. I immediately jumped on the Magilou train afterwards and would immediately switch to her if I noticed any pesky spellcasters out there. Plus, she has a belt made out of books. How badass is that!

  1. Dhaos

Dhaos was one of the first antagonists to make me feel two things at the same time; fear and sympathy. He is introduced in the very first scene of Tales of Phantasia dominating over his opponents. He is only defeated when he is sent back in time and imprisoned on arrival. About two hours in, he is freed from his tomb and proceeds to one shot everyone around him; including his lackeys and your best friend. You are then left to wonder how you will defeat someone who can just travel through time when defeated, can only be harmed by magic (in a world with no magic), and can kamehameha his way through people.

Then you learn about him. Originally from the planet Derris-Kharlan, Dhaos is a benevolent prince that goes on a mission to save his planet after a war destroys their Mana Tree. Using their life to teleport Dhaos to the planet Aselia, Dhaos tries to plead with the king of Midgards to cease their development of magitechnology to prevent what happened on his planet. Used as a martyr by the king’s closest advisor, Dhaos is seen as a demon who will destroy Midgards. With little choice and power, he makes a contract with the demons of Daemonium to force Midgards to stop their research and the firing of the Mana Canon. His efforts are in vain however, as the canon is fired and kills Aselia’s Mana Tree in the process. With no way to germinate a new Mana Seed, Dhaos loses his mind as he feels he failed both worlds. He then starts killing humans so that no further catastrophe can happen. This is just an abridged version, as the full story makes his story more tragic.

Dhaos’ character shows that anyone can reach a breaking point. Everything that he sacrificed seemed pointless at the end when he gave up trying to resolve things peacefully. It makes the opening statement of the game even more haunting; reminding that if there is evil in this world, it lurks in the hearts of man.

  1. Zidane

The last entry was dark, so let’s try to lighten things up! Zidane is a lovable playboy thief with a monkey tail. His charisma and willingness to help anyone makes him more of a burden than helpful. Nevertheless, he is seen as trustworthy on a number of occasions and will go out of his way to see his promises through. His character never cracks until he discovers his origins. He goes from friendly and optimistic to harsh and distant. He loses himself for a while, but his friends get him out of it and he goes back to being the protector he is. Without the help from his friends, he could have forgotten who he was and find the resolve to stay true to himself. I admire that and hope that I have his strength when/if the time comes.

  1. Towa Herschel

Towa is best girl and must be protected at all time! No scratch that. This confident and capable women don’t need no knight in shining armor to get what she needs done. The amount of work that she juggles while attending Thors Military Academy would make anyone exhausted. Due to how badass she is, she casually lead an airship full of military students during a civil war like it was f***ing nothing. Towa shows that strength can come in many different sizes and it is one’s commitment that can accomplish anything. She is a normal human being with no special powers, but has one of the biggest hearts I know.

So those are my choices. Who are your favorite JRPG characters? Feel free to share your favorites with Pix1001 and Winst0If!

Real Neat Blog Award the First!

I have been nominated for my very first Real Neat Blog Award. That is really neat!

I have to thank Jelly Puff for nominating me! Jelly runs a great blog where she shares her travels, feelings, and gaming hobbies. Follow her along as she knows how to canvas her emotions with her writing.

Image links to Jelly Puff’s Site

The Rules

  • Display the Award Logo. Check!
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to their blog. Check!
  • Answer the questions of the one who nominated you.
  • Nominate 7-10 bloggers.
  • Ask them seven questions.

Jelly’s Questions:

What’s your favorite book? If you don’t have one, what is a piece of literature that you’d recommend for me to read and why?

My favorite book (and possibly series) is Redwall by Brain Jacques. My fourth grade teacher introduce me to this series and I have loved them ever since. Jacques knows how to set you into the world by detailing each area vividly and giving each race their own dialect. It amazed me at the time that it made sense that different cultures and races would speak differently from one another, and Jacques pulls it off so well for young readers. I have not read all of the books in the series (slowly working on obtaining them all) but it is a series that I differently want to read to my kids.

If you only got to play one game for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

That is a tough one, but if I had to choose it would be Monster Hunter World. There is so much content packed in this game with more on the way. While I do prefer areas and content in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, my hands are not what they used to be anymore with the claw hand. I also have friends that could help with completing some of the achievements in the game and try to obtain all weapons and armor in the game.

Where’s the next place you’d like to travel to and what are the reasons?

Around this time next week, I was suppose to travel to Japan for the first time. With the state of the world right now, we obviously had to postpone it. My wife had been watching a lot of travel blogs, and she loved looking at the ones about Tokyo Disney. She is a huge Disney fan and she hopes to one day visit all of the parks. We choose Japan because we both obviously want to go, but there is more to do in the area than just Disney. We were planning on spending a day or two roaming around the different cities and trying out all the food (that look appetizing). We still plan on going later this year hopefully when things start to die down a bit.

How do you like your coffee or tea?

I like a dark roost coffee blend with a little cream (french vanilla) and sugar.

For tea, I am a southern boy and I like it iced and sweet!

Do you have any allergies?

I have no known allergies except for a few exceptions:

Regular Milk: Regular milk gives me an upset stomach, but things made with milk does not bother me. It’s strange, but I cannot consider myself lactose intolerant when it is just regular milk that messes me up.

The Marinara Pasta from Pizza Hut: This is the strange one. I am not allergic to any other type of marinara nor any pizza from Pizza Hut. It is just the pasta that sends me into hives. I discovered this by eating an entire dish by myself. The next thing I know my entire body is covered in hives and I want the itchiness to stop. Worst situation I had gotten into in my entire life.

Are you a morning lark or a night owl?

I have definitely become a morning lark. I work eight to five almost everyday and have become use to waking up early in the morning. I also feel better in the morning doing things rather at night when I’m worrying when I should go to bed. My body is not use to staying up pass 11pm most nights, but there are times that I can ignore it and continue on.

Who’s that artist or band you have on endless repeat when you’re looking for something to listen to?

I have various artist that I listen to since my go to music is video game soundtracks. There is always a soundtrack out there that fits the mood that I am feeling. If I had to pick a favorite composer it would have to be Nobou Uematsu without a doubt. His music made me realize how artful video game music can be (despite my music teachers telling me that it was not :/). I love listening to orchestral arrangement of video games and I have been lucky to see The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses when they were touring.

For non video game music, I enjoy brass bands. We have a local group called No BS Brass Band and their music is excellent. If you care for a listen to their music, I left a link to their Spotify page here.

And that is it for my Q&A. Thank you again Jelly for the fun questions! Now it is my turn! I nominate the following bloggers for a Real Neat Blog Award:

Kelly from Why We Play Games

Larissa from Games (and Other Bits) // Musings and Thoughts

Gaming Omnivore from Gaming Omnivore

Naithin from Time to Loot

Hobbit of Hyulre from It’s Dangerous To Go Alone

Ryan from Games With Coffee

Pix1001 from Shoot the Rookie

And here are my questions:

  • Yes or No?
  • Do you experience any aches or pains in your body?
  • If you could create a new type of sport, what would it be or similar to?
  • What is a game that is generally received as bad but is your guilty pleasure?
  • Do you prefer writing with a pencil, pen, or keyboard?
  • When was the last time something made you laugh so hard?
  • Do you play an instrument? If so what is it? If not, do you have an interest in learning how to play one?

Thanks for reading!

DanamesX