Monthly Archives: March 2011


So I got the 3DS today. I know I’m behind in my other posts, but I’m anxious to experience the full social aspect of this thing so I’m posting my Mii’s QR code for everyone to scan and enjoy. Please feel free to leave links to your in comments! I’ll totally scan each and every one who leaves theirs here.

AdrianM Mii QR Code


UPDATE 2011/04/11 : I probably should have posted my 3DS Friend Code here as well, so here it is: 2492-4116-4578. If you add me, please let me know in the comments (with your own Friend Code) so I can add you back!

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Pokémon White Diary #003 :
Encounter With Team Plasma

Encounter With Team Plasma

Upon reaching Accumula Town I quickly headed to the Pokémon Center already knowing it's usefulness in healing tired Pokémon. I'm greeted by Juniper again, as well as Bianca, and the professor reviews the uses of the Pokemon Center. In this game, the Pokémon Center is been expanded to include the Global Trade Center as well as the PokéMart which used to be separate buildings. This change is greatly appreciated and makes the task of preparing for a mission fairly easy as well as mirroring how real-world businesses are becoming more and more multi-purpose.

After healing my Pokémon and having a quick chat with Bianca, I left the Pokémon Center and went to explore the town. My travels were quickly interrupted by a gathering in the middle of the town where the newest crime syndicate – Team Plasma – were staging a rally. The man in charge was a mysterious, cloaked individual named “Ghetsis” and his message was one of liberation. He and Team Plasma as a whole believe that the relationship between humans and Pokémon is one-sided and needs to stop – we take so much from them and command them to do our bidding, but what are they really getting in return? Pokémon should be liberated from their PokéBalls and allowed to roam free without the control and ambitions of their trainers. It's an interesting thought that has surely crossed the minds of fans over the years and it's nice to see them acknowledging it in-game. It will be interesting to see where they go with this – either Team Plasma is "wrong" and our hero will show them that Pokémon do benefit from the partnership of humans… or everyone will agree with Team Plasma and set their Pokémon free. I'm inclined to believe it’s the former.

As soon a Team Plasma's speech was over, the grunts formed a perimeter around Ghetsis and the whole lot of them marched out of town. In their wake a young man that goes by the name "N" introduced himself and claimed that he agrees with Plasma’s message. He then hypocritically challenged me to a battle where I promptly disposed of his single Pokémon – Purrloin. Upon defeat, N rambled on for a bit and then left the scene. His clothing seem to indicate that he's not part of Team Plasma, but his enthusiasm for their cause and general mysterious attitude make me think there&s probably some connection to them. Either way, it&s hard to take him seriously when he keeps his Pokémon in a ball just like everyone else…

I took the opportunity to explore the city and talk to some of the people. Accumula Town is pretty small overall, but I guess that's just how it is this early in the game. One thing I really liked about this city was the music, though not necessarily because of how it sounds. There are two musicians in one of the houses and, if you talk to them, they&ll add their instruments to the town theme. It's a very small detail, but it was nice to be able to influence the game world in a way that wasn&t directly related to battle. I should note that these changes are not permanent though – after leaving the town briefly and then returning the music reverted to it&s previous sound and the two musicians need to be asked again if you want to hear their contributions. It kind of ruins the impact of the feature and I don&t see why they couldn't make the change persistent. Oh well.

After finishing up my tour of the town I headed to Route 2 where I spent the next little while training my Tepig. I caught a Purrloin for my Pokédex, but otherwise this route had the same Pokémon as before and was only useful for level grinding. By this point Wakka was still the only one on my team and his growing level concerned me – if he gets too powerful I wont be able to use him for catching new guys without killing them. I need to find another team member soon…

Adrian's Team So Far
Wakka the Tepig
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Pokémon White Diary #002 :
Choosing A Starter

Choosing A Starter

Before starting a new game, I took the opportunity to check my WiFi settings and download the Victini event via Mystery Gift. The process was fairly quick, and I was happy to be able to download the Liberty Ticket now rather than having to wait until later when it’s actually needed as I have a habit of forgetting things. The ticket saved to my cartridge and I selected the "New Game" option.

Professor Juniper – the new regional expert on Pokémon – introduced me to the world much like the many professors before her and then let me choose my gender and name. I'm happy to see the professor this time is female – it doesn't technically change the game in any way, but it’s nice to see that the games are becoming a bit more progressive and open minded with gender roles. Juniper is young and spunky compared to the previous professors, and I look forward to seeing what she adds to the story.

After the introductions were complete, the game faded to my room where a blue present sat on the table. With it, a note from Juniper asking only that we settle our decisions politely. As I head toward the present the nostalgia of the four previous generations wash over me – I’ve done this before and I remember this feeling. Once again, I’m presented with a choice that will shape the rest of my experience with this game. I was both excited and nervous – had my months of deliberation brought me to the right choice or am I making a mistake? Should I really choose the Fire type starter Tepig that I’d settled on weeks earlier? When faced with the decision I froze. Oshawott is was adorable so I wanted to choose him too, but looking Snivy and remembered that I’ve always chosen the Grass type starter before so maybe I should continue the tradition… I didn’t know what to do! And then, suddenly, I remembered the other decision I’d been dreading… the name!

I abruptly closed the DS and took a deep breath. It was just a game, so why was I taking it so seriously? “"Just pick something, and go with it! Stop OCD-ing over every little detail!"

I swallowed my anxiety and made a decision. I picked Tepig and, thankfully, the game did not ask me to nickname it yet. Instead, my in-game friends Cheren and Bianca challenge me to a Pokémon battle and in no time we’re in the heat of things. I immediately noticed how vibrant the game's sprites were on my Nintendo DSi XL and how – even though the sprites were a little blocky at times – they still managed to look fairly smooth in when motion. The way the camera pans around the battlefield now and occasionally zooms in on the Pokémon really make this game feel engaging and visually attractive than the others and I'm happy the series is finally moving away from static battle scenes. I quickly defeat both of my friends and as a result end up trashing my room. That's alright though, because once we head downstairs to tell mom she immediately offers to clean up in that typical motherly way. I may be a veteran to the series, but there are a lot of people who are not and I really liked how these intro battles played out and introduced the game's core mechanics. In a short time, I’d already been introduced to not only how battles and attacks worked but also how experience levels worked along with the increased stats associated with them, and all without any instruction. I think that’s good game design, and I appreciate it.

Our little party heads on over to Juniper's lab where she wastes no time giving us our new mission and sending us off on our journey. Like all games before, the goal this time is to fill the Pokédex by encountering and catching many different types of Pokémon. This task is a daunting one (with well over 600 Pokémon in total now) but at least she’s only talking about creatures native to the Unova region (for now) and that makes it a little more realistic. Juniper also takes this time to let me nickname my Tepig and though I hesitate for a second, I finally settle on the Final Fantasy theme and name my male Tepig after the headband-wearing, easy going Blitzball player from Final Fantasy X, Wakka. For a moment I’m uneasy with the decision, but once I let it wash over me I end up liking it and confirm my selection. Wakka is now an official part of my team, and I’m happy to have him. I will admit that I spent a few minutes just looking at Wakka‘s status screen entry and flipping his sprite over and over – I know it’s just a bunch of pixels, but there’s something almost magical about seeing your Pokémon jump around like that. I’m so happy these games are animated. :)

Our little group exits the lab and heads up Route 1 to watch Juniper show us how to catch a Pokémon. The demonstration is fairly straight-forward and repeats the steps we’ve all seen before – find wild Pokémon, weaken wild Pokémon, throw ball at wild Pokémon. Simple. The professor hands us a few balls and officially sends us on our way – from here we go where we want and do what we want. What more could a new Pokémon Trainer ask for? By this point I'd noticed how quickly events were going by. In previous games you didn’t get to actually choose your starter until much later, let alone have battles with your rivals, but in this game I’d already done that and was about to start the core part of my adventure – it was great.

With my back against the little town of Nuvema I ran toward the tall grass and started searching for potential additions to my team. This area has wild Lillipup (the Puppy Pokémon) and Patrat (the Scout Pokémon) both of which are Normal type and both of which are fairly plain. Don't get me wrong – Lillipup is adorable and I think Patrat could grow on me – but neither of them have anything unique to bring to the table. I know I shouldn’t hate on Normal type Pokemon (they have their uses) but this early in the game it’s all about type-matchups and Normal is the least useful in that department. I decided to catch one of each species for the sake of my Pokédex, but they were otherwise only good for experience points. I relentlessly slaughtered enough Patrat and Lillipup for my Wakka to learn a new move (Ember) and then I headed for the next city.

Adrian’s Team So Far
Wakka the Tepig
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Pokémon White Diary #001 :
Press Start

Pokémon Black and White

Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version were released in North American today, and I was there bright and early to pick up my copy of the game. I chose White Version this time mostly because of how badass the version-exclusive legendary "Zekrom" looks, but also because I’d heard that the version-exclusive "White Forest" might be more useful later in the game. All that aside though, I really just wanted to start my adventure!

I admit, I was a little tired going in to get the game. I had obsessed all night trying to settle on a nickname for my starter and a subsequent theme for all the rest. I considered using the names of only Final Fantasy characters, only Mega Man, or Zelda, or Avatar The Last Airbender, and then eventually I moved onto only the names of fruits, then spices, then flowers… needless to say I grew restless settling on a theme. I eventually fell asleep, but my restlessness woke me up early in the morning and the decision racked my brain the entire time I was getting ready to leave the house. Even as I swiftly made my way to EB Games I couldn’t stop thinking about it – I barely remember my trip to the store I was so distracted. I finally reached the steps and cleared my head before opening the door – I needed to stop thinking about it.

At the counter I picked up my copy of White Version as well as a copy of Black Version for my co-worker and friend Kiele. Through some clever bargaining, I’d convinced her to try out the new Pokémon game with me and I offered to pick one up on her behalf come launch day. Kiele has little experience with gaming overall, and none with the Pokémon franchise, but I’m hoping that this game will be fun enough to hook her and bring her the same enjoyment that the series has brought me for so many years. In addition to convincing Kiele to play with me, months of gushing have also persuaded my friend Christine to play too! She’s just as much of a gamer as I am – maybe even more so – but while she has played a Pokémon game in the past (Sapphire, I believe) her experience was only mildly entertaining and she’s since avoided the games (much to the dismay of me and her partner – also a total Pokémaniac). Christine and I plan to recount our experiences and thoughts on our respective blogs, so we’ll see how that goes. :P

After paying for the games and some having a bit of small-talk with the guy behind the counter, I stuck ’em in my bag and raced out of there. On my way home I made a pit-stop at Tim Hortons to pick up some breakfast and coffee, and while I was there I saw a group of two young men playing the new games together. It’s an interesting feeling seeing strangers playing your favourite game. It’s kind of like hearing someone talk about a TV series that you follow, but better somehow… I managed to pull myself away, remembering that I had my own game to play and the sooner I got home the better, and made my order at the counter. Coffee and donuts in-hand I quickly scurried home and took delight in how quiet the streets were – nothing to slow me down from starting my adventure!

Finally home, I peeled off my winter skin in a hurry and headed for the couch. I tried to focus on the matter at hand – playing the game – but I was starving and figured I should probably fuel up before starting anything. I decided to skim the instruction booklet while I inhaled by breakfast, but only got as far as the "Victini" insert before I finished so the instruction booklet would have to wait for another day. Anxious to start my adventure I grabbed my DSi and went to swap in the new game, but as I pulled HeartGold from my DSi a quiet feeling of closure washed over me – this day officially marked the end of my 100+ hour journey in the Johto region and I decided to take a moment to reflect upon my team and adventures. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in that game and while that story was coming to a close, I was happy that I would be starting a new one with friends to enjoy it with me.

I inserted Pokémon White and turned on the system. The game loaded and the opening cutscenes played. I was finally playing the game after months and months of anxiously waiting and I was loving it. After the opening credits concluded the cameras started swirling around a giant model of Zekrom, the Electric and Dragon type legendary I would eventually be able to encounter. Zekrom’s eyes glowed a bright red as the camera zoomed in and the words “Press Start” appeared on the screen. I paused one last time to smoke-up with my boyfriend and pressed Start (why would't I wanna play Pokémon high?). The journey begins!

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