Saturday, April 28, 2007

Pokemon Diamond - Riding Around on the Bicycle

So this game has totally hooked me. At first, I couldn't really see what all the hype was about, but after a week in, it totally has me. A large part of the reason is its open endedness. I haven't been at all in a hurry to move on to the next city and get the next badge or item. Instead, I've just been leisurely taking my time. I'm enjoying catching Pokemon and trying to get all the Pokemon I've encountered. I enjoy attempting to get them to evolve and all the hoops required in that. I enjoy trading them around. I feel like my Animal Crossing comparison is more and more apt (though my friend Rob prefers a Grand Theft Auto III comparison).

One thing I have taken advantage of is the apparent Japanese desire for Pokemon with English names. I first read about this phenomenon here. In the Japanese version of the game, you can only name Pokemon using Japanese characters. Likewise, in the English version you can only use English characters. However, you can trade Pokemon across different language versions of the game and they keep their name in its original language. English names are apparently cool in Japan and so Japanese players are trading hard to get Pokemon for very common ones with English names. I have done my part in this phenomenon by trading two low-level Pokemon named "Coca-Cola" and "McDonalds" for the other starter Pokemon. I figured, what could be cooler English name than internationally recognized American corporate brands?

I am feeling pumped this morning because last night I participated in my first battle against another person and won it. I figured that there would be all sorts of new strategies and ideas needed when battling against real people (much like there is a world of difference between fighting the computer and fighting a person in a first person shooter). However, my knowledge of Pokemon strengths and weaknesses and anticipation of my opponents' moves served me well and I triumphed despite the average level of his Pokemon being higher than mine.

The sign that I am playing this game too much? Last night I had a dream that my dog was a psychic Pokemon.

1 comment:

Rob said...

I think that if I had two guys against your two guys, I would have taken you out. Next time, David, next time.

Since you're tooling around, I'd like to suggest that you check out the beauty pageants. When I played Sapphire, many years ago, these contests turned out to be the biggest time suck that the game provided. What I like about the beauty pageants is that it repurposes all the moves that your pokemon have for fighting and turns them into beauty pageant ones. Where in the past, you might, say, pick up a zubat and never use it since it has shitty moves, or is at a low level. The pageant forces you to reconsider your pokemon and their uses besides trading and battle fodder. The rexamination of your guys reminds me of what Decipher did with their CCGs, creating new cards that forces you to go into your binders and use so called "useless cards". It's pretty smart on the designer's part and I hope that there's more instances of this later on in the game.