Thursday, March 31, 2011


I'm not really sure why I bought this. I've never really played any Pokemon related videogames and I'm certainly not one to ever admit to "playing Pokemon related videogames." My main experiences with Pokemon have been through high school, and, naturally, was the lamest thing you could ever be into while trying to dress cool and learning how to smoke. I had to hide my curiousity, out of necessity and in achieving an overall badassness.

PS -- I never achieved it.

Of course, as I do with anything I'm into, I spent most of the time vocally expressing how stupid Pokemon was and then not leaving my house until I secretly got at least two episodes under my belt. Preferrably the one's with Bulbasaur. If it was Meowth heavy, I didn't feel right. Team Rocket is kinda weird.

I'm not sure when the switch happened, but I basically went from cynical, hate-filled butthole to a guy who may or may not mind getting a tattoo of a Pokeball. It wasn't the greatest or the coolest hobby to get into while finishing up a high school career, but once you actually sit down and watch what's going're hooked. You can't not fall in love. And I did. Hard. My fascination, as I'm sure many others can agree, comes from nearly every facet of the show. Every new question and desire to know more and more opens up a floodgate of even more questions and concerns.

What's in a Pokeball? Is it larger than it looks inside? Is the capturing, training and fighting of Pokemon accepted by animal rights groups? Are Pokemon even considered animals? Could they be another being entirely? These are the questions that keep me coming back for more. These are the questions that start up awkward, babbling drunk-talk at the bar. It's pretty uncool to touch base on all these points while inebriated, especially in a crowd of twenty-somethings. So unless those twenty-somethings are secret Poke-fanatics, then you are, unfortunately, an asshole.

I'm still stuck on the first 150 Pokemon. The best of the best. The fucking classic stuff, man. These were the first to initially be introduced, and I can't for the life of me accept anything that's come after. None of the newbies have been personally explored and dreampt about, and although it's heartbreaking to think of all the treasures I'm missing out on, I feel that I can live past my failure to accept this ultimate overhaul. Plus, c'mon, do you know how hard it is to memorize 150 different fake species of animal-alien-things?

Now, at this point, I'm so far behind Poke-lore it's embarrassing. I've at least seen a few of the movies and occassionally glance at the overpriced packs of cards in Toys R Us. If we're talking about video games? Count me out. The last game I played involved taking photos of Pokemon, and that was just plain stupid. In hindsight, it kinda sounds fun to snap photographs of Pokemon in their natural habitat. Stupid, but fun.

So, I just felt...inclined to pick up Pokemon's latest DS game, Pokemon Black. It just felt good and right. The comforting thought of once again jumping headfirst into the Poke-Universe seemed welcoming and warm. This is a beautiful thing, people. And as they've been doing for years, there's another version (White version) that features another hundred or so Pokemon to catch throughout the game, and for us completists, forces us to buy both of these two damn versions. There is zero warmth in that. I take it all back. Alright, let's get to it:

Wow. I have no idea what this is about or who those absolutely hip kids are, but from the back of the game alone, I'm promised a pig-thing and a Poke-adventure in a thriving, city landscape.

From what I've gathered, Pokemon Black is set in the city, while Pokemon White takes place in a more green, forest-y atmosphere. I had to get Black.

You see, I love videogames set in a big city. Just love it. Maybe it's because I never grew up in a large, city landscape, or the violent realization that actually living, commuting or stepping foot in a big city totally sucks ass and has turned me off of cities forever. I don't actually wanna be in a real city, and much prefer the fake kind. Gimme a week long bender in New York and I'm fine. I'll check out a few bars, hit up a few museums and watch some free HBO in my hotel room. Anything past those seven days, though, I'm the guy in a New York alleyway eating cats. So far, I've been playing it for thirty minutes. I've already been introduced to my new friends, have been given a brand new Pokemin (the pig-thing!) and went through each room in every house in the neighborhood trying to find secret stuff.

Turns out, I've yet to advance past that neighborhood, and said neighborhood held zero secrets. In any videogame where you're encouraged to move over furniture, rummage through dumpsters or wander aimlessly through the grass for clues and hints, I will do it. And I will waste so much time doing so. I've realized that anything that's become inane and monotonous, I become fervid and obsessed. Even the most mundane tasks in any game (and this game is just loaded with bullshit) will become the only thing I can and want to do. There was a time, in my darkest days, where catching every fish and bug in Animal Crossing was a key element to the continuation of my life. I was nothing without returning all letters sent to my house, I was a fool not to plant as many apple trees to be picked and sold for new household goods and accessories. I had to see that Goddamn dog strum a banjo in the cafe on Sunday nights.

Seriously. I kind of made it my "weekend thing."

Your main objectives are smothered in endless walking around, searching and adventuring (which is fun!) but the only thing I don't like is the turn-based fighting engine. I've always hated the idea of being attacked, then attacking, then waiting to be attacked again. It's a bizarre version of actual fighting, and I never understood it. It really is the only low-point of the game, where I'd much rather battle my Pokemon Street Fighter style. Hell, let's do it up like Mortal Kombat. I'd love to rip out Clefairy's stupid spine.

It's so cute! So square! So BLACK!

Overall, it's a good game. I mean, I don't understand what I'm doing besides the obvious (gotta catch 'em all) but it's fun. It's most excellent for long tours with the band and long dooks on the john. Call me disgusting and unhygeinic, but I do my best work while on the toilet. Ever wrangle a feisty Oshawott while taking a dump? It's exquisite.

1 comment:

  1. My son is OBSESSED with Pokemon, which is fine...except for the fact that he seems to be speaking some unknown, Lovecraftian alien language. He has this very game, and tried to explain to me the nuances of how Charlizard could beat Meowmix or whatever-the-hell-its-name-is, but if Meowmix was in his evolved state then he could beat everyone...or something like that...honestly, my eyes glaze over and I zone out after a few seconds of this. It's just incredibly bizzare to me!

    I've been told that the Japanese versions with subtitles are much better...but I don't know. It just seems like if I watch too much of this I'll turn into a drooling pile of goo. Obviously, this isn't the case, since my son is about ten thousand times smarter than I am. Still, I can't shake the feeling the show is embedded with Manchurian Candidate-style triggers, which will awaken my sleeper programming!