Soul Swapped Challenge: Episode One

What if you took Soul Silver, and changed all of the rules? And what if by changing all of the rules, all I meant was randomizing the Pokemon in the game? That’s what the Soul Swapped Challenge is, because I just made it up. How random is it? Well, Zoey, our trainer (male character, female identity) chose Swalot as her starter. That Swalot has the ability “Cute Charm” which causes infatuation on contact. So this purple blob of a Pokemon that many consider a simple glutton is actually quite the charmer! That’s when I decided to commit to doing a Soul Swapped run.

When that Swalot grew up to Level 6, it had the opportunity to learn Captivate, a move that targets Pokemon of the opposite gender into lowering their Special Attack. Look at this fancy dude, he’s all about stirring up romance! Unfortunately, among Stealth Rock, Softboiled, Poison Jab, and Gastro Acid, I couldn’t find a spot in Swalot’s moveset for Captivate – as funny as it would have been.

I’ve never used a Swalot before, and perhaps I always thought it a second-rate Muk, but only a half hour into my game, I’ve grown to love this guy. Appropriate that Soul Silver is where I fell in love with Muk, that I’d come to like another Poison-type here in Soul Swapped. Swalot just straight-up roars at everything he sees, and hits it with the Poison Jab all ninja-like, despite his amorphous blobby physique.

The man who lives on Route 30 who isn’t Mr.Pokemon is trying way too hard to impress Zoey, giving her a bunch of nonsense about Apricorns and Apricorn Boxes and yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever Mr. Non Pokemon – we have a Togepi Egg to retrieve. Then again… it might not be Togepi in the egg. On next week’s episode: Zoey gets an Egg!



What’s Up? (4/14/14)

Drones, Souls, and Rabbit Holes.

Six AM took its worst toll Sunday morning. Sleep deprived, I slept through my Ten AM Alarm meant to wake me up for Grounded (a one-woman show about a Drone pilot). Luckily somebody had my back, and I was able to see the show. Kelly McAndrew was excellent as the Air-Force pilot turned “Chair-Force” Drone pilot. Her loss of control and descent was incredible to watch, and I could have missed it all because of my worsening tendency to stay awake later and later.  I already feverishly dislike Six AM, but that incident on Sunday was the final strike, the rock bottom that’s going to make me swear off Six AM.

In looking to generate new Pokemon-related content for the blog, I’ve been writing “Soul Swapped” journals. I know I’ve recently said that I was going to do something called the Volt Switch Challenge; where I played through a randomized copy of Volt White, but that wasn’t incredibly fun – and a randomized playthrough of Soul Silver has turned out to be way more fun. In the time it took me to write two entries for Volt Switch, I wrote four for Soul Swapped. I’m going to stockpile entries in the Soul Swapped story so that I have content to release over the summer; I don’t want to set a date for when all of this is released, but maybe when I have five weeks of content I’ll feel comfortable about releasing it. I’m going to be busy, and generating new content is going to be harder than holding onto content for later.

Speaking of busy, the rabbit hole that is Finals week has begun its wrath today. Advanced Public Speaking is over, TV & Society is over; leaving three classes and four papers to complete by April 22nd. That’s roughly forty pages of work to complete in the next week. Expect things to be quiet here; maybe more quiet than usual, because I’ve got to get cracking.

Nuzlocke Challenge Two: Log Six (Finale)

On Route 117 I catch a Seadra with a Great ball, and on Route 118 I fish a Horsea with a Poke Ball. That means I’m two steps closer to having an all-water team, but not any closer to finding somebody who can learn cut.

I decide that I’m ready to take on the Electric-type gym, which is a huge mistake. I think that Beefy is hot shit, you know? He’s level 20, has a good attack or two; and he can carry this team that’s almost entirely weak to electricity. Like I said, it’s a huge mistake, and Wattson the gym leader totally destroys my team.
Twitch the Magnemite, Beefy the Machop, Roland the Gastly, Rhaena the Seadra, Tree Fiddy the Lapras, and Asha the Goldeen: all gone. In staying with the Nuzlocke rules, each was released, which meant that all of my best team-mates were gone for good.

Thus, ends Nuzlocke Challenge 2. Fitting that there be a dark middle chapter in this Nuzlocke Blog Saga. This second Nuzlocke Challenge was plagued by boredom initially, and was rebooted, and even that didn’t quite fix the problem. I think I’ve just played randomized Pokemon Emerald ROMs just one too many times… And by documenting every little part of the game, I really left nothing to return to on a second playthough. So, I’m glad to announce that what I do next will be completely different. A randomized Pokemon Volt White regular-old playthrough. No Nuzlocke rules: and henceforth it shall be known as… uh… The Volt Switch Challenge! Because it’s Volt White and we Switched things around…heh… and Volt Switch is also a move and… heh. Yes. Exactly! This is what I need!

Nuzlocke Challenge Two: Log Five

Today I gave the members of my team, names.

Goldeen was given the name Asha, after Asha Greyjoy, the Kraken’s daughter.
Pichu was given the name Webb, for no good reason, but I liked the name.
Crobat was given the name Brucie, after Bruce Wayne.
Magnemite was given the name Twitch, after TwitchPlaysPokemon gave me the energy to make it through this Nuzlocke.
Lapras was given the name Tree Fiddy, after the South Park joke, and because he needs about tree fiddy.
Nuzleaf got the name Nuzzy, because I couldn’t really think of anything for him.

Messing around with Team Aqua’s plan was the first order of business for the newly christened team. Asha, Webb, and Twitch all got a piece of the action, and I’m really rather upset that I didn’t name these guys sooner. It really helps personify the thing you’re supposed to care about when it has a unique identifier.

Beefy the Machop was caught on Route 110 and took Brucie’s spot on the team. Beefy was met at level 13, and quickly rose to level 19 with some intense training. I’ve mentioned before, and I’ll mention again: I like fighting types. It helps that Route 110 has lots of steel and normal type pokemon for Beefy to beat up on.

In a fight against Brendan, Nuzzy the Nuzleaf was killed by Grobyle’s Fury Cutter. At least I didn’t get attached to him, that might sound harsh but, he was basically the Cut-machine rather than a solid team player. His loss does leave our team without anybody that can use Cut however…  I’ll solve this problem next time, hopefully.

Nuzlocke Challenge Two: Log Four

Panda gets a call on her new cellphone from an unregistered number. The caller turns out to be her father, who is totally cool with her sailing across Hoenn with some old sailor called Mr.Briney. She registers her father’s number as “DAD NORMAN.”  I mean really, what’s up with that Panda? I see what the game is doing, reminding you that your Dad is Norman the gym leader, but come on.  “Registered Dad’s Number” sounds a thousand times more human than “Registered DAD NORMAN.”

Cianwood City in Pokemon Silver established some precedent that carried over into Pokemon Emerald’s Dewford Town, which is to say that if you’re going to cross oceans to find a town full of sailors, there’s going to be a fighting-type gym there… for some reason. Panda needs to deliver a letter to a guy named Steven, but can’t without the badge from Dewford’s gym.

I never realized how sweet Goldeen’s “Peck” was until now, I mean, it was kind of crazy to sweep a fighting type gym with a freaking Goldeen, you know?  It’s not an incredible late-game attack to hold onto, but I’m really glad Goldeen knows a flying-type move, I’m not even mad that it doesn’t know any water-attacks yet. Not even mad!

Getting the Knuckle Badge was a bit more difficult than spamming Goldeen’s attacks though; I also had to spam Crobat’s “Screech” to lower the insane defense of Brawly’s Makuhita. I like fighting-type Pokemon, and even though I’m not into the bigger meta-game, I like that in order to beat Brawly, I had to put in a Pokemon just to lower another’s defense, and I think part of that is thanks to the stat-boosting nature of fighting-type moves. I mean, all Pokemon have stat-boost moves available, but for fighting-type Pokemon, it’s like, mandatory.

To conclude this log: the captured Pokemon from Dewford’s caves  is Golbat, which means we’ll have a backup plan in case anything ever kills Crobat.

Goldeen: Lv.18
Pichu: Lv.11
Lapras: Lv.13
Crobat: Lv.11
Magnemite: Lv.10
Nuzleaf: Lv.9

Twitch Plays Pokemon: Day 11

10 Days, 6 Hours, and 25 Minutes.

That’s how long, as of this post, Twitch users have been controlling a game of Pokemon Red by typing commands into a text box. If you haven’t heard of it by now, you’re not completely living under a rock, but you’re close. This thing is massive, with tens of thousands of viewers constantly watching and participating, and I’ve seen as many as a hundred thousand people active at once. Twenty-three million unique viewers ten days into the experiment, the fervor of Twitch Plays Pokemon has really only begun to spread.

The short version is: people type commands into a Twitch chat room, which are input into an emulator running a hacked ROM of Pokemon Red. The long version? It involves fossil-based faiths, heartbreaks, bird messiahs, debates about anarchy and democracy, and unforgettable victories over incredible odds.

I was there when “we” got the Pokeflute, when “we” beat the gym-leader Koga, and Sabrina the day after that. For moments shared with tens of thousands of people, they all felt rather intimate, like I could hug every stranger out there in the world for just being there. In the utter chaos that is this experiment, it seems a miracle to make it through a single gym let alone six. When we make it out of an elevator, navigate a room, or make it out of the Pokecenter without releasing a Pokemon, it feels like a victory for everybody. More than anything, it feels like a generational victory. I’m hearing about Twitch Plays Pokemon all of the time on the University of Pittsburgh campus, and pictures of Twitch Plays Pokemon fandoms are popping up from college campuses around the United States. All of the twenty-somethings in the world are banded together, experiencing a video game we grew up with in a way our little childhood minds could never have imagined.

Besides being this touching moment where a generation of strangers can come together online, Twitch Plays Pokemon is most importantly, hilarious. In the last 25 minutes since I started writing this, if you can believe this took 25 minutes to write, the player character, Red, has been stuck in a corner. For nearly half an hour, we have kept Red waking into a corner, because we will that he walk “right” instead of “left” and until we are tired of this, in the corner he shall stay.

… and I kid you not, we just got on a Lapras and Surfed away from that corner of hell. Twitch Plays Pokemon is amazing, and without a doubt, the best thing to collectively happen to the internet in a very long time. Go check it out if you haven’t already.

Nuzlocke Challenge Two: Log Three (151st Post)

This is my 151st post on this blog, and I thought it would be fitting if the 151st post had something to do with Pokemon.  The window in which there were only 151 Pokemon seems so small now, I don’t even know how kids growing up with Pokemon nowadays could keep track of over 700 Pokemon. I can tell you all the names of Pokemon from the first two generations: but everything is a little shaky past that, not that I don’t like new Pokemon. I’m not one of those weird purists that only acknowledge the first generation or two; obviously, because The Nuzlog has covered everything from Generations 1-6.

The current internet phenomenon, Twitch Plays Pokemon Red, has renewed some joy in my heart for Pokemon. Seeing how far Pokemon has come from its goofy black-and-white pixel origins, and seeing the internet spend 90 hours just to get three badges, I don’t know – it just made me happy to sit back and laugh as fifty-thousand people struggled together to navigate blindly through dark caves without flash. I was happy for Pokemon again.

So this is going to be the last Nuzlocke Challenge post written in this style: I’ve decided that coming up with ten meaningful things to say about a Pokemon Emerald Random-Nuzlocke run just isn’t the same after the first time, I’ll stick to how I described my experience with Pokemon Y, with brief journal-like entries about what progress has been made. This a move to keep Pokemon fun; taking the Nuzlocke Challenge super-seriously was fun once, but it’s tiring now. With that being said, here’s the last list-based Panda Progress Report.

  1. I’m a real freaking risk-taker. Pichu got down to just, 1HP, after getting poisoned and following the walk to the Pokecenter. Really could have died back there. There’s some poor soul in Petalburg Woods who thinks if you bring bug Pokemon to school, you’ll become popular. Keep dreaming, kid. I went to elementary school at the height of Pokemon fever, and if you wanted to be popular, you best have been rolling legendries.
  2. So, we’re at … Rock-town, and it’s time to take on the Rock-gym and… Goldeen doesn’t know any water moves so… Nuzleaf. The plan is now to teach Nuzleaf Bullet Seed, and train him up a bit.
  3. On Route 116, a wild Lapras appeared. There is well, basically zero chance of catching him right? Nuzleaf used Bullet Seed, and worked Lapras down to like, 1HP. Then I threw a Great Ball. No dice. Then I threw a Pokeball and what do you know? Team Panda has acquired a freaking Lapras, and before the big fight with Rock-girl, the Rock-gym trainer of Rock-town.
  4. Lapras is lvl.7, knows Water Gun, Growl, Sing, and Mist. What a dope dude, welcome to Team Panda (now let’s run a train on this first gym).
  5. Train thoroughly run into that gym; Lapras mostly one-hit ko’d Geodudes for the most part, until Roxanne whipped out Nosepass. Then I remembered that, Lapras, being part-ice, was weak to Rock. This was a pretty tight fight; potions were had, and on a few occasions, health got pretty low. Panda still walked out with her first badge, thanks to Lapras, who she owes about one-fitty. I am a fan of Lapras, and if Goldeen learns a few tricks, I could see myself doing an all-water run.
  6. What if I did a solo-Lapras run? I guess I’d still need a Pokemon that can learn HM’s, so it couldn’t be a true solo run. Goldeen reached lvl.10 and learned Supersonic (how cool).  The guys on Route 116 use bug and fighting type, and since somehow Goldeen only knows a flying-type attack (peck) this works in our favor in kind of a crazy way.
  7. Other trainers have grass and rock type pokemon, and Crobat & Nuzleaf make a good pair for taking those guys out. Crobat knows bug-type moves, and Nuzleaf knows bullet-seed. Somehow, Panda ended up with a rather well-rounded rag-tag group of random Pokemon.
  8. Crobat, a flying poison type, proves most useful for knowing his bug-type move (leech life). When it comes to fighting Aqua Grunts (who  only use Poochyena at this part of the game) it really doesn’t hurt to have a bug type, or in this case, somebody who has a bug-type move. After defeating an Aqua Grunt in some cave and rescuing a seagull, some crazy old guy offers Panda a ride on his sailboat. Being the smart woman she is, Panda accepts this adventurous offer.
  9. You know, I fast forward through so much of this game, because it’s just boring chitter-chatter of random NPC’s who don’t matter, and I totally milked Pokemon Emerald the last time I played it, but I really do appreciate how much storytelling can be done with just unanimated pixels and text. Pokemon Y failed so hard at making me care about its story content; and I care about Pokemon Emerald’s story, even if I have seen it too many times by now. I fast forward through it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still like it.
  10. I will say to Pokemon Y’s strength, I’d feel way more attached to my team if I could see them in 3D, and feed them and pet them and all of that sappy dumb tuff. The more pet-like they are, the better. I appreciated Pokemon SoulSilver’s system where you could turn to talk to your following Pokemon companion, and they’d tell you how they felt, or what they were doing right then. Things that add personality to your Pokemon are great, otherwise, you have to add your own. Even Pokemon Yellow’s Pikachu-emoticon-system was a great first step in the right direction.  At this point, I struggle to really care about any one Pokemon besides my starter Goldeen.