What’s Up (12/14/13)

I’m home in New York, wrapped up in a blanket, listening to music from Animal Crossing, and ready to start writing. There was not a whole lot of time to write for my own sake these last few days. I know I wrote a Nuzlog post on Wednesday, but that felt more like an obligation to close the book on Pokemon Y, a book-closing twenty days late.

As soon as I was done with any one paper, I had to move onto the next. There was always something to do this finals week, and it marked the height of my productivity this whole semester. Even when I finished my last final on Friday, I basically got home and packed for an hour and a half straight, before rushing out the door to catch a bus to the airport.

I made a few stray observations yesterday. For starters, I was sitting down on a public bench waiting for a bus, and an old man smoking a cigarette sat down next to me. The last time I let somebody smoke next to me on a bench before a flight, I reeked of cigarettes so bad I had to take off my jacket and throw it in my luggage. It was gross and awful. So I got up from the bench and stood far away from the gross cigarette dude, and I don’t think he was happy about it, but whatever. I think it’d be courteous of all smokers to, I don’t know…. not smoke at a bus stop.

On the bus to the airport I realized, in the frenzy to pack, that I forgot to bring a friend-favorite video game, Fortune Street. Is that a little bit of a bummer? Yeah, but honestly, I think it might be nice to just chill sometimes with your friends, make fun conversation instead of relying on video games all of the time. Now that I write this, I also realize I didn’t bring Cards Against Humanity, which is another bummer. Particularly so because, that’s a fun non-video-game thing to do. By spring break though, I’ll have two all-new expansions for that game to play, and the Bigger, Blacker Box to store all of the cards in.

I’m becoming less and less careful about making sure that I pack everything I need, and while that’s having repercussions in the “what will I do with my friends” department, I think the lower levels of packing stress are better for my health. Travel doesn’t need to be stressful. I love airports, and as long as you get there early, you can sit, get food, and relax from Point A to Point B.

One last note: I had a dream last night, a nightmare, a reminder not to wait on things, to let people know how you feel, when you feel it.

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Yvonne: Log Seven

It has now been twenty days since I “beat” Pokemon Y. By “beat” I mean, defeated the Elite Four and the League Champion. That’s been what I’ve defined as “beating” a Pokemon game since I was a little kid. Catching them all, or getting into the deep competition meta-game has never been my thing. The Elite Four and Champion of Pokemon Y are entertaining enemies, with theatrics unlike what I’ve seen in past games, though they were pushovers. I feel like Pokemon Y doesn’t exactly know who its for, as the story goes into dark territory, but the characters are so shallow and the writing so dumbed down. That was never more apparent than the end of the game, in which an immortal being interrupts the Star Wars: A New Hope-esque awards ceremony (where your useless friends are celebrated as heroes alongside your character, even though you do all of the work) and challenges you to a battle. The circumstances surrounding the immortal being are disturbing and heart-wrenching, in theory, but your character just smiles gladly and accepts the invitation to battle. The end of the game was entirely underwhelming, and I feel totally okay about expecting more from a Pokemon game, Pokemon Emerald knew how to make the end feel like this big emotional moment, Pokemon Y just spilled all over the place.

I find myself wishing that I could just put together teams without doing all of the catching and training. There are all of these teams I’d like to use in online battles, but I am so done with catching and training. Pokemon Y feels like its run its course, for the time being, until I find out how to Action-Replay or cheat my way into building competitive teams. I can’t believe I’m actually writing that, as I’ve always stood my ground about the value of playing Pokemon “the way it’s meant to be played,” but I’ve realized that gets very, very boring, and very, very repetitive.

So that being said, this will be the last Nuzlog post for a while.

Yvonne: Log Six

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Eight badges in and ready to take on the Elite Four and League Champion, but how did we get here? Well, since last time, I raised a Level 1 Beldum from Japan into a hardy Level 73 Metagross that wrecked shop on the final Gym Leader, Wulfric. Wulfric might be one of my favorite Gym Leader personalities, though I’ve always thought Ice Trainers were particularly well designed. But lets go back a second there: from Level 1 to Level 73 in five days, and that’s not with excessive play either, that took all of four or five hours to do. That’s the speed at which Pokemon can be raised now I suppose, with foreign country, traded, lucky egg, exp. share, and Pokemon-Amie bonuses.

A-Team
Lv. 73 Metagross
Lv. 70 Florges
Lv. 73 Heliolisk
Lv. 72 Kingdra
Lv. 70 Haxorus
Lv. 71 Meowstic

B-Team
Lv. 62 Umbreon
Lv. 60 Dragalge
Lv. 54 Hippowdon
Lv. 55 Gothitelle
Lv. 56 Noctowl
Lv. 59 Staraptor

Future Prospects
Lv. 48 Whiscash
Lv. 30 Xatu
Lv. 16 Frogadier
Lv. 50 Trevenant
Lv. 45 Torkoal
Lv. 37 Litwick

I’ve been trying my hand at random online battles, and it’s very addicting. I think after I beat the Elite Four, I might begin training teams specifically for online competitive play, maybe even entering the world of IV/EV training that I don’t care for so much.

Yvonne: Log Five

 

Since last time, I’ve gotten the seventh badge for defeating the psychic gym leader, Olympia. Kind of a pushover really, since Yvonne rolls with a freaking Umbreon which can’t be hit with psychic moves. Before we could move onto the final badge, victory road, and the Elite Four, we had to take the “Bad Guy” diversion for about two days. What are they up to this time those pesky bad guys? Taking over radio towers? Climate change? Pokemon Kidnapping?

Would you believe me if I told you that you had to stop the mass murder of millions of people, and all Pokemon?

Yvonne

Because check it out, in the ensuing battle with Team Flare, Yvonne stands alone in a town that now sports a giant crater. The story of Pokemon Y is freaking dark and I think it’s pretty cool that Nintendo went ahead and okay’d a story that would bring up World War II themes. There are mushroom clouds, mass graves and everything. I managed to catch the game’s titular legendary, Yvetal with an Ultra Ball, which is nice – it means I can save the Master Ball for Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos, or Mewtwo.

Anyways, Yvonne is going full steam ahead into the final gym battle, so let’s see where that team’s at.

Team
Heliolisk Lv.68
Meowstic Lv.62
Kingdra Lv.63
Florges Lv.63
Haxorus Lv.60
Umbreon Lv.57
Staraptor Lv.50
Dragalge Lv.49

At this point, if you aren’t on the “Team” you don’t even really deserve mention here anymore. Is that a little sad? Maybe, you might notice that none of my starters are here anymore – Blastoise, Chesnaught, and Blaziken are all gone, phased out and replaced. But that how things go in Pokemon, and eventually this “Team” list of eight has to be sculpted into a well-rounded six. Tough business.

 

Yvonne: Log Four

I’ve made Pokemon Y a much more challenging game since the last entry, by sticking with B-Team Pokemon almost entirely. I just got the sixth badge: The Fairy Badge, and now the lines between A-Team and B-Team are being blurred.

Blastoise, Chestnaught, and Blaziken; the three start Pokemon I have, have not been used very recently. Heliolisk feels overpowered, but I love him.  Meowstic, though not recently used, is definitely a permanent A-Team member. And Umbreon gets to stay on the team because he’s cool, and can take a punch – he doesn’t bring much to the table offensively though.

Skrelp, despite being completely under-leveled for the Fairy Gym, used his Poison-Type advantage to great use. He won’t evolve into the Poison-Dragon that I’m looking forward to for a while, but he’ll be worth the effort. Staravia, who I thought was only good for flying, turns out to be a freaking monster, and has evolved into a Staraptor, which looks pretty awesome. Once I got the TM99: Dazzling Gleam; a Fairy-Type move with a base power of 80, I decided it was time to give Floette the Shiny Stone, allowing her to evolve into a Florges. I’m glad I experimented with a Fairy-Type, but so far Florges is really only good for her Grass-Type moves. Hippowdon continues to be an incredibly effective team member, combining Yawn, a Sandstorm-causing ability, and the ever useful Dig. And Axew evolved into a Fraxure today, despite having a very rough time in the Fairy Gym, and quite frankly, getting the crap beat out of him recently. I look forward to having a solid Dragon type, whether that be Haxorus sometime in the future, or Goodra, the evolved form of the Goomy I caught this weekend.

…And a Honedge I got from Japan evolved into a Doublade, after taking down a Mr.Mime in the Fairy Gym. This marks the fourth Pokemon that evolved today. …And I went out of my way to catch a Horsea today, because I really want a Kingdra eventually.

Basically, challenges are fun, and I’m glad I deviated from the core six of Yvonne’s team.

A-Team
Meowstic Lv.47
Umbreon Lv.48
Heliolisk Lv.49
Blaziken Lv.47
Chesnaught Lv.45
Blastoise Lv.44
Hippowdon Lv.39
Fraxure Lv.39
Florges Lv.38

B-Team
Skrelp Lv.34
Skaraptor Lv.34
Doublade Lv.35
Gabite Lv.31
Goomy Lv.30
Horsea Lv.29
Pangoro Lv.43
Klefki Lv.36

Yvonne: Log Three

Pokemon Y is not a very difficult game, but it is very fun. Wonder-trading continues to be an addicting, Pokemon-roulette of sorts. I traded a Level 25 Meowstic, and I could have ended up with a Level 1 Caterpie, but I ended up with a Level 35 Klefki from Japan. My A-Team Pokemon are almost always overpowered when dealing with other trainers and Gym Leaders, which maybe explains why I spend so much time with my B-Team and my… C-Team?

A-Team
Meowstic Lv.45
Umbreon Lv.45
Heliolisk Lv.44
Chesnaught Lv.44
Blaziken Lv.47
Blastoise Lv.43

B-Team
Hippowdon Lv.35
Axew Lv.30
Floette Lv.29
Pangoro Lv.43

C-Team? or, Pokemon I Have But Don’t Use
Victreebel Lv.46
Sandslash Lv.44
Gabite Lv.28
Skrelp Lv.25
Klefki Lv.35
Honedge Lv.32
Golett Lv.24
Linoone Lv.24
Braixen Lv.30
Beedrill Lv.23
Jolteon Lv.22

It’s weird, you know? I’m taking on the fifth gym right now, an Electric-Type gym, with my B-Team Hippowdon. He’s not the strongest Ground-Type I have, that would be the Sandslash I got over Wonder-Trade. But I’m using him because he’s closer in level to the gym trainers, and I want to get more money, and gain more experience. The way the gym is structured, I could probably fight all of three trainers and move on to the gym leader, but I’m going out of my way to fight all nine trainers – because my B-Team could use the experience, and Yvonne could use the money. I know back when I was little, when I was Pokemon’s target audience, I would have taken the shortcuts. It almost seems disingenuous of the game NOT to tell you “Hey, take the longer route, you’ll benefit.”

 

Yvonne: Log Two

Almost a whole week has passed since I last wrote, so let’s get caught up. There’s a solid A-Team of 5 Pokemon, who are on break right now, and a B-Team of 6 that are getting trained to fill team positions.

The A-Team
Chesnaught Lv.36
Blaziken Lv.39
Hippopotas Lv.27
Blastoise Lv.36
Meowstic Lv.36

I only have two badges, so the A-Team is dangerously close to not following my orders anymore, hence the reason they’re on break until I get to the next gym.

The B-Team
Umbreon Lv.23
Espurr Lv.18
Helioptile Lv.19
Inkay Lv.18
Kirlia Lv.20
Flabébé Lv.17

The B-Team hast two members from the GTS on it, as Helioptile and Eevee came over from Japan. Two members are fairy-type, and that’s been interesting – because fairy-type is new for everyone, and I don’t know what type of moves are out there for fairy-types.

The Online capabilities of Pokemon Y are so much better than they were in Black 2. The Global Trading System or GTS doesn’t completely suck, and I can filter out the trade offers that I don’t want to see: like ones featuring Legendary Pokemon, or Pokemon that I don’t have. Wonder Trade is also incredibly addictive; it’s a feature that lets you blindly trade Pokemon. You trade any Pokemon you want, and there’s really no limit to what you can get. I traded a Pokemon I didn’t want, and got an Abra for it, which was pretty cool. I eventually traded the evolved Kadabra for the Eevee though, since I knew I wasn’t going to use another Psychic when I already had Meowstic, and a Gardevoir in the works. I just realized that I probably made that guy from Japan’s day though, since he got an Alakazam in exchange for a Lv.1 Eevee.

I haven’t progressed very far into the game, but I’ve played a lot of Pokemon Y. I’m spending a lot more time training Pokemon that I might use, which is probably because Pokemon Y is much less grind heavy than say, Pokemon Black 2. Instead of just forcing Pokemon to fight Auduino’s in the tall grass for experience boosts, I can raise their happiness in Pokemon-Amie, and thanks to the refined Experience Share, everyone can level up at the same time. So far, so good, Pokemon Y seems to have fixed some things that have always slowed down Pokemon games for me.

Wonder Trade Update: Traded a Lv.12 Flabébé I had with a kid from Texas, who traded me a Bidoof from Germany. I needed to include this because, this is the type of stuff that Wonder Trade will do to you.