Sunday, 26 May 2019

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 4 Part 9 - Round-Up

When it was good it was very, very good but when it was bad it was fucking terrible.
That sums up Generation 4 in one bastardized nursery rhyme with unnecessary swearing. Generation 4 included a set of amazing remakes and some of my favourite Pokémon of all time but Diamond and Pearl were plagued with issues and included the likes of Purrugly and the Lake Guardians. Very little, be it games or Pokémon fall into ‘just alright’ category and for me (and it seems for many others) the bad overpowers the good in our memories, because Platinum was a far better game and looking at the scores there’s a lot of 4 to 6 ballers leading me to the conclusion that it isn’t the Pokémon per-say that’s the issue but the types of Pokémon (not Elemental Types) and their distribution in the original game that soured me (and seemingly many others, certainly those who edit TV Tropes). I hate accusing Game Freak of being lazy because I know they’re by and large not but it really did feel that if they weren’t being a bit lazy they were certainly playing it safe – and got the response they deserved for doing so: building the new Pokémon around cross-generation evolutions (which had typically been well received in Gen II and could get ‘the rub’ from earlier ‘mons with established fanbases and/or nostalgia)  and the always-popular Legendary and Mythical Pokémon with little else but the standard types of Pokémon every region needs (common bird, rodent, fish, bugs, Starters, Fossils). And of course it completely failed, the Cross-Gen Evos were mostly divisive or rejected and fans become oversaturated with Legendaries, sapping them of their specialness and their role as guaranteed hits – in an attempt to rely on something they took away the ability to rely on it.  The derivative designs of the Starter Pokémon only made the feeling that this was the ‘playing it safe Generation’ even stronger, I don’t for a minute believe no-one noticed and it as a complete accident, these things are opinion-polled to tedium within Game Freak, someone would have pointed out ‘these are just Bulbasaur and Charmander’
And then there was the aforementioned distribution of these new ‘mons in Diamond & Pearl, the first games in the generation, our first impressions of it. Some of it was a simple result of the types of Pokémon that dominated the new ‘Dex, most Legendaries typically being available only in the post-game and most Mythical ‘mons being Event-only and so not available to most players at all (especially when the Arceus-centric event was never held), Fossil Pokémon are typically one per game and Baby Pokémon mostly are only available through breeding (Gen 4 actually changed this up, Munchlax and Budew are catchable) so I shan’t hold that against the team (though it doesn’t help) but the decision to keep most of the cross-generation evolutions to the post-game I totally will, as will I hold the decision to, out of the few remaining lines they had, make two (Scorupi and Croagunk) exclusive to an optional area (The Great Marsh), two (Rotom and Spiritomb) one-per-game, one only available in a location that you had to travel back only on one day (Driftloon) and two, including a hyped Baby Pokémon (Munchlax) only available through the Honey mechanic. Meaning that players could miss even more of the new Pokémon and thus the regular routes felt even more dominated by old species older player were growing sick of or the same old region-specific com mons. It was a string of dumb decisions that added up to one of the least satisfying Pokédex in the series BEFORE the lack of Fire Types. The game added 107 new Pokémon but it sure as shit didn’t feel like it.
Away from those games though? The Pokémon are at least mostly ones I have strong opinions on and frankly I’d rather that than a load of meh ‘Mons like I’m expecting in Gen V. 

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 4 Part 8 - Regigigas to Arceus

The Pokémon that pulled the continents into place and built the Legendary Golems in its image, Regigigas a) has the best English name of the four and yet b) has the hardest English name to spell of the four, it’s not like I’m thick or anything, I can spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious without looking (and you’ll never know if I’m lying or not) but that’s just too many g’s and i’s in one place for me to get right with any kind of regularity.
So Regigigas reminds me of a play mat, you know the big vinyl mats that have towns or whatever drawn on them for kids to play with their trucks and stuff on? That might be why I like it now I think about I, cos I do like Regigigas even though I think that objectively it’s a bit crap? It’s Ability is Slow Start which means that it always hits last and design wise it’s a weird set of things all put onto this big faceless white Pilsbury Dough body. We have green shrubbery, yellow-gold and raised black patterns and traffic lights and it really feels like a bunch of stuff were all stuck on it -  like that time in Power Rangers when Squatt and Babboo tried to make a monster for Rita Repulsa and ended up just throwing all kinds of things they found around Finster’s lab onto a turtle? Funnily enough that monster was called Shellshock and he’s a favourite of mine, in fact I think only The Pudgy Pig beats it for me. What was I talking about? Oh yeh this weird golem that ultimately ends up being better than the sum of its parts design wise because it should work but damn if it doesn’t look pleasing (and minty).
Fridge logic: Regigigas is the weakest design not because Gen 4 was like that but because it made the other three golems and so of course improved on its own design, you wouldn’t replicate previous design flaws if you were any kind of good designer, would you?

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 24!

So this would have been written and posted earlier but I went on holiday within a few hours of getting home from the bootsale and had to sleep, eat, pack and crap in that timeframe and there just wasn’t any room to squeeze in writing and posting a crappy blog post about old toys. Sorry everyone.

This bootsale was a resounding success, far better than last week’s dalliance and proof that a small bootsale doesn’t necessarily equal an unsuccessful one. check it out ^, vintage Real Ghostbusters, vintage Pokémon, vintage VR Troopers and how old does it make you feel to know that there are such things as vintage Pokémon and VR Troopers? Because it makes me feel roughly kill myself years young!


Friday, 17 May 2019

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 4 Part 7 - Rotom to Heatran

Not to leave you in suspense: I like Rotom. I think it was (eventually) a great way to do a poltergeist and I like the fact that it looks like Pulseman, so is in fact a ‘ghost’ of an old Game Freak property and an electric hero, this is a nice touch whether it was intentional or not (and given that Rotom’s regular form was designed by Ken Sugimori, who also designed Pulseman, I’d say it was). Forms me no likey as much, they seem like an unnecessary method to further complicate an already surprisingly complex game though right now I don’t like Forms because I have to cover them all in these reviews and Rotom has six!
The forms that are purely cosmetic (like Vivillon, Flabebe or Basculin) are the ones that irritate me the most, and Rotom - a lil’ ghost found in an excellent haunted house area called The Old Chateau (which did indeed have an Old Gateau in it!) – was initially the worst kind of  that kind of form-having Pokémon. It could have a whole bunch of different forms, all of which required you to go back to one certain room in Pokémon Platinum to change and they did nothing, it was all completely for its own sake. But then in Gen 5 each form got its own typing and suddenly the little bugger became awesome, unique and supremely useful.
Rotom itself is actually Digimon levels simple, elevated primarily through it’s call back to the old Pulseman game and by its aura/forcefield/energy/whatthefuckever that makes it seem like there’s way more to it than there is – given that it’s the Pokémon Poltergeist I suppose I should be pleased it has a physical form at all I suppose. It does show up the differences between how Pokémon and Digimon do ridiculously simple though – through little things like it’s unique eyes and it’s unusual shape, Rotom is memorable and forgivable, through generic faces and shapes, most In-Training Digimon feel forgettable and uncreative, not unlike any old generic UFO prize - IMO and all that.
Heat Rotom is a possessed oven that’s Electric/Fire and has oven mits made out of pure ghostly energy! The fact that it looks like more like an Easy Bake Oven than anything else just makes it even more delightful – my only complaint is that it keeps Rotom’s regular mouth (visible between ti’s eyes), why not just make the actual oven bit it’s gob like they’d do with Mow Rotom? Fan Rotom (Electric/Flying) is probably my least favourite because it’s the least mental, looking like a pretty sensible transformation for the regular Rotom to make, what’s the point in that? It’s easily Rotom at it’s cutest though, the new headshape just make sit so adorable! Wash Rotom (Electric/Water) and Frost Rotom (Electric/Ice) are muuuuch better, in fact can we get away with calling them epic? I’m gonna do it. they’re epic. A ghostly washing machine (with a cool tail) and a FUCKING FRIDGE, I have greatly enjoyed sending out a FUCKING FRIDGE to battle for me, every time I do I hear the operatic scream of the living wardrobe from Beauty & The Beast before it drops onto those unsuspecting villagers. Rotom’s so much fun. Then there’s Mow Rotom (Electric/Grass), where Rotom gets metal and really fucking sharp and really… unnerving. A ghostly unmanned lawnmower with a grin like a cartoon shark, Mow Rotom is the Rotom where you remember it’s a ghost and a monster. It should be my favourite, but nothing beats THE FUCKING FRIDGE for me (which is actually surprisingly viable in competitive play too).
Why do people complain about Game Freak ‘just sticking eyes on things’ again? Because when they do you get haunted appliances to drop on bugs and birdies, that’s fantastic and a great, creative and fitting way of incorporating poltergeists and possession - two big things with ghosts - into Pokémon via a standard Pokémon mechanic and yields some fun and funny Pokémon as well. People need to chill out and learn to love THE FUCKING FRIDGE ‘mon,
Oh yeah! Then, in Generation 7, someone decided (during the general slashing of difficulty in those games) that Rotom would be fuse with your Pokédex to make Pokedex Rotom! This gives the player a hint box wherever they go and annoyed some fans because it would never shut up, I think it was a very sensible way of doing what Game Freak wanted to do – Rotom possessing a Pokedex even explain how it could suddenly talk (Pokedexes having a speech function). What ISN’T sensible is that you cannot use this Rotom in battle. You are carrying around a Pokémon that you cannot use at any time, if all your other Pokémon faint you will black out even though you have another Pokémon on hard. I found this all very immersion breaking and it seemed counter-intuitive, they were doing so much to make the games easier and make them different for the sake of it, having a bonus 7th ‘mon on hand at all times would have only helped these goals. It’s not the best Rotom design ever either, looking a bit more like Game Boy Advance Rotom than Pokedex Rotom, but this might be because I always think of Pokedexes as looking like the original version from the anime. I do like that in this form it has ‘solid hands’ rather than energy ones, it’s a nice twist on the design, fits with the ‘fold-out’ design of ‘dexes AND makes sense because it would be rather dangerous to give kids a Pokedex cracking with ghostly energy wouldn’t it?

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 4 Part 6 - Hippopotas line to Snover line

This is why I decided to rank the ‘mons individually, this exact Evolutionary Line was behind that decision.
Imagine this: you’re on a desert route, there’s sand everywhere, you’re a little pissed off because the sandstorm keeps buffeting your Pokémon and you haven’t got a Blissey or Bronzong or whatever, but you look across the sand there is a huge sand and stone coloured hippo swimming through the it, mouth open, huge valves on its back gushing more sand making you question it’s anatomy but almost making it look the ultimate Ground Type, it’s such a Ground Type it produces sand like waterfalls from it’s very body. and it looks great, it looks like it could have been Generation 1, all the superfluous markings and bullshit of Gens 3 and 4 are not there, it looks organic, it looks mean. Now hopefully you’d shit yourself but once you were done filling your trollies you’d appreciate how fucking awesome that thing is (and then catch it). That was Hippowdon, it is great - even though I still mispronounce its name as ‘hippodown’, I’m not dyslexic I’m just really stupid.
Hippopotas is one of my least favourite Pokémon designs, a little of it is the ‘un-designed body markings’ on its body though the colours help mask them, most of it is the fucking proportions of its fucking face: I get it, it’s an exaggeration of a hippo’s head, I get it – Japan responds well to this sort of ‘gonk’ design so the design team would have no reason to think bad of this this – but I hate it, it looks ridiculous, that gap, that gap between the nose and the eyes with the, the things, the things that I think are supposed to be ears but look little spikes of skin, the cartoon frog eyes, the size of the nose and eyes relative to the face and the body, it all just make me cross, I want to smash it with a rock.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 4 Part 5 - Bronzor line to Lucario line

Oh thank god!
I don’t like writing negative reviews, especially of something like Pokémon where it’s so easy to slip up and so, so subjective. It helps that Purrugly and Skuntank aren’t particularly popular, nor particularly used in competitive play so I can rip into them without too much of a worry but I still don’t like doing it, and frankly I don’t think I’m that good at it. But it’s ok, because Bronzor and Bronzong are here and these two I adore. Not just for their designs, nor just for Bronzog’s fantastic use as a wall in battles but because they’re damn interesting.
The two are based primarily on Japanese legend Of a Mirror and a Bell. A story of a woman who gave a bronze mirror (they didn’t have glass in them, those ones) to a local temple to be melted down into a new bell for them (hence the connection of a mirror evolving into a bell) but when they went to melt it down, it wouldn’t (hence the two having the ‘Heatproof’ ability that resists Fire Types completely). When it was found out whose mirror this was, the woman drowned herself in shame but said that whoever hit the bell hard enough to break it would be rewarded with riches (Sadly Bronzong cannot learn Pay Day, a big oversight if you ask me). there’s also references to another Japanese story, that of the Bell of Mugen (Check it all out here). This sort of stuff fascinates my ass and made me appreciate Bronzong and Bronzor 100 times more than any amount of walling could do. Bronzong is my preference, it looks like some kind of ancient robot, with it’s markings recalling a face not simply a face slapped onto it, this isnt’ a bell with googly eyes, but an ancient bell-like creature. Bronzor’s face it a little less well worked into the design, I can see what it was going for but the bright yellow eyes just make everything a bit more obvious -  happily also doesn’t look enough like a stereotypical (western) mirror to have that ‘they just put a face on something’ feel going on for me, of course if I was Japanese or Chinese I might think different.
Nice colours these too