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  1. Welcome to the eighty-third week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out. Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Keldeo will be available via the Nintendo Network from October 1st through 24th. Furthermore, the final 6th Generation Pokémon, Volcanion, will be distributed at GameStop sometime this month. I'll let you know when, as soon as we know more. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Server-side Structure I“m about 55 hours deep in Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past. So I don“t really have anything new to report on the Pokémon front this week. However—more news has been hinted for October 4th, so I won“t rest on my laurels for too long. The spin-off series is still continuing, and you can use Mystery Gift & enter the code Darkrai20 to claim the Mythical Pokémon Darkrai, which was distributed at GameStop earlier this year. If you already got a code from GameStop earlier, you won't be able to use this one. That should have y“all about current! Let“s talk about part of last week“s news that The Pokémon Company kind of glazed over, and didn“t choose to devote parts of a trailer to it or anything. Verified here: an update to Pokémon Bank in January 2017 will allow you to port Pokémon from XY and ORAS over to Sun & Moon via a one-way transfer. Indeed: once again, Game Freak is choosing not to let you port your all-powerful critters from past games to the brand new ones until about two months after release. I get why that“s kind of necessary: it“ll stop people like me from becoming a Pokémon Master again in just a couple of weeks, right? It gives everyone ample time to enjoy the Alola Region as a whole, and catch everything we can there before Lv100 Mewtwos plague the GTS forever. It“s interesting to me, though, that once Pokémon are transferred over from Gen6 to Gen7, they can“t be brought back to the games they came from. It“s not a new practice for the series, but...I kind of anticipated Pokémon Bank to make things more uniform, and allow the first 721 critters to move freely between all past and present Pokémon games starting with XY/ORAS. Guess I thought wrong! Furthermore: [an updated] PokéTransporter is going to be the means by which critters from Red, Blue and Yellow can be brought over to Sun & Moon, also restricted to a one-time transfer. Once they leave the Kanto region, they can“t go back! I“m probably going to wait a while before I transfer my full batch of RBY Pokémon over, until I“m fully aware of what moves are going to be viable in Alola. My dreams of a battle-ready No Guard Machamp with Fissure may yet still come true! And last but not least: a new National Pokédex feature is coming to Bank with the latest update. Using it will analyze the save data(!!!) from any game you use with Bank in order to generate a Pokédex that will tell you what games you can find critters you may be missing. That“s kind of crazy! Seems like they genuinely want folks to “catch ;em all”, since they“ll be able to use data from multiple games to do it. All this Bank stuff begs the question though, considering my previous thoughts on backing up save data. Can Pokémon Bank be accessed in a new way, starting with the Generation 7 games? Picture this: You walk into any Pokémon Center and access your PC, as always, which features 30+ unique boxes of offline storage, ready to be grabbed at anytime. However: what if they were to add a separate tab onto the Pokémon Center PCs that let you access your data on the Pokémon Bank servers without ever leaving your game to go into the app? Not leaving the main games to access Bank would remove a largely inconvenient, [seemingly] unnecessary barrier preventing folks from simply storing every Pokémon they have on Pokémon Bank“s servers, just in case of a data loss. Being able to grab Pokémon freely from “the cloud” without ever having to leave my game to go into an app and prompt ten different loading cycles...would be the single most welcome change to come to the franchise, for me personally. If my 3DS is ever lost or stolen--as long as I have all my existing Pokémon saved to the server instead of the games, I could conceivably get every critter back, once I“ve migrated to a new system. I wouldn“t mind a brief lag to connect to the Internet every time I used the PC, as long as there was always an offline option to use in case I“m not around Wi-Fi. So there we have it! A little Bank-related PSA, and some hopeful speculation on my part. How do you all feel about my idea? Disappointed you have to wait a few months before porting critters over from previous games? Be sure to let us know!
  2. Welcome to the fifty-seventh week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. This coming week is your last opportunity to grab Mew from participating GameStop stores. It disappears again for a while after February 24th! Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Great Expectations As you“re all reading this, we“re just a week and a day away from February 27th, 2016--the official twentieth anniversary of Pokémon Red & Green Versions respectively, and what“s being marketed internationally as “Pokémon Day”. The proverbial Hype Train has been steadily rolling along since December, with crazy physical products available for our friends in Japan, all the stuff our Official Site has outlined, kind words from Mr. Masuda and others, and...even a brand new Pokémon. That last bit“s...kind of a big deal, right? I“ll blab more about Magearna momentarily, but there are a few brief points I need to hit first: First of all: Pokémon GO is going to be at GDC 2016 (March 14-18), featured in a panel where we“ll finally hear more information about it beyond the e“er popular reveal trailer. What does this mean? Well, it means the beta-tests you“ve seen going around are collectively just one meaningless hoax after the next. And it“s definitely not releasing on February 27th, like I“ve seen some brazen folks try to report. I know it“s a slow news cycle for many gaming websites, but the amount of stretching some people are doing makes rubber-bands look bad. Next: “Pokémon Fandom”--I am generally okay with your existence, even though I don“t necessarily identify with you at all. But could you all please stop begging for The Next Big Pokémon Game Announcement already? Just look at the replies on the Message from Masuda tweet I linked to above. It“s like every time The Pokémon Company tweets something out, they“re met with a bunch of hungry wolves after their next meal. Despite some reporting it as news: with the reveal of Magearna and the anime moving ahead full swing to “Pokémon XY&Z (emphasized to emulate how the Z appears in the logo)...the fact that they“re working on another Big Pokémon Project besides GO….is expected. ...Give them time, for goodness sake. They“ll show it off when they“re ready! Okay, last bit: The release of the old Pokémon games sure is unfortunately timed, isn“t it? Most of you hardcore RPG folks are going to be a week into Fire Emblem Fates. I“m choosing a different path (n“yuk n“yuk) and playing through Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen for the first time. Plenty of other folks are out there mashing their backlog, or working through new games I haven“t thought of. Is the draw of nostalgia going to be powerful enough to get you to put down what you“re currently playing through to play 20 year-old games? Personally, I“m probably going to buy and start whichever version I end up getting (let“s be real: it“s gonna be Yellow)...but I highly doubt Old Pokémon is going to be compelling enough to get me to stop my progress in New Dragon Quest. If I“m being honest with myself: I“d say only Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is the only game almighty enough to loosen Dragon Quest“s grip upon me. Now then--where were we? Oh, right. there“s a brand new Pokémon. Japan obviously got the news first, but the West didn“t have to wait six months to catch wind of it. ...Very interesting indeed. The reveal of Magearna pushes a couple of thoughts to the surface: Magearna doesn“t necessarily mean we“ll see a 7th Generation of Pokémon this year. We saw it with Marril, Kecleon, Lucario, Zoroark and others: sometimes the reveal of a brand new Pokémon is over a year off from the Actual Game that houses them. I suspect a third 6th Generation game will arrive before Magearna does, but I“ve certainly been wrong before. I“m keeping an open mind. Magearna“s reveal could mean the 7th Generation of Pokémon is coming this year. I mean, it“s the twentieth anniversary. Could a “portable NX”, as has been theorized, be coming this year...and launch with a brand new Pokémon game? The Internet would light with the fire of a thousand Charizards, and it would explain why we“ve gone so long without word from The Pokémon company. Which side of the 7th Generation Fence do you fall on? If you“re going to be picking up the old Pokémon games on 3DS in a week, which version will you start with? Plenty of questions! I“m very interested to hear your answers! ...I think I“m going to delay next week“s Individual Values and have it go out on Pokémon Day so I can quickly write impressions of whatever Special Things go down. We“ll see! Goodness knows, as I was writing this, it was announced that Pokkén Tournament will be showcased at the newly remodeled Nintendo NY in a tournament, where the winner will go on to compete in the Championships. (And hey, did you catch the “GIVE US POKEMON Z” among the very first replies of tweet showing new footage? Don“t ever change, Internet.) Also the retail version of Pokémon Rumble World is now confirmed for North America. News can really happen at any moment. It“s kinda crazy! Either way, it“s definitely a phenomenal time to be a Pokémon fan. Here“s something cool, but unofficial to leave you all with! As the wildly marketable catchphrase goes: train on, ladies and gentlemen.
  3. Welcome to the forty-sixth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. -------------------------------- Where It All Began... The Pokémon Company have occasionally said “we like to do the unexpected”. They were certainly true to their word last night during the Nintendo Direct. I was ready for “Pokémon Z”...and to be honest, given the anime and Events going on lately, I still am. Instead of getting a new main-line Pokémon game announcement, though, it was all about the old. Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow are coming to the 3DS Virtual Console in North America and Europe on the fabled 20th Anniversary date, February 27th, 2016. Japan“s getting those three and Green, plus physical goodies. I“d be mad about that, but... if I really wanted ”em, I could just import, thanks to owning a Japanese 3DS. Before I get sidetracked: Wow. I never thought I“d see the day, due to limited technology, incompatibility with previous Generations, and that pesky Game Link Cable. But, the Virtual Console releases will alleviate that concern by allowing players to trade between each other using 3DS wireless communications. Interesting. That means we can totally achieve the same dream we had when we were kids, on the same games as when we were kids... in the modern era. That“s pretty nifty! It yields a few speculative questions, though, and I“ll get to those shortly. Right out of the gate, though: Which versions will you be getting when the games release, if you“re planning on jumping in? You gonna be like every person I know ever and get Yellow Version because Pikachu walks behind you and is freaking adorable? Will you be getting an additional version as well, to catch unobtainable Pokémon? I“m going to just stick with Yellow myself. If the Mew/Ditto glitch is intact, I“ll just use it to obtain the 8 Pokémon (not counting evolutions) I can“t get. It“ll be interesting to see if their promise to stay true to the originals also means leaving them as incredibly broken as they were in their day. (MISSINGNO, anyone?) I'm optimistic about that. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX still has several of its game-crashing glitches like this one. The real fun will begin after those games release, though. If they sell well, could we see Gold, Silver and Crystal? Now that the three original games will exist on the 3DS Virtual Console, could the same wireless communication be employed to make a conceivable Wii U N64 Pokémon Stadium release happen, so things like the Surfing Pikachu can be obtainable? It“ll be interesting to see how far the original games will go, in terms of intertwining past and present. Of course I“m also excited about Pokkén Tournament. Glad to know amiibo collectors will get something out of its release, too. Pokémon Picross isn“t really my bag, though, because Picross has never meshed well with me. Still--at the end of the day, their willingness to embrace the past instead of announce "Pokémon Z" doesn“t mean the series is dead, or something. Lots of Twitter folks were salty over the fact that we still don“t have a new game. It“s coming. Just need to revise my earlier prediction from “sometime in November” to “sometime around February”. You know they“re going to do more to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the franchise besides releasing Pokémon GO! and the old games. Now that they“ve delivered a nostalgic curve-ball, I don“t know what to expect. And hey! This time next week, I“ll be playing Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon. Awesome! It“s really a good time to be a Pokémon fan. How are you all who got to the end of this feeling? Same as me, or upset about no “Z”? Be sure to share!
  4. Welcome to the forty-second week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. -------------------------------- The Grind When #TwitchPlaysPokémon was a phenomenon, I went back and played Pokémon Red from start to finish for the first time since I was a kid. I“ve often mentioned how far the franchise has come in terms of aesthetics, music and more. But the one aspect I feel deserves some discussion this week is how much the Pokémon Company has done to alleviate “the grind” and respect new and old players“ time. By "the grind", I“m referring to raising a team of brand new Pokémon--whether for story or extra-curricular purposes--from Lv1 (or 5 if it“s a starter, or whatever level you catch them at) to Lv100. We can also wrap a few extra bits like breeding in there, too. Playing through the Game Boy games for their story and the nostalgia factor is always insightful. Like I“ve mentioned many times in the past--going back can easily bring all kinds of memories to the surface. We used to imagine the monochrome Kanto filled with color and life--now the processing power of the Nintendo 3DS can do that for us. But going back to 1998 in terms of Pokémon raising isn“t as fun as it used to be, for me personally. I think there“s a reason I cheated and used the Cinnabar Island glitch to have infinite rare candies back in the day. Pokémon Red doesn“t have the experience share, Lucky Egg, O-Powers, or means to fight handfuls of consecutive battles that sometimes yield 13,000 experience points for traded, boosted and item-holding Pokémon. I raised my mono-type “Gym Leader” team from eggs with just a couple hours of gameplay; they“re all fully trained and battle-ready. The process has become absolutely streamlined over six generations of games. You can make sure a hatched Pokémon has a specific nature and desired Egg Moves by giving a parent [with the desired Nature] an Everstone. You can influence what hidden IVs a Pokémon inherits from its parents by making one of them hold an item, too. EV training used to require taking notes and fighting wild or trained Pokémon one at a time to raise certain stats. Now you can gather a team of six Pokémon who all need their Speed EVs raised [for example], turn on the Experience Share key item, give them all Pokérus, and fight about twenty-six horde battles with Zubats in Meteor Falls (ORAS). Less than fifteen minutes will have your desired stat at its maximum EV potential--for however many Pokémon you like. Thanks to the Lumiose City restaurants and the cafe in Mauville City, you can carry one use of the Experience Boosting O-Power across anywhere from 5-10 full battles [sometimes with three Pokémon at once] to easily raise your new team“s levels once you“re done training them. In XY, the restaurants can be visited an infinite number of times, provided you have the cash. In ORAS, Mauville City“s spots can be visited once per day. It“s all become so effortless! If you haven“t looked into any of this stuff and wonder how I“ve raised so many competitive Pokémon over time--it“s way easier than it seems, these days. I view this streamlining as a positive. But the talking point I“ll give you this week as that it“s made the gameplay or sixth generation games very easy. The moves Game Freak has taken to respect players“ time doesn“t necessarily respect those who want a challenge. If you think Pokémon“s gameplay has suffered because of how easy a team is to raise in the modern era, I want to hear from you! What could the series do to be more difficult, yet still maintain all the aforementioned new endeavors? If you love the steps they“ve taken over time, and find it difficult to go back: do you feel the same way I do?
  5. Welcome to the twenty-eighth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday morning. -------------------------------- Thoughts For Friends Pokémon is a franchise enjoyed by millions of people around the world of all ages, colors and creeds. But if you have friends or loved ones who experience the games along with you, your journey just feels so much more personal. I can“t tell you how many Pokémon I“ve raised and kept in my PC from nine years of being so involved with the games, just because they were traded to me/have my personal friends as their “OT”. It“s such a beloved series, that the people who love it with you make you feel nostalgic from time to time. I know more than one person who formed friendships simply because they had a love of Pokémon in common. Do you have any stories like that? I often wonder, in some parallel universe where I have artistic talent, if I could create something like the picture you see above...of me, my girlfriend, and our favorite Pokémon, that“s actually displayed right behind me as I write this. I wonder, if I had the same talents and dedication as the person who drew it, that I could hold my own in both the video games and the trading card game--enough to write about them, or even attend the Pokémon National Championships that took place this past weekend. I“m talking about a friend of mine who really put all her heart into her hobby. And...unfortunately...I“m talking about someone who“s no longer with us. I don“t mean to bring things down a few notches, or make Individual Values extra-personal all of a sudden. It just took losing someone this past weekend for me to reflect upon how powerful or important these seemingly tiny connections of just having a hobby in common truly are. Even if two people aren“t as close as they could have been, or if we“re talking about your best friend in the entire world...a game like Pokémon, while rooted in single-player sensibilities, can yield all sorts of feelings connected to someone you happen to be playing the games with. The same child who first played Pokémon Red or Blue on a tiny, black and white Game Boy screen--who brought the world of Kanto to life in his or her mind to be bursting with color and story never seen in the main game...holds memories, dreams and expectations of a franchise that“s lasted almost twenty years. So no, it doesn“t surprise me that so many people have been inspired enough by the “phenomenon” that they“ve drawn, written or created personal stories themselves. Even if I can only manage to do so in under five hundred words, I just want to honor my friend by trying to communicate how special it is--that some video games yield experiences that can be both personal and shared, that Pokémon has the potential to spark inspiration that draws from far more than just a few Nintendo 3DS games. The stories within the Pokémon world are very temporary. But the personal ones that stretch beyond it can last forever.