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  1. Welcome to the eighty-sixth 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 is available via the Nintendo Network until this coming Monday, October 24th. Volcanion is being distributed at GameStop until October 31st. 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! -------------------------------- Demolition Switch ...I never would have imagined I“d be talking about the Pokémon Sun & Moon Demo and the revealed identity of Nintendo“s Codename “NX” in the same week. But here we are. Honestly, I“m a little overwhelmed. In the grand scheme of things, departing from the “Wii” and “DS” branding has be breathing the actual biggest sigh of relief. As soon as you see for the Nintendo Switch, you“ll see why this whole thing“s going to come back around to Pokémon in a little while. For now, let“s get a rather big “negative” out of the way. I put that in quotes, because depending on how much you care—this news could bounce right off you. As I feared, the demo for Pokémon Sun & Moon was data-mined within hours. I haven“t sought out spoilers and won“t...and you can rest assured that my Individual Values feature will remain spoiler-free and never discuss data-mined content prior to the game“s release. But for those curious, the entire 7th Generation Pokédex is out there for the world to see now, including every new Pokémon & many not-yet-officially-known Alolan Forms. I think even more info may be out there, but...I“m absolutely living up to the metaphor of putting my head in the ground, and have since the demo released. You all definitely don“t want to hear me waffle on about the Demo for 600 words, when you could just go grab it as we speak and see for yourself. But I“ll offer a few tid-bits in case you“re still on the fence: The Pokémon Sun & Moon Demo is a stand-alone experience that is separate from events in the main game. It has locations you“ll probably rediscover, but the tasks you perform will not be replicated. The story has you take a Greninja sent to you from a mysterious trainer who forgot to write his name, and participate in a quick Island Trial that primarily uses the PokéFinder. It“s got its fair share of battles, so you can see the new and improved UI in action. It“s almost inevitable that you“ll see your Greninja become Ash-Greninja through its Battle Bond Ability. And Professor Kukui lends you his Pikachu holding a Z-Crystal, so you“ll specifically get to see its Z-Move in action during the climax of the story. The unfolding story involves menial tasks, at best. “Go do the thing! Fight the thing!” After about twenty minutes or so of content, you“ll see the trailer for the game, signifying that the demo has come to a close. But: there“s still more to do! If you jump back in after the fact, you“ll unlock PokéRide to play with a bit, be able to catch (but not keep) critters, discover plenty of items to bring over to the full game, and more. There“s plenty of content, and it“s going to be spread out through daily events. It gives you reason to keep coming back to your tiny piece of the Alola Region before the full game. A few things of note. The UI is even better seen in practice. You can view a Pokémon“s EVs and IVs from the conventional Summary screen for the first time in the main series, with a simple mash of the Y button. Longtime series jingles, like the “Item Get!” chime and the capture music...all have a very Hawaiian flair to them. Even beyond the graphical interface, you“ll notice right away that everything about how the game functions wants Alola to feel unique. There“s not much new in the way of music...it“s all stuff we“ve heard from the various trailers released up to this point. Team Skull isn“t evil...they“re just hard. I“d give the demo a solid eight out of ten, personally. It“s not going to break any ground with its content, but it does a decent job of showing what“s new and returned with the 7th Generation games. You really should give it a try, if you“re not chomping at the bit for Sun & Moon. If you are though, and you don“t really care about Ash-Greninja...I might suggest waiting a bit. Some of the features the demo offers [like PokéRide for example] feel kind of shoe-horned in. It may be better to experience these things as the actual game“s story allows, with a team you can keep and raise for yourself, instead of just one Pokémon. Don“t let me deter you though! The Nintendo Switch seems like everything the Wii U should have been, in my opinion. Conceptually, it“s like if the Wii U and 3DS merged together to form a beautiful demi-god console & portable hybrid. As seen in the preview trailer, you can indeed play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the go...at the park, on a plane, or in the backseat of your car. If console and portable development have truly merged into one thanks to the Switch--it“s only natural to assume that, for the first time ever, we could see a mainline Pokémon game developed with both portable and TV play in mind. By the time we see an 8th Generation of games, if the Switch has a successful market...hoo, just imagine the possibilities! The Switch certainly seems like it“s ushering a new frontier for Nintendo Gaming. This may hold true for Game Freak and The Pokémon Company as well. Have you played the Sun & Moon Demo for yourself? How do we all feel about it? How did y“all react to the Switch reveal? I guess the “NX” is now the “NS”. Plenty to share, if you“re so inclined!
  2. Welcome to the eighty-fifth 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 is available via the Nintendo Network until October 24th. Volcanion is being distributed at GameStop until October 31st. 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! -------------------------------- Rainbow Garbage and Synthetic Gods Yet another for Pokémon Sun & Moon was released earlier today. We“ve got some new evolved forms of Pokémon to discuss, as well as Alolan Grimer and Muk. And there were a handful of new characters shown off at the end that could drop some subtle hints of things to be revealed in the not-too-distant future. Honestly, I was expecting something a little “bigger” this week, considering we“re just four days away from the demo... and data-miners "spoiling" everything, ever. Oops, did I say that part out loud? The Pokémon that leaves the most room for discussion of all the ones revealed today is Silvally, the evolved form of Type: Null. When it “gains a partner it can trust,” it destroys the restraining mask on itself, as per the website. Its ability [RKS System] and unique move [Multi-Attack] work the same as Arceus“s Multitype & Judgement combination, if I“m understanding things properly. Its type will change in battle depending on the item it“s holding, and Multi-Attack“s type changes as a result. It“s almost like Type: Null and Silvally are, collectively, a synthetic Arceus. Remember the theory I dropped when Type: Null was first revealed? I still think it“d be really cool to have a MISSINGNO transferred from Pokémon RBY turn into Type: Null -- something that“s effectively a “false-god.” I think this Pokémon in particular is going to be important to Sun & Moon“s narrative, considering the special artwork of it and Gladion… and the fact that he seems to be the only Trainer in Alola who has one. Maybe certain events will unfold, and Gladion will entrust Silvally to the player? Or will there be a second one created for the player“s use? Speculating how one will obtain this very unique Pokémon could certainly lend to some interesting discussion. I liked on why Alolan Grimer has... a bit of a yellow beard going on. But as it turns out... it“s just that way because of crystallized garbage from the region...yuck! I think it“s pretty funny that the website pretty much openly admits that they brought Grimers from other regions to Alola to specifically eat the increased population“s garbage. It certainly piques my interest, that this “tropical vacation” destination seems to rely a little too much on using Pokémon as glorified tools. But I digress! Alolan Muk“s added... garbage layers... aren“t just limited to its mouth. When seeing it in action during the trailer, you can see that it almost has this... unique garbage rainbow hue going on about it, where its toxins are constantly in motion. As it turns out -- this... unique... part of it reduces the intense smell that regular Muks have. That“s a fun tid-bit! Now for some evolutions of new Pokémon. Hakamo-o & Kommo-o are the full line of Jangmo-o, Alola“s Dragon Pokémon. Each generation has had one so far, except Johto. There“s Dragonite, Salamence, Garchomp, Haxorus, and Goodra... but Kommo-o“s a little different! It“s got a unique typing of Dragon & Fighting...which stands a bit in contrast to the numerous Dragon/Flying Pokémon currently on the roster. This one“s definitely looking like it“ll end up on my team. Next: Steene and Tsareena are the full line of Bounsweet, that Pokémon that looks a lot like a tropical fruit. This Pokémon that kind of starts out terrified of everything because it looks so delicious... evolves into a Pokémon with a regal personality (and Ability, to boot). Said ability makes it so intimidating that priority moves (like Quick Attack) are banned! Tsareena doesn“t have a unique typing at all (just pure Grass), but that Ability is certainly something. And lastly, there“s Ribombee, the evolution of Cutiefly. There“s not a whole lot to say about this Pokémon in particular... especially when contemporaries like Beedrill, Butterfree, Beautifly, Vespiquen and more have been done to death at this point. But the typing of “Bug/Fairy” makes this critter unique, and it may be more advantageous than normal to keep Alola“s “beginner bug variation” on your team for a little longer than usual. I guess we“ll see! Last but not least, there were some new Trainers introduced! Olivia is the Kahuna of Akala Island, and specializes in Rock Pokémon. Now... when one of the new leaders made mention of using a Marowak, we got an Alolan Forme sometime later. Olivia used a Nosepass as her introductory Pokémon. Could this point towards an Alolan Probopass, maybe? Or will some other Rock Type out there get a new form to show off... like Geodude, Graveler or Golem, if we“re sticking with Kanto here? And then there“s Illima is a Trial Captain that specializes in Normal Types. Hopefully we won“t get a repeat of Whitney“s Miltank [and its Rollout], eh? Next week“s Individual Values is gonna be interesting, indeed. I“ll offer up my thoughts on the Pokémon Sun & Moon Special Demo... and kinda hoping against hope that most of the game stays under wraps, so we can discover things for ourselves. Until then: how do you all feel about the new Pokémon and people shown off today? Anyone else find Alolan Muk as unsettling as I do? Be sure to let us know!
  3. Welcome to the seventy-seventh 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. Arceus will be available at participating GameStop stores until August 24th.You'll need to get a card with a serial code. 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! -------------------------------- Another Revolution There has been plenty more Sun & Moon news, since last we spoke. and CoroCoro have revealed several new Pokémon [including a *sand castle*] and Alolan Meowth, Marowak & Raichu, respectively. We even get a good look at the main antagonists of the game, Team Skull! Interesting to note that Team Skull already exists in a certain other game. And hey! I“ve also been reading the Pokémon manga for the first time ever. It“s much more eclectic than the games and anime, both. I recommend them if you“re looking for stories with a bit more of a darker edge to them. Like--the writing doesn“t seem afraid to kill Pokémon [it's kind of done off-screen, but death, not fainting, is implied], or to put Trainers“ lives in actual danger. I“ve yet to see a storyline in the main games or spin-offs go that far, beyond subtext. It“s funny. We were supposed to get yesterday“s news this morning, as you“re reading this--but The Pokémon Company uploaded the trailers early, to respond to leaks. Instead of discussing formerly pre-emptive news, let“s spend this week“s IV unpacking an interesting rumor. “Reports” say that a new Pokémon game could happen within the launch window of...Whatever The Heck The Nintendo NX Is. It“s been a while since I put on my Supposition Hat--let“s speculate, shall we? Prior to Sun & Moon and...the insatiable wait for "Pokémon Z", the main games were beginning to feel like annual Things. I really don“t think that a “main-line” Pokémon game could be coming to NX less than a year after the launch of Sun & Moon. To follow the sixth generation, where we didn“t have a Yellow, Emerald, or “2” Version...with a glorified third game or port...seems kind of counter-intuitive to the massive brand-refresh that Sun & Moon seemingly communicate. Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon is still relatively fresh. Rumble World is a little older, but only just got released at retail in North America. Besides, I don“t think either one of those types of games are what would move systems as part of a Highly Enticing Launch Window. The same can be said for other spin-off games like Pokémon Ranger or PokéPark. Alas, if there“s anything to this rumor at all, there“s only one type of game that wouldn“t be a harbinger of “Pokémon Fatigue”. The last “Stadium-esque” game the franchise saw was Pokémon Battle Revolution for Wii, first released in Japan almost ten years ago. That game didn“t even see a refresh for HeartGold & SoulSilver, let alone offer iterative experiences during the fifth and sixth generations. It truly has been almost a decade since we could see our critters on the big screen. I think it“d be pretty neat--and not particularly demanding of Game Freak or its development partners, to bring back battling on TV to the next big Nintendo console. I“m not sure if the next “Battle on TV” game will end up sharing the Stadium moniker, but it could be good for the nostalgia crowd that“s been playing GO. And a lot of Sun & Moon has been marketed on nostalgia & the big anniversary, so a return to “Stadium” after a sixteen year rest could be a swell marketing tactic. But--for all the fun those games were in their day, could you accomplish much with them? It may be wiser to develop something like Pokémon Colosseum or , where a whole new region and stories were crafted, to go a bit beyond just straight arena battles. Still. The argument against all this is...now that battles are more three-dimensional and graphically intensive than ever before--and you can seamlessly fight both friends and strangers online in the sixth generation--there“s no real need for a “Stadium” on the big screen. I“ll admit it“s a bit of a weak argument, since there“s nothing quite like the new life that high-definition visuals breathe into these critters. But the point stands. I rarely pay attention to rumors. But if this one“s true, there“s nothing else that really makes sense--nothing else that wouldn“t demand too much of the developers“ time while they were working on Sun & Moon. As much as I“d like to say, “Well yeah, it could also be 'Pokémon Snap NX'”--that kind of endeavor seems like it would be entirely too time-intensive to expect less than a year after the release of Sun & Moon. Developing a “Stadium” counterpart while focusing the main efforts on fleshing out the upcoming releases sounds much more feasible. I“m not sure what to expect. But I guess that“s half the excitement, as of late. I“ll be sure to revisit this subject after we know what the NX even is, but--for now, I figured it“d be fun to speculate. What do you all think this rumored game could be? Am I right on the money, or is it one of those things I insist would be too unrealistic? Please do share!
  4. Welcome to the seventy-sixth 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. Arceus will be available at participating GameStop stores until August 24th.You'll need to get a card with a serial code. 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! -------------------------------- Paradigm Shift I think I“m finally beginning to understand why it took The Pokémon Company so long to reveal Sun & Moon. After weeks of my focus being outside of the upcoming games, has given me way more than just new Pokémon to talk about. Before I address the specific pieces and parts of the footage we got, let me open with this: Each region in the World of Pokémon definitely has some unique characteristics and places to them. My Region Spotlights highlighted some cool sights to see in each region, as well as what I felt were the main “point”s each game was trying to communicate through its locales. Regardless of how each region differs thematically, one of the biggest criticisms I“ve heard from people who left the series is that “Pokémon is the same game over and over. Get eight badges in gyms, defeat the Big Bad, get the Legendary on the box, and win.” There isn“t really much defense you can offer towards this argument. With the exception of Pokémon Black & White, every game ends with a Hall of Fame entry, after all. Gyms have long been what“s held the Pokémon series back, in my opinion. No matter how distinguished a region is, or what lengths a game“s mechanics help to set them apart from the ones that came before it--it“s still “get 8 badges to win”. Omega Ruby made me happy when it gave me the National Pokédex and said “okay, the world“s your oyster now” before I defeated the Elite 4 and became the League champ--that was a nice change of pace. ...But after seeing the new footage, watching what appears to be the first major paradigm shift in Pokémon history since the Nintendo WFC was introduced to it back in 2007...I haven“t been This Freaking Excited for a new crop of Pokémon games in a long while. BUT FIRST! Let“s talk about my precious little ice fox. I know the Internet seems far more attached to Exeggutor, but there“s a clear winner for “best new Alola forme” in my heart, and it“s not just because Vulpix is my fiancée“s favorite Pokémon. Let“s briefly address what “region-specific formes” bring to mind. Will this new appearance and typing only affect Alolan Vulpixes you find in the wild, who have made this place their habitat for However Long? Or will there be some way to transform a Vulpix you caught in Kalos or elsewhere, once you“ve transferred them over using Pokémon Bank? While there“s no conclusive evidence yet, I suspect it“s going to be the former. It gives folks who“ve already raised these critters a reason to raise another all over again. Might make a few folks angry? I“m indifferent either way. I also feel like Exeggutor, Vulpix/Ninetales, and Sandshrew/Sandslash are just the beginning. that explains why Marowak/Cubone could be getting an Alolan forme as well. But the biggest one missing for me personally is Tropius. The Alolan region and Exeggutor both boast tropicality -- Tropius kind of sticks out like a sore thumb now, doesn“t it? It really does feel like they“re going above and beyond to make the Alolan Pokédex -- not just the region itself -- feel unique (Rotom, don“t forget!) and tropical, in nature. I haven“t run into a single design for the 7th Generation Pokémon that I don“t like. Whether we“re talking critters that spawn a million Donald Trump memes, a Pokémon that just wants to be loved like Pikachu, or a freaking meteorite with a brand new ability to distinguish itself… I“m truly happy with how the Pokémon of this region are shaping up. The biggest change introduced to Sun & Moon so far was its new UI, which I went on about some time ago. With that, they addressed a pretty consistent criticism with the series, making things more accessible to newcomers who weren“t all that familiar with Pokémon attacks and how they worked. The second huge criticism their addressing appears to be how to deal with HMs, as seen with "Riding Pokémon". These allies will never become a part of your team, but they can be called upon whenever, to carry out properties similar to Surf, Rock Smash, Fly, and possibly more. While it“s not directly stated that these new buddies are going to be the replacement of HMs, so that you don“t need to bog down Pokémon on your team with moves like Cut for the entire game, it“s certainly implied, from both the footage and the website. Huge deal! But the hugest deal of all is the Island Challenge. Without going into too much detail--new Trial Captains seem to offer many unique tasks that aren“t confined to the four walls of a gym anymore, allowing for much more varied tasks that aren“t always “battle the trainers to get to the leader, then win”. Regardless of how the challenge is constructed, there definitely isn“t a Gym Leader at the end of it -- instead, they“ve introduced “Totem Pokémon”. These super strong foes fight you one-on-one... until you“re about to make them faint, then it becomes two-on-one, in what“s called an “S.O.S. Battle”. After you“ve defeated each island“s trial--there“s a Kahuna waiting at the end. I think it“s supposed to function like the “Elite 4” of sorts, since there are four islands and four Kahunas [who also govern each island]. But you don“t save fighting them for the end of the game! So: for the first time in series history: there are no Gyms or Gym Leaders, so the game“s biggest challenges aren“t confined to small buildings in any given town. And -- there doesn“t appear to be an Elite 4 or Pokémon League, outside of the Kahunas themselves... so I genuinely have no idea how this game is going to end. Even if I liked the idea behind gyms (I never have...not since after GSC, anyway), not knowing what“s going to happen next excites the heck out of me. I haven“t even gotten to Z-Moves or how this crazy thing ties into the Pokémon Sun & Moon experience. Maybe I“ll devote an entire piece to them sometime, since they seem primarily focused on letting smaller Pokémon like Pikachu pack a larger punch than previously conceivable, in battle. But: with the UI change, seemingly replacing HMs with Riding Pokémon instead, and the removal of gyms -- we could be seeing the dawn of a new era in Pokémon. What if no new regions going forward had gyms, and instead offered a unique narrative and challenges going forward that no “Pokémon expatriate” could call “more of the same”. I hope the concept of Island Trials--not Gyms--are carried into future main games, to help each and every new region going forward feel refreshing and new. We won“t be waiting long for new news, it seems, as The Pokémon Company has promised even more stuff in less than a week. How do you all feel about some of the biggest changes to come to the series? If you“ve previously become disinterested in Pokémon -- will some of these brand new elements bring you back?
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