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Every Wednesday, at 7 PM on Twitch, I'm playing Steam games for you.
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Wednesday 29/03/2017: Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink

October 31, 2013

The Uncharted

Here it is, the Planned All Along Halloween Special! Of course, gotta end Poké-Month in a great way, so yes it is a Pokémon story. Call it a fanfic if you wish. I hope you'll enjoy it, and if you don't, well... Everybody has the right to have an opinion. So... Have a good read!

---

Ah, it feels good to be back in Kanto! My home region, at last! I spent the past four years traveling from Johto to Kalos. I caught as many species as I could, spent a long while trying to figure out how to evolve some kinds of Pokémon… Damn Milotic, you got me searching for a LONG time! But yeah, I’m finally back home. All I have left to do now is to find the remaining hundred Pokémon species I still have to catch. That includes the Legendary Pokémon.
Oh wait, I had forgotten. Oak made sure you would just need to have the Legendary one in sight and scan it with the Pokédex to have every bit of info about it. The adventure against the different Teams taught the scientific community of all six regions a few things. As an example, capturing the Legendary Pokémon could lead to some serious trouble, especially since some of them have the duty to protect an aspect of our universe, and capturing them would sometimes be dangerous for the world. To make a long story short, capturing a Legendary is now forbidden, and if any of them is found in the PC, it is released instantly.
Well, anyway… the reason for my return to Kanto is that there’s been weird sightings around. Oak keeps thinking it’s a roaming Pokémon from a region we barely heard of yet. So, he decided to call back to Kanto some trainers who had collected more than half of all the Pokémon of the six regions. He also hoped to be in contact with trainers who had defeated the Elite 4 of each region. But of course, not many Kanto trainers achieved that yet…
I just left Oak’s lab. He told me what he knew of the strange occurrence. Some Trainers who encountered the new Pokémon only felt weird. There’s those who claim they were lucky enough to have an object in their bag increase in number. And the others… they can’t tell what happened. Oh, not like it’s a secret or anything, they would tell us. They just can’t. Somehow, encountering that Pokémon totally messed them up. They’re in a coma, in Pokémon Centers. As if they had fainted. Saved in extremis by their own Pokémon from an unknown fate. They’re really close to death, but they’re out of trouble. The nurses are trying to find something to cure the ones who were found that way.
Still, really makes you wonder what happened to them…

October 30, 2013

Pokédex - Extended Fanon Edition

If there's one thing about Pokémon that is pretty weird... it's the Pokédex. This little device, created at first by Professor Oak, records the appearance a Pokémon when you see it without catching it, and then records all its information when you catch it. Wait, how does that make sense? I mean, if that information appears on the Pokédex, it's because it was somewhere in the machine in the first place, right? And when you think about it, the machine makes little sense; it will record facts about the Pokémon that you technically couldn't see when you met it. Take, as an example, the claims that Raichu can knock out an Indian elephant. The Pokédex knows that, yet we've never seen a Raichu do that in the game! Which means that the information was written in the machine following Oak's research, and it was not written on the spot when you found the Pokémon! ....

I'm getting too logical about this machine. You know what? Each Pokémon has a different Pokédex entry for every game in the main series. There's about twenty descriptions for the first Gen's Pokémon, and so on and so forth. Yet, we never get real facts that sound like the Pokémon are animals.

The Extended Fanon Edition solves this problem. hat is this? Written by the community behind TVTropes, the Extended Fanon Edition is basically a collection of almost scientific descriptions of the Pokémon families. Seeing as most contributors are nerds (and, let'd admit it, I am, and many of you are too), they can come up with lots and lots of descriptions that make it sound like we're talking about real animals here. The articles are written taking into account many Pokédex entries (and the Pokédex entries that make no sense are not used), as well as what we know of that species based on in-game encounters with said Pokémon, as well as other details we know about that species thanks to the anime and manga.

These pages are a very entertaining read, as long as you don't mind the scientific terms used to describe the Pokémon. The pages may contain a physical description of the Pokémon, a section about their notable biology, their habitat, their diet, the hazards they might cause, th courting and childrearing (yeah, they even touch THAT aspect...), the social structure and their interactions with human culture.

There aren't just articles for Pokémon, either. There are entries on Pokémon Types, on the Berries, on many geographical locations of the regions, on a few abilities, on the human society of Pokémon (such as the Most Wanted List), on the meta elements and on two other weird things.

All I can say is, have a good read! And if you think you have the talent to add to this Fanon Edition Pokédex, go ahead, the instructions are written on top of the page.

Have fun!

October 28, 2013

Is The Pokémon World A Good Place To Live In?

So, um... After the big review of Pokémon FireRed, I realized... wow, a lot happens in the Pokémon games. And even then, guess what? The Gen 1 games - and Gen 1 remakes - are still those with the simplest plot. The problem with the Pokémon games in general is less that there's a simple plot based around collecting eight badges and defeating a criminal organization; No, it's the gigantic amounts of railroading that is used to make sure you HAVE to follow the normal path. Everything seems to get in your way, from trees that grow in the wrong places, to ponds of water that you cannot cross - because your hero never learns to swim! - and, of course, that's when the Pokémon don't also join in on the fun. Remember the bridge-blocking Snorlax? Reember the Sudowoodo who conveniently decided you couldn't pass in a narrow forest unless you defeated it or caught it?

And that's not counting the criminal organizations, the thieving rivals, and all the Trainers who will not give you a break even if you need one. The Routes are all "dangerous", the Gym Leaders range from noble and nice to crazy or short-tempered. Some horribly powerful Pokémon cause trouble, sometimes unwillingly. Hell, some of those horribly powerful Pokémon are COMMON in some places! Really, all this begs the question: Is the Pokémon World a good place to live in?

October 25, 2013

Pokémon Rumble

(Sorry for posting this so late today; I had a lot of university homework and other real-life stuff to do that were, I have to admit, more important for my future as a whole than it would be to post this review. Anyway, here it is.)

Poké-Month is almost over, and we're getting closer to Halloween! As you noticed, I'm now in full Halloween mode, with a horror film review once in a while. However, the most horrifying thing ever isn't horror movies; it's endless repetitions.

Okay, just joking. But endless repetitions is a major problem in some games. Repeating the same thing, often the same tedious – or boring – task multiple times, is sometimes a factor on whether you'll replay a game or not. Likewise, a story aspect that gets repeated endlessly becomes boring after a while. Don't you just wish Peach would FINALLY put some protection around her castle to prevent Bowser from getting in or kidnapping her? Aren't you tired that Wile E. Coyote never, ever catches the Road Runner? Have Homer's stupid acts become annoying at best, insulting at worst, now that there's over 500 episodes of The Simpsons? Repetition is a problem that can hit anything that has run for a long time and whose formula has changed never enough to become interesting again. However, cases like this are much rarer inside a single game than it is as a problem that hits the franchise as a whole.

Today's game is this. The same concept gets repeated not once, not twice, not thrice, but a total of nine times. Each time with different critters. And yes, I know I'm talking about Pokémon, the series that has followed a similar formula in its main series ever since the first games. But Pokémon Rumble is not a main series game; it's a minigame spread out into a large game. Enter with me into the wonderful “world” of Pokémon Rumble and see if it should really be sold 1500 Wii Points.

October 23, 2013

Pokémon FireRed (Part 3)

Part 1 can be read here.
Part 2 can be read here.

Hello again for the third and final part of this review of Pokémon FireRed! Last time, it ended as the protagonist had passed the eight gates and was now at the Victory Road. Well, let's enter this cave!

I hate this place. It's fun, but I still hate it.
So, here goes the final traveling challenge in the game, with lots of Trainers, lots of puzzles, and lots of... trouble. Most Trainers in here have full teams, or almost full teams, with many good Pokémon. You'll also have lots and lots of stones to push around. This place is unnerving, because you can't seem to know when it's gonna end. It seems like you'll be stuck in this cave for a while. However, if you went this far in the game, you're determinate to win, and that means you'll go through this challenge anyway.

When you step out of Victory Road, you finally see the Indigo Plateau. Wow, this place feels like the Heaven of Trainers all around the world. ...Or, well, of Trainers all around Kanto. Inside this building, it's just as beautiful. Everything is handed to you: A Pokémon Center and a Shop with the game's strongest items, and even some infos on the Elite 4 even before you go fight them. Ready? Time to go through the door...

October 21, 2013

Pokémon FireRed (Part 2)

You can read Part 1 here.

Okay, I'm back for more Pokémon! Last time, we went through 4 Gyms and we also uncovered some nasty scheme caused by Team Rocket. So, last time we ended at the casino, I think it was to get enough cash to get a Porygon... Oh, right, it was to visit the Rocket hideout!

Waste all your money at Rocket Game Corner!
Our Porygon are worth more than your social life!
Yeah, talk about a wise way to hide your secret organization: Inside a casino owned by it. Seriously, it's as if the mafia's headquarters were also a casino- er, never mind. Anyway, as you go through this underground base, you meet a lot of Grunts, and even a few scientists. I think. Whatever the case, those are working for Team Rocket, so you just better defeat them too, teach them a lesson. After a short search through the floors, you find an escalator – except you need a card to use it, so back you go to explore the base again to find that damn card, and then go back to the elevator. Phew! Luckily, this escalator leads to the lowest floor of the base, and near Giovanni's room. Hurray! So, I guess we'll have to beat him if we want to go up the Pokémon Tower, right? ...Well... yep. You know, I always found it weird that he uses Ground-type Pokémon when most of his Grunts use Poison-types. ...Maybe it's because he wants to have a type advantage over them in case they try a mutiny. Eh, what do I know.

October 19, 2013

Carrie (2013)

 
Well, Halloween is getting closer every day, and I just began the “Homework Week” at university (an “Autumn Break” of sorts used by the students so they can work on the school projects and other home work). You know what? Screw it. I'm gonna review some horror movies this week. Think of it as a bonus that has been planned all along (and enjoy this little pun; there won't be a lot of jokes in this article.)

So, how to begin about Carrie? Well, if you know, even a little, Stephen King's oeuvre, you know he began his career as a horror writer in the seventies, with this little book called Carrie. This was a horrifying story back then, and it still is now. The book was so horrifying that it is banned from a lot of schools in the United States. I, for one, haven't read the book, but I went to watch the film this afternoon.

October 18, 2013

Pokémon FireRed (Part 1)

If epic was a Pokémon Type,
Tyrantrum would be half that type.
Well, that's official, Pokémon X and Y have come out since almost a week and... I didn't play them. I don't have a Nintendo 3DS, and truth be told, I'd prefer buying a game from the fifth generation at the moment. I've always been late to the new generations. I've always been a fan of the first Géneration of Pokémon! Though, not to the point of being a “Genwunner” (disgusting term referring to those Poké-lunatics who refuse all generations past the first one, unable to accept the new generations – or beyond the third Gen, depending on the defintion – and who will voice their anger at anyone who mentions the other generations, completely disregarding the fact that everyone has the right to have an opinion). Of course not. If I was a genwunner, I wouldn't have been all excited when seeing the Generation 6 fossils for the first time. Tyrantrum is EPIC. I'm kinda angry that it's such a tiny Generation, with only 68 Pokémon. It's like Game Freak completely forgot the aspect of discovering new Pokémon in favor of more collecting (apparently, the routes are crowded with different kinds of Pokémon from all the Gens), and Mega Evolutions.

However, the first generation is the one I'm most familiar with. Maybe it's a sense of nostalgia. Maybe it's because that was back when Pokémon wasn't that freaking complex, with evolutions and forms and very special abilities and fifty Legendaries and... Whatever. No, it's really nostalgia, except that I always had that small link dragging me to the newer Generations, such as that Pokémon/Digimon magazine I used to have that showed the Second Generation Pokémon and their Japanese names...

I never bought Pokémon FireRed. It was a gift given to me by my friend Laura, who I like to nag by calling the Poké-Addict (it has a positive connotatio, be assured). She knows more about Pokémon than all my other real life friends put together. From the most mundane to the most incredible to the most bizarre to the most useless details. She's like my city's Jwittz. I received FireRed as a Christmas gift back when I was, what, in ninth grade? It was, what, seven years ago? I completed the Pokédex this year for the first time?

Anyway, I'm dedicating this three-part review to Laura. You heard right. My first three-part review. So, let's see if Pokémon FireRed deserves its reputation, or if I'm wasting my time writing a 6,000+-word review of it.


October 16, 2013

Gijinkas

If there's another thing I like about the Pokémon fandom, it's also that artists can get very creative with Pokémon. What I'm saying is that one of the most seen type of pictures that play with Pokémon is the gijinkas. (All the pictures I use here belong to DeviantArt artists, except maybe one or two, so I'll give credit.)

A gijinka form of Lucario. This
picture belongs to RadenWA
on DeviantArt.
What does "gijinka" mean? It's the Japanese term for "humanization". Or, at least that's what the Know Your Meme website says. When you type that word in a fan art site's search bar, you end up looking at pictures of non-human characters depicted as humans. Not, not anthropomorphic animals, really humans, 100% humans, who just so happen to have some attributes of the character. The result is a human character with maybe weird hair, weird clothes, little details that let us recognize the character or species depicted on the image. The end result is basically as if someone drew the picture of a cosplayer disguised as that character or species. Of course, that description is what I think is most appropriate for a gijinka; in most cases, the 'human character' depicted will still have, who knows, maybe the ears or the tail of the original species. Which basically makes gijinkas anthropomorphic animals very far at the 'more human than animal' scale of anthropomorphism, but not at the very end of the scale.

October 14, 2013

Did Pokémon's Stories Play Their Better Cards Too Soon?

Okay, a kind of long title for a problem that seems to be a litte long to explain. As you probably know, the Pokémon franchise has a basic plot: Get your Starter Pokémon, collect eight badges, catch more Pokémon, battle the Elite 4, defeat your rival, roll the credits. However, there's always the second part of the plot, with the criminal team of the region.

In Kanto and Johto, it was Team Rocket. In Hoenn, there were Team Magma and Team Aqua. In Sinnoh, it was Team Galactic. In Unova, it was Team Plasma. In Kalos, it is Team Flare. We also had Cipher and Team Snagem in Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, two games from the third Generation. If you know that part of the plot for each Generation, you should already see what I mean. If you don't, well, just follow my explanation.

Let's see how it began. Team Rocket is a criminal organization that steals Pokémon, causes mischief all over Kanto and Johto, and has sometimes been doing acts that wouls equal to terrorism in our world. That's already some pretty heavy stuff, isn't it? I mean, it's an organization with well over a hundred members, if we consider all the Grunts in the games to be different people. It's a group that also has scientists. It's led by Giovanni. Then, in Generation 3, we got Team Aqua and Team Magma, two teams who were hell-bent on causing a gigantic natural catastrophe, in each case through the use of one of the three powerful Legendary Pokémon from that Gen: Team Magma wanted the world to dry up with Groudon, Team Aqua wanted the world to to be flooded by Kyogre. Those are pretty big goals. Then, if you're familiar with Gen 4, you know that Team Galactic's goal was to awake Dialga (or Palkia) in order to create a new universe. Or, rather, their leader Cyrus wanted to FREAKING ERASE THE WHOLE POKÉMON UNIVERSE IN ORDER TO CREATE A WORLD IN HIS IMAGE, A WORLD WITHOUT SPIRIT.

You see what I'm getting at? Did Pokémon's stories (on the aspect of the villainous teams) play their better cards too soon?

October 10, 2013

Pokémon Snap

Pokémon X and Y come out tomorrow! Oh my God oh my God ohmygod ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod! Wait, it's gonna be on the Nintendo 3DS only? Well, that sucks. Kinda. You know what doesn't suck? Fully original ideas! Pokémon has created a good number of spin-offs. We've got the Mystery Dungeon series, we've got Trozei, we've got Pokémon Frontier... You gotta admit that the franchise has found ways to become more diverse, instead of keeping to the “catch 'em all, battle Gym leaders, stop a criminal team, defeat the Elite 4” format.
This dates as far back as the early Game Boy games, too: Have you heard of the Pokémon Trading Card Game video game? It came out on the Game Boy Color, in the early days of the franchise, even before the second generation! We also got two other games before the second generation came around. Those games? Pokémon Stadium... and Pokémon Snap.

October 9, 2013

Fakemon

I've said many times before that I enjoy fan creativity. From music to movies to art to... well, EVERYTHING people can do related to video game series. And seeing as it's Poké-Month (as if I need to remind everyone of this AGAIN), I gotta admire the creativity of fans when it comes to Pokémon. Drawing Pokémon, drawing humanized versions of Pokémon, drawing anthropomorphic versions of Pokémon... However, what I also enjoy in fan creativity about Pokémon is to see what people come up with... to create new species!

Hell yeah, today's Fun Stuff article is about the Fake Pokémon, also known as Fakemon! This is a very interesting idea in the Pokémon fan community, as it is a concept anyone can go with: Simply create a Pokémon species that doesn't exist, or a new evolution to a Pokémon family that already exists. There, I type "Fakemon" in the DeviantArt search bar, and I get 144,152 results. Of course, not all of them will be great, but it's still nice to se what people can come up with.

October 7, 2013

Why Do I Dislike Mega Evolutions?

Really, Lucario... Why... so... serious?
So, I opened Poké-Month because of the sixth Generation of Pokémon. Don't get me wrong, I'm hyped. In fact, I've been actively waiting for leaks that I could look at, and judge on whether or not this Generation was gonna be any good. For the moment, a lot of those discoveries were very interesting.

However, one thing I liked less was the arrival of Mega Evolutions. For a while I didn't know what exactly to say about this. However, I think I figured it out.

It also brought more popularity to Pokémon that needed it.
First of all, let's see what aspects I actually like about the Mega Evolutions. To gain access to a Mega Evolution, you need a Pokémon on its final stage of evolution, as well as a special stone that bears that final stage's name. As a result, you can often find a Mega Stone before actually finding the Pokémon and adding it to your collection, just as you can find a final stage Pokémon yet be unable to use its Mega Evolution until much, much later in the game due to the Mega Stone being available much later. What else is goos about the Mega Evolutions? Well, the Mega Pokémon's designs are pretty freaking awesome in many cases. Have you seen Mewtwo's two Mega forms? The two look cool. Heck, some Mega forms were leaked, and most of them are a pleasant surprise. I've rarely been disappointed by a Mega Evolution so far. Last but not least, Pokémon changing type during Mega Evolutions is also a great idea; Charizard can finally become a Dragon-type! Mewtwo can become half-Fairy!

October 4, 2013

Top 12 Pokémon That Could Get New Evolutions

Well, well... This is October. The perfect time to release our inner beast, watch horror movies until midnight, listen to not-quite-Satanic music and have a little Treehouse of Horror marathon. Well, it's better as you approach the end of October, anyway. However, this year, it's even more special. In case you're following the Nintendo news, you probably noticed that something will happen this month. Yes, guys and gals, I'm speaking of Pokémon X and Y, the SIXTH GENERATION! Oh yeah, Pokémon gets even more complicated now! And since it's such an awesome occasion, I dedicate October to Pokémon!

So, Game Freak revealed once in a while a new Pokémon from Generation 6, starting with the starters (Chespin, Fennekin and Froakie), a new evolution for Eevee, and two legendary Pokémon. And since then, we've had many great news. More new Pokémon, the all-new Fairy type (which I think will add an interesting aspect to the games, I mostly wonder if more Pokémon from Gen 5 and previous will have a change of typing) and the Mega Evolutions (a new strategic aspect that I'm not a big fan of, but I'll explain why later).

Just one of a few examples of new evolutions.
Anyway, if you know the Pokémon Dexes well, you know the even generations had a lot of pre-evolutions and evolutions of Pokémon revealed in the preceding Generations. Gen 2 had baby forms of many Pokémon, as well as a few evolutions or additional forms. Generation 4 did the same, except it had new evolutions for Pokémon from all three preceding gens. Generation 6 will be the same way. I hope. This means only one thing: Many Pokémon will get new forms, might it be an evolution or a pre-evolution. Even if it isn't the case with this Gen, some Pokémon still DESPERATELY need some love from the development team. And for today's article, I list 12 of the preceding Pokémon families that really should get new forms someday or in this new Gen.

October 2, 2013

Jwittz

Starting Poké-Month with a Cool Stuff article! Alright!

Is there anything about Pokémon that you don't know, and nobody else around you seems to know either? Even your local Poké-maniac doesn't know the answer? Well, maybe this guy does.

Yeah, he doesn't seem too sure either.
In this picture, anyway.
That's Josh Wittenkeller, better known in the Pokémon community as Jwittz. He's one of the most knowledgeable fans about the world of Pokémon, which he knows to and through, from the most useful elements to the most pointless. He began his Internet career as Pokémon know-it-all with a little video about Imakuni, that odd Japanese spokesperson who promoted Pokémon in its early days.

October 1, 2013

Poké-Month!

I mentioned it in many places. I made a big deal about it. Now it happens.

This October, will I talk about very horrible games? Not really. Will I write special reviews of horror films? Not that I think of. Will I have a theme for all my reviews and posts? You betcha!

Also, Pokémon X and Y comes out on October 12th, which is why I'll take a month to discuss Pokémon, Gotta roll with the popular topics.

I thus declare that October 2013 will be Poké-Month on Planned All Along! We'll start with a Top 12 of the Pokémon that could get new evolutions/pre-evolutions on October 4th. The three following weeks will have reviews of Pokémon Snap, Pokémon FireRed and Pokémon Rumble! Pokémon FireRed will also be my first three-parter review!

Last but not least, October always ends with Halloween, and we get to see a lot of Halloween specials on TV around that time. Well, Planned All Along will be no exception, and I promise to release a special little something on October 31st!

(Note that there won't be a review on November 1st.)

Aside from that, the Cool Stuff episodes on Wednesdays will also be about Pokémon, and so will the more serious topics on Mondays.

Have fun with the first (and I guess only) edition of Poké-Month, everyone!