Tag: Pikachu

The Super Smash Bros. Cinematic Universe

The Super Smash Bros. Cinematic Universe

As many of you have seen, a trailer for Paramount’s upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie dropped today.

It’s terrifying.

But more than it is terrifying, the trailer feels frustrating. There’s a whole lot of missed potential from what I can see as a casual fan of the series, and I spent a fair amount of time ranting about it on Twitter:

The memes have been fun. Yet I can’t help but wonder how Sega let Sonic take this hit with Detective Pikachu showing us what video game movies are capable of—

Oh. Right.

Well anyway, as my friends and I spent the morning looking at Sonic, Jonathan brought to our attention an interesting take.

Much like Sonic’s obscene baby teeth and gross, gangly baby legs, I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of a Super Smash Bros. Cinematic Universe.

Or, the SSBCU, as any sane individual would call it.

My friends’ discord group became flooded with suggestions on what could conceivably be included to flesh out the universe. By the end of the day, I fell in love with the idea of putting this list together!

But I wasn’t able to come up with everything on my own.

So let’s consider this post a work in progress, and a call to arms.

I have a collection of what movies should count in the SSBCU, some that I think could be surrogate “analog” entries in retrospect, and other media that could be related.

I’ll list them out with character confirmations based on Nintendo’s official listing.

If you have any ideas on how to flesh the list out, let me know! I think the idea is great and I would love to keep it going.


Confirmed Entries

Super Mario Bros. (1993)

You know it, you love it. Illumination may be working on an animated Mario movie, but until then we’ve got this classic of terrible cinema to fill out a whole lot of fighters. Just tell me you don’t want to see Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo beat up CGI Pokémon in an Avengers-style crossover.

  • Fighters: Mario (1), Yoshi (5), Luigi (9), Peach (13), Daisy (13e), Bowser (14)

Sonic the Hedgehog (2019)

The terror that started it all. This movie is probably going to be an utter disaster… But that means it’s also probably a blast to watch. Like a car crash after your blue cadillac haphazardly rolls around at the speed of sound. Sonic is Mario’s eternal rival, so he deserves a bad movie too.

  • Fighters: Sonic (38)

Detective Pikachu (2019)

This movie looks brilliant. Full stop. And I can conceivably throw in every Pokémon representative, so it’s a catch-all. I’ll even include Pokémon trainer, because despite the Red analog not being a character in Detective Pikachu, the Kanto starters are all there.

  • Fighters: Pikachu (8), Pichu (19), Mewtwo (24), Pokémon Trainer (33-35), Lucario (41), Greninja (50), Incineroar (69)

Street Fighter (1994)

Bet you forgot this movie existed. Well you’ll be happy to know that Ryu and Ken are in this terrible picture via Byron Matt and Damian Chapa, so you can picture them punching Bob Hoskins in the face!

For real though, can you believe Ming-Na Wen went from being Chun-Li to Mulan four years later? What a glow up.

  • Fighters: Ryu (60), Ken (60e)

Mega Man movie (????)

Keeping on the Capcom train, this is apparently a movie that’s in production. Thus the blue bomber gets to hang out with the squad!

  • Fighters: Mega Man (46)

Monster Hunter (2020)

What’s that? You really like the Capcom train? Well, lucky for you there’s a Monster Hunter movie staring Milla Jovovich in our future. There’s technically no fighter from this series, but Rathalos was added in Ultimate. So maybe there’s room for a cameo?

  • Fighters: DLC fighter, hopefully?

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005)

Alright, I’ll stop messing around. Here’s a not hypothetical entry on the list. I considered not including Cloud because this is a purely animated movie… But if Pikachu and Sonic can be “live action” fighters, why not Angst McGiantSword?

Plus his alternate costumes in Smash are literally based on this movie. So.

  • Fighters: Cloud (61)

Analog Movies

Alien (1979) or Aliens (1986)

Depending on your preference for horror or action sci-fi.

I don’t know if we’re ever going to get a Metroid movie. Samus would be a great candidate for the SSBCU’s Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel-esque leading female character, but in the meantime Sigourney Weaver seems like a damn fine addition.

Plus Ridley is literally a homage to Ridley Scott, so baby teeth Sonic can fight a Xenomorph Queen.

  • Fighters: Samus (4), Dark Samus (4e), Zero Suit Samus (29), Ridley (65)

Fast and the Furious

As someone who has never played an F-Zero game, I can confidently say that the ridiculously over-the-top Fast and the Furious franchise would be a perfect analog.

But in this case I’m going to say Furious 6 (2013) in particular because that’s when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson joined and he’s the perfect Captain Falcon.

Courtesy of wwe.com and SSB Wiki

Just saying.

  • Fighters: Captain Falcon (11)

Inception (2010)

Joker from Persona 5 just got added into Smash Ultimate. I know next to nothing about the game, but I do know it involves going into people’s memories to plant ideas or find secrets.

Sounds a lot like Inception to me. Add Leo DiCaprio into the SSBCU!

He can probably pull off that anime twink look in his Gangs of New York era.

  • Fighters: Joker (71)

King Kong (1933) or Rampage (2018)

King Kong is the obvious choice to get Donkey Kong into the SSBCU. A somewhat sentient ape who kidnaps ladies and climbs up buildings? That may as well be the original arcade game’s script. Even if there isn’t much in the way for Diddy or K. Rool.

Though for my money, I’d also recommend using Rampage. Not only is it based on a video game and has a crocodile, but the fact that The Rock stars means we can turn the film into a retroactive Thor: Ragnarok-esque team up staring Falcon and DK.

  • Fighters: Donkey Kong (2), King K. Rool (67)

Related Media

Castlevania (2017)

Every other object on this list is a movie.

But Marvel got away with putting more characters into the MCU by having The Defenders series on Netflix.

So Nintendo can get away with putting more characters into the SSBCU by making the Castlevania series on Netflix its own Defenders. Not sure if Simon or Richter are featured, but whatever.

  • Fighters: Simon (66), Richter (66e)

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008)

This game is basically a movie, right?

  • Fighters: Snake (31)

Fighters Featured: 31

Total Fighters: 82


Ehhh?

This section is the lightning round for ideas my friends and I tossed around that are either jokes or so weird that I honestly couldn’t count them

  • Game of Thrones as Fire Emblem representation? Don’t know enough about GoT to accurately parse that out, but I’m willing to mention it for SEO purposes.
  • The Legend of Zelda T.V. series was floated around, but I’m not sure I take that as seriously as Castlevania to be extended material. Zelda deserves a flagship movie.
  • My friend Mitchell suggested playing 127 Hours on two separate televisions, with one version color corrected to give James Franco a blue shirt. It’s the only way I can conceivably include Ice Climbers, so I’ll mention it here.
The change to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s single player experience I feel would make it even better

The change to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s single player experience I feel would make it even better

After pouring over 70 hours into the game, I think it’s safe to say that I love Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Ultimate is probably the first Smash Bros. game that I would argue has stellar single player content which really jives with the way I like to play games, even if it doesn’t have a Subspace Emissary mode ala Smash Bros. Brawl.

Subspace Emissary offered a healthy mix of story-driven character interactions, platforming-based overworld sections, Smash fighter duels and big boss encounters to bring something to the table for everyone.

It even had secret characters hidden within the platforming sections who could only be unlocked via finding them. That’s a super cool reward for putting time into the game!

Plus it had couch co-op for anyone playing with a friend.

But for all the positivity Brawl offered for solo players, Subspace Emissary did shine brightest when playing it cooperatively. Also beyond that mode, it mostly survived among my friend group because of how fun it was to do regular Smash battles on custom-made stages.

What Smash Ultimate lacks in a story as character-driven as Subspace Emissary, it more than makes up for with the amount of care poured into the details of World of Light’s adventure and individualized Classic Mode routes.

I figure I’ll dive into each individually, making room for my change pertaining to Classic specifically.


World of Light

2018121618580900-0E7DF678130F4F0FA2C88AE72B47AFDF

World of Light has a vague overarcing plot. Kirby must set out to save every other Smash fighter, as they have been captured by Galeem, the lord of light, and replicated for nefarious purposes.

In terms of interactions between characters, World of Light is lacking.

Instead it centers around Spirits, over 1,000 characters curated from just about any Nintendo (and third party) title that have taken over the mindless puppet fighters.

These Spirits are battled across a world map chock full of references. For instance, there’s an entire town made up of Nintendo consoles just underneath Lumiose City from Pokémon X & Y, and it can be revealed that the entire town is powered by a facility utilizing the electricity of Zapfish from Splatoon.

2018121222551400-0E7DF678130F4F0FA2C88AE72B47AFDF

Each of the battles with Smash Ultimate’s Spirits also have great care put into how their source material is referenced.

One of my favorites is the Legendary Dogs from Pokémon:

2018121414315000-0E7DF678130F4F0FA2C88AE72B47AFDF

But there’s a whole lot more to love, from a Dr. Wily battle where Dr. Mario hides behind eight metal Mega Men to a classic Donkey Kong spirit that has you fight alongside Peach against a massive DK on the arcade game’s stage.

Even this little indie gem:

2018121402201700-0E7DF678130F4F0FA2C88AE72B47AFDF

And those are just a few of the hundreds of Spirit battles. I powered through the somewhat grind-heavy adventure just to see as many of them as I could.

2018121619030400-0E7DF678130F4F0FA2C88AE72B47AFDF

That’s the power of well-crafted references. World of Light and the corresponding Spirit Board has them in spades, but even more come forth with Classic Mode.


Classic Mode

2018120914061600-0E7DF678130F4F0FA2C88AE72B47AFDF
Gotta let my main represent!

Masahiro Sakurai’s team put just as much care into giving every fighter a unique Classic Mode route that fits their character.

At this point I’m kind of an expert in the subject:

2018122616420100-0E7DF678130F4F0FA2C88AE72B47AFDF

There are three categories of Classic routes I would separate all 74 into.

  1. References to the character’s game series or a particular storyline.
  2. Combining opponents by color or theme based on the character’s interests.
  3. Playing with the character’s quirks.

The first category has some of the most fun Classic runs.

  • Mega Man follows the story of his second adventure by taking on eight characters before fighting a giant robot, then Dr. Wily (Dr. Mario), then Mewtwo as an alien version of Wily.
  • Ryu fights proxy Street Fighter representatives and is the only one with Stamina battles (similar to fighting game life bars).

For characters that group things together, there’s a ton of variety.

  • Marth only fights dragons, ending off with a battle against Monster Hunter’s Rathalos.
  • Bowser fights red costumed fighters in reference to his hatred for Mario.

In the last category, you have unique rule sets.

  • Kirby fights characters that are known for eating, and only food items spawn.
  • Mewtwo takes control of one of his previous round’s opponents to be a teammate in the next.
2018122315281400-0E7DF678130F4F0FA2C88AE72B47AFDF
Luigi fights his nightmares, including Dracula!

There’s so much to love about Classic Mode in Smash Ultimate that the one (in my opinion) glaring execution error shines.

With all of the variety exuding in each route, far too many end with a fight against Master Hand and Crazy Hand.

They are the biggest representatives of the Smash series as a whole, so it makes sense that they would be the default final boss. But the amount of times I groaned seeing them show when I expected someone else were far too frequent.

Why don’t more of the Mario characters battle Giga Bowser, for example?

2018122616134000-0E7DF678130F4F0FA2C88AE72B47AFDF
Rosalina does fight the space-faring Marx, but still.

It seems like a small thing, but the routes that go all-out on final bosses are the best. Toon Link’s Classic Mode is based on the Four Swords Games, and culminates in a four-on-one battle against Ganon from Ocarina of Time.

Now I’m not complaining to Sakurai’s team. They did so much more than they had to with Ultimate, and I love everything about it!

But if I could make any change to the end product, I would have added a more diverse boss battles.

Not just by handing out the six World of Light bosses more readily. So much more could have been achieved by adding a few Classic Mode-exclusive bosses as well.

I would have cranked the nostalgia machine up a few notches by adding a boss related to each of the eight original Smash 64 characters.

Mario, Link and Kirby already have representatives with Giga Bowser, Ganon and Marx. But imagine this:

Donkey Kong facing off against some variant of K. Rool, or even Lord Fredrik from DKC Tropical Freeze to tie in with the recent Switch port.

250px-Lord_Fredrik_spirit

Samus taking on a returning Meta Ridley from Brawl, or one of her many other big baddies (Crocomire from Super Metroid perhaps? Beloved game, fun second form).

Crocomire_Artwork

Yoshi taking on a massive Baby Bowser slowly approaching the arena, just like in Yoshi’s Island. Bowser’s final smash is kind of halfway there as is!

Baby_Bowser_Battle_-_Close_to_Yoshi_-_Super_Mario_World_2
I know we already have a Bowser… But still. Iconic.

Fox would have to fight some giant figure like Andross, though doing a horde boss battle against the members of Star Wolf might be cool.

AndrossIsBack

Finally, Pikachu. We could bring back Rayquaza. But there are a billion legendary Pokémon who could be intimidating bosses. Perhaps Ultra Necrozma to tie in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon?

240px-800Necrozma-Ultra

Adding just a few extra bosses would add a ton of diversity and surprise for players who took on the World of Light first and might assume they’ve seen everything.

Again, don’t take this as me complaining about the end product in any serious manner. I’m simply a fan of all things Nintendo and can’t help but drool at the thought of even more iconography being brought together with such a well-crafted game.

That being said, what else would you want to see added into Smash Ultimate if you were on the dev team? It doesn’t even have to stick to bosses: Characters, alternate skins or items are always fun points of discussion as well!

Let me know in the comments or somewhere on the Internet, because even as I transition into playing Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee with my sister, I’m still thinking all about that Smash.

Our new Toy Opening channel

Our new Toy Opening channel

After a lovely family lunch at Mama D’s with my grandparents to celebrate my Grandpa Joe’s belated birthday, Alyson made me take her over to Target.

She didn’t need anything. She just wanted to wander aimlessly and kill time.

To be fair I do that sort of thing with my friends constantly, to the point where we covertly call ourselves the ‘Loiter Bois,’ so I couldn’t argue. In fact I was pretty into the idea. Especially considering Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee & Pikachu just came out and I was interested in seeing it on shelves as I start to prepare my holiday wish list.

But then something happened. Idly wandering the video game and toy aisles making fun of things turned into more when she found this rip-off Lego Pokémon toy of one of my favorites:

IMG_1488

Isn’t Mimikyu just the cutest? Who needs Pikachu when you’ve got one of them, huh?

On the one hand, I don’t know why I let her convinced me to buy this thing. I just started cleaning my room up for the Thanksgiving Break, and having another little figurine to take up space seems counterintuitive. Plus, when I say this thing was a Lego rip-off, I mean it is like a real cheap Lego rip-off.

Just look at how weirdly confusing and unintuitive these instructions are.

IMG_1485

Somehow it manages to take a Lego figurine made out of ~20 pieces and not distinctly separate out which pieces are what for big chunks of the instructions. It took some time to figure out which parts went where.

But at the very least I suppose these Mega Construx are similar to Lego in that they have just random extra pieces for no reason.

IMG_1486

Where do you go, random circle piece? I don’t see you anywhere in the instructions.

Granted I did just complain that the instructions were unintuitive so maybe I’m just missing something… But oh well.

On the other hand, despite those points, I really can’t complain about the purchase. It was maybe six dollars for a pseudo-figurine of one of my favorite Pokémon and it came with a Premiere Ball, which is also probably my favorite kind of Poké Ball.

Its creepy long neck might just haunt me in my dreams, but I’ll happily suffer that fate for Mimikyu.

However, I didn’t just buy this fake Lego. I was pretty close to putting it down and not buying anything because it just didn’t seem worth it to get one item. Especially if that one item was a dumb toy like this.

So my sister made up for it by buying another toy while we were there:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Yeah that’s right, I know you’ve seen these kinds of dumb collectible packs for every popular culture property in existence.

Well we got one to open up for ourselves just for the hell of it. Even though the movie isn’t out yet as of my writing this, so who knows if it’ll be worth supporting fringe toy-based ventures for it.

All I know is it definitely became worth it when we decided to do this jokey, vague toy opening YouTube channel parody just to put here on the old blog.

See? Even though I make fun of her a bunch on here, she’s still more than happy to make herself look stupid alongside me when the time comes.

I guess this is the part where I would tell you all to like, comment and subscribe to my channel like every cliché in the book tells me I should? But honestly I just use that thing as a dumping place for videos that I want to throw up on my blog, as WordPress has kind of terrible compression when videos and such are concerned.

But that’s going way into the weeds for no reason. I just wanted to share the fun, silly thing my sister and I did today.

Hope you like it.

Why I hate Funko Pops

Why I hate Funko Pops

Remember the other day when I got meta about the human brain and talked about money? In that post I mentioned the fact that my trip to the mall with Juan inspired some other ideas I was hoping to talk about.

Welcome to the post talking about the other things I was referring to there.

Yeah I bet you weren’t expecting a conversation about Funko Pops, were you? They don’t exactly seem like the kind of thing in my area of interest.

I’ll admit that they aren’t for the most part. In fact, I don’t necessarily hate Funko Pops overall as my clickbait-y title might suggest.

If anything I’m willing to admit they’re rather cute for the most part. Plus I have been known to collect a somewhat useless series of plastic figurines in the past myself.

img_0368
At least I only collect the Smash Bros. Amiibo…

So really there’s no reason I should hate this fairly harmless Hot Topic-stuffing collectible mogul, right?

Not really.

See I don’t necessarily hate Funko Pops as an inherit object that exists. What I absolutely abhor is the corporate design mentality surrounding Funko Pops.

As anyone who knows anything about Funko Pops must know, there are Funko Pops that exist for literally anything AND everything.

You like anime? Pick your favorite, there’s a series of Pops to go with them.

You like HBO television series like Westworld? God knows I do, and there’s a series of Pops to go with them.

You like the Marvel Cinematic Universe? You like video games? You like football? Actual real life football?

Because there are pops for all of those things and an infinite amount of other things I won’t bother to go into because look at this catalog. It’s nuts.

Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 3.15.33 PM
That’s 213 pages not even counting the ‘discontinued’ models

Especially the whole sports side of things. Side-rant I get being in love with sports and following, say, the Yankees or the Dodgers if you’re super into baseball. It’s just bizarre to have a series of collectible figurines representing actual real people that you can stick in your house.

But okay you get the point. If you’ve got an interest, Funko has a Pop to fit it.

Inherently I don’t have a problem with this business model. The fact that this company has invented a series of figurines so simple that literally any form of media can be molded into it is genius, and something the whole world probably wishes they figured out first.

The marketing possibilities are also inherently genius. Did you know there are exclusive Funko Pops that are first available at places like large-scale conventions?

As someone who has played many video games to 100 percent completion, and thrives on games like Monster Hunter where the whole idea is to collect exclusive bits and pieces of monsters to create new specialty armor, I can understand the itch many collectors have when it comes to Funko.

So yeah, if you want to go out and collect Funko Pops, more power to you. My family certainly does, and there are series I’d probably be more than willing to pay for a full collection of.

But that’s only considering the ‘first edition’ idea of these Pops. My problem comes with the alternate forms.

“Wow Jason, that’s ironic. You don’t like Funko Pops for producing alternate versions of characters when you talk endlessly about rare variants of characters in Fire Emblem Heroes like they’re the second coming. What a hypocrite.”

img_0061
Lord knows I’m still after Tana…

Yeah I hear you audience, I know.

It’s no secret that I appreciate ‘special editions’ as much as the next guy. But Fire Emblem Heroes and Funko Pops are a little different at their core.

In FEH, the special variant units are just as free-to-start as every other unit in the game. Sure there are practices under the surface that encourage players to eventually spend money, like releasing five valuable banners in a row with few orb giveaways in between, but still.

You could just as easily start the game when a holiday banner is running and be just as likely to receive that unit with free orbs as anyone else.

With Funko Pops, every single one costs money. Just as much, if not more money in fact.

For example:

Do you like Deadpool? Okay, here’s a Deadpool figurine. That’ll be a nice little thing to display to show off your interest in the character.

But wait, why not also buy Deadpool in his pajamas? That’s cute right?

How about Deadpool on a scooter?

Deadpool except he’s Bob Ross? He did that in a 30 second T.V. spot you know.

Okay but imagine this. Deadpool. Except he’s a variant from a spin-off Marvel gotcha game that may or may not be in any real canon.

That’s something you can buy.

Too expensive for you? I can understand that, perhaps you’d just like the OG Deadpool figurine, and maybe some smaller accessories to continue to show your Deadpool love.

Well, would you like the Deadpool keychain with his swords out? Or perhaps the one with the rubber duck and bath cap on?

2bj0ul
Aren’t old memes just the best?

“Alright, alright we get it,” I hear you in the audience say.

I sure hope you do. With the simplicity of the Funko Pop formula, any single character can be given infinite minor modifications and be considered a special variant.

But unlike the model in FEH, where you could theoretically earn the special version for free, every single Funko costs real life money.

Now there are arguments to be made that these are physical objects rather than digital characters in a video, and thus there’s more value to collecting them over time in terms of things like eventual trading or simply selling collections much like with comic books and vinyl records.

There’s validity to that idea. But that isn’t really what I’m here to discuss.

What I’m here to discuss is the fact that a business model allowing for infinite cash cow-ing on the same property over and over and over again, rather than keeping to a finite cap of collectability, is inherently infuriating.

I would be more than happy to spend 60 bucks over the course of a few months to collect five Deadpool figurines based on characters from the movies if I enjoyed them that much. What I wouldn’t be happy doing is spending literally all of my money for forever to keep up with every ‘left hand raised 60 degrees’ variation that can be squeezed out.

That’s not even just for Deadpool too, as much as I keep harping on him. He just happens to be a good example of a character that lends himself to more ridiculous, outlandish variations and repeated re-releases. Any character can have a variant where they wear a different outfit or hold a new pose.

Funko Pops certainly aren’t the first to abuse this model, but they abuse it pretty hard. It’s probably rather petty to be bashing them so hard for it out of nowhere, but I’ve seen similar ideas ruin things I’ve loved in the past.

Does anyone remember Pokémon Shuffle?

img_0365
Still have that jingle stuck in my head.

Shuffle was a spin-off game released first on the Nintendo 3DS and then on mobile devices in 2015. It was something of a continuation of the Trozei and Battle Trozei series that became a free-to-start microtransaction-laden title. And I adored it.

Seriously, for the longest time if you had asked me what game handles the microtransaction system most fairly, it would have been Pokémon Shuffle. I played this damn game on my 3DS for years, and I have distinct memories of doing so both on my high school and college campuses.

The game ran on an ‘energy’ system, where you could play five games at a time before needing to wait for everything to recharge. Unless you spent gems, the in-game currency you could buy with real life currency.

img_0366
It has been forever since I played this game, opening it up for this was wild.

There are also a bunch of other details related to items you can either grind out or purchase, but the energy was the important thing to me. See those five hearts of energy recharged at a rate of a half hour per heart.

In other words, you could play a full set of games every two-and-a-half hours. Compared to a lot of other games with energy or stamina caps, this was insanely generous.

For a student like me, it essentially meant I could play out my games, go to whatever class I had, then get out to find a full set of energy hearts waiting to be used. Combine this with the semi-regular updates (though eventually the levels got kind of ridiculously difficult) and frequent special in-game events, and I was more than happy to play for years.

But then I stopped. You know why I stopped?

img_0367

Special.

Character.

Variants.

Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 2.57.15 PM
Image courtesy of Serebii.net

Just look at this insanity.

My screenshot here hasn’t even captured half of the special variants for Pikachu alone. There are Pikachu wearing every cap that Ash ever wore in the anime. Pikachu wearing costumes modeled after Legendary Pokémon. Hell there’s a Rayquaza costume Pikachu AND a shiny Rayquaza costume Pikachu.

Again, Pikachu isn’t the only problem, but he’s emblematic of it. Everything technically started with the ‘winking’ starter Pokémon line.

This ridiculous cash cow, the infinite special variant system, is what burned me out of Pokémon Shuffle in the end. I was more than happy to keep playing to collect all 700+ Pokémon as a mark of personal completion should they have gotten that far.

But because the game’s creators wanted a way to keep the game going forever and come up with more challenging ways of potentially forcing players to spend money on limited time only extra special dudes, I didn’t feel like it was worth keeping up anymore.

Funko Pops embody the same problem, in my opinion. If you’re going to release the same figures over and over and over again with slight variations just to squeeze out as much money as possible, then why should anyone bother trying to collect them all in the first place?

I’m sure other people will have their justifications for it, but that’s a path I can’t see myself going down. I’d much rather stick with collecting something finite in my real world collectibles. Something I can eventually look at and say ‘this is a complete set.’

That’s my rant for the day. What do you think? Is the idea of infinite variation healthy for a brand like Funko? Or is it detrimental in their long-term viability as a reasonable company, as I’m more inclined to believe.

Though obviously I’m probably in the wrong since, let’s be real, people will continue to buy those things no matter what I say. So the more they can print up the more money they’ll make.

God bless capitalism.

Let’s Go, Pokémon!

Let’s Go, Pokémon!

I had a totally different post planned for tonight.

But you know what?

The Pokémon hype train is too. God. Damn. Real.

That’s right folks, we’ve got a brand new trailer for a brand new Pokémon game, and you know damn well it’s time for me to go back to my Sun & Moon lead-up days of deeply analyzing anything and everything I can get my hands on.

This is about to be a long piece picking apart each and every piece of the trailer that I can.

Hope you’re ready. Because I am.


Let’s Go, Pokémon!

So obviously the first thing to address when it comes to discussing the brand new upcoming games of Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee is the tie-in to the mobile app Pokémon GO.

I played Pokémon GO for a good long time, it’s actually a pretty key element to my summer the year it came out when I would use El Camino College as my walking ground for catching Pokémon.

img_3753
The game had plenty of gems like this!

However… The app didn’t have a whole lot of staying power.

It got stale rather fast for me, and there were things about the game that needed to be implemented that weren’t until it was too late.

I still haven’t gone back, even though they’ve officially started to release Pokémon from the third generation (my personal nostalgic favorite).

Where the trailer for Let’s Go begins, it seems as though they’re setting up this title to be almost like a port of Pokémon GO for the Nintendo Switch. Which, in all honesty, would make zero sense considering what the appeal is for GO.

But then as token young child sits down on the couch and Pikachu jumps into the television, all becomes clear:

Kanto.

Remake.

Even though the warning on the bottom left suggests that ‘game footage is not final,’ the intent is clear. That boy you’re watching on-screen is Red, the original protagonist. With a Pikachu on his shoulder. Standing in Professor Oak’s Pokémon Lab in Pallet Town.

As he runs off onto Route 1 and through what appears to be Viridian City in a few small snippets before the trailer splits to show Leaf (Red’s female counterpart from the Gen 3 remakes of Firered and Leafgreen) and an Eevee, already the comparisons are clear for me.

Graphically, Let’s Go looks to have the same, if not better, quality models and environments than Sun and Moon — which to be fair does make sense considering the jump from the 3DS to the Switch.

Yet in terms of style, the world appears to be built more in-line with the philosophy of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (ORAS). Ostensibly this makes sense considering Let’s Go is being billed as a remake of the original Pokémon Yellow.

Keep the core of the world alive but update what we can see and juice everything up.

And sure perhaps I’m putting too much stock into the initial glances we get based on this trailer alone, but the way everything has been updated does look gorgeous. Environments on par with Sun and Moon being utilized for a faithful world recreation ala ORAS is by no means a bad combination.

Oh, and there are fully animated cutscenes too, just like the few that appeared in Sun and Moon. I enjoyed those as well, so I hope they’re utilized properly.

Seriously though you look at Vermillion City in the brief shot they provide and tell me it doesn’t look just amazing.


Blending Gameplay

8
Image courtesy of Serebii.net

One of the reasons Pokémon GO got stale for me so quickly was because there really wasn’t a heck of a lot to keep me invested in catching Pokémon.

Yes I adore Pokémon as a series because the creatures are adorable and I wish I could have them in real life.

But I also adore Pokémon as a series because I’m one of those weirdos that actually enjoys the story and the characters.

Yeah that’s right, I play Pokémon for the story. Come at me.

Being an aspiring writer, the monster catching series was one of the earliest things that drew me to both the mediums of video games and writing. The plots of each of the seven generations of main series games are burned into my skull, and I can seriously throw down long diatribes explaining why I adore X character based on this line of dialogue they gave.

It’s that much of an obsession for me.

In that way Let’s Go, Pikachu & Eevee becomes a beautiful middle ground.

Granted, the Gen one titles of Red and Blue (plus Yellow technically, all things considered) are arguably my least favorite. I enjoy the spit out of Firered, but find myself less engaged in the world those games create than any of the others.

Despite that caveat, I do still enjoy the games and like the Kanto region for as classic and iconic as it is, so getting to revisit them is great. Especially considering those two remakes came out in 2004 and leave Kanto the only stand-alone generation not featured on the DS-forward.

The brilliance behind the marketing for Let’s Go comes off that point. This is the first time we’re getting a Pokémon game centered around the Kanto region, literally a remake of the first adventure as the trailer goes on to stipulate, since Pokémon GO was a mass phenomena and brought tons of people who played the original titles back into the fold.

Timing is everything, and I’ll be damned if that’s a coincidence.

But no, we know it can’t be a coincidence because Let’s Go is literally built with the same functionality as Pokémon GO.

The first of multiple different ways to interact with the game is through single joycon play. Literally you sit back with a joycon and play the game like it’s Pokémon.

But when you need to catch a random encounter, you chuck a Pokémon with the same minigame/spinoff style Pokémon GO offers. It’s just this time you literally throw like pitching a baseball rather than flicking your finger on the screen.

If that’s not a perfect way to not only utilize the functionality of the Nintendo Switch, but also bring the ‘catch Pokémon for real’ mentality of GO into contact with the story and immersive world of a mainstream Pokémon game, I don’t know what is.

It looks like there’s also probably a way to just hit A to throw as well, as I can already hear the complaints that this repetitive throwing will be too much.

Come on people, it’s Pokémon. Have some fun.


Multiplayer? In my Pokémon?

7
Image courtesy of Serebii.net

It’s more likely than you’d think.

Something iconic about the Pokémon series as a whole is its version splitting antics.

Whether you see multiple versions as a smart way to encourage kids to interact and spread a fervor for the game like wildfire, or whether you see it as a cheap cash grab that persists based on ‘tradition’ in a world where it has no place being there, you have to admit:

Playing Pokémon with a community of people is probably the core reason why it’s as popular as it is today.

The idea of the split versions has always had a particularly special place in my heart considering the fact that I have a younger sister. Going all the way back, I’d always buy both versions of a new generation so that I can play one while Aly plays the other.

img_8402
Just a piece of my Pokémon collection.

… Granted she tends to give up, which makes both versions my playing grounds to try out different things. But that’s a different story.

Pokémon Let’s Go is going to take that to a whole new level by allowing us to play the same Pokémon game at the same time using both joycons.

Honestly? That would be a selling point alone even if nothing else about this were true.

That multiplayer is somewhat limited from the looks of things, essentially allowing both players to run around freely on the same screen but not putting them on separate journeys.

Instead, the catching game becomes more of a co-operative experience where things like having the right timing together improves your chances of catching Pokémon.

The way multiplayer interacts with battle is a little funnier, as it seems like player two gains access to another member of your party so you both can fight at the same time.

While I can only imagine creating infinite two-on-one situations will make the journey relentlessly easy, I can’t help but relish the idea of reversing the terrible circumstances of Sun and Moon where enemy Pokémon called for help all the damn time.

A few other things I’d like to note in this section:

  • From the brief battle sequences we see, as well as whatever capturing is shown off, it appears like most every environment in the game will have an equally unique battle locale. Which is amazing and highly encouraged, hopefully beyond even what Sun and Moon offered.
  • Pokémon appear to roam wild as overworld sprites in Let’s Go. I can only hope this will be less of a gimmick-y ‘hey look who shows up here’ and more of a way to flesh out the living world, as obviously a game that’s going to be a Kanto remake with a complete battle system will also have random encounters to facilitate grinding for the Elite Four.
  • While I love the idea of multiplayer, it does currently leave me second guessing the possibility of this being a Pokémon game with full online functionality too. It seems like the focus is going to be solely on Kanto Pokémon, so will there be wi-fi battling and trading? It doesn’t seem like it, which may cut down the game’s longevity, but we’ll see when more information comes out.

New Toys for Kanto

Along with just using a single joycon, Nintendo is also going to be releasing a little Pokéball toy that can be used in place of the traditional controller as something to throw at wild encounters.

That seems to be the pattern for Pokémon games lately, releasing a gimmicky object alongside their titles. Remember the Z-Ring for Sun and Moon?
514ug2VUYEL._SX425_

I remember the Z-Ring for Sun and Moon.

This one seems cute but not necessarily something I’ll be chomping at the bit to go out and buy. Beyond that capture integration, the chief thing it seems a trainer can do with the Pokéball is bring Pikachu (or Eevee) along with you to make noises.

Sort of like the Pokéwalker that came with Heartgold and Soulsilver. Except also a controller.

But hey it does make cute noises. So… You can get beat up in school easier?

Dunno, my sister was awfully excited for this when I showed her the trailer, but I’m fairly ambivalent.

Also on display in this section of the trailer is Let’s Go’s functionality with Pokémon GO itself.

According to this tweet, the functionality purely extends to Kanto Pokémon — which is what leads to my trepidation from before about the existence of wi-fi connectivity acting as an extender for Let’s Go.

It also seems to me that the Pokémon you bring in from the real world will only be accessible through a special location, GO PARK.

I suppose it could be wonky to have to transfer things like stats between such totally different games, so I understand… But that is a shame.

Makes me feel slightly less apt to pick up Pokémon GO again to transfer my cool Pidgeot over. But we’ll see.


More, More, More!

There are a number of other things throughout the trailer that warrant discussion as well, but I’ll try to sum them up more quickly since this is already getting long in the tooth.

  • Red and Leaf ride a hell of a lot of Pokémon in the trailer. An Onyx, a Lapras and a Charizard at least. I can’t quite tell based on this trailer alone whether or not all Pokémon will have rideable functionality for something or another, or whether this replaces HMs similarly to Sun and Moon, but we’ll see. I hope it’s the latter.
  • Concurrent with the previous point, it seems as though every single Pokémon does at least have an overworld model programmed in-game. There are scenes where it appears as though they can follow you as well, such as the red-and-blue striped underground tunnel where two players are followed by Nidoking and Nidoqueen. Will full Pokémon following return from Heartgold and Soulsilver, even if just for Kanto Pokémon?
  • Eevee and Pikachu are customizable! The player character probably isn’t considering they’re supposed to stand in for Red and Leaf, and I don’t have a problem with that, but the fact that the game’s mascots can have outfits is too cute for words. I just hope they stay dressed up during battle!
  • Someone somewhere used Seismic Toss on a Magikarp for the trailer and that person deserves a raise.
  • Did I mention there are full cutscenes in the game? Well, one of those is the Mewtwo encounter. Player model appears to have more facial range than the Sun and Moon protagonist, so that’s again a plus for Let’s Go.

Concluding Thoughts

Okay, so there are one or two other things to touch on oh-so-briefly before wrapping this sucker.

First: Eevee’s voice.

Look. I get it Game Freak. Pikachu got special treatment starting in Gen six, where it started to say its name because mascot. It was cute and I get it.

Eevee didn’t need the same treatment, even though you’re trying to fill that same cute mascot niche. I’m not a huge fan of Eevee saying its name like in the trailer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m playing Let’s Go, Eevee all the way because Eevee is far superior to Pikachu in my opinion, but still.

Also at the end of the trailer was a tease to a brand new Pokémon being shown off somehow in-game. On Twitter, the Pokémon folks do confirm that this will be a 100 percent totally brand new Generation Eight Pokémon.

Because oh yeah by the way, new main series Pokémon title in 2019.

That’s another thing to get hyped about, but hype will wait for another day in that particular train’s engine.

For now we still need to get through November 16, 2018 when Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee will be released upon the world.

If you couldn’t tell already, I’m super duper excited for it. I was pretty burned out on Pokémon after the back-to-back release of Sun/Moon and their Ultra sequels, but this is a whole new adventure with tons of unique bells and whistles to get ready for.

I do hope after the 2019 games are released that Game Freak takes a bit of a break, both because it would be well-deserved and because fatigue may set on if they start to push out a big game every single year for too long.

Though Marvel’s been going strong for 10 years with the same philosophy and look where that has them. So who knows!

All I know is that despite trepidation for a few key points I’ve listed throughout this analysis, I’m excited for the Let’s Go Pokémon games all the same. It has probably pushed off Dark Souls as a major game to purchase for the console since I now need to save my money.

Sorry Dark Souls, we’ll have our day.

I’m also ready for more and more news to come out about the game in the coming months. How will the new character designs look? What sort of new things can we expect to be added into the game’s lore? Will Jesse and James appear as a part of Team Rocket like in the original Yellow?

Expect to see me blathering about it from now until November.

So, until the next news comes, tell me internet: What is YOUR opinion regarding these new Pokémon games? I’ll undoubtedly be seeking reactions on my own, but I’d like to know what the people who follow me think too.

Sun and Moon Information: Hey, hey, they’re the Monkeys

So I pretty much totally missed the window on talking about this particular trailer, since the Daily Titan and my homework has kept me more busy than I could possibly have imagined.  Seriously, it’s a lot of work to balance all at once.  I really didn’t want to skip over talking about it entirely however, as then something new will come out in just a few days and I’ll be very, very behind.

That means it’s time to skip all this complaining about life and get straight to the monkey business.  As long as I don’t wither away from the strength of my own lousy puns first.

Continue reading “Sun and Moon Information: Hey, hey, they’re the Monkeys”

(Not so) New Sun and Moon Information: Stuffuls and Sand Castles

Because I spent a lot of the day hanging out with my friend Samantha yesterday, I didn’t really have the chance to write up anything on the new Pokémon trailer we got yesterday.  While there isn’t a huge amount to say considering we’ve seen three-quarters of the new monsters through an earlier CoroCoro leak, there is one totally new Pokémon and some interesting things to update about the ones we’ve seen, so I figure it’s still worth talking about this trailer.  For my records here, if nothing else.

Continue reading “(Not so) New Sun and Moon Information: Stuffuls and Sand Castles”

New(?) Sun and Moon Information: Further Elaborations

In light of about half a dozen leaks ranging from the CoroCoro Magazine pictures to actual early released images from the trailer originally set to premiere on Friday, the Pokémon Company decided to release the new Sun and Moon trailer early.  Honestly, can’t really blame them for it, after all it seems like just about everything new and exciting that came with this one was unveiled early.  So, while this trailer doesn’t necessarily teach us a lot, it does clarify and add some extra information to things we already knew about.  If you haven’t seen it check it out, cause it’s still pretty great stuff.

Continue reading “New(?) Sun and Moon Information: Further Elaborations”

New Sun and Moon Information: Team Skull?

It’s always a good day when we get some new Pokémon news, if you ask me.  Even though we’re still pretty fresh off the heels of the absolutely huge update that came about a week ago, CoroCoro Magazine has had some more new stuff leaked from their upcoming issue.  I might be a little late to the party this time, but there’s still some interesting stuff to talk about, so I’ll do just that!

Among the new goodies this time around we have some new Pokémon for Gen 7, some new Alolan form Pokémon and even the first bits of information about the villainous team that’ll be plaguing Alola with their plans to do… Whatever they’re going to do.  We don’t know too much yet.

Either way, there’s four images that were leaked and each of them has different stuff to show, so I figured I’d run though them one by one. Continue reading “New Sun and Moon Information: Team Skull?”