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