Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 9)

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 9)

You may already know this, but fairly recently an old prototype of what would go on to be Pokémon Gold/Silver/Crystal was found and shared on the internet for the world’s Pokéanoraks (that’s me and you) to enjoy. In there, you had a whole host of Pokémon designs that never saw the light of day, including pre-evolutions for Meowth, Vulpix, Doduo and more. There was a kind of metal condom Pokémon that was allegedly Ditto’s evolution. And you won’t believe what Porygon2 was slated to look like.

Some of the Pokémon below were present in that beta prototype, with some surreal changes. There was a poison Umbreon, a Girafarig that really did look like CatDog, and Wobbuffet never happened. Can you imagine a reality like that, with no Wobbuffet? That would have solved all of our problems.

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If your Growlithe doesn’t tear children apart on sight, then forget about it

Pokemon Stadium

Pokémon Stadium (2000)

One thing that always amazed me about the Pokémon series is that, for all the controversy it garnered from things like causing seizures or being satanic or requiring you to buy 50 games to catch ‘em all, nobody ever really seemed to care that it was essentially about pitting two cute animals into a fight to the finish with each other.

I think it’s rather easy to draw comparisons with Pokémon and that film Amores Perros – if you want to become a serious, competitive Pokémon battler, then you’ll be doing much the same thing as those vicious muchachos: breeding Mons in foul conditions, slaughtering those whose genes won’t quite cut it, drugging up the best monster you have and forcing it to battle almost from the moment it’s born. If it wins, great: you get the plaudits while the beast gets the larrups. If it loses… the slaughter begins anew.

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Mario’s lost all hope, and all for want of an A-press

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Super Mario 64 (1997)

Do you ever feel like you’re putting too much effort into a game? A bit too much time min-maxing, or playing online, until your Steam account says you’ve been playing Team Fortress 2 like there isn’t gonna be internet tomorrow? Do you ever sit back and wonder what it was all for? I don’t, because my approach to playing games these days, as there are so many and I’m cursed with bundles of disposable income, is to leave them on the shelf in their cellophane wrapping. Occasionally I’ll feel a bit guilty, and load up some AAA game of the month like God of War, and give it a whole 30 minutes of play. And 23 of those minutes are spent waiting for it to finish installing.

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It’s not easy being the best portable racer around

F-Zero Maximum Velocity

F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (2001)

Can you claim to be the best in the world at any game out there? It’s tougher than you’d think. You probably reckon that you’re the only one that’s played Super Formation Soccer ‘96 for Super Famicom, but you’re crazy if you think you’ll even get to the last 64 of a tournament for that game in a Japanese tournament. I know what it’s like to be a failed athlete because, despite having played GoldenEye 007 in my childhood for more hours than God was sending, I was still nowhere near the top. Not even top 50,000. And this means that I never got to join the pro-circuit, the GoldenEye circus, travelling the world with the other pros and playing each other in thrilling deathmatches for megamoney.

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 8)

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 8)

As we make more headway through the Gold and Silver part of our irreverent Pokémon review, we finish off some babies, which sadly isn’t as violent as I’ve made it sound; we take a nature-themed turn and see how a cotton plant, a sunflower and a fake tree hold up in battle; and finally, Pokémon gets an honest-to-God green frog as part of its lineup. Which is great and all, but when’s the quokka Pokémon due?

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R-Type is the series that says goodbye to everyone at a party twice

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R-Type Final (2004)

A performer needs to know when to bow out. There’s nothing worse than seeing an aged, washed-up athlete who just won’t admit it to themselves that they have reached ‘The End’. Their legs have gone, mentally they’re no longer that vital step or two ahead, they can no longer last the distance. No matter how prime an athlete they once were, time eventually caught up to them, as it always does. They just haven’t accepted that cruel fact yet.

It’s not just the sportspeople either – it seems all of show business suffers from a reluctance to accept that their day in the sun is long over. This has to be true, otherwise the Rolling Stones wouldn’t have embarked on their sixth Worldwide Farewell Tour. They even came to Ireland, for God’s sake. And as my grandad always observed, they only come here when they’re finished.

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Harvest Moon makes us all wish we could marry a hick girl

 

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Harvest Moon (SNES) (1998)

I’ve gone on before about how the farming life isn’t exactly one that appeals to me. You will have driven past fields full of cows and sheep, and smelt the fresh mess coming in through your closed car windows. Well, farmers are quite accustomed to that smell. Some of them even live for it, except they dress it up as “the fresh country air”. Can you believe that? I’d take carbon monoxide every time. Better than that, I’d rather stay as close to electricity as possible and keep my farming fantasies restricted to gaming-based pipe dreams. It’s in this way that I discovered Harvest Moon SNES, and I began tingling in my wellies.

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Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!

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Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! (2018)

The year was 1999, and Pokémon did what the Catholic Church could no longer do – got an ecclesiastical grip on children up and down the country (wait a minute, let me edit that one). Even as toothless simpleton kids, we were able to get on with the fact that Pokémon weren’t real and they were never going to poof into existence. It was just a sad fact of life. Big shame though, not having Pokémon all around us. Didn’t matter that the world was already full of thousands of beautiful creatures of all kinds of different species, waiting for us to learn all about them, maybe even help save them from extinction. No no, we wanted them to breathe fire and shoot water cannons, and we each wanted six of our own.

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For tedious desert jaunts, Lawrence of Arabia’s got nothing on Mad Max

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Mad Max (2015)

A few years ago, I happened to see the new Tom Hardy flick, Mad Max: Fury Road in cinemas. It seemed to have drummed up a fairly substantial amount of hype, so on we plodded to see it. It had all kinds of rave reviews, looked destined for quite a few Oscar nominations, the lot.

Four hours later, having watched a man and a few hangers-on exchange dialogue that didn’t make any kind of sense, drive across a vast desert and keep teasing a big action sequence without ever delivering, the credits finally rolled. Myself and my pals were pretty much left speechless, wondering was this just a fake-out before the film actually began, before one flat Dublin accent behind me opined, “All that for a bit of water?!?”

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 7)

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 7)

Sometimes I get the feeling that the Marketing and Business Analyst chaps working for Nintendo and Game Freak graduated at the bottom of their class – a real ‘shame brought on the family’ effort. I suppose the zillions of yen acquired by Nintendo sort of makes that a nonsense statement, but they’re certainly prone to some crazy decisions. Still, even the most spoonfed, thicko graduate would have worked out that the Pokémon gravy train was becoming absolutely jammed with passengers.

After 3 mainline games in Red, Blue and Yellow plus spinoffs, a booming Trading Card Game and all kinds of merchandise, fans were still baying for more. Everyone and their grandmother had a Pokémon game (and if your grandmother didn’t, then have words). So what better way to exploit this market than with a whole new ‘Generation’ of Pokémon?

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