Expecting a National Dex With Pokémons Sword & Shield is Insane

national dex post cover

People are crying. They were once overjoyed, blissful of the state of the upcoming Pokémon games, which would grace the Nintendo Switch for the first time in the series’s (mainline) history. Their expectations and hopes were shattered upon the announcement that they wouldn’t be able to transfer all of their pokémon from the upcoming Pokémon Home into Sword & Shield. The reason? The Galar region will not support a national dex, code for “Only a fraction of the total number of pokémon will be available in Sword & Shield.”

The outcry has been substantial. Thousands of Pokémon fans are swearing off their loyalty from the company and the upcoming game. The hashtag “#BringBackNationalDex” has become a symbol of their contempt, a unifying plea for the Pokémon Company to answer. Fans are now hostile, suspicious, and cynical of every detail on the once-beloved upcoming titles. They wish for every pokémon, not just “some.” After all, it’s about catching them all.

What a time to be a Pokémon fan. Continue reading “Expecting a National Dex With Pokémons Sword & Shield is Insane”

Thoughts on the June 5th Pokémon Sword & Shield Direct

sword shield direct post cover

I have been pretty vocal about my dismay with the current direction of Pokémon. Ever since X & Y, I have gradually (but ultimately) lost the armor of passion that the franchise once gave me. The company seemed dead-set on flair and bravado with no substance. Mega evolutions and legendaries and saving the world from unspeakable evil… oh my, was it tiring and boring.

Upon the announcement of a 15-minute Direct showcasing new info on Sword & Shield, I had low expectations. I expected the chain to continue and for the series to be more about “TEH EPICZZ!¡!!” than going around and simply indulging in the simple pleasures of catching and battling. It was inevitable.

So what the hell happened? I’m actually excited for the new games. Continue reading “Thoughts on the June 5th Pokémon Sword & Shield Direct”

Top 10 Least Favorite Pokémon

least favorite pokemon post cover

Ah, memories. I remember quite fondly the days when I would spend hours everyday on Pokémon Ruby in my youth. Even Pokémon games that I would eventually come to find quite uneven (fourth gen and onward) provide a warm feeling of nostalgia when I peek at gameplay footage anywhere around the internet. A few years ago for my blog’s three-year anniversary, I looked at my favorite Pokémon ever (which is slightly outdated; for example, Dunsparce is now my favorite Pokémon). Today, we will strike the balance between light and dark by looking at my least favorite pokémon ever… but not before a few disclaimers. Continue reading “Top 10 Least Favorite Pokémon”

Pokémon: The Origin Review

pokemon the origin 1

 

(Originally posted October 5th, 2013 on MyAnimeList. Minimally edited.)

It’s important to remember that when reviewing any topic, one should keep their personal bias to a very low minimum. This is especially difficult when dealing with a monster type franchise such as the Pokémon series, as most—if not all—people have been exposed to either the Pokémon series or games at some point in their lives. To the degree that this affects their opinion of the franchise is what ultimately will decide the fate of the future of the series. Keeping this point in mind, when it was announced that a new anime would be produced that would follow the storyline of the original Pokémon games, it was safe to say that a few people were excited. They were promised a look back at what revolutionized a franchise in the form of a four-episode special. What it was willing to accomplish in those four episodes is the most debatable topic of all.

Once again, when reviewing, one is recommended that they put their personal bias to a very low minimum. Keeping this in mind, I viewed this four-episode special through the mind of someone who has no prior knowledge of the Pokémon series or games. I watched Pokémon: The Origin as if I was playing the first game for the first time through the perspective of the main character. From what was gathered, the story begins with a character named Red, who is passionate about catching and training creatures known as Pokémon. He, along with his rival, Green, is tasked with collecting every species of Pokémon known to that world by the town’s local Pokémon professor: Professor Oak. With his goal set in stone, Red sets out to catch ’em all.

pokemon the origin 3

With only four episodes to work with, there is a guarantee that not everything from the game will be shown in the series. To someone who has no prior knowledge of the game, these time skips do more justice as a form of confusion than anything else. Along with this, the special only chooses to show certain scenes from the game, with some scenes being obvious to the hardcore fan, while random to about everyone else. Due to this, each episode not completely focused on the goal of collecting every pokémon possible or advancing that plot accordingly is viewed more as a filler episode. To those not aware of the Pokémon games, they will also notice a variety of plotholes within the special that don’t make sense unless you’ve played the game. One such thing is the absence of police or the logic behind sending a child out to collect potentially dangerous creatures in order to satisfy the wish of a man no one knows anything about. Without these security blankets, viewers won’t know how to interpret the impact of certain scenes and their importance to the series. These gaping plotholes and the lack of any character development is prevalent and noticeable throughout the entirety of this special.

Speaking of character development, it wouldn’t seem too far fetched to think that the special would focus a little time on developing the main character, Red, as he’s on screen roughly 85% of the time, whether in recaps or otherwise. With the entire series being based on this one character, it’s hard to really enjoy any other character that’s introduced during the time span, that is, unless you’re a fan of the series. I’m sensing a pattern here. The only other character that gets any amount of focus in more than one episode is Green, and even he doesn’t develop into anything more than the rival character. The issue with the lack of depth can be solely attributed to the lack of time and the length of the individual pokémon battles. Whether in recaps or actual battle, Red is shown fighting other characters’ pokémon a big chunk of the time that this special has to offer. It does take the liberty to offer some insight on how Red develops as a trainer through his struggles with certain opponents, and the views he shares when facing someone with far different beliefs. Unfortunately, this is the most that the special is willing to offer.

pokemon the origin 2

What would be an appropriate way to animate a series trying to showcase nostalgic elements? Why, with save screens and in-game text, of course. At the beginning and end of each episode, the viewer is shown a small snippet of animation that plays to the feelings of those who played the original games. Before each episode, one has to load up the save file in order to continue their adventure, and when they’re finished, they have to save their progress. These in-game pop-ups serve as a reminder of how important it is to save the game, what it matters to the quality of the animation is not exceedingly accurate. The recaps that I’ve mentioned before are also reminiscent of the original games as a small text box will appear at the bottom of the screen, explaining the situation that is being spoken of to us by Red. In terms of the animation in general, it’s appropriate, to say the least. It’s not the most spectacular animation one will see from animators of the 21st century, but it’s enough to satisfy both fans and newcomers alike. The battles are vivid and well-detailed, granted the viewer isn’t stricken with how dull the humans look in comparison to the pokémon. Such is only expected from those who know the series.

Taking everything into consideration, if one is a fan of the Pokémon series, this special will probably hold a special place in their heart. It’s respectful to its source material (until the end) and the character Ash Ketchum, who plays the main role of the original Pokémon series, is nowhere in sight. Seeing as I am a fan of the Pokémon series of games, it was enjoyable to view from a fan’s perspective, but that doesn’t erase the numerous problems that are hidden behind the spontaneous animation. Some of these problems are excusable due to the time restraints that a series has with only four episodes, but there have been series that have done more with less, and to excuse something as enormous as Pokémon from doing anything less than possible puts it in hot water with those unfamiliar with the series. Everything else considered, this is the perfect treat for fans of the original games, but its purely restricted to that group in particular.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Thoughts on Pokémon Christmas Hack (2014 Version)

pokemon-christmas-2

ROM hacks are fun. It takes an already established concept and allows freedom to whoever chooses to put forth the effort to make their own mark. Almost like fan games, except they’re deliberately taking the code from the original game and tweaking it to their whim. Sounds kind of illegal, doesn’t it? Maybe. Seeing as I’m young and rebellious, I’m willing to look past this and indulge myself in the ideas and capabilities of people outside of the original creators’ intentions. I found out about Pokémon Christmas Hack through a Vinesauce streamer streaming “terrible” Pokémon hacks for the holidays. Thing was, he took names completely at random, so he had no prior knowledge of whether or not the hacks were bad—judging them mostly by their name or online reputation. Christmas Hack was one of the first hacks he played, and even stated that the hack wasn’t even that bad. I, growing curious at the possibilities put forth through the gameplay being shown to me, decided to look up the hack myself and experience it firsthand. The ROM hack isn’t bad at all. On the contrary, the ROM hack is actually ripe with a lot of potential.

Worked on primarily by a single person known as Mateo, Christmas Hack takes place the winter after the events of Pokémon Gold & Silver. Much of the core story remains the same, but slightly altered to reflect the passage of time. Most water sources have frozen over, the trees have a bluish tint to signify ice and frost, and rocks one could originally smash have turned to solid ice. Some architecture of the towns and areas have been altered as well; some important, some simply for aesthetic reasons. While this change in environment is an enormous contrast, the story doesn’t have the same amount of change. New characters and dialogue appear, but the story of a kid setting out on an adventure to catch ’em all remains the same, with a lot of story elements remaining the same. Starting off, the dialogue seems to have changed drastically, along with not one, but two rival characters to face off against. What’s more, these rivals are friendly rivals; gone is the smug jerk that the second-gen used to call its main rival character. Because of this, a lot of the emphasis and tension to start out the story, with the rival character stealing one of the starting pokémon and threatening you with a reason to be on your toes, goes away. The game is pretty easygoing.

pokemon-christmas-4

I had noticed that as the game goes along, the effort put forth to change the dialogue within the game begins to decrease. At some point after the visit to a new area called “South Isle,” trainers (and specifically gym leaders all throughout) tend to speak right out of the original games. They remain in the same spot, the same sprites, and whatever else. While I was entranced with the changes to the beginning of the story, there doesn’t seem to be the same input to make the ending just as memorably distinct. In fact, there isn’t really an “end” in this version. Once the Elite Four has been taken down, the game does not continue. It’s still considered incomplete. There were times when I was playing this, especially later on, when I felt I was playing the original games, that the changes in effect were beginning to wear out and there wasn’t enough here to make me feel as though I was playing something else. The work it takes to code out all of these changes is sure to be a time-consuming and strenuous process, but it almost feels like Mateo was burnt out halfway through the process.

Of these changes, what exactly is notable, what exactly is highlighted within the scope of what people have to say? Mateo seems to have had fun creating a number of different ways that people could reflect modern times with their dialect. Specifically: memes. I’ve spotted numerous different references while playing through it, including “The [term] is too damn high,” Frozen references, references to other Pokémon titles, and a disturbingly higher emphasis on brony culture. Talking to a couple in the Radio Tower in Goldenrod City will reveal the boy being referred to as a “bronyta” for obsessing over his Ponyta. The girl next to him states that the boy gave his Ponyta a cutie mark. Hell, there is an entire character dedicated to referencing a specific character from the show! She doesn’t show up more than once, but her abrupt appearance, I’m sure, will leave many scratching their heads. That isn’t to say that this “internet slang” is present throughout the game, as it only appears maybe 5% throughout the game, but it certainly makes the game feel more memorable. Memorably good or bad depends on the player.

pokemon-christmas-1

Regardless of the memes, I feel a decent job is done at making trainers and ordinary people feel more lifelike, more unlike the static advice-givers that they are in the original games. I found myself wanting to talk to as many people as I could just to see if their dialogue had changed and what they say. There are times when I feel the dialogue is too unnecessarily comedic, but I suppose it fits with the no-longer-serious nature of the ROM hack. Again, I wish more of the dialogue had changed later on in the hack, but I can’t ask for too much from essentially one person.

Something that really bothered me as I played is that the name of this hack is odd, as the game makes very few references to Christmas whatsoever, at least past the first two gyms. At a certain point, one will likely forget they’re even playing a “Christmas” hack. The title may as well be “Pokémon Winter Hack,” but I understand the relative vagueness of a title like that. Still, to say the hack is Christmas themed is almost a lie, at least when looking at the big picture. Perhaps that’s what attracted it to the streamer.

pokemon-christmas-5

Another thing that bothered me was the exclusion of a number of once important areas. Slowpoke Well, Lake of Rage, Radio Tower, Team Rocket Hideout, The Lighthouse; these areas’ level of importance plummet within this hack, with a few of them not even being accessible anymore. What’s worse, one of them still hold the narrative of the original game. The Lake of Rage, which is still home to a red Gyarados despite no Team Rocket interference. The story elements that change to compensate for these now empty areas hardly do enough to fill the void left by their current state. Some, specifically the Burnt Tower, still have a little importance, but the events that transpire are so trivial and quick that one would miss it with a blink, and forget it regardless.

Enough of the narrative and aesthetic changes! What changes occurred with the gameplay? Well, new pokémon! Various pokémon (specifically ice type to match the season) have made their way into Johto, ranging from third to fourth gen. Pokémon like Zigzagoon, Ralts, Snorunt, Mamoswine, Relicanth, and Luvdisc are among the new entrants to the hack, though this also means a number of existing pokémon had to be replaced. None were really all that important, just some bugs and—Dunsparce. Dunsparce is no longer catchable… God damn it. Movesets were also slightly altered, along with updating the Special/Physical meter of the attack listing. It may just be me, but it seemed like grinding was easier than in the original, as I managed to stay within or above level range with current gym leaders without hardly trying. Again, a large majority of the game seemed too similar to Gold & Silver to feel as though I was playing a hack, and much of this is due to the unchanging battle system. It’s also become easier to obtain evolutionary stones, Rare Candies, PP Ups, and BERRIES! Lots and lots of berries!

pokemon-christmas-3

One of the drawbacks to not really having much of a theme is the lack of a potent direction. The hack is supposedly a sequel to the Gold & Silver games, however it feels more like a reboot of sorts. Someone’s ambition to, say, update the game with modern Pokémon standards instead of making it their own thing, their own story. I feel a commendable attempt was made, and I had a good time with this hack and the potential is definitely there, but it’s not quite there yet. Some work still needs to be done to make this truly feel like a proper “sequel” as the creator states it to be. Thankfully, Mateo has come out and said that a 2017 version is in the works, promising a re-haul to make it feel far different than its current state. I’ll definitely keep an eye out, as what’s in place now is good enough to be something great with enough focus. As it is now, it’s recommendable for some of the kooky things put in, such as memes, snowy atmosphere, and new pokémon. The narrative focus, however, leaves a lot to be desired.

For those interested in trying out the hack for themselves, I’ll leave a link to a download source directly from the creator herself.

Three-Year Anniversary Special: Top 10 Favorite Pokémon

pokemon-logo

WordPress notified me yesterday that I had surpassed three years with this blog. I can assure everyone reading that I didn’t think I would spend as much time dedicated to updating this putrid thing for as long as I have, but it’s taken a life of its own. I’ve met a good variety of people and have followed a nice group of bloggers, whose content I enjoy reading, as well as a small gathering of my own. I would just like to thank everyone for making these last three years (though more specifically last one year) a memorable one in the world of online blogging. To celebrate, I’ve went ahead and concocted a Top 10 list I’ve considered writing many times in the past: my top 10 favorite pokémon.

There isn’t really much of a criteria to this list—all pokémon are allowed and are ranked by my personal taste. A pretty straightforward list for straightforward poké-thusiasts.

10. Gigalith

gigalith

Starting out this list is a surprise choice by my part. While I find the pokédex for the fifth generation of Pokémon to be decent, I’m not a huge fan of the narrative of the games. Black & White—along with Black & White 2, which I’ve never actually played—are among my least favorite Pokémon games, which reflects the amount of good memories I have with said generation and those within the Unova region. I found the focus on “What is Pokémon?” too shallow for something as basic as Pokémon, but I can acknowledge the effort to try and make the games more intellectually stimulating. I played through my old copy of White once and that was it for me. Among my main party during that one and only run was a pokémon named Gigalith.

What is also worth noting is my affinity for rock/ground-type pokémon. I tend to enjoy creatures who are bumpy, rocky, or concave in general. I took one look at Gigalith prior to Black & White‘s release (because I am a cheater) and was immediately drawn to it. The thing looks like something straight out of Gurren Lagann, doesn’t it? All sorts of red and blue and spikes and an enormous, impenetrable body that exudes sturdiness. As part of a three-chain evolution, its stats are pretty reliable as well, so Gigalith, along with the aid of Bulldoze, was an easy choice for mowing down opponents with ease. Lest they have water pokémon, of course.

I’ve always liked Gigalith, but had you asked me if it would’ve made this list a few years ago, I’d scoff at you. Gigalith is an interesting case of a pokémon whose appeal grows with time. The more I think back to my days in the fifth generation, Gigalith is one pokémon that always seems to stand out to me. Its reliability and interesting design was enough to thrust itself among my mental ranks and charge past the competition.

9. Gourgeist

gourgeist

I really, really don’t know why I like this pokémon so much. Maybe it’s the cutesy, almost anime-esque design that attracts my weebish senses. My inner love for Halloween and all of its spooky festivities. The fact that its size depends on the specific Pumpkaboo you catch, almost like actually picking out a pumpkin to carve. Whatever it is, Gourgeist has my heart on a string. Or whatever those hand-like hairs are on its head.

Unlike Gigalith, Gourgeist was a pokémon I knew I would love immediately. For a while, it ranked up there among my favorites without any need to think about it. Now-a-days, though, Gourgeist is a little silly to like to such a high degree. It’s a pumpkin seed with hair for God’s sake. One of its moves is called “Trick-Or-Treat”! It’s a living token to Halloween! It’s silly to its core, but silly is better than stupid.

Like most pokémon on this list, Gourgeist was among my main party during my initial run with its generation of games. With the use of moves like Seed Bomb and Phantom Force, Gourgeist proved very nimble in battle, especially against Special-oriented pokémon. It was placed in my party late into the game, but held its own when it came time to train. In fact, it was the only sixth-generation pokémon in my party. I’m such a genwunner.

8. Steelix
steelix

When the second generation of Pokémon came around, a new type was unveiled along with it: Steel type. When my hands latched onto any sort of guidebook detailing the new pokémon available in the game, my eyes always gravitated towards two particular Steel-type pokémon: Steelix and Scizor. As a kid, Scizor was always my favorite between the two. I loved insects and insectoids and Scizor was coated in a lovely shade of red. However, as I matured, I realized that Scizor wasn’t that much of an upgrade past the original form of Scyther, sacrificing speed for better defense and attack. Steelix, however, seemed to improve Onix in every regard, which is why I eventually saw Steelix as the pinnacle of Steel pokémon.

Not to mention, Steelix fits the mold of bumpy, sturdy-looking rock (or steel in this case) pokémon that I’ve grown to be fond of. And if you think about it, look at what Steelix is. Its a giant steel snake! That’s fucking awesome! And despite the Pokémon handbooks typically being pretty odd about sizes, Steelix is still said to be thirty feet long. That’s one big snake.

I’ve yet to really obtain Steelix’s power for my own, as its finicky evolution condition is hard to replicate on a linkless emulator, but I recall training one in my days playing FireRed & LeafGreen. If only I could remember what it was like to have it among my main team. Another day, perhaps, but for now, a man can dream about orchestrating the strength of a giant steel snake monster.

7. Groudon

groudon

I’d like to take a moment to appreciate everything about Groudon’s design.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Okay, I’m done.

Groudon, at one point, was my favorite pokémon. Not “one of,” but the favorite of all of them. It was my favorite pokémon for a long time, too, up until a few years ago when its status as “legendary” began to dull my interest in it. Is that unfair? A tad. But it’s the way I feel.

Y’see, legendary pokémon get a lot of love. Why do they get a lot of love? Maybe because they’re legendary? Maybe because they’re the main focus of their respective games? Maybe because they look cool? Whatever the case, when one comes across a “Top 10 Favorite Pokémon” list, they’re bound to come across at least three or four legendaries. Or pseudo-legendaries (such as Lucario or Zoroark, whose availability in games are limited and are featured in movies). Call it my cynicism at work, but I tend to roll my eyes when I see an abundance of legendary pokémon swarming people’s favorites. It wouldn’t be so bad if I felt these picks were justified, but a lot of the time they’re their favorites simply because “they’re legendaries.” Groudon is part of my own case with the feeling.

There was never any particular reason why I loved Groudon so much. I loved it because it looked amazing. And it was a legendary. And it made me love Ground type. It was simply one of those moments where something became so soul-grippingly joyous to you that it receded your ability to think and strengthened your ability to feel. And I felt, very passionately, that Groudon was the bestest pokémon ever. Because I said so.

To be honest, Groudon wasn’t a lock to make this list because I don’t feel too strongly for it anymore. But it had enough of an impact on my younger life to keep it influential inside my mind. That, and Groudon still looks incredibly cool. It combines the red and black look perfectly and my love for reptiles makes its design pop more than it probably should. I really like the lines that mark up its body like an ancient language. It’s just a really, really cool-looking thing.

6. Kingler

kingler

When I was a very young kid, I was not hard to impress. Take the case with Kingler, who gets the honor of being crowned my very first favorite pokémon. Of all the pokémon to choose from in the first generation, I chose a crab with a pointy crown and a giant left claw. Good job, me.

However, this is not the case of “I’m only putting it here because of nostalgia.” I genuinely love Kingler, and is among my favorite pokémon from generation one. I honestly don’t think Kingler gets a lot of love from Pokémon, as its inclusion in most games comes from either looking underneath small rocks or fishing in the ocean. You have to go out of your way to find a Krabby, for sure. Worse than that, Kinglers are pretty ill-equipped during early-generation games, as its heavy emphasis on Attack as opposed to Special Attack doesn’t give them a good advantage with their native Water type. After all, for a time, all Water-type moves were Special-oriented back in the day. Kingler’s Special Attack is pretty poor, which left it only with Normal-type moves like Vicegrip or Stomp to get the most use of its Attack power.

It’s this heavy-handed approach that makes me like Kingler even more. Cool design aside, it is genuine pity that makes me love this pokémon. It isn’t a smart choice to main in early-version Pokémon games, which makes me want to main it even more. Kingler is an underappreciated gem that shines brighter in later games. I always try to give it some emphasis outside of being an HM slave for moves like Surf or Whirlpool (It can’t even learn Waterfall! What?!). Not to mention, it had its own move dedicated to it early on: Crabhammer. Not a great move in earlier games, but a very handy one later on. You can thank Kingler (or Krabby) for that.

5. Mewtwo

mewtwo

And when it comes to legendaries, Mewtwo stands at the top of the mountain. Or the bottom of the cave. Whatever you prefer.

Nostalgia plays a very heavy factor into this placement, but what also plays a part is Mewtwo’s backstory as a genetic clone of the other legendary pokémon: Mew. Mewtwo. Mew. Mewtwo. It’s kind of an odd name if you think about it, but it fits regardless. The thought of cloning and building the ultimate pokémon from DNA is infinitely fascinating to me. Mewtwo’s design only accentuates his sort of “Science-y” look. He looks like, well a clone.

He was a part of Super Smash Bros. Melee, the first Pokémon movie, another Pokémon movie, an animated special showcasing its younger years, and eventually got two Mega Evolutions because why not? Mewtwo is a popular pokémon, and the creators know this. They’re willing to stick him into whatever fits and I have no problem with that whatsoever (yet). Mewtwo is the symbol of an interesting human and Pokémon interaction story gone wrong, and in my own mind, the most effective Pokémon has ever come to immersive storytelling.

I always preferred Mewtwo over Mew (He looks more masculine, therefore he’s cooler!). It had the highest base Special Attack of any pokémon until Deoxys’ Attack Form surpassed it. It had a sleek, simplistic design. It took a zillion pokéballs to catch. It had everything going for it as a prime and true legendary pokémon, and still does. That’s why its my favorite legendary pokémon. A title that may never be relinquished.

4. Feraligatr

feraligatr

Remember everything I said above with Groudon and how everyone lists legendaries as their favorite because they’re legendaries? The same can be said with starters. They’re their favorite because they’re starters. Only this time, I can understand where they’re coming from.

A lot of people will immediately proclaim Charizard to be the greatest starter pokémon of all time. It’s got a great design, good stats, and was one of three starters in the first Pokémon games ever made. Nostalgia definitely plays a big role in it, but Charizard has a lot of good going for it. But for me, who started off with the second generation, my first will always be Totodile, which evolved into my fourth favorite pokémon: Feraligatr.

Water type is among my favorite types. I like reptiles and reptile-looking things. I like offensive powerhouses. I like minimal use of spikes. And it was my first starter. Wrap all of this together and you have the perfect starter for me. Feraligatr has nostalgia wrapped around its scaly skin and won’t relinquish it for the world. Feraligatr is to me what Charizard is to everyone else. It was my first, and damn did it help me when it came time to fight Lance. Teach it Ice Punch and you will have zero issues whatsoever.

However, Feraligatr suffers from the same problems Kingler does: its a Water type with strong Attack power. Early games automatically list Water-type moves as Special Attack. Feraligatr is at a disadvantage. Even so, the dependability of Feraligatr is one to be praised, as I never choose any starter outside of it when given the chance (I am very stubborn). At least Feraligatr can learn Waterfall… past generation two.

3. Nidoking

nidoking

Alright, guys. This is just pure, unadulterated masculinity and testosterone at work here. Nidoking is, and I hate to even use the term, fucking badass. It is among the most creatively unique pokémon of the first generation and its design is oozing with everything I love about anything. Spikes, muscular, mean, reptile-like (I guess?), and a very interesting choice going with light purple with the major color scheme. Purple doesn’t get enough love; it’s a damn good color.

Just to pollute this list with some grade A cringe, I used to think that Nidoqueen evolved into Nidoking. Why? Because obviously females are inferior to males. In terms of strength, anyway. I used to have a poster that listed all of the first generation pokémon in a circular chart that orbited around the Pokémon logo. For whatever reason, I would look at that chart and follow the line to the point where Nidoran (female) would appear, travel the evolution line, then skip Nidoran (Male) and Nidorino and jump straight to Nidoking. It’s stupid and sexist, but it also showed how much I valued Nidoking as a pokémon, despite never really controlling it.

My love for Nidoking was aided by Pokémon Stadium, where Nidoking was equipped with Earthquake, an OP move that devastated everything in its path. I was demolish everything with that move, further cementing Nidoking’s awesome legacy in my mind. This would only end around the time it got to the third generation and I played Pokémon Stadium again and used Nidoking constantly, only to be killed multiple times when I got to Misty’s gym. It’s almost like Ground is weak to Water or something.

Despite that (and a surprisingly low stat base), Nidoking has always been an easy choice as a main party member. I think aside from Feraligatr, Nidoking is the pokémon I use most often in my main party. It hasn’t failed me yet; in fact, I had a Nidoking in my last playthrough of Pokémon Y. During the Championship fight against Diantha, Nidoking one-shot every pokémon she used. How’s that for useful?

2. Dunsparce

dunsparce

YOU BETTER BELIEVE I PUT DUNSPARCE AT THE NUMBER TWO SPOT.

I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING: “WHAAAAA? DUNSPARCE? WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT DUNSPARCE?” I’LL TELL YOU WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT DUNSPARCE.

DUNSPARCE WAS ONE OF SIX MAIN PARTY MEMBERS DURING MY RUN OF POKÉMON Y AND BOY, WAS HE A GREAT HELP. MORE HP THAN HALF OF MY TEAM. TOOK HITS LIKE A SOLDIER. THREW HITS LIKE A GOLEM. DUNSPARCE WAS MY TANK. IT TOOK THE HITS AND DISHED ‘EM, TOO. ITS DECEPTIVELY TOUGH BODY ALLOWED MY TEAM TO TAKE DOWN OPPONENTS WITH EASE. DUNSPARCE WAS THE CENTER TO MY OFFENSIVE LINE. THE QUARTERBACK TO MY OFFENSE. THE MIDDLE LINEBACKER TO MY DEFENSE. THE FOUNDATION OF MY HOUSE. THE MONEY IN MY BANK ACCOUNT. THE BEATS OF MY HEART. DUNSPARCE’S BEAUTY AND GRACE ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH.

ALSO IT WAS PRETTY COOL TO FIND A RARE POKÉMON IN DARK CAVE AS A KID WITHOUT ANY KNOWLEDGE THAT THERE WERE ANYTHING ASIDE FROM GEODUDES AND ZUBATS IN THERE. IT MADE THE ENCOUNTER ALL THE MORE SPECIAL. I BET YOU THINK THIS WHOLE SPOT IS A JOKE. WELL I GOT NEWS FOR YA, PUNK. IT’S NO JOKE. I LOVE DUNSPARCE. AND YOU SHOULD, TOO. BECAUSE DUNSPARCE.

1. Abra

abra-2

Some people saw this coming, but for those who didn’t see this coming, allow me to explain why Abra is the greatest pokémon of all time.

Okay, not the greatest, but my favorite of all time. Abra is one of those bizarre choices where the pokémon’s behavior says more about it than its design or stats ever could. Abra is asleep for twenty hours of the day and is conscious of its surroundings despite that, allowing it to teleport away at the blink of an eye.  Some people see this as annoying, and it is, but it also speaks to me in some strange, asocial way.

Now, I haven’t always been the most social guy. As a kid, I was very fond of being left alone and thinking and crafting mental pictures all in my head without anyone bothering me. Because of this reclusive nature, I’ve found myself empathizing with the manner in which Abra behaves: teleporting away from any hostile environment. While Abra more does so to not be captured or attacked by wild animals, it’s this sort of manner of escape that I’ve always understood. I find a little part of me inside of Abra, even if it doesn’t apply to my actual situation. It does so for survival while I do so more for personal comfort. Regardless, I think its uniqueness makes up for its lack of battle finesse.

Subjective vomit aside, I’ve always liked the simplistic design of Abra. It’s very mouse-like, while also sort of hinting at a boy-ish youth that exhibits the necessity of always having to run away. While its evolutions are cool on their own (though I think Kadabra looks a little dumb), Abra has that sort of bland charm that speaks volumes without speaking at all. Kind of like Feraligatr, Dunsparce, and Mewtwo before it (on this list). One doesn’t have to have a bunch of spikes or lasers or metal suits to earn the title of “awesome.” Sometimes you just need to tread to the basics to get to that core appeal. Have I mentioned I hate Mega Evolutions?

An odd choice for a favorite, but a favorite nonetheless. Abra has that sort of oomph to it that I like. I use Alakazam to main, obviously, but Abra is always a nice treat to start with, despite the uselessness in battle.

 

Honorable Mentions: Cacturne, Solrock, Donphan, Clefable