Why I haven’t Updated as Often

Hey everyone! I haven’t been blogging as frequently because I got accepted for a full-time position at an environmental science lab. I also went back and edited some of my old anime art by referencing a few anatomy tutorials I found on DeviantArt. I did end up creating some Pokémon fanart after finishing the remakes of Gens 1 and 2.

I will be continuing my playthrough of Pokémon Black since Gen 5 changed up the predictable storytelling formula and actually questioned the concept of capturing Pokémon just for the sake of battling. I’m aware Gen 5 received a lot of hate from fans who thought the Pokémon designs were ugly, but I think Pokémon should be judged by its gameplay instead.

In the meantime, I’ve switched over to Pokémon so I can experience the childhood of the average Nintendo fanboy. I didn’t grow up with the Nintendo DS but I have watched playthroughs of EarthBound, Animal Crossing, Star Fox, Legend of Zelda, and Fire Emblem.

Pokémon FireRed

I began my journey in Kanto as a 10-year old Pokémon Trainer. At the start screen, I was greeted by Professor Oak, who asks me if I’m a boy or a girl. I picked Red because he is the iconic OG Pokémon Champion practically everyone has heard about.

Then, it became a matter of grinding endlessly in between fields of grass for wild Pokémon encounters. My quest to capture all 150 species failed miserably after I realized some Pokémon only show up in LeafGreen, the counterpart to FireRed.

Of course, that didn’t stop me from catching new Pokémon with type advantages, to take on the gym leaders (Brock and Misty were a PITA if you picked Charmander), and earn all eight badges to enter the Pokémon League. The Vs. Seeker and 2X speed made re-battling trainers more bearable for gaining exp.

It was satisfying to finally defeat Blue since he was always one step ahead.

But I have to admit, the turn-based system works surprisingly well despite relying almost solely on super effective moves to determine which Pokémon will win. I don’t really get why you need to teach flying Pokémon how to fly when they already have wings?

I had a lot of fun leveling up my main team into the 50s and dropping by the Celadon Department Store to browse their selection of battle items, vitamins, and evolution stones. I also liked using the bicycle (or flying) to get around and collect all the TMs/HMs in the game.

And who could forget the creepy Lavender Town music? The idea that Pokémon can die probably gave kids nightmares. If you have enough Pokéballs, potions, and medicines on hand, you can’t possibly lose. My favorite Pokémon is still Gyarados because it evolved from the so-called useless Magikarp.

Red and Blue from the Nintendo Console theme.

I went on a Pokémon binge for the next two months, looking up cheat codes so I can get more exp. shares and rare candies or lurking in the Pokéforums to try a few GBA ROM Hacks like Pokémon Ultra Violet with the option to choose your own starter. I also bought the first volume of the Pokémon Adventures manga as a present for my brother.

I felt inspired so I drew Red and Blue as rivals with their signature Pokémon, except I had Jolteon from the Origins episode instead of Pikachu because I evolved mine into Raichu for higher stats and so it wouldn’t die to physical attacks in one hit. Blue’s right arm is bent too high but oh well.

Pokémon SoulSilver

I’m not gonna bother filling up the national Pokédex since I’m playing on a Desmume emulator with no connection to other Gens. After getting the hang of it, I continued my journey as Ethan in Pokémon Soulsilver, with my buddy Cyndaquil, cause of those flames on its back. It’s kinda cute when they follow you and react to things around them.

Gen IV has improved 3-D graphics for the DS: Now I have two screens, the top where my trainer explores new towns and the bottom where I select items in my bag with the mouse. I did like crafting Pokéballs out of apricots and the option to record phone numbers of trainers I’ve battled for rematches. Item hunting was an addicting habit of mine.

The leveling curve is way steeper in HGSS.

This time around, the gym leaders had tougher Pokémon, especially with powerful move sets, like Whitney’s Miltank that spammed stomp/rollout, and Clair’s Kingdra that knew Hydro Pump/Hyper Beam. I noticed the game has weather conditions, not to mention day and night cycles, which apparently affects the encounter rate of certain Pokémon types.

I did like trying to solve the cave puzzles such as the ones in the Ice Path, where I had to push boulders down pits and slide across the ice. Some routes were blocked by dark caves which meant I had to bring in an HM mule, a Pokémon that only knows weaker moves like Rock Smash and Flash, in order to get past the obstacles.

As usual, Team Rocket is up to no good, doing illegal things like cutting off Slowpoke tails and inflicting Pokémon with radio waves to make them evolve. I remember the part where Ethan and Lance infiltrated Team Rocket HQ to shut off a generator powered by Electrodes.

The Johto region has its own elusive Legendary Pokémon that are difficult to capture: Suicune, Raikou, and Entei. Of course, the Master Ball should always be saved for the game mascots, in this case, Ho-Oh or Lugia, as it guarantees a 100% catch rate. Did anyone manage to decipher the Unown Report in the Ruins of Alph?

Kanto is a whole other ballpark, becoming the post-game after you defeat the Elite Four. A few paths connect the two regions like going on the S.S. Aqua or riding the Magnet Train in Goldenrod City. You can now challenge the Kanto gym leaders, with their level 50 teams to earn a total of 16 badges, making you a true Pokémon Master.

Mystic Messenger

And last but not least, I installed the Mystic Messenger app after the intro kept showing up in my recommended YouTube feed. I did not expect a Korean visual novel but the voice actors were clearly speaking Korean. It is an app game, in the form of a reverse-harem dating sim with a pay-to-win model to give players an advantage in progressing the story.

The player (MC) is contacted by a mysterious stranger who directs them to Rika’s apartment where they are asked to join the RFA (Rika’s Fundraising Association), a charity committee that hosts parties every year by inviting guests like photographers, cultural citizens, writers, or indie gamers. A small chunk of Mystic Messenger’s profits will be donated to non-profit organizations.

The game keeps running even if the app is off, so the player will see new chat rooms scheduled at different times throughout the day. Players will be locked into a route with one of the characters: Yoosung, Zen, Jaehee, Jumin, or 707 if they acquire enough hearts. Players might have to buy hourglasses to unlock missed chats if they want to get a good ending.

Honey Buddha Chips up in this space station.

My impression is that this game requires some serious commitment by the player, who has to juggle between participating in chats and tending to their real-life errands (over the course of 11 days). I did manage to get Zen’s best ending and it was touching to see his public confession for the MC despite having his reputation nearly destroyed by Echo girl’s false accusations.

There are multiple CGs to unlock during Christmas and Valentine’s day for the players who want to see the after story outcome for their favorite guy. I wanted to start on Seven’s route but his story has too many plot-heavy reveals so I’ll just have to play along with his troll-like antics and genius hacking skills until then.

I’ve been busy so I won’t be able to play all the games on my list at the moment. Of course, I’m still going by the titles I’ve bought recently from Steam sales events.

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