Tag Archives: Pokemon

Gotta Tilt ‘Em All

Introduction

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about my latest trip to the past.A� No, I have not unlocked the secrets of time travel.A� Well, not directly.A� Instead, it’s about how my trip to The Quarters with Liam sparked an interest in retro video games again.A� I basically ran through all of the retro video games that I’ve been playing from most recent all the way back to my gaming roots with the Atari 2600.

In that article, I wrote a bit about Pokemon Pinball.A� Unlike some of the other games on the list, it is not my favorite game on the system.A� It might not even be top 5.A� Saying that it isn’t top 10 would be a stretch.A� Perhaps, one of these days, I will get around to putting together a top 10 list for all of the games that I’ve played by system and then overall.A� Until then, I waffle!

Note to self: Buy a new waffle maker.

The point of the waffle is that while the game isn’t my favorite game on the Game Boy Advance, any time I get my hands on the technology to play GBA games, this is one of the first ones that I play.A� Usually, it is the first game that I load up to test that the technology works.A� Then, I end up playing it through an entire game.A� Usually when I load a game to test, I just load it and then move on to a more fun game.A� Not Pokemon Pinball.A� You can read my other article to get my theory of why I use a game other than A Link to the Past or Final Fantasy III, which are my favorite games on the system depending on when you ask.A� But, it mostly has to do with my father, pinball memories, as a kid, and Zelda and FFIII are very long games that would suck me in for hours instead of 15-20 minutes at a time.

The Good

I’ve played both this game and Sonic Spinball.A� If I remember correctly, I played Sonic Spinball first.A� While fun and enjoyable for what it was, it didn’t fully emulate the pinball experience that I’m looking for.A� That’s one thing that has so far eluded me from my childhood.A� I haven’t been able to properly capture that feeling of putting a quarter into a pinball machine, plunge the plunger, flip the flippers, and nudge it here and there right up to the point of TILT!

Sure, there are actual pinball emulators like PinMAME (which might not even be a thing anymore).A� But, unlike the video game emulators that I play and can order controllers for them, I haven’t found an controller for pinball that has all of the controls I mentioned above.A� I can recapture the memories of all of the tables I used to play.A� I just can’t get the proper feel.

Then again, I have recently discovered these things. They’re costly and big, but we have a gameroom upstairs and a possible den in the basement.

Sonic Spinball has Sonic as the pinball.A� Admittedly, that is a fun and interesting gimmick.A� However, it takes away some of the “peril” of playing pinball because Sonic can grab the edge and save himself from the side alleys.A� Also, being able to “advance” into higher boards is much more of a video game that pinball feel.A� Spinball is fun and writing about it now makes me want to play it again.A� I’m just not playing it to play pinball.

Pokemon Pinball comes as close as a video game ever has to giving me the total pinball experience.A� The pinball is a Pokeball.A� It’s also a great gimmick that fits in with the franchise.A� But, other than using it to catch Pokemon, it acts exactly like a pinball.A� If you get caught in that side alley and don’t have your Pikachu meter filled, you’re going to have a bad time.

The boards are able to change, but they only change what Pokemon you are able to catch based on the “area” of the game you are in.A� There are bonus stages, so it’s still got some of that video game feel.A� There are bumpers that give you bonus modifier to your score.A� There are alleys, buttons, and “hidden” areas that all lead to different game modes.A� It is just a great pinball simulator and video game mixed together.A� Just about the best of both worlds.

The Bad

It’s not exactly pinball.A� It neither claims nor tries to be.A� Still, as I mentioned earlier, sometimes I’m just looking to play pinball.A� I like video games and I play them because they are fun.A� I also like pinball and would like to be able to play them every now and again.A� I could buy one of those virtual machines from the picture above.A� It’s just that they are so dang expensive and I might be the only one in the house that would play it.A� Who knows?A� Maybe the boys would find it and have some fun with it.

Okay, okay, I get it. First world problems, amirite?

I could also stop talking about it and just go visit the new pinball parlor that opened up in a nearby town.A� We’ve been to The Quarters a few times now and I want to make it more of a regular trip because this last one was so much fun.A� Maybe the trip to the pinball place could be a trial run to see if the boys would get use out of the virtual machine were I to buy it.A� Then again, maybe if I go to the pinball place, it will inspire me to buy the silly thing and that would be a difficult explanation to Christine.

In the meantime, I am limited to as close to pinball as possible.A� Again, yes, not the worst predicament in the world.A� Pokemon Pinball is very close to real pinball, but it isn’t real pinball.A� Therefore, even when I play it, I get something resembling a warm and fuzzy nostalgic feeling, but not quite the exact feeling.

The Ugly

The slogan of Pokemon is, of course, Gotta Catch ‘Em All.A� I have never done so in an actual Pokemon game.A� I’ve never even attempted to do so.A� I doubt that I ever will considering that I’m an adult with other responsibilities and there are almost 1000 Pokemon in the newer games.A� Okay, that’s not entirely true.A� When I was playing Sun last year, I did try to capture all of the Pokemon on the opening island before moving on to the next island.A� That’s mainly the reason that I never made it to the second island.

I just image searched “all Pokemon” and this is the first image. I have no idea if it really shows all Pokemon, but it does give you an idea of how crazy this game has become.

Seeing as how I made that insane attempt, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that I would try to catch all 151 original Pokemon included in this game.A� I don’t know how difficult that is nor how long that will take, but I imagine that it could take an ugly amount of time and I might look at the achievement in a similar light as my butterfly catching days in Skyrim.A� That is to say, when all is said and done, how proud of myself will I actually be to say that I “caught ’em all?”

The Verdict

Pokemon Pinball is a fun video game that is as close to a pinball game as I’ve ever played.A� If you miss pinball, don’t want to spend 800 dollars on a virtual pinball machine that you might not even have room for in your house and would have to hide from your significant other, this is the game to play.A� However, you won’t get the full pinball experience and that might be an issue.A� I still fully support and endorse this game.A� Go tilt ’em all!

This Little Pika Went to the Gym

Introduction

Well, a day of substitute teaching and the college championship game were enough to distract me from posting anything to either page yesterday.A� Therefore, I have to be extra dilligent about making sure that I start my daily posts again today.A� I realize that I won’t be able to update the page daily when I go back to work in a week and a half.A� However, if I make that the goal now, when I am teaching again, 2-3 updates per week wont’ feel so cumbersome.

I’ve done a couple of articles about Pokemon Go in the past.A� Like most other pages, I wrote about the improbable, unbelievable, and almost inexplicable initial success and then the inevitable crash of the game.A� Since then, I have played the game on a semi-regular basis.A� Quinn wanted to do his little kid podcast about Pokemon this week, so I thought this is as good a time as any to revisit the game.

The Good

When the game first released, there were words upon words to create paragraphs and pages (if pages still existed in their traditional form in our digital world) about the exercise benefits of the game.A� It inspired people to get out into the outside world by leading them to new or possibly previously unexplored places.A� Gyms gave important items like potions and eggs.A� In order to hatch the eggs, you needed to walk 2, 5, or 10k.

The phenomenon was so ubiquitous that it married an established meme and had little meme babies.

Any time you went to a new place, you opened up the app to see what new types of Pokemon might be available in that area.A� We went to the beach and I remember being excited when I saw and caught my first Staryu.A� After the beach, we went to a restaurant and Quinn and I had way too much fun taking pictures of Pokemon on our food plates.A� Just as unlikely as getting people to go outside and exercise, Pokemon Go got them to interact socially.

In addition to taking those pictures and posting them online, you could always recognize another Pokemon Go player.A� I know that we aren’t supposed to stereotype, but anytime you saw someone who was just a bit too pale for the time of year and they were looking at their phone, there was a good chance that they were playing Pokemon Go.A� At the beginning, all you could do was tip your hoodie to them, trade war stories, and maybe contact information depending on how brave you felt.A� Niantic promised other ways to interact, but they were slow in implementing them.

It doesn’t make it any better, but this is always the reaction to new and interesting things. “Wow, this thing is very interesting! You should check it out!” *later* “God, I liked this thing so much better when there weren’t so many people interested in it.”

One of the ways that have finally been brought into the game that have allowed people to get together and be social is raids.A� The only experience I have with raids is that it looked like one was going on during our trip to the aquarium in Woods Hole, someone posted something on Facebook about one happening in town in an attempt to get a group (but it never happened) and I foolishly tried to solo one that was happening down the street.A� I didn’t get a chance to try the raid while on the Cape for a couple of reasons, but I wish I had just taken the time to check it out.A� Living in a small town without many tech or gaming savvy people strikes again as I haven’t gotten an opportunity like that since.

The Bad

Because of the community aspect of raiding, as I just mentioned, I don’t get any chances to experience what is now a fundamental part of the game.A� As a result, I’m stuck playing the game as it was released.A� Walking down the street to the local Wal*Mart, I keep an eye out for Pokemon and hope that 10k egg hatches into something interesting or fun.A� Look, I’m not one to needless complain about something and I hope that’s not what this sounds like.A� I mean, I am complaining (and it may be needless because there are ways to combat the isolation), but I also think I have a valid point.

Okay, okay. I get the point. At least I’ll hatch a ton of eggs.

Because, other than the raids, there aren’t a ton of new features.A� I think I saw something about weather effects determining Pokemon spawns and there are new Pokemon, which I said earlier is one of the most fun parts of the game (and in fact the reason that the games exists), but some of the most anticipated features have not been included in the game.A� There are no trainer battles.A� There is no trading of Pokemon.A� Those, too, are integral to the games and need to be a part of this game for it to ever be considered in the same league as the other games.

The Ugly

I did an article about Mario Run before Thanksgiving.A� That is another Nintendo property that has made the move to mobile.A� I enjoy that game quite a bit and a major reason why is that Nintendo hasn’t given into the real money pressure that mobile puts on developers.A� Most mobile games give you the full game, but to get the full experience, players quickly realize that they have to pay real money for items or experience.A� Mario Run has none of that and it is a refreshing oasis in the salty sea of P2E (Pay to Exist) of the rest of the mobile gaming library.

I was careful earlier to call Mario Run a Nintendo property.A� Nintendo owns that one and they developed the game.A� However, Pokemon Go is a Nintendo property, but Niantic has made the actual game.A� That was important in the article that I wrote about Pokemon Go user base crashing once people realized just how limited the game was and it was even worse than now.A� I said then that the game felt like a beta test that somehow made it to release.A� That’s not the ugly anymore.A� The game still feels unfinished, but it’s getting better.

My main complaint about the game is that Niantic has embraced the real money trend that I dislike so much.A� They aren’t pushing it as much as other games.A� It isn’t necessary to buy things to advance in the game.A� However, I have noticed that when I logged in a few times or checked out the webpage or social media for the game, they’ve been testing the waters a bit with taking that route.

99 cents to win the game? What is the objective of the game? To remove the ads?

The Verdict

Look, I get that game companies need to make money.A� I also get that this is the environment that mobile games have grown up in and that it is harder to get people to pay money up front for games that are so simple that they can fit on your phone.A� However, phones are getting more powerful and some of the games are more interesting and have as good or better gameplay than their console counterparts.A� It only takes one success before others start to attempt to mimic that success.A� If Pokemon Go can just resist the P2W siren song and start to build back up its user base, maybe it can lead to a new era in mobile gaming.

That’s certainly not going to happen if they don’t implement those features that are missing.A� Since the early announcement that they were thinking/considering/dreaming of possibly thinking about maybe putting together a committee that might introduce trading and trainer battles to the game I have not heard any more discussion along those lines.A� It’s probably tough to make them happen, but it would be nice to get an update about the possible update.A� Oh well, I will just continue to try to find funny pictures to post on our Instagram and get excited every time that new Pokemon type pops up on the screen when I open the app.

Noob and Sons 2.01 – Pokemania!

Noob and his (3 this time) sons return for the relaunch of their show to talk all things Pokemon.

First, on the digital playground, we talked about the latest 3DS offerings, Sun and Moon.  Aiden and Quinn haven’t gotten a chance to play it, but they give insights from the games they have played.

Secondly, we busted open a box of X/Y Generations to do a sealed tournament.  Well, it was part of a tournament because there was some grumpiness that postponed the championship indefinitely.

We’re glad to be back and can’t wait to bring you more soon!  Thanks for listening.

Exodia X Pikachu

(Editor’s Note: A�That title just made me wish that Namco/Bandai and Nintendo/Game Freak make that game.)

Last week, I faced a bit of a dilemma. A�I could use the remainder of the tax refund to either get caught up on our mortgage or buy a new laptop. A�Yes, I am in the market for yet another new laptop. A�This time, though, it actually isn’t entirely my fault. A�I think I already told this story, so I won’t go into much detail. A�Just know that one laptop stopped charging and I screwed up trying to fix it. A�Then, my backup fell off of the ottoman and busted the screen. A�Yes, that truly seems to be my curse in life.

Of course, I made the correct and adult decision of replacing my laptop. A�Seriously, though, for those of you worried about me and the future of my children, I paid the mortgage. A�It would have been a very different story if the bill to be paid had been my student loan. A�Those guys can suck it.

I’m not entirely sure why I tell that story other than as another example to illustrate my commitment to gaming. A�I mean, it’s not relevant to the topic of this article. A�But, hey, non sequitur is one of the things we do best around here. A�Something else we do around here is awkward transitions from the non sequitur. A�In keeping with both of those traditions, allow me to continue.

Because, without tradition, what are we? No, seriously, what are we. With tradition, we stuff chocolates in socks, so I think it’s worth a shot.

I got the idea for this article a couple of days ago. A�I knew that I wanted to write another Pokemon article to finish out that game until our next podcast about the game in a couple of weeks once Aiden and Quinn are able to play Sun and/or Moon. A�Well, Quinn has played it, on my file (and I recently found out that was never saved, so progress was lost!), but Aiden hasn’t played it at all, so we have to give him a chance.

But, that is in about a month, so I have time to come up with more articles then. A�For now, though, let’s get this one written. A�The other day, we found ourselves int he middle of a blizzard. A�I was already home on spring break (yeah, a bit of irony there from Mother Nature) and the rest of the family was also home due to the snow.

For once, I’m not talking about this Blizzard. Except, now I am. But, earlier, I wasn’t. Why can’t I quit you?!

We’ve been trying to ween Aiden off of his “addiction” (I’m not sure if that is the proper word, but he acts like a junkie glued to the screen at times) to technology. A�The latest attempt has been absolutely no technology until he can show that he can function without it. A�Yes, we are those parents.

But, I have to say, it seems to be having the intended effect. A�He’s been reading more. A�He’s played with Legos (that’s not new, but he’s showing off his creations on Instagram. A�See themA�here), and during the snowstorm he asked to play YuGiOh. A�I thought this was interesting because I found one of his decks a few weeks ago and remarked on Facebook how I missed the time when he was so into the game. A�He never saw that post, but still we ended up playing. A�Sometimes if feels like there might just be a Creator watching over us after all. A�(S)He certainly answered that prayer.

I know what you’re thinking. A�YuGiOh? A�The answer to a prayer? A�Well, it wasn’t entirely about YuGiOh, okay. A�It was about father and son time and doing something that he once loved. A�Judging by our game, he still does. A�Not only did he ask to play, but he used the deck that I found. A�What’s so special about this deck? A�Well, this time it is mostly about the deck. A�But, it’s also about that coincidence that may have been more.

Okay, I certainly questioned the existence of God after he played this card against me.

When he was really into the game, I got him one of the 1000 assorted card lots. A�He was so grateful and overwhelmed by the cards. A�He still talks about it to this day. A�Both Quinn and Liam asked to make decks and he replied, “Sure, I have over a thousand cards!”

After getting the cards, he spent some time researching decks until he found the perfect deck. A�He built that deck–Yugi’s deck, he calls it–and put it into a holster like pouch. A�That’s the deck that I found and that’s the deck he used to pound me into submission the other day.

The most encouraging sign came at the beginning of the match before we even started playing. A�As I built my deck, he spent the time trying to set up his Kindle to record a video of our match. A�When that didn’t work, we were going to use Liam’s new camcorder to record. A�That didn’t work either because the SD card that he got with it malfunctioned. A�Okay, so where’s the encouragement?

First, and this is total proud parent stuff, he didn’t quit in spite of adversity. A�He kept trying and that is to be commended. A�Second, and this is related to the game, he said that he’d be willing to play again once I got a new SD card for the camcorder. A�With my newly found commitment to the web page, look for that video soon.

I wouldn’t use this much, but it would come in handy for times like this.

So, ostensibly, this article was to compare the two card games that I have played with the boys over the past month. A�It has taken almost a thousand words to get here, so let’s take at least a couple of paragraphs to explore this. A�First off, I think that I prefer Pokemon. A�That’s not a slight against Yugioh at all. A�I enjoy playing YuGiOh and I can’t wait to play against Aiden again and get our video recorded. A�The main problem that I have with it is that there are seemingly too many rules that aren’t as intuitive as Pokemon or Magic. A�I mean, I haven’t played Pokemon in months, either, but I was able to pick it up and play through with only a few questions about mostly status effects. A�Those always get me. A�We are never able to keep the tokens around, so it makes it even harder to keep track.

I feel like every time I play YuGiOh, I have major questions about every aspect of the game. A�The turn structure is similar to Magic, but I just can’t seem to wrap my head around them. A�I completely forgot about my trap and spell cards because they are played face down and I had a lot of them on the field at one point in the game. A�Maybe that’s a flaw in my deck design. A�See, that’s the kind of thing that I mean. A�I can’t tell if it is my own incompetence or the design of the game. A�Oh well, I won’t let that get in my way and I will continue to play through as many times as it takes to get to the point where I feel at least competent. A�I owe it to Aiden to try.

Pokemon Going, Going, Gone?

Like most people, I got caught up in the initial hype about Pokemon Go. A�I have a text chain between me and Chris that goes on for several days about how addictive the game is. A�Articles were written illustrating how Nintendo and Niantic were able to do what doctors, politicians, and parents all over America could not. A�They got people to go outside and voluntarily walk. A�Pokemon Go was heralded as the new must have “it” app for fitness and recreation. A�Nintendo’s stock rose significantly until they reminded people that they had little to nothing to do with the app or its success.

You might argue for the case of modesty or stupidity on Nintendo’s part. A�Initially, I thought the move was stupid. A�The more I thought about it, though, I realized that it might be a misguided attempt to avoid litigation or fines. A�Why they might face fines, I can’t explain, and it sounds silly now. A�But, sometimes the rules and regulations of the finance industry confuse and enrage me. A�I suspect that corporations and their lawyers feel the same way and that’s how we ended up with America, Inc’s first CEO.

I mean, seriously, these guys might be totally reasonable and actually believe that they are doing what’s best for people. But, they always look like every bully bad guy from every 1980s movie.

I now realize that they most likely just wanted to distance themselves from the app due to the inevitable backlash. A�Because, just as quickly and easily as they hooked people on the basic concept of Pokemon in real life, they saw their user base shrink to only a fraction of its peak. A�As is often the case with the internet, some of the hate was ridiculous. A�People A�worried that Nintendo (again, not involved in the project in any significant way) was collecting all of the map and camera data from users and storing it on a server. A�What they’d then do with that data was never explicitly defined as far as I know. A�But, so goes all such paranoid conspiracy theories. A�Others just hated it because it was popular and they think that all it takes to be cool and edgy is to hate things that are popular.

After the initial buzz wore off, I started to realize what others realized. A�Like so many games that are released these days, Pokemon Go started to feel more like an open beta than a finished game. A�Not one to use Twitter very much, I even sent out a tweet about it a few months ago. A�Once you get beyond the coolness factor of “gotta catch em all” and taking funny pictures of Pokemon on your friends butt, what is there? A�The “game” is little more than a glorified combination fit bit/snapchat filter app. A�There’s just not enough to keep me coming back right now.

Some of the pictures that you can get, though, are pretty funny.

But, you might argue, Nintendo has never been one to shy away from unfinished products or shovelware. A�While that may be true, more often than not, those games were 3rd party games and Nintendo was able to distance themselves from the trainwreck. A�Besides, there’s enough fan boys like me who will forgive almost anything if there’s a new Zelda, Mario, and/or Metroid.

Pokemon is different. A�As evidenced by the stock price episode, Pokemon is as recognizable as a Nintendo franchise as their big 3. A�It isn’t quite popular enough to warrant inclusion and expand to the “Big 4” since it has been more of a niche game than the other three. A�Pokemon Go started to change that some. A�People that I’d have never considered as Pokemon fans started playing this game. A�Pokemon was on the “it” list.

Plus, the partnership between Nintendo and Game Freak has been mutually beneficial. A�No reason to potentially damage that with some half baked app that may or may not prove to have staying power. A�Better to let it sing or swim and let Niantic deal with the fall out of this one. A�That’s my current half baked theory, at least. A�We’ll see if there’s any merit to it.

Any half baked idea I come up with won’t be even half as tasty as this one.

Even so, none of that explains why they would take that stance. A�In other words, what are the problems with Pokemon Go? A�Well, I’ve already explained that it feels unfinished. A�Again, that’s not unusual. A�In this day and age of digital gaming and endless patches, more often than not games are released missing content. A�Blizzard is one of the companies that is notorious for this. A�Look, I know that we like to have fun at the expense of Blizzard around here, but I promise that this isn’t piling on. A�Inevitably, every WoW expansion gets numerous patches. A�It’s gotten to the point where the patches have themes and even names. A�It’s not a but, it’s a feature.

While I don’t necessarily like this brave new world, it is our reality and, frankly, how we need to judge some games. A�What level of incomplete are you willing to tolerate in a game? A�It seems as if the answer to that question changes over time. A�I used to forgive Blizzard for their incomplete releases and routine patches. A�Heck, I even remember that I sold that feature when explaining the game to people. A�”They give you all of this additional content in the form of regular patches for no additional charge!”

Apparently, the named patches have been a thing since the beginning. I only started noticing the names later in my WoW career.

That was certainly not my attitude about Pokemon Go. A�I greeted their announcement of updates of the game with cynicism and skepticism. A�As it turns out, my reaction was warranted. A�While Niantic talked a good game about introducing some of the more desired features (most notably trainer battles), it has taken them two updates simply to introduce “buddy” Pokemon and generation 2.

Look, I never give up on a game that I think might have potential. A�I’m flawed that way. A�Also, as far as I know, there isn’t a template for releasing this type of game. A�Maybe the missing features take a massive amount of testing before being rolled out. A�Whatever the case, I don’t think that I will be a regular in the game until those features are implemented. A�I suspect that many others feel the same.

Here Comes the Sun…Again?

(Editor’s Note: A�Remember when I said that the tutorial for Pokemon Sun and Moon was long? A�Well, it turns out that it was even longer than that! A�In fact, almost a month later, I’m still learning how ride that darn bike!)

Okay, so the last part of that note is included for humorous effect. A�These games don’t even have a bike as far as I know, but you can ride a Tauros and that’s way cooler! A�But, the tutorial of the game goes on forever. A�Thankfully, it integrates seamlessly into gameplay, so it isn’t nearly as tedious as many games make their tutorials. A�Granted, I’m an old man gamer who doesn’t even think that there should be a tutorial mode or, at the very least, it should be voluntary. A�You dang whipper snappers should read the instructions. A�Either that, or man mode the game. A�If you die because you didn’t know about a certain mechanic, you die. A�Learn from your mistakes or suffer the consequences.

If you think that’s harsh,A�all I can say is that we believe in sink or swim. A�And all of our kids (that survived) can swim.

But, we live in a time when tutorials are a mandatory part of the game. A�So, in true old guy gamer fashion, I’m going to complain about the younger generation not being able to adapt to changing circumstances while I exhibit the same tendency myself. A�When I was your age, we didn’t need tutorials to introduce us to the mechanics of games. A�Sure, you might argue that when I was your age, we only had a single joystick and button configuration, so it wasn’t like games offered that much in the way of mechanics. A�Hell, Grandpa, you could say, Pac-Man didn’t even use the button or any diagonal motion in its moves set.

Okay, now that I’m done arguing with myself, I can continue my review of Poemon Sun. A�Admittedly, I haven’t had as much time to play it recently because Quinn discovered it. A�Similar to his older brother, he stole it from me and played through a significant portion. A�However, that happened after I was able to play through the first two trials. A�He got me pretty far into the island with the volcano trial. A�In fact, he got me so far that I was disoriented when I picked up the game and started playing again.

Let’s be honest, though. A�It’s not like Pokemon gameplay is that involved, either. A�Once the initial shock of waking up miles from where you fell asleep wears off, you go back to walking in such a way that yo avoid any contact with other people because your social anxiety extends even into fiction worlds. A�Oh, is that just me?

No, Preschooler Ella, I don’t want to hear about how cute your Buneary is before burying that Pokemon in a shallow grave right before your eyes.

When Quinn wasn’t playing and doing whatever it is that five year old boys do…okay, and let’s unpack that statement a little bit before I continue. A�We converted what might have been attic space into a playroom for the kids. A�We carpeted it, painted it twice (once because Aiden wanted to use it as a bedroom), and bought an absurd amount of packing crates and shelving units to ensure that things remained in their place. A�All noble endeavors, right?

Well, the carpet is covered with all manner of dried paint and Playdoh, the paint job is chipped right down to the primer in several places, and the crates and shelves remain empty even as Lego pieces, Pokemon cards, Minecraft mini figures, and my various loot items from all sorts of loot crate type subscription boxes litter the floor and make travel through the room dangerous at best and quite often nearly fatal. A�So, what exactly is it that 5 year olds do? A�I’m not entirely sure. A�But, it would seem that everything that they do results in chaos and misery for everyone else involved.

Sure they look cute and all, but isn’t that exactly how the devil himself would attempt to initiate contact.

Luckily, Quinn’s adventures in my Sun game weren’t quite so destructive. A�Unlike real life, he understands and appreciates just how important Pokemon can be to a person, so I don’t think he wanted to upset the apple cart too much. A�A�In fact, he actually helped quite a bit and got me several new Pokemon, advanced the story almost to the point where I can attempt the next trial, and generally treated my digital life with the utmost respect.

When I finally got the game back from him and was able to play more than he was, I got back into the groove of the game. A�At the risk of sounding like a broken record or a shill, or a shill that was recorded on a broken record, I really enjoy the game. A�I mean, this shouldn’t come as a shock because I’ve been a fan of the Pokemon series since the beginning, but I haven’t played a Pokemon game seriously since Diamond. A�I’ve wanted to pick up a few that Liam got, but I didn’t want to delete his only save file.

I mean, seriously, Nintendo and Game Freak. How hard is it to add just one more save slot to these games? What am I supposed to do while I’m waiting for this technology to be available? *see above*

So, I honestly couldn’t say going in that I was going to enjoy the game. A�I can now definitively say that Pokemon is still a fun game series even if you’re 40 years old. A�I got a taste of that when Pokemon Go released, but like many mobile games these days, they knew that they could release an unfinished product and get millions of free beta testers as they worked on things behind the scenes. A�I’m not sure who to blame ultimately for this development, but I know that Blizzard has done this sort of thing for years and took it to a new level with Hearthstone. A�I honestly don’t think they do any in house testing on that game.

Unnecessary and completely unrelated Hearthstone insult. Excellent! *air guitar solo*

However, while Pokemon Go was undeniably unfinished at release, Nintendo and Game Freak have had a 2 decade track record with the Pokemon franchise on their mobile consoles. A�It shows. A�While the basic gameplay hasn’t changed, they have done some quality of life improvements that aren’t big, but they add to the game and keep you coming back for more. A�Also, the story and setting are different enough and engaging enough that you want to keep playing to advance that aspect of the game. A�Overall, I’ve been enjoying the game. A�It has accomplished several goals of getting me back into the Pokemon world and even considering buying some of the Sun and Moon cards to see what the game adds to that aspect of the world.

Proof of Evolution

(Editor’s Note: A�Poke A Man? A�Poke E Mons? A�I don’t understand any of these names.)

We are scheduled to get back on…well, schedule…with our podcasting this week with a new episode about Pokemon Sun and Moon and a look at the latest (as far as we knew at the time since I’ve recently learned that they are releasing Sun and Moon cards) card set, Evolutions. A�I already did an article a couple of weeks ago on my experience in Sun and Moon tutorial. A�However, I have to update that article because I hadn’t even made it through the whole tutorial as of the writing and I have made it considerably farther into the game. A�Look for that update in a couple of days. A�This article will focus on our recent adventures in the card game.

One of my favorite formats in Magic has become limited, as evidenced by my drafts with Chris. A�I am less fond of sealed than I am of draft, but sealed seemed like a better format to play with the boys as they have a little bit of experience from doing a Magic prerelease with me. A�There were some issues with the plan. A�First, how to compensate for the fact that Pokemon packs contain less cards than Magic packs. A�That one was easily remedied by mathing the situation. A�6*15 = 10 * x.

I wasn’t told that there was going to be a quiz today!

(Spoiler Alert: A�x = 9. A�Give yourself a gold star if you got it right.)

That brings us to the second potential dilemma. A�We needed 36 packs, which is a whole booster box. A�Okay, no problem, I buy booster boxes of Magic all the time. A�Hop onto Amazon, eBay, where ever you can get the best price for a box, and get that box. A�Wait, what’s this? A�Pokemon boxes run about 110 dollars. A�That’s odd for two reasons. A�One, that’s about 20 to 30 dollars more than I’ve ever had to pay for a booster box of Magic. A�Two, and I already mentioned this, Pokemon booster packs come with only 10 cards as opposed to 15 (well, sometimes 14 because of lands in packs), so that makes them more expensive on two levels.

I hemmed and hawed and went back and forth. A�I will pick one up because it will be fun and maybe it will get the boys interested in their Pokemon and Yu Gi Oh cards again. A�No, that’s too expensive and we already have so many cards. A�Maybe it will get me interested in Magic again. A�The return on investment is nowhere near what a Magic box potentially offers. A�The boys are only young once, we haven’t had nearly enough time to game together, and it’s only money. A�Okay, fine, you win.

I don’t care. Even as a “good dad” who makes ample time for his kids, I can’t escape the feels from this song.

I ordered the box and it sat in storage for a month or so until we were able and willing to go through with the “event”. A�Since Christine has little use for our silly games, we chose a night when she was out. A�Or, maybe she locked herself into her room to watch Grey’s Anatomy or some other such nonsense. A�Whatever her excuse, we also had to work around the fact that when you have 3 children, often you have varied interests and each night of the week becomes a battle to get everywhere that they need to be on time and in a proper mood to conduct themselves.

We finally won that battle one night a couple of weeks ago. A�I pulled out the box, we distributed the packs, and opened them. A�The first thing I noticed, and this was a huge positive for me, was that the cards mostly were the original Pokemon. A�More than that, they were the original art. A�I said to Chris that it was almost like opening an original art Ancestral Recall. A�Almost, but not quite. A�Let’s not get carried away. A�It was cool seeing all of the old cards and the original art and it took me back to when I first introduced Liam to the game, but we were only opening Charmanders and Squirtles, after all.

What have you got against Charmander? Huh, buddy? I bet you wouldn’t say that about me if I was a Charizard or a Charmeleon, would you? You just wait. You will get yours.

After opening the packs and admiring the cards that we all opened, we got to building our decks. A�Before I talk about that process, though, let me speak a little bit more about the minor treasures that we pulled from the box. A�Remember when I was a bit surprised that Pokemon cards were more expensive by the box on two levels? A�Well, one of my theories was that it might be that the game was more popular at the international level (especially in Japan where Nintendo and Pokemon are very popular) that maybe there might be some return on investment into the box through resale of singles. A�While we got some good cards and some interesting cards, none of them approached the level of the cards that I’ve been able to resell out of Magic packs.

Mind you, I’m not complaining. A�I didn’t buy the box for that reason. A�I bought it strictly to play Pokemon cards with my kids. A�Still, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a tiny bit disappointed. A�Okay, with that out of the way, let’s get into some of the specifics. A�Aiden, Liam, and I all have some experience with sealed Magic. A�I’ve done two prereleases, one with them, and many, many other rounds on xMage and a few on MTGO. A�Quinn, of course, hasn’t done any partly because he’s only 5. A�Still, he is remarkably good at building decks for Pokemon, so he more than held his own.

Having done some research on the topic before diving right in, I expected it to be more difficult to find a strategy for my deck. A�Pokemon has 9 (? Okay, I didn’t do a ton of research) types while Magic only has 5 colors. A�So, I thought that the cards would be more spread out and it would be harder to build a 2 type deck (similar to the 2 color deck that is most common in a Magic limited setting. A�In fact, it was a bit harder to fill out the deck because of there being less of each type of Pokemon. A�However, Pokemon has more colorless trainer cards that made it a little easier to get a good amount of cards in the deck. A�It made the overall power of the deck lower, but that can be fixed with time and more experience.

Ultimately I got a Charmander and Charizard, so I started with fire type. A�I also got a Squirtle and Bulbasaur, so I complemented fire with water. A�It’s not a strategy that I usually play when I play Pokemon and it showed. A�I lost 2-1 to Aiden and then got destroyed 2-0 by Liam in the second round. A�Our impromptu tournament ultimately fell apart because Quinn lost in the first round and then threw a bit of a 5 year old temper tantrum about it. A�We almost talked him into playing again, but he refused. A�So, Liam and Aiden should technically play in the finals to see who is the Lucas-Mullen Pokemon Evolutions tournament champion.

The grand prize is neither a trophy nor a cash prize. We just play for the love of the game. (Actually, we just don’t have money for such luxuries.)

Overall, the experience was a good one. A�Even though I lost fairly convincingly, I can’t wait to try it again with Pokemon Sun and Moon, which I noticed has released over at Wal*Mart. A�So, I just have to order a box, figure out a time that will work with every schedule, and try again. A�I also did a little bit of research to put together a Pokemon cube that will allow us to practice more with the sealed format. A�We will have plenty of Pokemon fun to keep us busy over the next few months.

 

Here Comes the Sun (or Moon)

(Editor’s Note: A�We’ve been meaning to do a Noob and Sons podcast on Pokemon since our old one got lost in a shuffle of computers. A�The crazy part is that it was Episode 2, just like the Episode 2 of 2 Guys Gaming with special guest Kevin was lost. A�But, we recorded yesterday and it should be live tomorrow.)

I haven’t seriously played a Pokemon game since Diamond. A�I’ve told that story enough times and repeated it in the podcast, so I won’t tell again how love is allowing your child to delete your Pokemon save game data with a legendary Pokemon on it. A�Oops, I suppose I just did. A�That’s okay, though, because Liam returned the love, took care of me, and he captured Dialga again. A�I guess we can call it even. A�I will put him back in the will.

Congratulations, Son. You get all of my nothing! And more! A�Or, maybe less!

He’s the single reason that I’m even playing this Pokemon game after so many years. A�I mentioned that I was excited about Sun and Moon and that I might want to pick up one of the games. A�I asked him which one he wanted and he told me Moon, so I settled on the fact that if I was going to get one, it would be Sun. A�I still wasn’t positive that I’d actually go through with it. A�Then, we started kicking around the ideas that we would reboot the podcast, ultimately for the new year. A�Also, Liam got Moon and he made the comment that if people want to get into or get back into Pokemon, this is a good time to do that.

I’ll let him tell you why in his own words in the podcast, but I will give you my perspective now. A�Having not played Pokemon for a few generations, this wasn’t geared as much to me, but there is an extensive tutorial mode in the game. A�Thankfully, Game Freak and Nintendo have done what Nintendo usually does and weaved the tutorial into the introduction story. A�That is the part of the game that I found most interesting. A�I both appreciated the story–always a welcome addition to any game, in my opinion–and I was surprised to see so many new and different (to me at least) Pokemon during that introduction. A�I still have no idea what they are or what they do, but I know that they exist and that’s enough in a world where “you gotta catch ’em all”.

So, the short version of it is this. A�If you’ve never played Pokemon before, you are given an extensive tutorial to familiarize yourself with the controls of the game. A�If you haven’t played in a while but still remember the ins and outs of the game, the tutorial is story driven enough that you won’t be (too) bored by having to run through things that you already know. A�Plus, some of the new Pokemon are eye catching enough that they will keep you moving through the sometimes tedious exercise. A�If you are an experienced player, like Liam, there isn’t much here to keep you engaged. A�You basically just have to power through it or hold on to the story to anchor you as you plow your way into the heart of the game.

At least they now have the technology in the games so they don’t have this interaction anymore. Professor. I’ve know you your whole life. Also, the professor: See above.

As for the rest of the game, I assume that it is mostly just more of the same with regards to Pokemon. A�I can’t say for sure because I haven’t played beyond the tutorial yet. A�However, other than adding color when that technology became available to their handhelds and continually adding new Pokemon to the games, not much has changed since the first game. A�One of the more recent advances, that has come as a result of the DS touch screen technology is that the moves can be operated by using the touch screen. A�I know that it seems like a small improvement, and it is, but it makes battling much more intuitive. A�If, when they finally implement trainer battles in Pokemon Go, they use the same technology on the phone, it will go a long way to bringing players back to that game.

I mentioned color in the previous paragraph. A�Not only has color made the game prettier, as it has with most games, but the moves list is also color coded. A�Along with the ability to use the touch screen to select moves, color coding them allows you to better match up against resistance and weakness because you can recognize the type of move by using its identifying color. A�Again, a minor improvement, but one that has a fairly big pay off. A�That’s only counting the normal campaign mode. A�It might be even more helpful when battling against other people. A�Quickness isn’t a prerequisite for Pokemon battles. A�Still, any advantage is one that is worth exploring and exploiting, if possible.

Did I seriously just say any advantage is worth exploring and exploiting? I think I might need to take a break from watching competitive Hearthstone streams. It’s affecting me in weird ways.

In closing, I can’t wait to play some more of the game. A�It is classic Pokemon gameplay and story with just enough updated to make it feel fresh and new. A�Pokemon hasn’t quite reached the pantheon of “need to buy that new console just because they’ve released a new game” like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, but I might now be convinced to buy the new Pokemon games as they are released. A�This game has also inspired me to take a look back at some of the Pokemon games of the past.

I’ve loaded up Pokemon Red a few times because Liam and I had the idea to either do a stream or a Youtube series walking through the game. A�I realize that we are probably a bit behind the times since Twitch Plays Pokemon made the game popular 3 years ago, but that’s nothing new for us. A�We mostly just play the games that we like and put out content that we’d enjoy. A�Hopefully it ends up being something that you all enjoy, too.

Gotta Collect ‘Em All

(Editor’s Note: A�Wait a minute. A�Gotta catch ’em all. A�Gotta collect ’em all. A�I sense a theme here. A�I think that this slogan might just be a clever way to sell product. A�Has anyone else caught on to this?)

I don’t remember how the card game got introduced into the family. A�It’s been such a constant over the last few years that it feels like it’s always been there. A�Every trip to Wal*Mart now ends in the card aisle after a detour to look at toys and video games. A�We visit all gaming shops that we see so that the boys can look for any new or different sets and decks. A�After a couple of months, I pull out the box of cards in a futile attempt to organize them. A�Well, that’s not entirely true. A�I successfully organize them. A�The futility comes in keeping them in order. A�All of this has been going on for as long as I can remember. A�Then again, my memory might be fuzzy and confusing my time with Magic cards and even comics, as the experience with both is much the same.

Well, leave it to the younger generation to set us old folks straight with their fancy new brains and untarnished memories. A�After a conversation with Liam during the podcast, we cleared up the mystery. A�During one of our Cape Cod camping trips, I brought an introductory Pokemon set to see if Liam would play and enjoy the card game. A�I had just started to get back into Magic, but I knew that game would be too complicated for him. A�However, he loved Pokemon, so I thought that the 30 cards would serve as a perfect introduction into these types of games. A�Boy, was I right.

One of the decks had Machop as the main Pokemon and I remember Liam walking around saying, "Ma-chop-chop-chop." He was so enthusiastic about it that he had me saying it, too.
One of the decks had Machop as the main Pokemon and I remember Liam walking around saying, “Ma-chop-chop-chop.” He was so enthusiastic about it that he had me saying it.

He loved the game and immediately wanted more cards and how to learn to play the “real” game. A�So, first I took him to Wal*Mart because they were the only local store that carried the cards. A�Ever since the comic book store went out of business here, Wal*Mart is the only bastion of nerdness in town. A�However, as soon as we were able, I too him to Greenfield Games, which was the closest actual gaming store. A�I’ve mentioned them a couple of times because we do most of our gaming there. A�Admittedly, there was also an ulterior motive to the trip. A�I had just started to get back into Magic, as I mentioned, and I wanted to see what was happening with the game. A�It obviously didn’t hurt that there were other games to put on the wish list, too.

Those games stay on the wish list, too, until the boys are older or Chris and I are able to have more game time together to branch out.
Those games stay on the wish list, too, until the boys are older or Chris and I are able to have more game time together to branch out.

Aiden and Quinn have both followed in the footsteps of their older brother. A�Aiden, especially, has gotten into collectibles in a big way. A�He most recently started collecting Minecraft miniatures and shopkins. A�Pokemon cards remain his favorite, though, I think. A�Similar to me, he pulled out the cards and started putting together a deck. A�We didn’t finish, but at least we are playing with the cards again. A�Hopefully we can finish our decks over the weekend (after I finish organizing the cards for the bazillionth time) and play some games.

I need to get back into the card game because I’m actually interested in the new expansion Breakthrough. A�Admittedly, I don’t know much about the current state of the Pokemon card game and I know next to nothing about the expansion, but they hooked me with this one. A�I’m sure that it is all a marketing gimmick. A�Still, the idea of two worlds, technology and nature, is interesting and the mind boggles with what they can do with that. A�That answer is probably nothing. A�I am an eternal optimist, though, and this optimism has yet to be extinguished.

Hopefully Santa brings some intro decks for the set and we can see if the hype is real. A�Naturally, I hope that it is. A�I haven’t played any magic except for some of the new BFZ expansion in Duels. A�I’ve been filling the void with Hearthstone, as I often do, but I usually hate (and I mean HATE) playing that game. A�Therefore, I need a card game that doesn’t make me want to kick kittens when I play it.

Don't worry little guy. No actual kittens are harmed when I play Hearthstone. Only my dignity.
Don’t worry little guy. No actual kittens are harmed when I play Hearthstone. Only my dignity.

So, let’s explore Pokemon Breakthrough a bit more to see if it can occupy me or if I have to go make nice with Magic again. A�The set is an off shoot of the X/Y series, meaning that it takes place in the Kalos region. A�I haven’t had a chance to play the video games yet for X/Y because Liam and Aiden both have a save game on their cartridge and, well, there’s still only one per. A�I think I can find both games for $40 total, so I will try them soon.

Back to the cards. A�We haven’t ever been in Kalos in the card game other than the most recent expansions. A�This is the 2nd or 3rd card game in the X/Y series because no new video games have been released since that one. A�That, alone, might mean that they push the envelope a little bit more with this set. A�Again, there’s no guarantees. A�Magic seems to have backed off a bit on the power level with the new Zendikar, which sounds weird when you’re talking about Eldrazi. A�Nevertheless, this set is much lower level than even Origins and that was a huge step back. A�Not knowing enough about the card game, I don’t know if they need to make a similar adjustment in Pokemon. A�I guess we will find out soon enough.

C'mon, Santa, bring us the goodies!
C’mon, Santa, bring us the goodies!

Gonna Catch ’em All! (Eventually? Maybe?)

(Note: A�Gotta catch ’em all? A�Yeah, right. A�I couldn’t catch ’em all when there were only 150 of ’em. A�I have no chance at this point.)

On this month’s Noob and Sons (recorded over the weekend and most likely to be posted later in the week), we dedicated the whole show to Pokemon. A�The crazy little creatures are near and dear to me. A�So much so that, for some reason, A�I remember the first time I encountered them. A�Having grown up with video games, I had heard of Pokemon, but never played the games. A�One day while working at KMart, I received a call from a woman. A�I assume she was a mom trying desperately to understand this thing called Pokemon that was most likely in response to a request by her son to get him one of the games for Christmas. A�I calmly explained to her what I knew of the relatively new phenomenon.

I don’t, however, remember how I got into the games. A�I do know that I have played since the first generation. A�I chose red over blue at the time and I’m not sure why. A�Blue is my favorite color and I was too ignorant at the time to know anything about exclusives for each version. A�Maybe that’s the only version that the local Toys (backwards) R Us (or Babbages, remember that place?) had at the time and I thought that I’d eventually go back for Blue.

Used to go to this place all the time at the Millcreek Mall, along with McDonalds, the movie theater, and the arcade.  Don't hate me because I'm an OG.
Used to go to this place all the time at the Millcreek Mall, along with McDonalds, the movie theater, and the arcade. Don’t hate me because I’m an OG.

I’m not entirely sure, either, why I didn’t get Blue. A�I remember enjoying Red because it was similar to one of my favorite games at the time, Final Fantasy. A�Maybe I lived under the delusion that I’d be able to trade for the missing Pokemon. A�Perhaps my gaming budget simply went to other games as I eventually shifted my short attention span away from Pikachu and Co. A�Just another in a long line of good intentions gone bad.

I did eventually tire of fighting the same Pokemon, battling trainer after trainer, and not being as interested in the story as the other games like Final Fantasy. A�Also, it was much more fun for my brothers and me to blow each other up in Mutant League Football than to play this single player game running around and trying to catch ’em all. A�So, I moved on to other games and mostly forgot all about Pokemon for a few years.

The next game that I remember playing isn’t even a traditional Pokemon game. A�A explanation: A�One of my favorite consoles of all time was the Game Boy Advance. A�I still have one that I borrowed from a friend so that Liam could play some GBA games that he wanted for Christmas. A�Thankfully, this game was among them. A�The next (and probably my favorite) Pokemon themed game that I played was Pokemon Pinball.

At the time, I worked overnights and had a lot of free time. A�I wrote a ton. A�Between that job and my time spent unemployed, I was able to finish my two published books. A�When I wasn’t writing, I also played a ton of Pokemon Pinball. A�I didn’t “catch ’em all” as the saying goes, but I came closer than I ever did in the traditional games. A�Now that I have a way to play again, I’ll try to catch the ones that I missed.

Heck, I even caught Numel!  That's gotta count for something, right?
Gotta catch ’em all. Even, Numel, for some reason.

After putting away Pinball, I stopped for so long that I actually forgot that Pokemon existed. A�It became one of those “games of my youth” that I never imagined would come back into my life. A�Then, suddenly and (maybe) inexplicably, I started looking at Diamond and Pearl. A�This time I knew about version exclusives, so I bought Diamond for Dialga. A�I actually caught the legendary Pokemon, too. A�Sadly, I have no proof and had to give up my save file.

That last paragraph might need some explanation. A�I say that the return of Pokemon may have been inexplicable. A�That might be true. A�I’m not entirely sure of the timeline. A�It might also have been that Liam was born and I knew from an early age that I was going to try to get my kids into gaming. A�While that gives me an in home playgroup, there are drawbacks. A�I surrendered my Diamond game to Liam once he learned about video games and Pokemon. A�Since they game has only one save file (still, WTF, Nintendo and Game Freak), there went all the effort to get Dialga. A�Such is life, love, and family. A�That was also the last time that I could consider the DS to be mine alone. A�From that point forward, Liam more or less claimed it for himself.

I don't have Dialga anymore, but that Numel more than makes up for it, amirite?
I don’t have Dialga anymore, but that Numel more than makes up for it, amirite?

I have not played any of the newer traditional Pokemon RPGs, but I have kept an eye on them. A�Liam also keeps me updated as to the new developments in the series. A�While I’d like to see for my self, I’m actually more excited and interested in the other games being made. A�The first I learned about was Pokken Tournament.

Like most these days, Facebook introduced me to the game. A�I saw a video of some gameplay, showed it to Liam and Aiden, and then went digging for more information. A�I haven’t since searched, so much of my info might be outdated. A�Hey, what’s one of my sayings? A�Ignorance is bliss and sort of my thing on this page.

The game is being co-developed by Nintendo and the makers of Tekken to be A�clone of that popular fighting game. A�I have played Tekken, but I wouldn’t consider myself a fan. A�I’d much rather play Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, or Marvel vs. Capcom. A�Still, the addition of Pokemon makes the game intriguing. A�My main complaint about Tekken is the lack of special moves like fireballs and “get over here” spears. A�Pokemon breath fire and shoot lightning. A�Pokken could be like a mix between Tekken and MK, but for kids. A�That’s awesome.

That’s not the only new concept game four our favorite pocket monsters. A�Pokemon Go, an “augmented reality” app for phones and tablets, promises to turn the world around you into a Pokemon filled wonderland. A�As I understand, you “search” with the phone to “find” hidden Pokemon. A�The types of Pokemon depend on your surroundings and maybe even the season. A�What did I tell you? A�Ignorance is bliss because you never know what to expect.

This app, if it works the way that I hope it will, has the potential to suck any free time and money that I might have left. A�Imagine walking down the street or hiking in the woods and getting a push notification that one of the Pokemon that has eluded you is close. A�How cool would it be to lock eyes with that blue eyed stranger on the bus or train, open your app, swipe right, and battle one another for Pokemon trainer supremacy? A�I might try Pokken tournament, but I can’t wait for this thing and will most likely be one of the crazy ones crashing the server on day one trying to download it.

Who knew that such a simple concept of tiny monsters with extraordinary abilities would have such influence and staying power? A�Over the last 20+ years, there have been toys and stuffed animals, animated TV shows and movies, video and card games, and the franchise shows no indication of slowing down. A�The podcast has me playing the old games again, the new expansion has me more excited about the card game than Magic, and I’m hopeful for what is coming next.