Tag Archives: Pokemon

Pokemon Tabletop United RPG First Look

Pokemon Tabletop United RPG first look? Yes, as usual, I’m behind the times. It looks like the game was a labor of love by some fans and they’ve stopped updating and supporting it. That’s fine. From just a quick perusal of the rulebooks and “start here” message, it seems like they actually got a solid game put together.

Oh, you mean you weren’t aware that there was a Pokemon tabletop RPG? If I’m being honest, neither did I. After I decided to make this Pokemon week, I went searching for one. I’m surprised that WotC hasn’t jumped on something. Maybe they just own the rights to the TCG and can’t develop beyond that. Eh, a quick Google search would probably turn up an answer.

That quick Google search turned up that the exactly own the patent to the CCG and therefore, probably can’t develop an RPG. It’s almost like I know what I’m talking about.

As with my D&D Ravnica article, I’m only going to go through some of the lore and the character creation process. It’s been too nice here after being locked up for too long to sit around playing an hours long session of an RPG lately. I’m sure we will end up playing it at some point at least with Liam and Quinn because they’re both big Pokemon fans. And, there has to be a rainy day or two at some point over the next few months, right?

The Great

In Depth – To be perfectly honest, it might be a little too in depth. But, more on that later. I’m impressed that this is simply a labor of love by fans of Pokemon. There is just so much information in this game. Also, it is presented in a professional way. I was excited to discover the game. After reading through some materials, I can’t wait to play an actual game to see if it lives up to my hype.

This is an excerpt from the Character Creation chapter. Doesn’t that look like something WotC could have released. I want to play this game!

Well Integrated – Similar to the Ravnica book that I reviewed previously, it would have been easy for them to just slap the Pokemon name on an already established RPG and call it a day. Of course, it would have been much more disappointing if a big company like WotC had done that. I would have forgiven these guys for taking shortcuts in developing their Pokemon game. But they didn’t and bully on them!

The Good

Good Walkthrough – In keeping with the praise, they have a good walkthrough to help in creating a character. There are explanations, examples, and a thorough step by step process. Somebody should pick this game up and continue to develop it. Yes, I realize I’m somebody. Who knows, maybe I will.

From the looks of it, I either need to become a lady or grow a beard and get some sweet looking glasses.

Supplements – In addition to the main DM/Player’s Guide, there are 3 supplementary books. And that’s not even including the Alola Pokedex that is included. One deals with legendary Pokemon. One introduces sci-fi elements. The last fleshes out the supernatural. Did I mention that I got all of this for free? Man, I love the internet sometimes.

The Decent

Errata – There is also errata for the game based on some play testing. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but there can be such a thing as too much information. It’s a lot to take in initially. Yes, there is always the RPG rule of forgetting things that you don’t want to use. Even so, a new player is sure to be overwhelmed at this point.

Too In Depth? – As I mentioned earlier and, following up on that last point, the game might be a bit too in depth. I don’t think that it is. However, I am a 30 year veteran of RPGs. I know how to navigate the landscape. For new players, like Chris, all of the information is overwhelming. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that the game never took off and isn’t being updated anymore.

Again, I don’t think so. But, a former student once compared me to Mewtwo, so I’m pretty much a super genius.

The Verdict

Thanks for reading my Pokemon Tabletop United RPG First Look. I never did get around to making a character, but I surely will over the next few weeks. Then, when we get a rainy day, maybe we can play some D&D and this game. I’ll be back with a more in depth review after that. If you’ve played the game and want to let me know how it went, email, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter us!

PokeMon Shield Review (Finally!)

Introduction

I’m probably the last person in the world to write a Pokemon Shield Review. I did a first impressions article back before the game came out. Then, my son got the game (because he’s a huge Pokemon fan and always buys the games), but I never played it. Since this week has become Pokemon week, I figured why not play the game and write my review finally.

It could be worse, I suppose. I could be the literal last man on earth.

Besides, it’s not like the article isn’t topical. As I was trying to figure out how to load the game without screwing up Liam’s save file, I saw that they’re coming out with an expansion for the game. It’s releasing next month. So, you might get Pokemon week two months in a row! I mean, after the news I just got, we are going to do Minecraft twice this month, so anything’s possible!

The Great

Hot Keys – Since I only play the games once every other generation or so (though I have played the last two releases), I’m not sure when this became a thing. However, it is quite the quality of life improvement. I noticed as I was battling once that the Pokeball came up as a hotkey of the “X” button. Again, not a big deal, but that means that you can throw a Pokeball without having to navigate through the menu. Great addition. I will have to look to see if you can expand that capability to other things like potions.

Graphics! – That’s exactly how I wrote it in my notes. I knew there was a reason that they moved the Pokemon series to the Switch. I mean, besides the obvious of trying to sell more consoles. The graphics on this game are like nothing I’ve ever seen in a Pokemon game before. I mean, Sun and Moon were good, but this is great. It’s like you are playing a cartoon. I’m blown away.

I mean, I’m not usually a graphics guy, but it’s impressive what they can do these days.

The Good

Story – Those of you who know me at all know that about 90% of the reason that I play games is for the story. Pokemon games aren’t exactly know for their strong stories, but they are consistent, at least. Honestly, this one is pretty decent. Maybe not as fun as Sun and Moon, but it will keep me coming back to play the game.

So Many Pokemon: I’m also on record as being a grumpy old man gamer who wants all these Pokemon to get off my lawn. However, I’ve eased on that stance a bit and I quite enjoy there being so many pocket monsters. It means I’ll never in a lifetime “catch em all”. However, that was always the reality.

I mean, who has time to chase down all 151?

The Decent

Wild Area – Maybe I’m proceeding through the game too quickly, but it feels like this came very early. There is just little warning for what you will potentially face in the area. Sure, they tell you (more or less) to stay away from the glowing parts, but I could figure that out myself. The thing that really blew me away was the overpowered Pokemon wandering around. The first one I tried to fight and got destroyed. The second I ran into accidentally. I mean, they’re easily avoided, but that was a rude awakening.

The Music – There should be some nostalgia factor to this and I guess there is. What I should have said is the battle music. It’s loud and grating and repetitive. I mean, my youngest likes it and he’s the target audience, so they must be doing something right. I just have to mute the whole game because of it. Maybe it’s good that they haven’t gone to voice actors since people like me just mute the game.

Visual representation of the music.

The Verdict

Thanks for taking the time to read my Pokemon Shield review. Overall, the game is a lot of fun and I’ll be playing it quite a bit in between the new Mortal Kombat story and Minecraft dungeons over the next couple of weeks. Maybe I’ll revisit after that to see if it is still fun. However, both of my kids are still playing it 6 months later, so that seems like a rousing endorsement. Go catch em all!

Pokemon Rebel Clash VMAX Card Review

Introduction

Thanks for reading my Pokemon Rebel Clash VMAX card review. It has been a while since we’ve had any Pokemon content on the page and that was an article that ultimately never led anywhere. I’m not even sure if I have the cube that I started. Man, I am the king of unfinished projects. Now, though, as has been mentioned, I seemingly have all the time in the world. So, maybe it’s time to start finishing some things.

Then again, JJ Abrams has made a career out of not finishing things.

In the meantime, I noticed that a new Pokemon expansion came out at the beginning of the month. Our Pokemon TCG playing is intermittent. Quinn and I played a game about a month ago that I thought might lead to more consistent games. It didn’t. I’m not entirely sure why.

He seemed like he had fun playing the game and event went to tweak his deck to play again. Then, we didn’t. I mean, don’t feel sorry for us or anything. We’ve played dumb amounts of Minecraft and Lego Ninjago Movie video game. Maybe I should have made this week Lego week instead of Pokemon. Oh well, it is what it is and the new Pokemon set looks neat.

A Note about my Rating System

I don’t usually rate cards, but it felt like the correct way to analyze this set. Since I’m choosing just each VMAX Pokemon from the set, giving them a rating seems like the appropriate way to handle it. 1-10 always feels arbitrarily large and I’ve always been told not to have a “middle rating”. Therefore, I will rate them 1 Pokecoin (I’d never play) to 4 Pokecoins (I’d absolutely play).

Grass Energy (Rillaboom VMAX)

I’m not sure what they’re trying to do with this card. Having not played Pokemon TCG very much recently, I don’t know what the individual energy strategies are. By the looks of it, grass has become stompy. If so, this is a pretty stompy creature for sure. Even so, I’d only give this 2 Pokecoins.

Fire Energy (Cinderace VMAX)

I really like this creature. There’s not much energy investment in either ability. The first one is nice because it might make your opponent think twice about using a big attack. And, the second one burns the opposing Pokemon, which can go a long way to doing some damage over time. I give this one 4 Pokecoins.

Water Energy (Inteleon VMAX)

This is another nice one. With the first attack, you can keep bouncing energy from the opponent’s Pokemon to prevent them from attacking. Or, with the second one, you can snipe weak benched Pokemon and collect prize cards pretty quickly. This guy gets 3 Pokecoins.

Toxicitry VMAX

This guy only has one attack and it is a bit conditional. I mean, 160 is nothing to sneeze at and 240 is overkill in most cases. Even so, this one just doesn’t impress me. I had given the grass guy a 1, but I amended that. This is the new standard for 1 Pokecoin.

Psychic Energy (Dragapult VMAX)

I find this Pokemon intriguing, but not particularly good. Usually, in Magic the Gathering, that means that I’m going to try to find a way to use the card. It could be a one in a million combo that I’ll never actually pull off unless I’m goldfishing, but I’m gonna push that combo. This guy gets 3 Pokecoins.

Dark Energy (Malamar VMAX)

In the past, I’ve been a huge dark energy fan. Usually, I make decks that are dark and psychic. I was looking forward to the dark VMAX Pokemon. I should have tempered my expectations. This card is garbage. If I could, I’d give this one negative Pokecoins. Moving on.

Metal Energy (Copperajah VMAX)

The first attack is decent against beefy basic Pokemon. Otherwise, it’s not bad. The second attack has a huge energy investment, but 240 damage is pretty good. Overall, not a great card, but not a terrible one. If I left myself the wiggle room of a middle rating, I’d give this one that. Since I’d be more likely to not play it than play it, I have to give it 2 Pokecoins. See, that’s why you don’t give a middle rating. Then, you actually have to think about your ratings.

The Verdict

Pokemon has always been my second favorite collectible card game. And, if I’m being honest, it’s pretty far down there. Magic the Gathering is, by far, my favorite and the others are sort of jumbled together in 2nd place. This Pokemon Rebel Clash VMAX card review hasn’t changed my mind much. I’m not going to drop the money on a booster box of the set or anything. I might pick up a deck or some packs, so I guess it puts it firmly in the 2nd place for right now.

Note: All images courtesy of Pokecollector.com. I found them searching for spoilers on the Google machine. Hope they aren’t a litigious bunch!

Detective Pikachu Review

Introduction

It would seem that our “week” of Pokemon coverage has expanded into weeks and might even surpass a month once all is said and done. If you’re okay with it, I’m okay with it. I’m just glad to be covering gaming content again on the gaming web page. That’s why it is exciting to be covering Detective Pikachu.

Wait, what’s this? It’s a movie? There’s a Pokemon movie and it’s not the one where Ash is perpetually 8 years old? I’m going to steal from my own Facebook page and say, “What even is this?” Well, the kids like Pokemon and it’s raining out. Might as well give this a chance.

The Great (There’s quite a bit to enjoy about Detective Pikachu)

Pokemon are real – If that statement sounds weird, that’s because it is. I mean, who among us didn’t want to live in a place where Pokemon are real at least once in our young lives. Well, technically not me because I was well into high school when Pokemon released, but you get the point. How cool would it be to live in a world with Pokemon.

Uh, on second thought, that might not be so great. I could make a dirty joke here about it being good for certain people, but it’s a family page and it sort of writes itself, so if you need that humor, have at it.

Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu – Wait, that voice is familiar. Is that…Deadpool? Yes, true believers, your favorite merc with a mouth is voicing Pikachu for the movie. My wife, who is hopelessly in love with him, said, “Oh, I’ll stick around if he’s in it.” Well, jokes on you, Missy, it was just his voice! Ha! Take that! Jealous? Who’s jealous? Deadpool wasn’t even that good.

Easter Eggs – There are so many references to the games that I lost count very early in the movie. Obviously, the kids (especially Quinn, but Aiden, too) were name checking every Pokemon that showed up. However, if you’ve ever played a Pokemon game, chances are that you’d have recognized many of the references in this movie.

Mewtwo! – Mewtwo has been my favorite Pokemon since I learned about the existence of him as the mythical 150th Pokemon. Sure, I didn’t include him in my cube, but that’s more a function of simply copying something that already existed. Perhaps my next swing at a cube will involve Mewtwo. You know what. It most certainly will.

The Good (As you might expect, a movie about Pokemon in the real world is a bit uneven)

Funny – There was more than one part where we were all (minus my wife who was probably just imagining Pikachu in a Speedo) laughing hysterically. The movie is funny and not just in an inside joke way, either. Of course, there are the jokes that only Pokemon fans will get, but the movie does attempt to appeal to a broader audience.

I mean, they picked the most recognizable Pokemon as the star, after all.

The Decent (What even is Detective Pikachu?)

Weird Story – While I appreciate that they went away from the perpetually 8 years old Ash as the protagonist, I’m not entirely sure where the inspiration for this story came from. I do appreciate that the tongue in cheek film noir vibe that the movie is trying to emulate. But, it’s just so weird.

Audience? – Speaking of weird, I’m not sure who the target audience is for the movie. Obviously, you would think kids and that would make sense. However, I remember when the movie came out that some people were saying the movie most definitely wasn’t geared to kids. That might be true but it made me think that it would be more “adult”. But, it isn’t. It’s in this in between mode that adds even more weird to the proceedings.

The Verdict (Detective Pikachu is mostly harmless)

The kids enjoyed the movie. You could tell by the way that they name checked the various Pokemon and Liam especially was enamored with the region that was the movie’s setting. Christine didn’t like it. She was not shy about saying to Quinn, “No” when he asked if she liked the movie.

I was busy cooking a turkey dinner during the movie so I can’t say definitively if I liked it or not. You might expect that I didn’t because I kept referring to it as “weird”, but that’s not entirely true. I liked what I saw of the movie and I’d like a second chance to see if I can figure it out.

Building a Pokemon Cube Part 1.5 (of 2)

Introduction

What do you mean Building a Pokemon Cube Part 1.5? In my previous entry into the building a Pokemon cube series, I highlighted the cube I was going to try to build. Also, I reported that I am only 50% of the way done in building the cube. If you thought that nothing would come of this experiment, you are partially right.

Progress

While I haven’t made any progress in obtaining more cards, I have been thinking about how to add the cards. I actually read reddit, against my better judgement, to see what the creator of the cube I picked did to get the cards.

That article provided a lot of helpful information. However, it was almost an overload of information. They give several places to buy the cards. I need to parse that information better. Then again, I’m sure I do what I always do and just order from the place that I know best, no matter the cost.

So, there isn’t much of an update on the construction of the cube. However, know that I haven’t given up on the project just yet. I need to do some research for card prices. Once that is taken care of, it’s just a matter of actually purchasing those cards.

I don’t think that the purchase will happen this weekend. The last article, I said that I wanted to get it done this past weekend. That obviously didn’t happen. I don’t get a check from my new job until next week. So, the earliest that it might happen is next weekend.

Stay Tuned…

Thanks for reading the Building a Pokemon Cube Part 1.5 article. I promise you that this won’t all be in vain. It might not happen until the game is released in November, but I assure you that it will happen. I am fully committed to making this web page active and fun again. If you have any ideas, be sure to let me know.

First Impressions Pokemon Sword/Shield

Introduction

Thanks for reading my “First Impressions Pokemon Sword/Shield” article. It’s been a while since I’ve played a Pokemon video game other than Pokemon Go. The last one that I purchased was Pokemon Sun and I only played through the first island on that one before Quinn took it over from me and probably beat the game. No, I just checked with him and he hasn’t beaten it because “something, something the Tapus”. I have no idea what that even means.

However, since there’s a new Pokemon game coming to the Switch (?!, more on that in a bit), I thought this would be a good time to focus on Pokemon for a couple of weeks as a preview to the game. I hope to even record a podcast with at least Liam to preview the game as he probably knows more about it than I do. I did do a bit of research on Bulbapedia about the game, so I’ll give some of my impressions in this article.

Notable Notes

Nintendo Switch: The first thing that I noticed and surprised me is that the game is coming on to the Switch. Now that I think about it, Liam probably told me this at some point. It’s just not information that I internalized. However, this changes everything. I thought it would be a 3DS game again and we have two 3DS systems. We only have one Switch. There’s going be a battle daily for who gets to play their Pokemon game come November.

Also, Nintendo, can we finally get multiple save slots?

Gyms are back: So, guys, apparently gyms are back? I never played either of the Let’s Go games. I found out that they were a different design from traditional games. Granted, I should have known by the name and the fact that Nintendo likes to live by the motto, “If it’s not broke, let’s break it and see if it makes it better. If not, we can always go back to the original and nobody will fault us for our decision to break this thing they loved.” And, it works every single time for them.

Battling is back: Hey guys, battling is back in the game, too. The Let’s Go series worked more like Pokemon Go where you encounter Pokemon and can only catch them. Now, it will be like the older games where you randomly encounter and battle Pokemon. I mean, that just makes sense. Since battling is 99% of the game, I don’t understand the decision use Pokemon Go encounters with the main series. But, like I said, we will forgive them come release.

Me too, Kid. Me too.

New Evolutions: I know a bit about the new types of evolutions that they’ve been releasing in the games. Mostly, I only know them from the card game. Again, as I mentioned in my first cube article, we don’t play the card game much, either. However, I do watch the stream and have seen cards with GX and such on them. I don’t know how it affects game play in the video game. Perhaps Liam will enlighten me when we sit down to record.

The Verdict

I’m always excited when a new Pokemon game releases. I rarely ever play them, but it is one of the series that I’ve been interested in since the beginning. My children have helped to keep me interested in the game by collecting cards and playing themselves. I’m a little worried about the switch to the, uh, Switch. But, Nintendo usually knows what they are doing. And, who knows, they might even port it to the 3DS at some point in time. I doubt that will actually happen now that I given it some consideration. They seem to be consolidating so that the Switch is their only console. Oh well, I can dream.

However, I am excited about the games. I usually buy the one that Liam doesn’t. Therefore, I’ll have more information about that during the podcast. Thanks for reading my “First Impressions Sword/Shield” article. Let us know what you think about the new games and if you’re planning to buy one of them in November.

As long as the professor asks me if I’m a boy or a girl, I’m sold.

Building a Pokemon Cube Part 1 (of 2)

Introduction (BUILDING A POKEMON CUBE PART 1)

Why am I writing this building a Pokemon Cube Part 1 article? There’s a new Pokemon game coming out this year. Well, technically, there are two, but you get my point. As a result, I wanted to do some preview content this month. Then, in November, when the game releases, we can revisit and give some first impressions of the game.

In between in football (and futbol) season and Halloween. After is December and Christmas. We have plenty of content planned for the rest of the year. Perhaps, at long last, we will be able to get this page back on track for the new year.

None of that answers the original question. Well, to begin this flurry of content, I have decided to put together a Pokemon cube for me and the boys to draft once or twice. Bear in mind that none of us have played the Pokemon trading card game for several months. Mostly, we just collect the cards. However, with the new video games coming out, it seemed like the perfect time to give the card game a try again.

What is a Cube?

Not to get technical, but it is a 3 dimensional shape with six square faces.

You might be wondering exactly what a cube is. I, too, wondered this several years ago when I first got into Magic the Gathering Online and saw cube events. The concept intrigued me so much that I even played a few. Now, I’m not going to go into a huge explanation. There are plenty of resources out there to learn about cubes and why they might interest a father and his three sons who have a couple thousand Pokemon cards lying around in their playroom. This page is the first one, for example, that comes up when you ask the Google machine about Pokemon cubes.

Why a Pokemon Cube?

Okay, this is more like it. The question is more personal and it requires a personal answer. Well, first, I wanted something to kick off our Pokemon coverage this month. Second, the boys and I got it in our heads to organize the Pokemon cards again. All of them are older, so it is more likely that they will stay organized this time instead of being thrown all across the floor.

Then again, both Chris and I have been known to throw our cards on the table and floor and we are both considerably older than my children, so this could easily become commonplace in our house. Except with Pokemon cards instead of playing cards. Use your imagination.

As I was organizing the cards alphabetically, I thought several times, “Wow, we have a ton of Pokemon cards.” I wonder if we have the right amount and variety of cards to make a workable cube. Like I said, I’ve been interested in the concept since those days on MTGO. More than once I’ve texted Chris that I want to put together a Magic cube. However, the ones I like to play are Legacy cubes and I can’t afford half of those cards.

Well, I thought, we have a heck of a lot of Pokemon cards and I’m not predisposed to any particular format in the game, so maybe I can just put together a starter cube for me and the boys to get our Pokemon coverage started. I found just such a cube here. Well actually, I found it on reddit via the Google machine.

Why is this article about building and not playing?

What an astute and timely question. Have you been reading my notes? (Actually that won’t help as I only jotted down a few notes for the first couple of paragraphs. Wait, are you reading my mind? Guess it’s time to work on my top secret mind shield exercises. I knew paranoia would pay off for me eventually.) However you came up with that question, it is relevant to the discussion and deserves a response.

As I went through the list and compared to the cards I have, I only got to maybe 50% of the list and not all of the cards matched exactly. Also, I just started a new job and haven’t gotten a paycheck yet. As a result of both of these, I am still in the process of putting the cube together. Hopefully, I can order the cards that I’m missing over the weekend and finish assembling the cube for some drafts next week.

Is this it?

While I can understand your doubt that anything will ever come from this building a Pokemon Cube Part 1 article, I will hopefully prove you wrong. Yes, it’s true that I often go missing for weeks and even months at a time, but I’m committed to using the free time that my new job gives me to bring this page back to some prominence. Again, I hope that you will join me on the journey into 2020 and beyond. Stay tuned for the update!

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.