Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Thought to Chew: The Hidden Genius of 'Join Avenue'

Third Pokemon post in a row, here we go.
If it hasn't already been established over the course of this month, I hate Pokemon Platinum and I love Black 2/White 2.
There's just so much to like about them. They elevated everything and every tiny little speck that makes up the game is, to me, perfect. They managed to take the first games and, using the same world, re-adjust it to fit a new storyline instead of making a shameless resuscitation. 
Today I'll be talking about one of those small little details that I think makes the game infinitely better: Join Avenue.
In the game, you are for some unknown reason bestowed with a gigantic shopping avenue. Why? Who knows. Apparently it was an idea destined for brilliance, I don't know. Yes, obtaining it seems oddly forced in that it doesn't make much sense why some random kid is given responsibility over a shopping venue by a business magnate who somehow doesn't object to you calling it "Poliswag" and having people scream, "Suh, dude."
That doesn't matter, though, because you get given one of the most enjoyable parts of the game. Everyday, people come through and you can either recruit their help to open a shop or recommend them to a shop to give it points, allowing it to level up an widen its selection.
What's nice is that you are rewarded greatly through hard work. For instance, opening a Market enables you to buy bulk amounts of items such as Max Repel cheaply, and later you can obtain Max Revives and Ethers for cheap as well. Opening an Antique gives you what is essentially a mystery bag from which you can win items ranging from gold Nuggets to evolution stones. Opening a Florist allows you to buy rare berries which can be sold for 30,000 a piece.
It's a smorgasbord of useful items everyday, and it makes the game significantly easier. Other games have always struggled with providing things, but in this game, through Join Avenue and Entralink (that's for another day), you can easily obtain some of the most coveted items in the game. While previously there wasn't much balance in that you could, for instance, not be able to complete your Pokedex out of only being supplied one evolutionary stone, now there's an excess of them, and while it might seem to de-value them, it feels as if you actually earned them.
Plus, the game balances out those nice victories by also giving you a crap-ton of excess. You'll end up accumulating hundreds of Berry Juices and Hard Stones, so at least there's some sense of balance between reward and tedium. Seriously, you will grow to hate them.
Part of my bias stems from my natural item hoarding nature, I suppose. I always collected items that I would never use just for the sake of having them. I mean, who can resist when Pokemon has so many weird items that serve essentially no purpose, like the coveted Lucky Punch and Stick? They designed them to get my collector senses tingling, and it worked, and as such, Join Avenue succeeds greatly on that level.
Again, this is only a small reason why I love the game, so expect even more as time goes on. In the meantime, though, I recommend re-playing. Seriously, I love this game, perhaps unhealthily so.

For the last A Thought to Chew on Pokemon Platinum, CLICK HERE.
For the last Interview with a Twitter spambot, CLICK HERE.
A new interview should be en route.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Thought to Chew: Why Platinum Fails as a Sequel, Let Alone a Game

Last week I complained a ton about how much I hated Pokemon Pearl and Diamond, but if there's one Pokemon game I hate more than them, it's definitely Platinum.
Usually, Pokemon sequels do an excellent job. Pokemon Emerald is often heralded as the definitive Pokemon game, whereas Pokemon Black 2/White 2 are games I've sunk months into and stand out as my personal favorites. Platinum, however, is to me a complete mess, and while I could leave it at that, I might as well try to explain why I loathe it so.
For one thing, the game is almost completely identical to its predecessors. Like, seriously. Compare the amount of work Platinum did to that of B2W2: the latter redid the entire Pokedex, added a ton of new places (including Join Avenue and Hidden Grottoes), changed the plot, and tampered with the order in which the game is completed whereas the former is literally the exact same game save the most pointless of additions-I mean, it's not a good game if the first noticeable difference is that the starting town now has snow in the corner. It's not even lazy design- it defies the basic definition of lazy and transcends into the unfathomable.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Thought to Chew: Why I Think Pokemon Diamond and Pearl Were Bad

Jesus, it's been a while, but y'know what? It's good to be back at writing why I started this pathetic blog in the first place.
And that is video games.
And that would obviously mean that I think highly of them. On a theoretical level, at least. But that doesn't mean I like all of them, so I write about things to try to get my point across.
Probably because I'm a cynic.
Regardless, here's one of those articles. Now, what to tackle?
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. Oh nooooo.

Friday, April 1, 2016

INTERVIEW: kikibot and the Art of the Non Sequitur

First thing worth getting out of the way: This is an account owned by Skrillbug, whom, if you didn't know, is an amazing artist who does a lot of cute comic strips and sketches.
Secondly, this is NOT an interview with Skrillbug. This is an interview with her spambot, @kiki_ebooks. I just responded to one of the tweets, and was surprised that it actually responded back. Immediately. So I decided to do my first (and probably not last) real-time interview. With a robot.
Thirdly, this is a pseudo-April Fool's post. But... only kind of. It's not a real person, but it IS an interview nonetheless.
Fourthly, because of the fact that it's a spambot, there's no pictures I can use other than the profile picture, so... this post will probably be dotted with a ton of disjointed pictures to keep the experience enthralling. Or none at all.
Onwards!

Impersonal List: Top 12 Places to Be In in Mario Kart

Who doesn't like Mario Kart? I mean, it's a video game that you play.
Pretty cool, right?
So there's 12 places. Which is the best place? Well here at Watchmojo we outdid ourselves again.
Spoiler alert: It's not that hard, dummy.