I haven’t mentioned Pokémon much on this blog but it’s actually the series I’ve stuck with the longest. I remember playing Pokémon Red a long long time ago with my sister and it’s been our tradition to play each mainline game together after trading starters. For me, Pokémon is a nostalgic treat, a comfort blanket that’s easy to play and instantly gratifying. And so, when I saw this great Tag Post celebrating Pokémon’s 25th Anniversary over at McKenna Talks About Games, I knew I had to participate! This is my first time participating in a wider community challenge, so I hope it’s alright to jump in (and please let me know if I break any unwritten etiquette rules!)
Anyway, let’s get started with the questions!
What is your favorite Pokémon?
This is an iconic one – it’s Gengar! Something about the purple ghoul’s toothy grin and rotund form appeals to me in a creepy-cute way. I watched the OG Pokémon anime in the late 90s and I still remember the Saffron City episodes – you know, where Sabrina turns the gang into dolls, Ash looks for a ghost Pokémon, inadvertently ‘dies’ and gets pranked by the mischievous Ghastly line. I’ve been enamored by the tricksters since then. Along with Gengar’s wide utility and the urban myths about him (like being a wicked doppelganger of Clefable), he’d be an awesome pal to journey with. I even have two Gengar cushions in honour of his ghastliness!
What’s your favorite Pokémon game?
It’s a toss up between Silver (Gen II) and Emerald (Gen III). Silver blew me away at the time and remains one of my favourite childhood JRPGs ever. Gen II also introduced so many amazing innovations like the real-time day/system, breeding, and of course the inclusion of a second region after the main game. I remember finishing up the champion, thinking I was coming to the end of my Johto journey but BAM! I was told to go explore Kanto and the adventure doubled. It was like Christmas all over again!
On the other hand, I have a soft spot for Emerald. The Hoenn region is great (I’d love to visit real-life Fortree and Mossdeep cities) and Rayquaza is my favourite legendary simply because it’s a giant slinky dragon. Although the new features didn’t strike me as much as those in Gen II, Emerald caught me at a good age and the climate focused narrative was a dramatic raising of the stakes that still remains relevant today.
What’s your favorite Pokémon generation?
Probably Gen III, since I’ve actually played all the games (first Sapphire, then Ruby and finally the remakes). But, when I first read this question, I thought it meant the Pokémon within a generation and in that case… it’s Gen V. While I’m open to most designs, Black/White has loads of memorable Pokémon, which I’ve continued to add to my team in later games. Bisharp. Eelektross. Gothitelle. Volcarona… So many good ‘uns.
What’s your favorite Pokémon type?
I always make room for a good electric type since they’re just so useful! Aesthetically, I like the look of dark/bug Pokémon but, conversely, the Fairy type has some very pretty designs as well. My team usually ends up looking very mismatched!
Are you looking forward to potential Diamond/Pearl Remakes?
Definitely! I’ve enjoyed revisiting old regions in all the remakes so far. I’m generally all for remakes (and remasters) in principle. Not only is it good fun seeing classics reimagined in shiny wrapping, I believe it’s also important for accessibility. I know I would have missed out on various older games without remakes/remasters. The Distortion World in Platinum was really fun to explore and there are many characters I’d like to meet again with a new lick of paint (Cynthia best champ!)
What’s your favorite villainous team?
I don’t pay much attention to villain teams in any Pokémon game. Most seem too…incompetent to be threatening, so as harsh as it sounds I typically view them as stepping stones on my journey towards the championship…😅 If I had to pick, Team Aqua and Magma are the most interesting because of their rivalry with each other. It was refreshing being caught between two warring gangs and they made a substantial difference to the narratives of their respective games. Their theme tunes are also banging, especially in the Omega/Alpha versions.
What’s something you’d like to return to Pokémon?
Asking for a second region like in Gen II would probably be too cheeky, right…? Besides better post-games, I miss some of the fluff, like the PokéGear from Heart Gold/Soul Silver that let you pester Gym leaders with calls or have them call you asking for a rematch. On that note, I’ve generally felt less invested with newer gym leaders, so having more opportunities to interact with them or revisit them once you’ve beaten their gym would be nice.
What’s something new you’d like to see in Pokémon?
Pokémon card trading is still a thing, right? After becoming addicted to Gwent in the Witcher 3, I think card-battling mini-games is the best kind of diversion to have when you should be saving the world. Lore-wise an in-game trading game makes sense but has potential for a lot of meta fun. Think capsules! Shinies! You could even have an alternative (card) league that’s dominated by snot-nosed Poké-kids!
What’s your dream Pokémon crossover game?
I’m a big fan of SRPGs and there’s already a tactical Pokémon game (Pokémon Conquest), which is a bizarre crossover with Nobunaga’s Ambition, but I’d like to see another – perhaps with a more character-based plot, where you play as a specific cast of Pokémon ( a la Mystery Dungeon style). If I’m allowed to be really greedy, a visual novel/adventure with anthropomorphised Pokémon could be wild. There are so many creative (and no doubt some NSFW) designs out there… Just imagine a Fate/ style VN, but you get a buff legendary rather than a legendary hero!
What should the next Pokémon region be based on?
Australia might be nice. It’s a huge region with a diverse ecosystem – deserts, mountains, reefs. There are plenty of cute/dangerous/outright weird creatures already. Otherwise, a left-field option might be cool. X/Y mentioned a war that took place thousands of years before, so a game set in an ancient civilisation might not be too out there.
Although new gimmicks and designs come and go, I don’t think the spirit of Pokémon has changed much. The keystones of discovery, adventure, and community always draw me back to this series and I expect I’ll be playing each new iteration for a long while yet!
A big thank you again to McKenna for organising this Tag Post – it was a lot of fun! McKenna is celebrating Pokémon’s anniversary throughout February with a bunch of interesting posts so please check them out with the links at the start!