Precious mettle (and very straight lines)

Here is how I discovered that Pokémon Platinum has just been released: I can’t log in to Serebii or Bulbapedia. It started with long load times and hanging, and now the 404 messages are starting to crop up. The same phenomenon occured two years ago during the Diamond & Pearl launch; the excitement surrounding the release of a new Pokémon game gets players thinking about stat tables and hidden values. I’ve been spending a lot of time with the ‘mons and Platinum seems like a worthy upgrade, but I’m going to pass for the time being. I’ve gone back to basics — and back to Hoenn.


I started with Pokémon Red during the Fall of 1998. I was working the late shift at a 7-11 and would get home at 7 A.M. to Beast Wars and Pokemon. Whatever your feelings on the animated series it does a great job of explaining the game. When I received a Game Boy Color the following Christmas, Pokémon was the first game I bought. I was living alone in a new town where I didn’t have any friends and without anyone to play with I lost interest after about a month. It wasn’t until I made some new friends (two very great guys who were also too old to be playing Pokemon) that the game really clicked with me. With their help I got my Pokedex up to 146, just five shy of the game’s 151.

And when Pokémon Gold & Silver were released 2 years later (and the day before my birthday), I braced myself for a resurgence that never came. It had new monsters, night/day cycles, backwards compatibility and was generally superior, but by that point I had moved again, and without anyone to play with my interest withered on the vine. And then I completely ignored the series until Diamond and Pearl, wooed back with the promise of wi-fi connectivity and online trades, only to realise I had missed an entire generation of gameplay changes. So I’m traveling back, replaying the GBA era games with the goal of building a team that will succeed in Hoenn (Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald) and Kanto (Fire Red/Leaf Green) but with an eye towards Sinnoh (Diamond/Pearl/Platinum) as well. Because I am sure of two things: (1) I love playing Pokémon and (2) the series will march on with its clockwork release (and re-release) schedule indefinitely, which means the time I spend playing will count towards future games — an irresistible proposition given my ever-shrinking free time. As the saying goes, make new friends but keep the old…

And to anyone reading who loves classic games and has creative tendencies (a curious overlap with GameSpite readership) I would like to take a moment to direct you toward my wife Kate’s tutorial on making pixel paintings. They look daunting but if you start simple and have a little patience the results are fantastic. (I’m told the secret is to paint very, very straight lines)


12 thoughts on “Precious mettle (and very straight lines)

  1. I’ve been decorating my office with 8-bit sprites in post-it notes, but I’m pretty limited in colors. I think I’ll give pixel paintings a try, the results are really good!

  2. Don’t forget to let us know when she has an exhibition! I would like to see those pictures in person if the opportunity arises.

    As for Pokemon, I picked up Pearl a few months ago and have just gotten deep into it. The last time I played Pokemon was in the Gold/Silver era, so I can appreciate some of the minor changes. It does indeed help to have an interested friend. A good friend of mine erased his save and started from scratch to play with me. The result is that I have been particularly determined in my quest to level up and grab unique Pokemon. I even picked up Regigas from Toys r’ Us today.

  3. For some reason, I didn’t really enjoy Gold/Silver as much as the rest of the series… perhaps it had to do with the fact that early in the game I was catching the same damn Pidgeys and Rattatas I caught back in Red/Blue, though I did end up beating Red in Silver.

    I never did finish my copy of Sapphire… I kept getting my ass kicked by the Elite Four and just kind of gave up.

    With D/P, I’ve been playing very casually since I picked it up at launch… hell, I’m just now getting ready to get my final badge, though I think most of the blame lies with the absurd amount of simply awesome DS titles competing for my time. But I still love the series and will pick up Platinum like the obedient little sheep I am.

    …but there’s no way I’m crazy enough to catch all 490+.

  4. I was so into Pokemon up until Crystal…I still played after, but I felt like GameFreak was doing so much stupid shit…by the time I got to Diamond…I just stopped…I knew I was TIRED of the series.

  5. I started with Crystal and went back and played Blue. The best part was getting my friend hooked on it so I could catch ’em all. I think I still need a Mankey to complete my collection :'(

  6. Anything beyond Blue and Red was too much for my poor brain. The day/night cycles, male/female Pokemon, breeding, time-sensitive legendaries, planting bushes, not to mention five thousand more monsters. There’s just too much Stuff, and it kills the fun for me.

    Even if I could get past all of that (and I probably could if I tried), what I simply can’t square with is the sloooowww… paaaaced…. baaaaaaaaaatlles. Even if you turn off animations and all that, everything still proceeds at a snail’s pace. I can’t do it. If the combat were (or at least could be) paced like Etrian Odyssey’s, I would be all over it.

  7. I’ve tried every generation of PKMN, but the only one I really liked was Red/Blue. It was simple, it was fun, there was a manageable number of monsters. I thought D/P was pretty terrible; I want to punch whoever made Bronzor show up everywhere whilst simultaneously giving you TWO Fire pokemon (and one of those a starter!) to last until after the Elite Four. And Bronzor’s ability is either Levitate – so it ignores all Ground damage, one of its big weaknesses – or.. some other cheap shit, I can’t load up any of the pkmn sites to check now. -.- Either way you were screwed.

  8. Ahaha, it’s: “Heatproof: Damage from Fire-type moves and BURN is halved.” I like Diamond but that part was a grind. I was under the impression that the difficulty of the game was determined by your starter’s type. Something like water is easy, grass is medium and fire is hard… but that might have been something I heard from a little kid when I worked at EB games.

  9. @M. Nicholai: I think that determination of difficulty by the starter pokemon has to do with the first gym leader, who normally seems to use rock or ground types.

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