Q
Interesting questions you've getting last 2 weeks or so. Here I will throw in one myself. Suppose one day you wake up and you suddenly see a pokemon (of your own choice) what you do? how you react? how would you introduce him into this totally different life. etc etc
Anonymous
A

What, you mean, like, in the real world?

Um… hmm… well, I suppose my immediate reaction would be to wonder where the hell it came from and whether there were any more.  Those things could wreck havoc on just about any real-world ecosystem if they were able to establish a breeding population.  There’s sort of a worrying tension between reporting it to the authorities so they can take action (which would probably involve quarantining the poor thing and possibly killing it) and keeping it secret (which would be hugely irresponsible and risk catastrophic ecological damage if there are any more that I don’t know about).  In any case, I certainly can’t let it wander about unsupervised.

Anyway…

Probably the first thing to do is figure out what it can and can’t eat (assuming it needs to eat, which for some Pokémon is not necessarily a given).  Most Pokémon probably have fairly high energy requirements, so I’d have to buy a lot more fruit or meat, depending on what kind of diet it naturally has.  Best to set aside a few days to experiment with that and figure out what’s palatable.  Also gotta figure out what it would do during the day while I’m busy; there’s a big park near my apartment that I walk past every day, and it could hang out there, under strict instructions to go nowhere else in the city, at least not at first.  Probably want to stay with it the first couple of days and make sure it knows to treat humans in this world with extreme caution.  Beyond that… hard to say.  It’s difficult to know what to do with someone who’s been dumped in a totally foreign world.  Whatever personal goals a Pokémon might have had are probably not going to be relevant or achievable here, which is unfortunate, to say the least.  Depending on the species it might be okay with just having food and a place to sleep, but some might need to find a way to contribute to the lives of others to be happy.


Q
How do you cite your academic papers? MLA format? APA? (Just a curious random question about your academic profession)
Anonymous
A

Well, I haven’t actually had a paper published yet (I’m still a student), and when I do I’ll probably have to think harder about that than I’ve bothered to in the past.  Most academic journals have a preferred format, so it’s sort of up to them and not the individual researcher.  Honestly, thinking about different referencing styles just annoys me.  As long as an author gives all the details necessary for readers to track down the source of the information themselves (including page numbers, which some irritating reference styles don’t give), anything else is just being snooty, as far as I’m concerned.


Q
If the Pokémon franchise were to receive a major overhaul, would you enjoy seeing it become less 'haxxy'? i.e. a lot of random game mechanics would be changed or removed such as for confusion, sleep duration, random effects on moves, or--my favority--a complete removal of the Accuracy stat for moves? Instead of Accuracy I think PP should be replaced with a gauge that has maybe 20 PP in total, and every move costs a certain amount to perform. This can keep moves balanced. What do you think?
Anonymous
A

Dunno.  I actually like having a certain amount of luck involved, because it means you have to be able to think on your feet and deal with stuff that, through no fault of your own, just doesn’t go your way.  There’s also a few Pokémon that can make a strategy of it by manipulating luck - I’m thinking of the Serene Grace Pokémon - and it might be interesting to have more Pokémon that play with luck in different ways.  Obviously how beneficial these things can be is a matter of degree, though, because most people agree that stuff like Double Team, Brightpowder, one-shot moves and the Moody ability are just a pain - at some point it stops being about calculated risks and starts being about random long shots.  So I don’t know.  Constant sleep duration seems reasonable enough (and could open up a different way of balancing various sleep moves - some might last longer than others).  Confusion I’m in two minds about because, although it’s annoying (which I think is its purpose), it doesn’t get used very much because it’s actually just not consistent enough to be effective - honestly, I could get behind either removing it completely or making it stronger.  I’m not sure what your PP suggestion has to do with accuracy or randomness, I’m afraid…


Q
If you watched the death battle Royale between Venasaur, Blastoise, and Charizard, do you think their analysis was just? If you didn't watch it, should be on youtube, just search death battle pokemon battle royale.
Anonymous
A

Do I have to?  Oh, all right; let’s see…

Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcUSRT7CFPs

I suppose I would question the usefulness of the conditions they’re analysing.  I mean… a wild Venusaur, Charizard and Blastoise randomly meeting up in the wilderness for a free-for-all?  Why would that ever happen?  In practice Pokémon trainers normally care about the role a Pokémon can play within a team, typically for a single battle format.  I’m not especially surprised by the result - as they say, it’s very difficult for an untrained Venusaur to come up with anything that will stop a Charizard because of the double type advantage, while Blastoise is in a very strong position against the other two by having natural access to weather manipulation, which seriously weakens Charizard and blocks out Venusaur’s Synthesis and Solarbeam attacks.  However, I think I would find the analysis more convincing if they didn’t gloss over exactly how they came up with their results in about 30 seconds towards the end.


Furfrou

Official art by Ken Sugimori of the trashy, pedestrian 'Natural' Furfrou.  Some people just have no class at all.

I have a long history of bitter feuds with gimmick Pokémon - Pokémon apparently designed to show off some manner of unique mechanic.  This is not because I have problems with the gimmicks themselves; things like Spinda’s seven zillion and one unique spot patterns or Chatot’s ability to interact with the DS’s microphone (an ability now obsolete, incidentally) certainly add something to those Pokémon.  The trouble is that often the designers appear to think that one gimmick is all it takes to produce a finished design and that these unique Pokémon don’t deserve anything else, with two results: 1) their combat abilities generally border on ‘completely unsalvageable’ and 2) the gimmicks are often the only interesting thing about them.  It is therefore with no small amount of trepidation that I go into my analysis of Furfrou, the show poodle Pokémon, whose main distinguishing feature is his broad selection of fur trims, which can be styled in Lumiose City’s fantastically popular Friseur Furfrou salon.  Is that all there is to Furfrou?  Is it worth the attention Kalos gives it?  Can we find anything else to like about him?  Will I make it through this entry without suffering an aneurysm?  Tune in to find out… right now!

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Q
What would you suspect the affects of attract being used on a human would be?
A

…when did I become the guy the internet asks about this kind of $#!t?  I am seriously questioning the life choices that have brought me to this point.

You know, I have absolutely no idea.  Should probably start with reference to this: http://pokemaniacal.tumblr.com/post/74976019208/your-latest-answer-especially-by-your-last-sentence
Anyway… well, Attract is limited by gender, but not by reproductive compatibility, which suggests that it is capable of affecting Pokémon, who, under normal circumstances, would never find the user… well, ‘attractive’ (since, in most individuals of most species, attractiveness is based on a subjective judgement of suitability as a mate).  That being the case, it’s not immediately obvious how the technique actually works, though it seems like it must primarily involve emotional manipulation and romantic infatuation rather than straightforward sexual attraction or arousal (which in any case could get… problematic… if a smaller and physically weaker Pokémon used Attract on a much more powerful one… let’s not think about that for too long).  Pokémon in the anime under the effects of Attract tend to be portrayed as highly irrational and motivated primarily by a desire to please the user of the technique and win his or her approval and admiration, irrespective of how courtship actually works in the target’s species.  All the move’s flavour implies a romantic dimension to the effect, but it seems like a fairly superficial one.  I suppose what it seems to do is cause the target to see the user as a perfect specimen of the opposite gender, so exquisite that normal courtship behaviour seems utterly futile in the presence of such a paragon, causing the target to resort to uncharacteristic and generally ineffectual attempts to win the user’s affection through ingratiating flattery and self-abasement.

As for what it would do to a human… I suppose it depends largely on what you understand Pokémon ‘gender’ to mean, which is something I’ve tried very hard in the past to make as complicated as possible.  If Pokémon ‘gender’ and human ‘gender’ work on basically the same principles, then I suppose it could bring about the same irrational desire to win that Pokémon’s admiration.  If the human is a trainer, they might become obsessed with convincing the Pokémon to join their team.  If, on the other hand, Pokémon gender is something completely alien to us, as I suggested in that tract of rambling nonsense, it could very easily do nothing whatsoever.

If you’re wondering whether it would evoke… inappropriate thoughts… well, I think that’s probably best left to writers of a certain kind of fan fiction, don’t you?


The Etruscans

So I have just finished working on a long essay about gender roles in an ancient Italian people, the Etruscans.  They have been occupying my brain almost totally, which is why I have not written much about Pokémon this week.  Come and listen to me babble; you will learn a great many things, some of which may even be true.

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Q
Okay. So with all this about capturing and consent. Or has me thinking; What if the original pokeballs were created by pokemon? And later refined by humans for mass production? We know That pokeballs started as apricot balls first but, Idk... Help?
A

You know, I actually have a pet idea about this that I’ve been nursing for a while.

The first Pokéballs were made from Apricorns, yeah?  This is apparently a traditional art that goes back several generations, maybe centuries.  Certainly mass-produced Pokéballs are relatively recent - they’ve come about only in Drayden’s lifetime - and reliant on advanced technology (which is unlikely ever to be explained).  So what makes the first Pokéballs work?  ’Mysterious energy’ seems like it would be the default cop-out answer.  The thing is… an Apricorn is a berry.  And we already know a way to draw out the ‘mysterious energy’ of a berry: the Natural Gift attack.    There’s no data in the game for what happens when you use Natural Gift with an Apricorn, but it stands to reason that it would do something - given what we know about Apricorns, could that something be dematerialising a Pokémon temporarily?  Of course, berries aren’t particularly robust - imagine trying to hold a Pokémon in swirly-energy-thingy form inside a great big acorn.  Unless they’ve been specially prepared and reinforced by a craftsman like Kurt, they probably wear out very quickly and have to be replaced every few weeks.  So yeah, not by Pokémon necessarily, but I think the first Pokéballs were almost certainly created by a co-operative effort.


Q
What do you think about this idea I have about butterfly and moth Pokemon? First I'd mash them into one evolution, Caterpie into Butterfree during the day, and Venomoth during the night. I'd change them the Bug/Psychic and Bug/Dark respectively, then give them different forms based on what region they're found in. Hoenn Butterfree is Bug/Fire with a sun motif, and Venomoth is Bug/Water with an ocean motif, in Kalos Bug/Fairy and Bug/Ghost... they'd have signature abilities that change also.
Anonymous
A

What is the logic behind the form changes?  I mean, sure, there’s nothing wrong with the idea, and it gives Butterfree and Venomoth something neat to do (poor Venonat, though… is it actually necessary to merge the evolutionary lines?  What aim does that serve?), but it needs some flavour stuff behind it and not just game mechanics.  We’ve seen Pokémon that have different appearances in different parts of the world before - Shellos/Gastrodon and Vivillon - but they don’t have this variation in their powers.  What is it about Butterfree and Venomoth that makes them so adaptable?

I can’t help but wonder whether the effort is misplaced…  Beautifly, Dustox, Mothim and Vivillon need upgraded powers way more than Butterfree (who has Compoundeyes Sleep Powder) and Venomoth (who has Quiver Dance, Baton Pass, and Tinted Lens).


Q
So, please don't think I'm an idiot. Theoretically, if a pokemon was dual type for the same type would that make it 4 times weak but for times more powerful? So a Fire/Fire would be 4x weak against water and 4x as effective against grass... Right?
A

Um.  Do you mean, like, in terms of how the damage formula works?  Hang on; I’ll have a look… Go go gadget Bulbapedia…

DamageCalc.png

ModifierCalc.png

"Type is the type effectiveness. This can be either 0, 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, or 4 depending on the type of attack and the type of the defending Pokémon."

Now, I don’t know whether the game has a lookup table for every possible value of that Type factor or just calculates it each time based on the type chart.  I suspect the latter, in which case if a Pokémon for some reason did have the same type twice, I suppose it would stack.

can tell you that it would not get two doses of STAB.  The only possible values for that term are 1 and 1.5, so the bonus to Fire attacks would only apply once.

What… exactly would a Fire/Fire type… you know, be?  Something more fiery than a regular Fire-type?  That would be quite an achievement compared to the likes of Magmar, Entei, Reshiram, Volcarona, Heatran and Mega Charizard Y…


Q
A Stockholm syndrome questioned asked in a pokeblog? *Gasp* But I am not surprised one is asked. For me I think its possible but I think it also diminishes the pokemon's ability to choose and consent side of things since it assumes more of a force love factor. I also thought the psychological condition included often abuse? Unless battling is abuse of course.
Anonymous
A

I’m not quite sure what you’re asking, but basically this all hinges on what is apparently one of my more controversial beliefs - namely that Pokémon choose to be captured.  Here’s the short version.  We know that you need to weaken a Pokémon to catch it, but also that if you actually knock it out, you can’t catch it - it needs to be conscious (which to me suggests that we’re looking for consent).  We see in the anime that there is a tendency to portray battles with wild Pokémon as a process of earning their respect, and this becomes more pronounced as the series progresses.  We know that Team Rocket and other villains capture Pokémon both traditionally, using Pokéballs, and with a variety of other contrivances (nets, pits, machines, etc) - the latter is regarded as a heinous crime, even when their targets are wild; the former is apparently totally fine.  We know that Pokémon can actually leave their Pokéballs without being ordered.  We know that villains use cages to restrain Pokémon, which would be an expensive and illogical waste of space if Pokéballs were capable of doing the same job.  Honestly it seems to me like the creators have actually built in a lot of reasons for us to think that Pokémon have a choice in all this.

Also, just putting it out there, Stockholm Syndrome isn’t magic.  It doesn’t automatically happen to everyone who experiences a kidnapping or hostage situation.  I don’t think you can realistically build an entire civilisation on it, especially when the ‘captives’ are vastly more powerful, physically, than the ‘captors’ and in many cases at least as intelligent.


Q
Thanks for answering that question on Stockholm thing, based on that previous page, you seemed to disagree. Do you still?
Anonymous
A

Yes, purely as a matter of definition.  Stockholm Syndrome implies being held against one’s will, and I don’t believe that’s the case here.  Developing empathy for someone because you happen to interact with them often is called becoming friends.


Q
Hello, I have a question. Do you think it would be nice if the games dwelt a history of the pokemon world for example like it came to be or at least touch upon it? I feel the games could do better in world building which is an understatement. Also, pokemon x and y has great sales I hear. Nearly 12 million. This leads me to wonder. Will Game Freak use Z as a remastered X and Y or some kind of direct sequel this time?
Anonymous
A

Well, X and Y kinda do - the history of Kalos, at any rate.  I mean, half the plot is based on a 3000-year-old backstory, and a lot of NPC dialogue dwells on the rights and wrongs of the old monarchy under AZ’s family.  Lysandre’s research notes in the Team Flare lab also contain some interesting speculation about the origins of inequality in ancient society - he thinks it’s all to do with Pokémon training.  I love that stuff because I’m a history person.  Any time they want to do more, though, they won’t hear me complaining.

I don’t know what they’ll do next, but I actually kind of want to see a prequel, because I think Lysandre would make a lot more sense as a character and be a much better fit with what they seem to be trying to do with him if we saw more of his past and saw some of the events that led to him going off the deep end.  That’s just me though.


Q
Do you see or anticipate any future pokemon types?
Anonymous
A

Not really, no.  I actually felt like we had enough to cover most any design even before Fairy was added, and I tend to prefer parsimony in these things.  The only thing I felt could be missing was something along the lines of a ‘Holy’ type, and Fairy is probably close enough to cover most designs that would fall within that.  If anything I feel like the game would survive with fewer types, not more (do we really need Ground and Normal?).


Q
So I'm making my own fake Pokemon region, Unotos, and in it I've got gremlin Pokemon. I know I want them to be Fairy-type, but what should be the secondary type (if any)? I mean, Dark seems apropos, but Flying is closer to the gremlins' origins but not in the "correct" way. Maybe a Fairy/Dark line with an ability that makes their moves super effective against Flying and Steel-types as gremlins in folklore sabotaged aircraft? I respect your opinion immensely and would love your advice on this. :)
A

I like the idea; it’s a good excuse to have a Fairy Pokémon on the more malicious side.  I agree that Fairy/Flying isn’t quite right because gremlins don’t (I think) actually fly in spite of being traditionally associated with aircraft, and Fairy/Dark seems to make the most sense immediately - but then hey, who says your gremlin Pokémon can’t have wings after evolving (or just be able to learn Fly)?  I think that would also make a great deal of sense, and be a good way of playing with the basic concept.  As for beating Steel-types, what jumps to my mind would be a “Sabotage” attack - Fairy-type (physical?) but super-effective against Steel Pokémon in the same way as Aurorus’ Freeze Dry beats Water-types.  As for an ability… Technician seems like the logical choice (bonus points if Sabotage has 60 power and can get a Technician boost).