Goomy, Sliggoo and Goodra


Goomy.Let’s talk about dragons.

If there’s one thing Game Freak are good at, it’s thwarting English-speaking fans’ expectations of what a ‘dragon’ is (odd, considering that the Japanese name for the Dragon type in Pokémon is a transliteration of the English word ‘dragon’).  If I had a dollar for every time I’d ever heard someone complain about how cutesy Dragonite is a Dragon Pokémon but badass, firebreathing Charizard isn’t, I would have… like, eight, maybe nine dollars, easy.  Then of course there’s fluffy Altaria, the Eon Twins, Shelgon, Mega Ampharos (who owes her existence to a Japanese pun – Ampharos’ Japanese name, Denryu, can be taken to mean either “electric current” or “electric dragon”), and now Charizard actually is a Dragon (sort of), but we also have these adorable things: Goomy and Sliggoo, two blind swamp-dwelling molluscs whose most remarkable feature is their ability to constantly secrete disgusting slime.  One might be forgiven for thinking ‘Dragon’ now really just means ‘weird $#!t.’

…so, wouldn’t it be fun if I told you there are not one but two snail dragons this thing could be based on, one from Japanese folklore and one from southwestern France?

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Q
What would you think of someone starting a Pokemon Tabletop RP using concepts from your "If I Was In Charge" series?
A

Hmm.  Well, I mostly intended that stuff to apply to the core series, and I’m not really sure how it would work if you turned it to a different mechanical framework, but if you think there’s something you can get out of it, please, go ahead!  I’d be flattered, in fact - let me know how it goes!


Q
So what do you think of the mystery dungeon games?
Anonymous
A

Well, I only ever played the first one and have incomplete secondhand knowledge of the plot of the subsequent titles, so anything I say here applies only to Mystery Dungeon Red/Blue and should be taken with a grain of salt.  I like the feel of them a lot.  It’s nice to have Pokémon games that are just about Pokémon, without any of those pesky humans to get in the way (even if the plot felt it was necessary to have humans exist… somewhere else… without ever really explaining their relation to the world we were actually playing in…).  It’s just cool to have Pokémon working together to solve their problems and protect each other, although some more effort could have been spent on explaining why exactly their problems seemed primarily to be “other Pokémon” (“they’re really mad at everything because of the natural disasters, okay!”).

The gameplay was… flawed in a number of ways, though (and here I will remind you that I’m going purely off the first titles in the series; many or all of my complaints may actually have been addressed later, I don’t know).  Adding new Pokémon to your team happens entirely at random, which is frustrating.  The dungeons themselves very quickly start to feel like they’re all the same - you wander through a randomly generated maze hitting anything that gets in your way until you reach whatever it is that you’re there for.  Tactical positioning doesn’t play nearly as much of a role as you’d think.  Sometimes your companions’ AI just does incredibly stupid things, like running off down a long corridor in pursuit of… something… and not being able to find you again.  Some moves are either crazy overpowered or completely useless: Silver Wind just damages everything on the screen (in addition to its side-effect of sometimes raising all the user’s stats), so sometimes you just die before you can even get close enough to attack whatever is using it, whereas your companions’ AI has no clue how to handle some support moves like Reflect, and will spam them every time you take a step until they run out of PP, which is not really helpful.  Each Pokémon’s level-up move list seems to have been directly copied over from Ruby and Sapphire without any consideration for how the strengths and purposes of the different moves are changed by the radically different demands of the battle system - I can understand not wanting to review every Pokémon, but surely it would have made sense to tinker with the ones available as player characters (I played as Psyduck, whose level-up list is appalling compared to what most of the starter Pokémon get, with no real advantages to balance that).  In short… there’s a lot of evidence in there of a general lack of effort in adapting the existing material of the Pokémon franchise to the game mechanics implied by the new concept.  Maybe it got better; I don’t know.  I hope so, because it was a very cool idea.


Q
Why do some people equate Ash with Michael vick? Is it because of superficial judgment or real reasons with merit?
Anonymous
A

People keep bringing up this Michael Vick dude and I have no idea what he did (I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen anyone compare him to Ash either - just people objecting to that comparison).  I understand from what readers have told me that he was in the news a lot in the United States a few years back for something to do with animal abuse, so some of the stuff in my answer to this question might be of interest to you, but I just don’t know or care enough about this guy to say anything specific about him.


Q
Do you think there should have been a Fairy-type that got Illusion as an ability? Not necessarily an existing one, just as a concept in general.
A

Hrm.  It makes sense, don’t get me wrong - fairies go well with illusion and deception - but I think the Illusion ability is something that it’s better to keep as Zoroark’s ‘thing,’ both for Zoroark’s sake (because, to be honest, it would probably not be difficult to come up with a Pokémon who gets more out of Illusion than Zoroark does) and to avoid the chaos that would be brought about by having both of them on the same team.  That’s not to say we can’t try to think of something that draws on a similar idea of deception, though… fairies from different cultures and different stories can have control over a wide variety of elemental forces, so… maybe a Fairy-type who can have several different secondary types, which the opponent can’t immediately identify.  It can be (say) Fairy/Fire, Fairy/Electric, Fairy/Water or Fairy/Grass, chosen at birth, and its appearance is the same for all four (maybe including elements from all four types), which means that the opponent has to fire off one or two “test” attacks to figure out what its weaknesses and resistances are.  Undecided on whether to have moves that are unique to each form or just give all four a wide range of attacks.  Could go either way there.


Klefki

Klefki.

And Game Freak said “let there be Klefki,” and old school Pokémon fans around the world cried out “the $#!t is this?” and “why is there a f@#%ing keyring Pokémon?” and “OMG Pokemans ruined 5evah.”  And Game Freak said “YOLO,” for they felt that it was good.

Klefki immediately forces us to open the old “inanimate Pokémon are dumb” chestnut, for which the arguments and counterarguments (such as they are; neither side really pulls its intellectual weight on that one, to be honest) have been done to death.  Game Freak have run out of ideas/We had Magnemite and Voltorb in the first generation.  Pokémon based on objects make no sense/Whereas ghosts, psychics, electric mice and dragons totally do?  But they’re not alive, goddamnit/But magic, goddamnit!  Then of course there are actually Pokémon based on inanimate objects which most people (I think?) would probably agree are really awesome, like Chandelure and Aegislash – the result of which is that I’m now wondering whether both sides have completely missed the point of that whole debate and what people are actually turned off by is not so much their status as ‘objects’ but rather the sheer mundanity of the things some Pokémon are based on.

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So I got mugged this afternoon

…by a bunch of, like, 14-year-olds, no less, and in broad daylight.  Thankfully I lost only my glasses (of which I have spares) and was rescued by passers-by who drove me home.  Jaw aches a bit from being punched repeatedly, but it’s been a couple of hours and I’m pretty sure I’m not seriously hurt.  Could have gone a lot worse, all things considered.  Nonetheless, next entry will be delayed as I plan to spend the next day or two doing absolutely nothing.


I submitted a thing to another thing

The premise of this blog is taking quotes from pop culture and tweaking them slightly so that they apply to characters from Homer’s Iliad (recently expanded to anything ‘classical’).  It amuses me.  You should totally follow it.  Y’know, if you’re a classicist.  The following is something that I actually wrote months ago and had hanging around uselessly until I discovered “OMG there is a Tumblr blog that is literally all about doing this.”

incorrectclassics:

H’okay, so, here’s the Aegean.  S’chilling.  ”Dang, that is a sweet sea,” you might say.  WRONG!  All right; ruling out the Hittites invading, a huge barbarian horde becoming crashed into us, the gods leaving, and Thera exploding, we’re definitely all going to stab each other.  H’okay.  So basically we’ve got Troy, Crete, Lydia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Thrace, the Amazons and us with demigods.  We’ve got about twenty-six hundred more than anybody else… whatever.  H’anyway.  One day we decides those Trojan sons of a bitches are going down, so we launch a thousand ships at Troy.  While they’re on their way, Troy is like “shit, shit, who the fuck brought Helen here?” “Oh well, Hector will save us!”  Then Helen is like “shit, Paris, that’s my husband; he’s coming!  Fire our shit!”  ”But I’m tired.”  ”Well… have a nap.  THEN FIRE YOUR ARROWS!”  Meanwhile, Italy is over there like “mamma mia, WTF?”  Lydia, Ethiopia and the Amazons send their guys, so now we’ve got heroes charging everywhere, passing each other.  Achilles is like “PATROCLUS, NOOOOOOOOO!”  Then Hector’s like “well, I’m dead.  Better get on with it.”  So now Greece is like “fuck, we’re dumbasses,” Philoctetes is like “wait, what the hell did I miss?” Italy is still like “mamma mia, WTF?” China is laughing at us, and some huge barbarian horde is like “well, fuck that.”  So.  Now we’ve got the fall of Troy.  Everyone’s dead, except Aeneas, and he’s like “mamma mia, WTF?”  And they’ll be in charge one day.  Fucking Romans.  But, assuming we don’t all stab each other, us Ithacans just have to work out Ithaca drifting away from the rest of Greece.  To go hang with Scheria.  Cyprus can come too.

- like, Homer or someone

Which is a reference to this, if you don’t recognise it.


Hawlucha

Hawlucha.

Right; I’m going to leave Carbink for now and do her with Diancie at the end, by which time I’ll hopefully be clearer on how they work, so that leaves only one Pokémon in the Coastal Kalos subregion: Hawlucha, the… lucha libre Pokémon… which is another one stricken from the list of phrases I never thought I would live to say.  Game Freak are responsible for a disconcerting number of those.  Funnily enough, though, Hawlucha’s been making more and more sense the more time I spend on this entry, and may even be one of my favourites of this generation now, which I didn’t really expect.  Let’s have a look.

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…and 500

I mean, I’d probably have ten times as many if I’d spent that time reblogging pictures of cats and angsting about my personal life instead, but whatevs.  Besides, I know there’s a bunch of you who don’t use Tumblr so the actual number is probably a fair bit higher.

Thank you to everyone who puts up with this nonsense and keeps coming back for more!


Helioptile and Heliolisk

Helioptile.

Now that I think about it, it’s kind of strange that there aren’t really many Electric Pokémon based on real-world methods of electricity generation; for the most part they just conjure up electrical energy through – one presumes – a similar kind of biochemical process to that used by the electric eel, only turned up to eleven.  Well, either that or magic.  Let’s be honest; for at least some of them it’s probably magic.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Helioptile.

Prior to X and Y we hadn’t really seen an Electric-type shackled to the same limitations as us mere mortals for power generation, which is interesting because Diamond and Pearl actually seemed really interested in showing different ways of producing electricity, with the coal mine in Oreburgh City, the wind farm near Floaroma Town, and the solar panel network in Sunyshore City (which, yes, is spelt with one n, to my annoyance).

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Q
Will you write an article on Mega Evolutions someday? I'm sure a lot of people would love to hear what you think about it (I know I would)!
Anonymous
A

I do mean to stick one in at the end of the X and Y Pokémon reviews.  Not entirely sure what I’ll say about it as my thoughts on the matter are fairly straightforward, but we’ll see what I come up with.


Q
Please do a series on the rivals (like you did with the Champions)! Of course, you can skip Blue and just jump straight to Silver!
Anonymous
A

That’s one of the things that I’ve been meaning to do for literally years, but there’s always been something more immediately important to write about and it keeps getting lost.  Still… I don’t think there’s anything else I’d particularly prefer to write about after finishing the X and Y Pokémon reviews… Yeah; let’s go with that.


Skrelp and Dragalge

Skrelp.

I’ll be honest here; I’m not wild about these things.  My first impression of Skrelp during my X playthrough was ‘so, it’s a diseased Horsea?’ and I’ve not really moved past that in any major way (the fact that Dragalge is equally, at first glance, ‘a diseased Kingdra’ didn’t exactly help).  Nothing about them really offends me in any sense, but they’re not particularly ones for the ‘favourite’ pile either.  Still, may as well see what we can turn up.  Here we go.

Skrelp and Dragalge are based on the leafy sea dragon, an adorable little fish from the same family as the seahorse (as you can probably tell by looking at it) and native to southern Australia.  This creature has gone to some evolutionary lengths to make itself look like a tattered piece of kelp, thus avoiding most of the less-perceptive predators in its environment, which is good because, like its seahorse cousins, it’s a bit of a rubbish swimmer and can do little more than pick a direction to float in.

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Q
Did you know that Chandelure's Hidden Ability has been changed from Shadow Tag to Infiltrator? This opens up the possibility of other Pokémon to have one (or more) of their Abilities to be changed (at least, it sets a precedent)! Any specific Pokémon in mind whose Ability/(ies) you'd like to be changed?
Anonymous
A

Well, it’s worth pointing out that there has never been a Chandelure with Shadow Tag - Dream World Litwick were never released in generation V, and to my knowledge no AI opponent ever used one either, not even Ingo and Emmet, so they’re changing something that only ever existed in unused coding and our own fevered power fantasies anyway.  I doubt this is an indication that they’re willing to start mucking around with existing abilities that are actually used in practice, and I wouldn’t call it a precedent for that.  (EDIT: However, the fact that Scolipede’s was changed from Quick Feet to Speed Boost absolutely is.  Derp.  Doesn’t really change the rest of this answer anyway, though.)  For the most part, abilities I’d want to see changed are the ones that are just insultingly bad, like Run Away, Keen Eye and Illuminate, and personally I would fix those by improving the ability itself (see e.g. Lightningrod and Storm Drain), not by changing which Pokémon received it.  I can’t think of any off the top of my head that I would actually want to redistribute, though there are probably at least a couple out there.