6.06.2011

I Suck At Pokémon

 I think it is time we had a talk. You and I.

". . . When the Soviet Union was new . . ."
For all my love for Pokémon, I am ashamed to confess that I have never finished a game.  Not even one.  Not even Pokémon Snap, which is—according to Wikipedia—"fun, safe, easy to play, and of value to children"; "a wonderful game for all ages"; "innovative"; "has a lot of flash" (Hah! A pun! Kudos to Mike Floyd, former editor of the Detroit Free Press, for that snappy quip); "lacks depth to make it a great title"; and "bizarre."

I did play Yellow Version for a bit.  (It is, by far, the superlative version of the game.)  I even got as far as the Safari Zone, where I began running into so many random Exeggcute encounters that I quit the game and made myself an omelet, imagining those filthy, oblong buggers screaming out in 8-bit pain as they slowly sizzled to death.  Exeggcute omelets: possibly one of the most cathartic daydreams one could ever have.

#102 Exeggcute.  Best served sunny side up.

I haven't picked it back since.

Looking back, I often wonder why I never went on to beat the Final Four, capture Mewtwo, and then proceed with the logical ambition to capture every Pokémon in Kanto.  As I began another game and launched another futile expedition into the tall grass, which is clearly out of compliance with Kanto's Lawn Ordinance (wherein grass may not exceed a general height of twelve inches), I realized why.

Pokémon's tagline is "Gotta Catch'Em All!"  I ask: "Why do I need to 'Catch'Em all'?"  You really don't need to.

Now, there are (presently) seventeen types of Pokémon in the universe, correct?  The types give not only variety but serve as an instrumental game mechanic: one type of Pokémon may be not very effective at fighting another, while a different one may be super effective at the same job. Because different gym leaders use all sorts of different breeds of Pokémon: electric, water, ground, etc., you really need to have a couple of each type—unless you intend to handicap yourself tremendously.

(This is disregarding Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, where obtaining a Kadabra all but broke the game.  Psychics were so overpowered.)

That's around forty-ish. Forty. And I'm sure you could get by with fewer. (I should note that if you are playing FireRed or its twin, you need a prerequisite of sixty or so to enter Mewtwo's Cave or such other nonsense.)

However, this brings up a question: what is the point of Pokémon?  It seems to me that the rest of the game is just virtual stamp collecting.  You can capture a Diglett, but besides the occasional dig, he's just  You can collect a Jynx if you wanted to, but . . . okay, that's a poor example.  No one cares about Jynx.

I'm all about story, which is why I enjoy completing side quests in RPG's.  Even the little bitty ones.  This is because, for the most part, they add to the narrative of the game.  Doing a side quest for a person may reveal something about them that you previously were unaware, furthering their characterization (I'm reminded of the Kafei and Anju quest in Majora's Mask.  Another example?  Play Baldur's Gate II.)  Another may change your perception of a certain faction, such as Mass Effect's Cerberus, a radical pro-human collective.

Yes, some quests are simply filler, put there for no other purpose but to lengthen the game.  I do not support those.  And, as such, I do not endorse the idea of capturing every Pokémon.  I have better things to do . . . such as getting "S" ranks on every level of Bullet Heaven.

This is actually one of the easy bosses.

Maybe I'm blind to the spirit of the game.  Maybe I'm not the type of person who goes through a game, unlocking every single secret and finding every easter egg and unlockable there is.  If it suits you, fine.  I, myself collect coins.  To each his own.

Thanks for reading.

6.02.2011

Winged Spiders: Death Comes From The Skies

I had a frightening, frightening dream the other day.  I dreamt that I was asleep in my bed.  While this wasn't alarming, it's Inception-like qualities did provide me with a sinking feeling of uneasiness, as if I were slowly falling into lower levels of consciousness while massive "BRRRRRRMS" echoed around me.

I dreamt that, while lying on my bed, I espied a spider resting atop my curtains.  It was big.  As big as a quarter.  No—it was even larger—and thus, more terrifying. Because, as we know, the scariness of spiders increases exponentially with its size and hairiness:

 
My eyes never left the spider, who, perched atop his lofty outcrop, eyed me with his greedy little eyes (all eight of them) and waited for me to fall asleep so he could pounce on top of me, bite me, and suck me dry of all my precious bodily fluids. I knew that, while I kept my eyes on him, he would not make a move. He knew that I was too weary to get out of bed. It was an optical Mexican standoff. However, the universal arachnid urge to eviscerate all humans was too much for him. He flung himself onto my pillow, just next to my right ear.

And that was when I woke up, and did not turn my head to the left for the next hour and a half.

This bit where the spider swan-dived right next got me thinking: "Neptune's Trident, what if spiders could fly? We're done for. It's a good they don't exist yet." 

Also: giant squirrels. Exceptionally happy they aren't around.

Except they do.  In a sense.

Spiders can soar with the wind due to a process called ballooning.  It's where a baby spider creates a sort of kite with its silk and allows the wind to carry it to Heaven-knows-where (probably some poor bloke's mouth).  It's all perfectly harmless—for now. But then they'll mutate (probably through some ill-conceived genetic experiment), exponentially increasing in size and sprouting mid-mounted swept wings and laser eyes. They'll start flying in formation, like they're the Thunderbirds at some municipal airshow. Except they'll launch bombs filled with even more spiders down on the populace.

The concept of flying spiders terrifies me. Spiders belong on a flat surface, where they are easily spotted and smashed repeatedly under the weight of a People magazine (for what other purpose does that magazine serve?). And behind that weight is my sheer force of will. And arachnophobia.

To sum it up, we're all doomed, and there's nothing that can be done about it. I mean, what could possibly be worse than flying spiders?

MECHA-SPIDERS.
. . . Oh teacakes.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

(Scary-giant squirrel photo: Mundo and Photoshoppix.)

If you didn't get that Dr. Strangelove reference, this was an awkward post for you. And I apologize for that. Now go watch it, and be enlightened.

2.14.2011

Venn's Valentine

1.20.2011

My Cat's Farts Can Kill Sasquatch

If there's one thing that can melt my stone-cold heart, it is the sight of my adorable, so-cute-I-could-die cat, Daphne.  She is an angel wrapped up in a soft furry ball of pure joy.  She is most precious when she lies supine, her tummy exposed in an unabashedly open invitation; it is as if she is says, "Please rub my tummy."  I cannot resist her when she does this.



She, in all her furry perfection, has but one flaw.


Her farts smell like death. 


Literally—they are the worst-smelling, most putrid thing ever to be produced by man or animal. You don't expect something so horrific and so deadly from something so sweet and innocent. The malodor is so bad, it renders the atmosphere incapable of sustaining organic life-forms. The smell can knock out a fully-grown woolly mammoth. I'm not joking. Do you think I'm joking? I'm not. I saw the cloud of gas form a fist and Bruce Lee it in the chest.

The devastation that forms around her when she lets one loose immediately creates a fallout perimeter proportional to the blast of the Tsar Bomba:


Even if you escape the danger zone, you're still not safe.  No, not by any means.  Heaven forbid she thinks you're going somewhere fun—the arcade, for instance—and blithely follows you, dragging the poisonous death-haze with her and dropping any and all persons unfortunate enough to be caught in the cloud's radius.


She'll plop down and say, "Going to the arcade? Bring me too! (After you rub my tummy!)"

You won't be able to reply, because you'll have asphyxiated.

So long, and thanks for reading.