Pokemon X and Y have been announced and Pokefanatics everywhere are flapping their gums about the prospect of 3D models, hidden meanings, all new legendaries, and getting the game in their exuberant little paws the very same day as the habitually spoiled Japanese folk. Suck it, Kobayashi: We’re gonna be making bitches croak with Froakie the frog at our disposal at the exact same time as you. (Well, the 14 hours later kind of exact.)
It’s like Nintendo and Game Freak has given us everything we’ve ever wanted in a Pokemon game and then some. Well… almost. Here are a few elements we’d still like to see them consider:
1. New starter types
When it comes to Pokemon games, Nintendo/Game Freak’s canon is: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
And who can blame them? If you made one of the most successful video game franchises in history you’d be singing the same damn tune. (While sleeping at night on a big pile of money… in Lapras underoos.)
Look no further than the starting trio of Pokemon and the immutable precept that they be Fire, Grass, and Water types; so it has been since the game’s inception and so it shall be once more in Pokemon X and Y.
Not to hate on tradition. The elemental triune usually ends up being iconic and yes, we’re thrown some monkey wrenches by way of secondary typing to offset the monotony (Grass/Poison, Fire/Fighting, Water/Steel)… but why not break the mold for once and try something new?
The following are perfect rock/paper/scissor triangles like the Grass/Fire/Water one we’re all accustomed to:
Hey now, that last triangle looks pretty damn appealing. Fighting, Flying, and Rock types have never been used in their purest form as starters; and Flying and Rock especially could stand to see some stronger representation.
“But AiPT, my eight-year-old brother Morty plays Pokemon too and he deserves to have some fun. There’s always a normal/flying type like Pidgey and Rufflet poking its little beak around on the starting routes who would OHKO Little Morty with a well-timed flying attack and well, that would discourage him to no end!”
Just shut up, Morty’s sibling. Morty, metaphorically grow a pair. You want to have fun in Pokemon? Great. But you also need to learn some humility and how to bounce back from defeat. If kids your age could work fourteen hours a day in textile factories during the early 1900s in the US, I’m sure you’ll manage to clamber your way back into good spirits after fainting to Pidgey’s Gust a few times.
Then you have some other triangles that would work, but aren’t technically perfect rock/paper/scissor examples:
Fighting/Dark/Psychic. (Dark is immune to Psychic.)
Flying/Rock/Grass. (Rock deals neutral damage to Grass.)
Ground/Electric/Water. (Ground is immune to Electric.)
I wouldn’t mind seeing any of those supplant the current triangle, if just for a game or two. A little variety could go a long way in keeping the game fresh.
2. More rewarding Pokemon breeding
Suck it up, Pikachu. We’ve all done worse.
Image from: byrionelliot88
That’s right, let’s take this Pokemon breeding relationship, the feature introduced in Generation II for the most ardent fans of animal matchmaking and Reginald C. Punnett, to the next level.
… Not like that, you puerile bastards. I don’t mean crawling into the corral and providing Pikachu with a nice reach-around or even “giving Cubone a bone.”
What I’m saying is: let’s get straight up mad scientist. Instead of just spawning adorable little baby pokemon like Elekid or Cleffa, whose final forms we’ve seen countless times, how about begetting completely new species and aberrant hybrids?
After all, why do such wondrous beasts as the liger, zebroid, grolar bear, and hell, even the cockapoodle exist (aside from their skills in magic)? Because they’re fucking fascinating, that’s why. And because as human beings it’s our obligation to infringe upon the genetic rights of anything that can’t explicitly say, “No.”
Just imagine the chimerical varmints the Poke-populace could concoct: A breed of Pikachu/Eevee amalgams whose cuteness would bring a “D’aww” to even the most hardened criminal’s lips? Some Franken-mon hodgepodge with a Bidoof’s head, a Magikarp’s dorsal fin and a Wailord’s body? Something cool I don’t even know about?
This might be tough to program, but we’re not suggesting we go full-blown SimLife. Keep it limited; a baker’s dozen or so Pokemon that can be unlocked via this method, with the same sort of rarity and reverence as using the DNA Splicers on Kyurem.
3. Less banal Pokemon
You right, Blaziken. You right.
Not every Pokemon can be Mewtwo or Hydreigon, but at this point I’d rather play a soiled, anthropomorphised pair of speedos than another Fire/Fighting starter or a worm that enters pupation and subsequently emerges a useless butterfly or a moth.
GamesRadar put together this list of animals we haven’t yet seen pocket monster-ized.
That’s a start.
Although if you take into consideration all 17 Pokemon types, there are 153 possible type-combinations. (The math comes out to 289 different types, but the order of the types is negligible; that is, rock/ground is same as ground/rock.) That means there’s 43 type-combinations that we still have yet to see: (Tell me if I missed any):
Normal – Fire/Electric/Ice/Bug/Ghost/Poison/Dragon/Rock/Ground/Steel/Dark
Grass – Dragon/Fire/Ghost
Fire – Water/Ice/Poison
Electric – Fighting/Psychic/Poison/Rock/Dark
Ice – Bug/Fighting/Poison/Rock/Steel
Bug – Psychic/Dragon/Dark
Flying – Fighting
Fighting – Ghost/Dragon/Ground
Psychic – Ghost/Poison/Dark
Ghost – Rock/Steel
Poison – Dragon/Rock/Steel
Dragon – Rock
Obviously these all can’t make for feasible new Pokemon, especially some of the Normal + X ones, but let’s speculate on a few that would be bad-ass:
The gargoyle premise works perfectly.
I know we already have Cradily, but I would play the shit out of a sloth Pokemon.
This phantasmal pugilist would wreak some havoc as no types in the game can resist the Ghost/Fighting attacking combo.
This guy looks like a boss, but with the dominance of Steel and Fighting in the current metagame, he’d need an impressive stat and movepool to keep up.
I like my idea for Sindustry better, but Ghost/Steel would be an amazing type to play, as he’d counter the myriad strong fighting types in-game.
Fighting types are dominant in the current meta-game. Could a Dragon/Poison be their bane?
4. Get rid of HMs
We gotta take the power back, Bidoof.
Because Bidoof needs loving too; not being relegated to your shameful, shrub cutting, slave-laboring hussy. (For those that need to be bludgeoned over the head with explanations and have no sense of deductive skills, this means that the HM moves are really bad in battle and as a result, they are forcefully bound to a Pokemon like Bidoof for instance, because it’s not like you actually want the moves… but it’s a necessary evil to have them in order to progress into certain areas of the game.)
5. More diverse playable characters
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: You’re a young trainer who’s been given a choice between three starter Pokemon at the game’s onset that you’ll use against both a series of gym leaders and a rival. (That you always get to name because apparently amnesia is extremely common in the Poke-universe, especially among renowned professors.)
You traverse the globe, battle various gym leaders, catch some Pokemon, say your prayers, force feed your Pokemon vitamins, learn a little bit about yourself, beat the Elite Four and subsequently your rival, and then flash a peace sign at the screen as the polygonal curtains come a rollin’. Oh yeah, and there will be some evil organization hell-bent on world domination or obsessing with Pokemon or both thrown into the mix somewhere in all that as well.
One: There are factory assembly line workers that would scoff at your life of tedium.
And two: We don’t mean to ruin your dreams, but if Pokemon were real you wouldn’t become champion. In fact, the chances of that are lower than me getting ravenously fellated by two horny Pokefanatics as a direct result of writing this article or your best friend becoming an NFL running back, winning the lottery, having a threesome with Bigfoot and Chupacabra and then being struck by lightning all in the same day.
There there. Keep your head up. (And here’s a Kleenex to wipe away your inner ten-year-old’s tears.)
But to give some sort of purpose to that melancholic revelation: Why do we have to always play as the boring kid that wants to neglect all of his other obligations in life to become a “Pokemon master”? Forget giving us the option to customize our character’s hair color, or his hat style, or the amount of acne on his chin; why not infuse the game with some real flavor and have us assume the role of the myriad other characters we’ve come across in our journeys before? Surely they’ve some interesting stories to tell. Imagine starting the game as:
A down on his luck gambler forced to partake in sanctioned matches so that he can recompense his crippling Cinnabar Hold ‘Em debts?
An old man or woman whose dying wish is to just win one Pokemon battle? (You start off with the worst Pokemon possible stat-wise and can never evolve them or catch new ones due to the stress it would put on your heart. Think of it as Challenge Mode; if you win, you’ll end up becoming the comeback, feel-good story of the century.)
A detective who, along with his team of astute Pokemon, are hot on the trail of a serial killer?
One of Lt. Surge’s former platoon mates prone to fits of egregious violence that needs his loveable squadron of Pokemon to keep him from killing again.
Hell, even an unshaven vagrant who, while warming his hands above a trash fire, happens upon a shiny metal ball… and eventually forms an inseparable bond with his new pal, Trubbish.
Raticate, I choose you. Uh… on second thought, come back. I’m starving. And roll around on top of those empty ketchup packets for a little bit, while you’re at it.
Image from:Michael David Michael
Not the best examples, but you get the point: there are myriad possibilities for captivating storylines that don’t involve Ash Ketchum clones.
“But how are my kids gonna relate to a filthy homeless man, AiPT? And what the hell is that teaching them anyways you incorrigible delinquent?” Oh? When’s the last time you’ve heard someone say, “Man, I love the Mario game. But fuck if Shigeru Miyamoto hasn’t ruined my life. Because of him I’ve turned into an overweight, mustachioed plumber whose girlfriend is constantly kidnapped and raped by an enormous turtle hominoid”? Yeah, Nintendo, we don’t need to play as a young trainer trying to find his place in the world for the upteenth time.
… But if you do, can you at least let us play as this one?
6. Do away with Individual Values
IVs are like the genetic code of Pokemon. As Smogon describes them:
“Individual Values, or IVs for short (sometimes also called Diversification Values or DVs) are essentially numbers that act as the Pokémon’s ‘genes.’ Every Pokémon has a ‘gene’ for each of its stats (HP, Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed), which is a number between 0 and 31. The higher the number, the better that particular stat will be for that Pokémon. The player cannot alter the IVs of any Pokémon in any way. They are set in stone the moment you encounter that Pokémon in the wild, or the moment that Pokémon’s egg is given to you.”
In other words: they’re a feature Game Freak threw in the game to show us that not every Venonat is the same prearranged lines of programming language and colored pixels. Why, they’re as diverse as you and I… just as the good Arceus intended.
IVs are of particular interest to competitive battlers because they want the Pokemon with the highest stats possible and because IV values are directly tied to the move Hidden Power.
Remember when Pikachu inexplicably got the move Surf in Pokemon Yellow and shit got real? AKA, Golem and Rhydon couldn’t ruin his day anymore? Hidden Power, at its strongest is kind of like that. For instance, since Zapdos doesn’t learn any strong grass moves, competitive battlers often give Zapdos the EVs that correspond with him learning Hidden Power Grass, to cover his weakness to Ground types that are immune to his STAB Electric attacks.
The problem with IVs is that they’re determined at random, the game makes them more difficult to determine than Gardevoir’s gender and they’re a pain in the ass to influence. Sure, you could spend weeks on end breeding several thousand Cloyster just to ensure you have one with the highest possible ATK and SPEED IVs of 31… but ain’t nobody got time for that shit. Our Pokemon should be as strong as they can possibly be because we put the time in to train them… not because of some random number generators.
IVs just make us hate the Pokemon that were born 1 stat-point slower than another of the same type because they cost us the match. Surely you don’t want us hating our own Pokemon because of a slight inadequacy in battle like some whip-wielding parody of Michael Vick, do you Nintendo? Didn’t think so. Let’s have IVs removed from the game and have Hidden Power moves taught by a tutor with a flat base power of 70. Problem solved.
7. Pokemon that follow you around in-game
Because it gets so lonely out there in the capacious regions of Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova.
And our Pokemon could really use the exercise.
Pokemon Yellow, HeartGold and SoulSilver let our buddies tag along beside us, their footsteps stitched between ours like the most loving companions ever; why did you take this away from us in Pokemon Black/White oh cruel Nintendo/Game Freak designers?
All of the created Pokemon from #3 are from darksilvania’s DeviantArt page; dude’s got some talent.