Pokémon: Penny Arcade musings

Coincidentally, the ever-popular Penny Arcade has been doing a whole lot of Pokémon-related strips lately. I note in particular that the latest strip makes a joke about a player trading pokemon with himself. This is something that reads differently if you’re familiar with the game. As I’ve pointed out, there are legitimate reasons in the game to prefer a traded to an untraded pokémon, and there are probably people who really do buy two gameboys and two Pokémon cartridges in order to take advantage of this. To one who doesn’t know the game, trading with yourself seems pointless. To one who is, it just seems sad.

They’re presumably into it because of the recent release of the “Diamond” and “Pearl” editions for the Nintendo DS. From what they say, it’s clear that the complexity has been kicked up several notches from the original: they talk about things like breeding pokémon. In the version I know, pokémon are just generated spontaneously from grassy areas by the friction generated when you walk through them. There’s a variety that comes in what are identified male and female forms, but there’s no real reason to believe that they do anything about it. But apparently nowadays breeding your own pokémon is an essential way to get specimens with certain special properties. I remember a sub-game like this in Final Fantasy VII, breeding chocobos in order to get ones that can win races more easily, but also to get special ones that can fly over mountains and oceans. But that was a minor aside in a larger game, whereas Pokémon is all about acquiring special creatures, so it sounds like this is a core part of the game mechanic now. The whole idea seems daunting, but it’s probably more intellectually involving than the level grind.

It also raises the interesting possibility that chocobos might be a lost tribe of pokémon. Must investigate further.

2 Comments so far

  1. malkav11 on 26 Jul 2007

    Diamond and Pearl. “Fire Red” and “Leaf Green” were several games back. Maybe even on the Gameboy Color.

  2. Carl Muckenhoupt on 26 Jul 2007

    Whoops, right. I’ve corrected this in the post.

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