Imagine if you will: an epidemic that sweeps across the world, turning once active sociable people of all ages in to glossy eyed, mouth hanging, grunting creatures that barely resemble the humans they once were. They stagger around, staring downward at an object – a relic of their former lives now become their master. And on its tiny lit screen holds these pseudo-people’s only remaining obsession. A drive that takes priority over cleanliness, rest, and even nourishment. An echoing call from beyond the veil of time and space to seek out creatures unknowable to this world, whose very biology is enough to make even the most studious professor go raving mad trying to comprehend and explain. And yet these huddled masses, so devoid of anything we can definitively call humanity, work slavish to heed these creatures call… to capture each and every one. To catch them all if you will.
Well, there’s my spooky horror Halloween bit for the month. But in case you can’t glimpse through the pathetically faux-Lovecraftian prose above, I am talking of course about Pocket Monsters/Pokemon X and Y which was just released and you had better believe I got my sweaty mitts on it at the midnight release. More specifically I have the Y version of the game, while my significant other holds the X version. Fitting with the whole chromosome thing I guess. But it has been sucking up almost every free hour I have. Hence why my Operative sits at 53, and I still haven’t finished the next Class Storyline Review as I haven’t finished any new chapters of a class story… because POKEMON.
I don’t know what it is about this generation of Pokemon (formally dubbed Generation VI from what I’ve gotten from various pokedex websites) that has me so engrossed. I barely cracked a dent in Diamond, and before that the last one I played was Silver. Okay, well, Pokemon Snap too. But I don’t think that counts. I didn’t even grab up half the gym badges in Diamond, and here I am with Y only days after release knocking on the final gym’s door. What is up with this version?
Well for one, I think it has a lot to do with cutting out a lot of the tediousness of the previous games. You can run right away, in the first major town you visit you get roller skates that make moving even faster, and then a bit later you get a bike which is even faster than the skates. So moving around before you get fly is much quicker. The downside to that of course is trying to talk to people who move around. Oh pikachu on a pita, is it ever hard to stop and talk to them. Still it’s a small price to pay for greatly speeding things up.
Speaking of speeding things up, you get the Experience Share device much earlier in this version. Like almost at the start. You turn it on from your key items bag and then all your pokemon who are not in the battle get half the experience gained from the battle, and pokemon in the battle all get the same amount of full experience. That’s right, it’s not split up between them anymore. Praise Arceus! This makes leveling an entire super easy, and getting your pokemon caught up as well. Have a level 5 pokemon you want to use but everything else is level 40? Just drop in the back slot of your line up and it’ll get half the experience of all the battles your up-to-date ‘mon do. It’ll race up there.
The other thing that can’t be overlooked is the massive graphics overhaul. Pretty much all the games up to this point looked like something between the original Zelda and Link to the Past. In comparison, this would closer to the leap to Ocarina of Time level of graphics. Only less polygonal. But the leap is still impressive. No longer with the fixed overhead camera and 2D sprites, the whole thing gives the world of the Kalos region a much more vivid and lifelike feel to it.
The final thing I would say that has had me so enraptured is the story. I know right? Story in Pokemon. Of course that’s nothing new to veterans of the series. Diamond & Pearl had a story at least I know. Pretty sure several of the others did, but it is still one heck of a welcome addition from the Gold & Silver days. Even the whole rival thing is changed up with a much more friendly nature of your neighbor wanting to compete with you as a friend and rival instead of constantly butting heads with you to claim glory for themselves. The entire game has a much more accepting friendly tone to it. Even the story seems to be about how we need to embrace friendship and sharing both the good and bad in life to make it through. Not to say it doesn’t have darker tones with a doomsday weapon, frequent mentions of a war waged with pokemon that ravaged the region long ago, and a tragic story about a king who lost his beloved pokemon and sacrificed hundreds of pokemon’s lives to bring his pet back from the dead. This is the pokemon I WISH they showed more of in the cartoon. Can you imagine Ash, Brock and Misty in the plotline of Fullmetal Alchemist? Oh yes. Yes please. Vry likey.
Honestly, if you were ever a fan of pokemon I think X and Y is worth a look. It does away with a lot of the tedium and makes a lot of things that were strange mysterious background mechanics much more transparent and less in the exclusive realm of the min/maxers. It does a great job of remaining true to the core gameplay of the series, while giving it enough of a fresh coat that I think people who got tired of the repetitive nature of the previous games will have something to enjoy in this, and also still be fun for the die hard fans who have every generation of pokemon on their game shelf. Give it a look, and join in the crowds of stumbling masses who can’t tear their eyes away from the screens. You too will become… A POKE ZOMBIE!
OH! Also, I would be foolish not to include my 3DS Friend Code for anyone out there who might want to trade or battle or something. I’ve included it on the side bar of the site under the ‘Find Me On:’ banner, but for those using RSS feeders and don’t want to click to the main site, the code is: 1349-5385-7500. I also still play Animal Crossing: New Leaf time to time too. Maybe I’ll see you in the battle arena!
As I opened my last loot sack from the Horseman, and watched tearfully as nothing came out but a flimsy orc mask and a couple dozen points, I began to ponder the holiday in a much grander scheme. Hallow’s End is supposed to be the Azerothian equivalent of Halloween right? But it is a bit different now isn’t it – especially in its origins. While, yes, historically before the rise of the scourge and the Third War, Hallow’s End was a popular holiday in Lordaeron. Typically used to celebrate the end of the harvest season, then when the Forsaken declared their independence from the greater whole of the Scourge, they used the holiday (as much of them I imagine were from Lordaeron) to celebrate that instead. Sort of a Forsaken 4th of July or something. So it makes sense for the Forsaken to observe the holiday every year. However, I don’t understand why everyone else is Azeroth also celebrates it.
Did the Alliance decide to still celebrate it as a form of celebration of the harvest? Then what exactly is the Harvest Festival that happens in September? Is that not there to celebrate the Harvest? It’s not, you say? It’s for celebrating the fallen soldiers in battle? Then why the heck is it called a “Harvest Festival” if it has absolutely nothing to do the actual harvest? Well, what about Pilgrim’s Bounty? Don’t try to explain to me that somehow it’s to celebrate the first Alliance to settle on Kalimdor and make peace with the natives by lying about how well it went to make it seem a bit more pleasant for the children. If you’re shaking your head at this, and you should be, it’s because the official lore behind the Pilgrim’s Bounty is zilch. Nada. Non-existent. The only purpose of the holiday is to eat and eat all the lovely food and is roughly modeled around the United States holiday of Thanksgiving (and to level cooking.) Which surprisingly enough is celebrated in the fashion of, and partly is meant to be, A HARVEST FESTIVAL.
So the Alliance have a Harvest Festival that has nothing to do with the harvest, an actual harvest festival called ‘Pilgrim’s Bounty’ (Still waiting to figure out where and when the heck that either the Alliance OR Horde had pilgrims that just happened to wear puritan pilgrim clothing like in our world) and yet somehow we’re expected to believe that the humans, dwarves, night elves and even the otherworldly draenei have all taken up the tradition of celebrating the Lordaeron Harvest Festival at the same time as the Forsaken. In order to “take it back” perhaps? Because your people obviously are hurting for Holidays involving the harvest season.
The Horde celebrating it makes a bit more sense. The Forsaken are all over the place, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the holiday had spread out a bit because of it. Still, seems odd for the Tauren to get behind a Forsaken holiday, doesn’t it? I would think they’d be the first to slap down a full out ban on Hallow’s End treats in their territories and rally protests and complaints (I always picture a Tauren sitting on a bench eyeing a Forsaken from afar and muttering to his friend, “Sometimes dead is better.”) They are usually not very fond of the Forsaken and their “habits.” Which brings to mind another question, do you think the Church of Light has an issue with Hallow’s End? Would they still consider it a “devil holiday” like some denominations of the Christian faith do in our world? Can’t see how they could really. After all, the “devils” or demons of Azeroth are all very real, and people know what they look like, heck they’ve probably stabbed quite a few over the years. It’s pretty obvious that the entire holiday is more of a “Scourge” thing than a “Burning Legion” thing (Loremasters: I am completely aware of how the two are related historically, but this a strictly post-Lich King quitting the Legion’s plan thing.) Now that I think about it, that might explain why all the masks and costumes are just other races in Azeroth. If I was constantly assaulted by demons and dragons all day, I’d dress up as something a bit more pleasant, like your neighbors. It helps that your neighbors happen to be gnomes, aliens, and orcs as well I suppose.
Still I can’t imagine that the Church of the Light would be okay with the participation of a holiday which is mainly observed by the undead. Even if they’re willing to over look it a little because it once was a holiday observed in old Lordaeron, it’s frickin Zombie 4th of July now! I suppose it’s a bit odd that I actually want the Church of the Light to negatively respond to the holiday, but I think it would be so much fun. They could create a Hell House for it and everything that shows Alliance children the horrible and frightening “truth” to being undead. They could even hold in the abandoned Argent Dawn office across the plaza from the Cathedral! (What? It’s not like they’re using it. They formed the Argent Crusade now, and besides, those heathens even let undead into their organization!) Can’t you imagine the fun it would be as they explain how doing things like “hanging out with orcs” or “abusing Blood Elf magics” could be unwillingly steering them down the path to undeath? Come on, we can all think of cheesy anti-Horde or anti-Alliance propaganda and Hallow’s End seems like a great time to express it since it’s our Azerothian flip side to the “Devil’s Holiday” here on Earth!
So those are just some of my thoughts on the past holiday we’ve had. I apologize for not being more frequent with my updates but October has been slamming me with a ton of extra things I’ve had to do in my personal life. I’ve got myself on a bit more of a rigid guideline for November though: at least 1 post per week and a new Video Oddity. So look forward to a bit less sparse posting here at OddCraft, and expect a lot more when Cataclysm comes in December. After all, the Tales of Vrykerion are about to begin…
LOCATION: Any town the Headless Horseman tries to burn.
Orphans. They’re everywhere it seems. In the spring we have to deal with Children’s Week, where we lug this hapless kids around all of Azeroth. Not just Azeroth, but Outland and Northrend now too. In the fall we have to save their orphanage from the tyrannical fire bombings of the Headless Horseman. And why? Why do we do this? Well certainly there’s the monetary gain and pets, but surely there are better pets and more money to be had for an easier task. No. The reason is guilt. It’s our war that took these poor little brats parents. Heck, I’ve slaughtered my share of Alliance and Horde NPCs. Surely some of them had to have kids. So we take them. We drag them around. We buy them whatever we want. But what if it wasn’t just an event… but a PLOT?