Saturday, April 03, 2010

Pokeholicsm Returns

The addiction returns. It's not full-fledged obsession, as it was for Pokemon Pearl, thankfully. When Platinum came out a bit more than a year later, I was burned out after catching them all, and was content to play just enough to write a review. But now, just a year later, I get a review copy of the newest game, Pokemon HeartGold, and I'm right back in the thick of it. I'm playing this game fo' real, yo, even trying to catch a lot (but certainly not all) of 'em. I initially meant simply to trade over my Tier 1 team from Pearl once I beat the Elite Four, but I'm finding myself sticking with my original team, which is mostly caught Pokemon: Red Gyarados, Feraligatr, Ampharos, Lucario, Gallade, and Ho-Oh. I have a Bibarrel as an HM slave. I'm in Kanto now, and I have no intent on stopping, even after writing a two-man two-man review with Neal Ronaghan.

So, anyway, as Pokefanatics already know, the pull of this franchise is strong. It's almost as if, at some point in our evolutionary history, collecting adorable monsters and using them to resolve conflict was paramount to our survival. Most of the Pokemon I meet in the wild easily submit to a Quick Ball, but those damn legendaries, as always, provide considerable challenge. We've all been in the situation of facing a legendary who we've managed to knock down to 1 HP AND put to sleep, only to experience the heartbreak of running out of Pokeballs. That happened to me twice while trying to check off Ho-Oh. Oh, the frustration! Eventually, however, I made it part of my team, and Sacred Fire has been setting those bothersome Grass and Steel types alight ever since.

Now, the other reason the game is taking up all my time is that it's getting me off my ass. No, really. This is a video game that encourages exercise, and not in a forced Wii Fit sort of way. Behold: the unbelievably simplistic, but addictive, Pokewalker.

This device is a pedometer. It counts your steps. However, there's more to it than that! For every twenty steps you take, you earn a "Watt." For every ten Watts you earn, you get chance to catch a Pokemon that is then stored on the Pokewalker until you wirelessly connect it to HeartGold. For a mere three Watts, you can play a "find an item!" game where you can find rare items, like Stardust and Berries. When you import one of your Pokemon to the Pokewalker, you also choose a "Route" to walk on, which really just means "what batch of Pokemon would you like to catch?" There are six Pokemon per route, but they are divided into two "classes," and you never know what class you start out with until you start finding them. Furthermore, the best Pokemon in each class are only findable after walking nine or ten thousand steps. That's a lot of stepping! However, it pays off: today I caught a Pikachu that knows Fly (or Surf, depending on the class--I don't know which one yet).

So the Pokewalker gives me incentive to walk more, which is great!

I also just beat Koga's daughter. I'm totally pwning this game. It's so awesome.


Nick Gardner said...

i never catch em all, i usually catch ones to be TM slaves, and then basically make my starter into a rapefest hero.

David said...


I won't buy it until the summer. The present time is critical.


Anonymous said...

"some point in our evolutionary history, collecting adorable monsters and using them to resolve."

I can see it now....

Neanderthal: This valley isn't big enough for both tribes.
Archaic H. Sapiens: Then we'll have to fight for it.
Neanderthal: Go! Mammoswine! Use Earthquake!
Archaic H. Sapiens: Skarmory, counter that with Steel Wing!
Its Super Effective.

Celluloid Memories said...

I too was once a major Pokeholic. It started way back in high school. Red and Blue just came out and the TV show aired before school. At first I was "looks cool...", but then I saw the episode in which Bulbasaur refuses to evolve but attends an evolution ceremony anyway. For some reason I LOVED that episode to pieces.

I then met a classmate who was also starting his Pokemon obsession. After a while, I decided to buy Pokemon Red and HOLY MOTHER OF CRAP WAS I ADDICTED! I then bought a link cable, a player's guide and Pokemon Blue.

I then began to tape all the episodes of the TV show, and would watch it after school or during dinner.

The reason Pokemon became so dear to me was because there truly is a great community for the game. It's more than just catching creatures and battling them, its about swapping stories and strategies with good people. The fact that Pokemon would then on to become a worldwide phenomenon helped in deepening the bonds.

But by the time Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire were released I was burned out, and so was the rest of my friends and the world. The stories of the Pokemon series were beginning to feel redundant.

It would take a present from a friend to get me back into Pokefandom. Being a Gamestop manager she received two copies of Pokemon Diamond. She gave one to me and during the flight from Boston to Puerto Rico I played the living hell out of it!

But enough rambling! I was personally annoyed when Game Trailers overlooked it in their review. It does play a role in the game it does look like more than just a gimmick.