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There are a couple of bleeped swears in this episode
because bleeped swears are funnier, right?
At 01:15:03 The B says:
it’s the crack cocaine of video games
There’s also a potential spoiler for the first Pokémon movie at 01:58:03, check your podcatcher for chapter markings for this.
And there is one mention of a certain type of disease, at the VERY end of the episode
like, within the closing minute of the episode
Please listen responsibly
Welcome back to another episode of our podcast! This episode is all about Pokémon - that’s right, the game which took butterfly catching and made it into a video game
and we don’t mean that creepy intro bit to Resident Evil: Code Veronica, either
Pokémon turned 25 this year
2021, in case you’re listening from the future
Do you feel old yet?
and it made us feel super old. So we got together with The B to talk about just how old it makes us feel.
As a bit of a break from the norm, we handed over the hosting privileges to Squidge for this episode
mainly because he knows WAY more about Pokémon than Jay does
as we’ll find out, soon enough
In fact, the actual cast for this episode was:
Beautiful Lass Jay
Hex Maniac B
As you can see, it was one heck of a cast.
10,000 ft View of Pokémon
We started the episode by asking everyone to give their own 10,000 ft overview of the Pokémon games. You know, in case someone listening had never heard of it.
And some of our interpretations of the games are… interesting, to say the least. It included theories as to who the main character is, where the human hospitals are, why Professor Oak can’t remember his grandson’s name
worst grandpa ever
whether Professor Oak and Rick (from Rick & Morty) are the same person, why normal RPG rules don’t apply, and whether social services should have been involved.
It’s not like The Island of Dr. Monroe. Humans aren’t Pokémon. Or are they?
And of course Jay’s description of Pokémon was provided via interpretive dance
making it harder for Squidge to edit into the episode
Basically Pokémon covers the full gamut of neglectful and abusive behaviour of other species and children
Way to keep up those positive waves, B.
Community Comments #1
We reached out to the wider Pokémon community ahead of recording this episode, and asked for comments on what Pokémon meant to everyone. We had quite a few comments, so we wanted to pepper them throughout the episode, and these were the first set of comments.
First up was Mr. Ray, and he had this to say:
Pokémon to me meant friends. Not just with the pokemon pals I had, but that it forced a shy kid to socialize and trade so I could catch them all. Since, yknow, the game is designed for that
Next up was Sakura, and she had this to say:
to be the best, like no one ever was because it’s my destiny.
Seriously though, Pokemon means to me: nostalgia/good memories, friendship, a connection, determination, and something that makes people come together.
You don’t realise the power and effect pokemon has given to people universally, until those first few notes of the original theme song play and you see a venue holding a 1000+ attendees, suddenly stop whatever they were doing and all sing the song in unison with such passion in their voices - everyone in that room is rethinking their own adventure together with everyone in that moment. It’s beautiful and makes you feel wholesome that your part of such a worldwide phenomena
Both of these comments are wonderfully wholesome, we’re sure that you’ll agree.
And as B points out, both Tomb Raider and Pokémon have this uncanny ability to bring communities together. And of course we couldn’t let B mention this without referencing out previous anniversary episode
No one can talk about Pokémon without talking about their firsts, and being the investigative types that we are, we wanted to know what everyone’s first Pokémon game was.
Jay: Pokémon Blue
In fact, his first exposure to Pokémon was not the games, the TV shows, or the movies. But a high school maths class
which is something he goes into later in the episode, when a special guest appears
The B: Pokémon Yellow
Which had more references to the TV show; with the main character been called Ash and there was a Pikachu which followed you around the game overworld.
Squidge: Pokémon Blue
Squidge got into Pokémon through friend of the show Ik
and one of Squidge’s childhood friends, along with The B
got him into it, back in his high school days.
Famous First Starters
Just like our famous first games, the choice of your first starter reveals a lot about someone. As such, we wanted to know which Pokémon we each chose as our first starter.
It’s the correct answer; everybody knows
Which lead to Jay calling out both Facebook and Twitter on whether he is right or not
The B: Pikachu
Because B started with Pokémon Yellow, he had no choice over his starter Pokémon. But had he played any of the other 1st generation games before Pokémon Yellow, he would have picked Charmander.
Squidge let’s us know that Charmander is essentially hard mode, and that he managed to brute force his way through the game with a team leader who was a fire type.
Keeping The Starter in Your Team; Yay or Nay?
Just because you pick a Pokémon at the start of the game doesn’t mean that you have to use it all the way through to the end of the game. So did anyone keep that starter around all the way to the endgame?
It’s Team Bulbasaur all the way. All you need is Bulbasaur
The B: Yes
B has a similar strategy to Jay: keep the starter in the team and get them to level 100
before the end of the game. But he only did that for the first generation, it seems.
Squidge saw Charmander as a Rocky Balboa character, so he would keep his Charmander around in order to kick some serious butt. Right up until Ik showed Squidge the many different, and some times challenging ways to play the game.
Which lead us into a discussion about which other pop culture icons the other starters resembled.
Squrtle: Prince; because of the Squirtle-Squad and how flashy Squirtle is, when in the squad
Pikachu: doesn’t resemble a pop culture icon, because Pikachu IS a pop culture icon; being the face of the brand
So you’re saying that Pikachu is Mickey Mouse, fair enough
Bulbasaur: a plant pot; because Squidge likes to make fun
Did You Catch ‘Em All?
Squidge decided that Jay didn’t matter for this section, as he hadn’t played enough of the Pokémon games
I’m as saddened as you are - Jay
But this spawned a conversation about how there are no lose conditions in this game, and that there are multiple win conditions:
Catch them all
Beat the story
Catch them all AND Beat the story
Almost no other game, especially in the fifth generation of video game consoles, had multiple ways to beat the game.
Regardless, was “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” just a clever marketing slogan, or did we actually manage to catch them all?
The B: No
Whilst B aimed for it, he never achieved it - becoming bored with the game way before catching them all. Especially after having reached the end of the story of each game.
Just like with B, Squidge got to around 100 caught Pokémon before giving up on that part of the quest.
Most Difficult Gym
All of the Pokémon games have a deceptively simple gameplay mechanic:
Level up your Pokémon
But not too far
Because you need badges to prove to them that you are a strong enough trainer
And the way that you get the badges is to travel to each town and take on the gym leaders. These are powerful Pokémon trainers who will award you with a badge for beating them.
Jay: “The one without Bulbasaur in it”
It shouldn’t be "Pokémon: Gotta Catch ‘Em All"; it should be "Pokémon: Gotta Use Bulbasaur"
Jay really leant into Bulbasaur being the best Pokémon, in this episode.
🎵Pokémon, got his Bulbasar
🎵You know it’s true; he’s gonna beat me and then beat you.
🎵He’s gonna hit you with the Leed Seed.
🎵And he’ll give you a whip, and then he’ll evolve into the next stage
🎵Buy some time! Gotta sing this song
The B: None
Based on the fact that B’s first game was Yellow, he didn’t feel as though there were any particularly bad gyms in the game. But if he had to choose one, it would be Koga’s gym (in Fuchsia city) because of the invisible walls.
Squidge: Misty’s gym
Because Squidge always had Charmander in his team, and Misty using water-based Pokémon, it would always be the toughest fight in the game for him; with everything else being on easy street from there.
A Wild Maz Appears
We’d gotten in touch with Maz prior to recording this episode
and asked him what his thoughts were on Pokémon turning 25.
It feels like yesterday [that the first game came out]
We agree Maz in that if you didn’t live through that era, then you won’t be able to fully appreciate the wider reaching affects of the zeitgeist that was the Pokémon sensation.
Listen, I’m not saying that if you picked Squirtle or Charmander that you’re a bad person. I’m just not saying that you’re not a bad person
See! Bulbasaur is the best - Jay
Interestingly, none of knew anyone who knew the rules to the trading card game. And if we’re honest, we still don’t know anyone who knows the rules.
It’s one of those things where it’s worth the hype, because it’s as good as it says it is.
And we talked about some of the Nuzlocke challenges that are available for players who are looking for an extra challenge. Including getting to level 100 before leaving the first route, or ditching a Pokémon as soon as it feints.
What’s in a Nuzlocke?
One of the hobbies of, friend of the show, Ik is to try out and come up with completely new challenges. This helps to keep Pokémon feeling fresh, and his challenges are usually based off of the Nuzlocke series of challenges.
you may have noticed our fledgling challenges page, which has similar challenges but for all sorts of different games
Squidge decided to list some of the challenges that Ik likes to run through. Some of these challenges require using a particular Pokémon from that start, in order to do that Ik uses ROMs
of the games that he legally owns
don’t steal or pirate games, folks
and an application which lets him set one of the starters to either a random choice or a specific creature.
You must obtain all possible pokémon before each badge, before challenging the elite 4, and/or other checkpoints that are game specific.
All pokémon must be obtained by use of a single game. Thus, you don’t need to get unavailable version exclusives, nor pokémon that evolve through trade. Generally, no glitches should be used.
Ik also adds two more rules into the Professor Oak challenge:
Every caught Pokémon must be trained to level 100 BEFORE heading to the next gym
All Pokémon must be caught using PokéBalls, unless they are shiny Pokémon. In which case, you can use a Premier Ball
fans of the games may already know that Premier Balls are the same as regular PokéBalls
Some of Ik’s achievements, using the above rules are:
Pokémon Blue: Professor Oak Challenge
Pokémon Red: Farfetch’d only run
Pokémon Ruby: Gotten one Pokémon to level 100 before the first gym
And the current challenges that Ik is gunning for are:
Pokémon Fire Red: Bug types only
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!: Catching all Pokémon in Master Balls only
Pokémon Omega Ruby: Professor Oak Challenge, and creating a LivingDex
this means that he needs to have one of each Pokémon in the storage PC
a Living PokéDex, if you will
Top Three Pokémon Games
At the time of recording
there are 122 Pokémon video games available. So we wanted to know which ones where everyone’s top three games in the series - there are plenty to choose from.
New Pokémon Snap
Squidge’s top tip: don’t adult, it’s an absolute trap
Pokémon Fire Red
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon
Did You Complete Any Of Your Favourites?
Having a favourite Pokémon title is fine, but did any of us complete our favourite games?
The B: No
Gold was the one that B got the closest to completing, but he can’t say for certain that he ever 100%’d any of the games.
Squidge’s version of “completed”
remember the statement about there being multiple ways to finish a Pokémon game?
is getting all of the badges and beating the Elite 4. This is something that he has only done on Pokémon Blue and Pokémon Fire Red (out of his top three).
Weird and Wonderful Things to See in Pokémon Games
In an effort to make the game world seem more realistic, Game Freak added a lot of strange things into the Pokémon games. Squidge wanted to run through a number of them and get everyone’s reactions to them.
We started with the snippets of dialogue that you get whenever you are challenged by, or beat Pokémon trainers:
Pokémon with cool knees are so neat
and another is:
I am too young for math
and a more recent one
from Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire
One does not simply walk into a mirage spot, you have to fly into them
Another, this time from an earlier title:
It’s like my Rattata is in the top percentage of Rattatas
And the last one, taken from Pokémon Blue; a quote which launched a thousand memes:
Hi. I like shorts. They are comfortable and easy to wear
Other than interesting dialogue choices there are interesting things like the ghost of Pokémon X/Y. In the town of Lumiose, there is a building you can enter where a ghost lives. As it moves past you, it will say
No, you’re not the one…
Aside from being creepy AF, this ghost has sparked a tonne of fan theories about who they are and what they mean. It could just simply be a ghost that Game Freak added to the town to give a little more flavour. Unless we can get someone from Game Freak on the show, we’ll likely never know what the true intention was.
And Squidge knows of ways to troll people with Snorlaxes and Venusuars. But this feels a little more like a glitch to us at the Waffing Taylors editorial team. Still, very interesting to know about though.
Community Comments #2
As mentioned earlier in the episode, we’d reached out to the Pokémon community to see if there were any comments on the fact that Pokémon has turned 25 this year. We had quite a few comments, so we wanted to pepper them throughout the episode, adn here come the second set of them.
Question from a Pokémon GO player called Meowthyone:
Have you got any thoughts on Pokémon GO and gatcha culture? What games would you like to see Gatcha’d? And also best gens and your first shinies?
And JZ’s second question was:
Mainline Pokémon games haven’t really changed much over the years, any thoughts on how they can keep it fresh without losing the magic… carp?
Top quality pun there, JZ. Top quality.
Next up was a comment from Grand Rapidian Willie, and they had this to say:
My son learned to read so that he could play Pokemon games when he was 4. It really motivated him to learn to read on his own without his parents help. He just graduated high school with honors
This is one of the most amazing and wholesome comments about a video game we’ve ever read. Too many people spend way too long attacking video games as a source of bad behaviour, and too few people spend time focussing on the good things that video games can bring
keep an ear open for something that Jason Maddison will be saying in a future episode, which lives around this topic
Our next comment came from friend of the show Stormin’ Norms:
For me pokemon for me was my entry into the anime world that later introduced me to bigger and better anime shows and movies. But it will always have a place for me as a fun programme to watch and me always wanting a Charizard. So I would say like sonic was my beginning passion for playing video games pokemon was the beginning my guilty pleasure of anime
And we reached out to Lulu for some comments on Pokémon, and she said:
I honestly don’t know a lot about Pokémon. I only ever watched the first season of the show when it first aired, and I still think there is only 150 of the buggers
Would You Recommend Pokémon?
Assuming that there’s someone out there who hasn’t played the Pokémon games
which is highly likely
and they asked you about the Pokémon games, would our panellists recommend that they try them out?
And all of us agreed that we would recommend a Pokémon game to almost anyone. There’s no lose condition, allowing you to adapt the game to your style of play; the creatures are super cute; the music is beautiful. What’s not to like?
And on the back of this, which game would we suggest that folks try out first?
Jay; It doesn’t matter which one
The crux of Jay’s argument it: almost all of the games have almost all of the 150 Pokémon from the first generation of games, so it really doesn’t matter which one they try out.
The B: Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee/Pikachu!
Squidge: Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee.Pikachu!
Both Squidge and B agree with Jay’s points, but they make a small caveat:
If you’re used to the modern consoles, and all of the creature comforts that they provide, I would start with Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! or Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!
Jay’s Late Breaking Comment
There was something that Jay forgot to mention when recording the episode, but Squidge was kind enough to edit into the episode. Essentially, it revolves around folks who want to or are studying Japanese:
Get a physical copy of a Japanese Pokémon game. It doesn’t (really) matter which one, too. All of the Pokémon games are aimed at children, and as such all of the text on the game boxes, in the manuals, and in the games use a simplified Japanese style which is aimed at elementary school kids.
So if you’re looking for something to help boost your Japanese reading comprehension, then start with a Pokémon game. You already know how to play the game, and what the majority of the on screen choices are, so there’s no worries about “how do I complete the game?”
This is called Language Immersion, and you’ll increase your Japanese reading comprehension every time you play the game.