Pokemon Alpha Sapphire

I was planning on seeing Nightcrawler today, but that didn’t happen for a number of reasons, including my current lack of car and my weak ankles. And the only thing that’s been on television in my house today has been the tennis (the schedulers decided to try something different this year, which means that for some reason women’s matches are never on television). I watched the second season premiere of Broad City this morning, but I don’t have much to say about it, although I probably will in a few weeks. Instead I spent most of the day (and the past few days, really) playing my new Pokemon game.

When people talk about nostalgia for the original Red and Blue versions of Pokemon, I just don’t get it. There is something exciting about playing Pokemon for the first time, but I play video games for story. My other favourite series of video games is Paper Mario (I also love Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but you collect bugs the way you collect pokemon, I guess – and the environmental focus is fun). In my memory, Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire is when the games started getting good, because there was more of a story. It was also the first point at which the differences between the games were greater than just having version exclusive pokemon. Teams Aqua and Magma had their weird environmental goals (seriously, if Team Aqua thought about it, they wouldn’t need Kyogre to save the ocean, because climate change would deplete the landmass, and therefore Magma seems to make more sense), and the environment became a common thread running through future Pokemon games.

All this is to say that I was very excited to finally buy Pokemon Alpha Sapphire on Wednesday night after I’d been paid, and it’s great. Team Aqua are focusing on the pollution of the sea, which makes more sense than their goals to increase sea levels in the original version of the game, and some of the technology upgrades are fantastic. I’m really enjoying the DexNav, which lets you know which Pokemon you’ve caught in any given route as well as having a little crown symbol letting you know when you’ve caught them all. The Mach Bike is also much easier to use than it was in the original game, although I still haven’t gotten to zero collisions on the speed test. I haven’t yet used any of the features introduced in and versions, like Super Training and Pokemon Amie, because I have no need to yet (I don’t battle competitively, and I have no Eevee to evolve into Sylveon) and I already know how they work. I also haven’t entered any Pokemon contests, because I haven’t found out where they’re keeping the Pokeblock machines. My one criticism of the game is the way the Dowsing Machine works. It took me a little while to figure out; thank goodness I remembered where some of the hidden items were from all the times I’ve played Emerald.

The one thing I’ve been trying to do this time is use pokemon I’ve never used before. I will always have Marshtomp and Breloom in my team, but this time I’m trying out Shedinja, which is mostly good until you forget that Zubat is actually a flying pokemon, as well as Skarmory, which was less trouble to catch than I expected it to be. I’m probably going to have a Starmie, which leaves a spot for me to either keep my Mightyena with Fire Fang, or put something else in there (I’m not sure what). All I know is that I’m doing my best not to rush through this game and just enjoy it.

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