Going Sober for October

mysoberThis year I’ve decided to do it. Don’t ask me why. I don’t mean that I’ve got no reason to do it, I just mean don’t ask me because I’ve already explained why on my donation page.

I realise there’s a certain kind of conflict in doing this, when so much of my life involves alcohol [in both business and pleasure], but I’m openly a man of contradictions, and I’m going to give it a go come what may.

I’ll be posting about aspects of it over on my other blog, but I just wanted to record it here, that it’s going ahead and to reassure all my many fans that I still have lots of notes to write up and old posts to publish, so providing I make the time, I’ll still be writing about beer, if not enjoying tasting it.

Sounds like masochism to me…

[Here’s that link again to my donation page, in case you missed it: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5]

Pokemon Soul Silver: I’ve known you all your life, tell me your name.

So after 10 years Nintendo decided it was high time they remade what many consider to be the best Pokémon games gold and silver. These games were originally released on the game boy colour and have now been updated for the Ds this involves a graphics overhaul and generally some game tweaks but is this a re-imagining or shameless money making scheme? Here are my thoughts on it.
I remember these games being released on the game boy colour all those years ago and me being a huge Pokémon fan but I was unable to play them due to my being poor. I never played them originally as by the time I had a steady job and was able to afford them the next games in the series came along so these games for me aren’t about nostalgia they are about visiting a region of the Pokémon world that I never visited or Nintendo has visited since.
The graphics on this games are colourful and quirky but you get the sense that they aren’t really trying very hard. This is the best looking Pokémon game to date but I really don’t think the ds is being pushed that much. Many of the animations have been seen on previous games and while there is some new detail there isn’t really much here to attract the eye. A lot of the art in this game is also very old, I mean it feels like I’ve been looking at the same grass and same building since the gameboy’s day and no matter how much they improve it or gimmicks they inject into the game (3D anyone) this is still just a re-skinned game boy game.
Despite the problems I have graphically with this title lets be honest, when was Pokémon ever about the graphics? Pokémon is about the gameplay and the Pokémon themselves and here the makers of this game have done a Stella job of writing a story and by write I mean copy and paste from Pokémon blue/red. This is almost identical to the previous games in the series: boy leaves town, battles many people, get 8 gym badges, go to poke league and defeats an evil organisation hell bent on world domination along the way. I understand that this is the world that it’s set in but could you at least offer me some variety please? Something different, something I’ve never done before. That while the story made be old hat there is still something comforting about it, it’s like that security blanket that you had when you were young that you’d wrap yourself up in; it makes you feel safe, you know exactly what’s going to happen but you’re ok with it and that for some reason is strangely compelling.
The other most notable feature of Pokémon has got to be the Pokémon themselves. At this present moment in time there are close to 500 hundred Pokémon and I for one think this is about 250 too many. They’ve used the idea of more Pokémon to hide the shallowness of their games and the fact that we’ve been playing the same game over and over again for almost 15 years now. The fun of these games is in exploring the land and the different Pokémon but when you have so many it becomes more of a chore and one long grind to reach that mythical limit.
The number of Pokémon is not the only place they have indulged in a bit of over complication they seem to have done this is the sheer number of HM’s. I now this is properly unique to me but enough is enoughThey are annoying and you need them to go anywhere of any importance in the world and this over use of them just adds to my frustration levels. This is not my only annoyance with the game, the lack of environments present in the game really shows how old it actually is. The later Pokémon games have incorporated show, volcanoes and marshland while this game has the same three territories: sea grass and rocks. Oh joy! Another rock and another tree! Lastly in my list of annoyances is the sound design, it’s annoying and I have to leave the game on mute and it’s not just this game, it’s all Pokémon, this can’t be the best that the DS can do, can it?
Despite this game’s many faults and, I’ve listed just a few of them, I still can’t stop playing it. Pokémon is Pokémon and they say love is blind and I love Pokémon. This is a absolutely must have for any Pokémon and although it is a lot like being punished trying to get to 500 Pokémon I will get there and I’ll be so happy when I do. Despite my undying love for Pokémon and all the games so far I can’t help but look at the next one with a little fear. They’re going to add more Pokémon, more areas and more challenges and at what point does Pokémon become too complicated for non-hardcores to play?