What I'm Not Playing This Week: Pokemon Black/White

By Allen Park

March 14, 2011

Hello, friendos. Danl is off this weekend, getting drunk and into some serious barfights with some rugged nerds at PAX East, so I’m filling in for him for this edition of What I’m Not Playing This Week. I know, you guys miss his witty quips and fantastic Photoshops of yours truly in screenshots of Asian-themed games, but rest assured, he’ll be back next weekend.

Anyway, if you bros haven’t noticed, the next chapter in the massively successful Pokemon franchise just came out last week to amazing praise and even more amazing sales. I myself have bought White, and while I have dabbled in it, enough to beat the second Gym Leader, I think I’ll be putting it down this week, for a number of very good reasons. Train your way to the jump to find out what they are.

Pokemon Black/White marks the fifth Generation of all-new Pokemon and all-new characters, with a sorta-new storyline. My main problem with this is that, okay, we have new characters, but do they all have to look like utter wieners? Take the main character for instance. The chick isn’t too bad; she looks sassy and cool, with “ATTITUDE!” up the wazoo, and cut-offs that’d make Tobias Funke proud. The guy isn’t particularly offensive either, just your standard Ash Ketchum clone.

Except according to Bulbapedia, the male character’s name is Hilbert.


That’s not even a name! It’s like one of those names you give to a slow, fat, droopy-eared puppy that perpetually looks ten dog years old. I bet none of his Pokemon give him any respect because of that name; it’s just utterly terribad. Compare that to the name of the character from Diamond/Pearl/Platinum, Lucas. Now there’s a strong, solid, masculine name you can stand behind.

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I truly feel sorry for him too, as it seems like his name’s holding him back from having truly cool friends. Just look at his childhood friends in the game, Cheren and Bianca. Cheren somehow has a worse name than Hilbert, and certainly lives up to it; judging from how he acts in the game, he’s just a sniveling nerd with no backbone, and no real redeeming qualities whatsoever. He seems like one of those geeks that just looks geeky and is actually dumber than a Geodude.

And speaking of dumber than a Geodude, I can’t fail to mention Bianca, the “blonde” of the group. She’s always late, and seems like she does charitable things not for other people, but to make herself look and feel better in the eyes of others. I envision her being that chick you meet at a party that purposely acts borderline retarded because she thinks she’s acting cute and desirable to the beefcake’d out dudebros pounding Natty Lights.

But eh, that’s not too bad; it’s not like Cheren and Bianca are your party members and you have to constantly be barraged by their crap. What is bad though, is that this air of wienerness extends even to the Pokemon. Black/White boasts the fact that, until you defeat the Elite Four, you’ll encounter all-new, never-before-seen Pokemon, and that’s well and good, since some of the designs look straight-up badass. The problem, though, is it seems like this Generation more than others, there are more puny basic Pokemon that are absolutely worthless until you level them up and evolve them to their final forms. Prime examples? Meet Roggenrola and Tympole.

Yes, one is a stone nipple with a phallus on his head, and the other is what the sperm of the Prince in Katamari Damacy would presumably look like. When you first encounter these in the wild, they’re just straight up fodder. They’re the wild Pokemon you run away from because they’re not worth wasting time and PP. If you’re curious like me, no doubt you’d encounter these excuses for Pokemon and look them up on Bulbapedia, wondering why the hell they even exist, and then you see their final forms.

Roggenrola’s final evolution is Gigalith, and Tympole’s final is Seismitoad. Both of them look quite badass, and seem like they’d be absolute beasts in the long run. So, being a trainer with foresight, I decide to catch both of these and use them actively in battle to get them in fighting shape.

That might be the worst, most infuriating decision I made in the game so far. Roggenrola isn’t too bad, as he has some resilience and learns quite a bit of strong Rock moves early on. But my God, Tympole is just a worthless sack of flesh, one of the worst this side of Magikarp. He has Bubblebeam when you first get him, which is pretty rad, but his attack and HP are so low that it hardly matters. When a simple move like Scratch can take off a good chunk of HP, maybe using him was a terrible idea. What’s even worse is that Bubblebeam is pretty much the only decent Water move he learns until Muddy Water, which is all the way at Level 27. In fact, he doesn’t learn very many Water moves at all, even after evolving to Seismitoad, which is making me reconsider even using him to begin with.

Still, that huge toad looks like a bawse, weak attributes and all…

Whatever the case, that’s pretty much why I’m holding off on Pokemon for a while. My rage with Tympole has yet to subside, and probably won’t until I find a proper replaceme–

…is…is that a bug with a leaf as a popped collar? DO. F***ING. WANT. Either disregard this entire column, or I’m going to have to find a new reason to not play Pokemon this week.

Oh right, Okamiden comes out this week. Everyone should play that instead, because if it’s like the original Okami, it sure as hell won’t put up Pokemon numbers in terms of sales, and it’s certainly a game that deserves attention.

Anyway, here’s what some of the staff isn’t playing this week:

John Coleslaw – Homefront because I got head last night. (I have no idea what that means)

Justin “The Better-Than-Will Smith-Version-of-Hitch” Hutchinson – Final Fantasy IX because I don’t want to start and not finish another JRPG, like I did with Earthbound and am probably gonna do with Xenogears.

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    Allen Park

    Allen is an utter whore of a gamer; he's completely open-minded to all games, be they AAA blockbusters or $5 casual children's games. His focus is on indie games specifically, valuing gameplay and ingenuity over sparkly visuals and ridiculous gimmicks. When he's not geeking out over the newest art game, he's out toning his sexy, sculpted shoulders while surfing epic 1.5ft waves, or having a good time with local, high-gravity microbrews.

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