In this episode, we explore our lostalgia, nostalgia over media that hasn’t been popular since it debut. Mary talks about “Magination,” the Gameboy Color game while Andy talks about the Goosebumps spin-off series “Give Yourself Goosebumps.” We gush about why we love our respective nostalgia and the probable reasons why they haven’t been popular since they debuted.
With the quasi-remake of Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, “Pokémon Let’s Go!,” coming out this year I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to write another Single Type Run article. As mentioned before, a Single Type (or Monotype) Run in Pokémon is a playthrough where you only train a certain Pokémon type. And boy howdy the Kanto games are probably the most difficult and/or frustrating games in the main series for a Single Type Run. A low diversity and a low amount of available Pokémon make some types almost unplayable. But there’s still some good ones out there so let’s take a look!
- You can only catch and train Pokémon of a certain type. Once you capture your first Pokemon of that type, disregard any previous Pokemon on your team.
- If a Pokémon evolves to said type you may train it but evolve it ASAP.
- No trading allowed
- Only Pokémon caught before the Elite Four are counted.
The Normal type had its heyday in Generation 1. Iconic Pokémon like Snorlax, Jigglypuff, and Tauros are all found in these games. Of course, you have Normal Pokémon available immediately at Route 1 like Rattata and Pidgey so right away you have yourself a team (good luck with Brock, though!). What’s more, you have a plethora of Flying/Normal Pokémon like Pidgeot, Dodrio, and Spearow that can protect you from fighters. Normal Pokémon can also learn a diverse array of special moves so you can teach them the likes of Surf, Ice Beam, and Thunderbolt to take down any foe that stands in your way.
From Normal, we quickly fall into a range of types that range from pretty decent to meh. There are tons of Water, Flying, and Poison Pokémon with great move diversity but watch out for their weaknesses. Zapdos makes an Electric type run interesting but be prepared for low movepool diversity. If you’re patient, you can catch a Geodude at Mount Moon and do a Rock type run. The Rock type actually has all its weaknesses covered thanks to the fossil Pokémon but you won’t be playing with a full unique team. And speaking of Geodude, a Ground type run would be another decent run thanks to the Nidorans being available fairly early on (just watch out for Water moves!).
It may not be a shock to you but Dragon, Ghost, and Ice types are just a generally bad idea all together. There’s only one Ghost and Dragon family and they’re available mid and late game respectively (plus you would only be dealing with a Haunter if you didn’t trade). Ice types are a little better as there are some decent Ice Pokémon but they’re available at best mid-game. And God forbid you decide to do a Steel or Dark type run for FireRed and LeafGreen. The only Steel type would be the Magnemite line (catchable after you can surf) and Gamefreak decided, for some reason, you couldn’t evolve an Eevee into an Umbreon so there’s no way you can catch and train a Dark type at all.
Ideal Team: Parasect, Venomoth, Scyther (Red, FireRed, Yellow)/Pinsir (Blue, Leafgreen, Yellow), Butterfree, Beedrill (all versions except Yellow)
First available Pokémon: Caterpie and/or Weedle (except Yellow) via Viridian Forest.
Cover weaknesses? No, Flying, Fire, and Rock not neutralized.
Ideal Team: Dragonite
First available Pokémon: Dratini via Safari Zone
Covers weaknesses? No, Ice and Dragon not covered
Ideal Team: Raichu/Pikachu, Electrode, Electabuzz (Red, FireRed), Magneton, Jolteon, Zapdos
First available Pokémon: Pikachu in Viridian Forest or Pikachu as a starter in Yellow
Covers weaknesses? Yes
Ideal Team: Wigglytuff, Clefable, Mr. Mime
First available Pokémon: Jigglypuff right before Mount Moon.
Covers weaknesses? No, Poison or Steel are not neutralized
Ideal Team: Machoke, Hitmonlee/Hitmonchan, Primeape (Red, Yellow, FireRed), Poliwrath
First available Pokémon: Mankey via Route 5, after the second gym
Covers weaknesses? No, Flying or Psychic not neutralized.
Ideal Team: Charizard, Arcanine (Red, FireRed, Yellow)/Ninetales (Blue, LeafGreen, Yellow), Magmar (Blue, LeafGreen), Flareon, Rapidash, Moltres
First available Pokémon: Charmander via starter or via Route 24 after Mt. Moon in Yellow.
Covers weaknesses? No, Rock or Water not neutralized.
Ideal Team: Charizard, Dragonite, Aerodactyl, Gyarados, Zapdos, Articuno
Optional Pokémon: Pidgeot, Fearow, Dodrio, Scyther (Red, FireRed, Yellow)
First available Pokémon: Charmander via starter or Pidgey (Yellow) via Route 1.
Covers weaknesses? No, Rock is not covered.
Ideal Team: Haunter
First available Pokémon: Gastly at Lavender Tower
Covers weaknesses? No, Ghost (and for that matter Psychic and Ground) are not covered
Ideal Team: Venusaur, Exeggutor, Vileplume (Red, FireRed, Yellow), Victreebel (Blue, LeafGreen, Yellow), Parasect, Tangela
First available Pokémon: Bulbasaur via starter or Paras via Mt. Moon in Yellow
Covers weaknesses? No, Flying, Ice, or Fire not neutralized.
Ideal Team: Nidoking, Nidoqueen, Rhydon, Onix, Dugtrio, Sandslash (Blue, LeafGreen, and Yellow)
Optional Pokémon: Graveler (or Golem if you can evolve it)
First available Pokémon: Nidorans in Route 22
Covers weaknesses? No, Water and Ice are not neutralized.
Ideal Team: Lapras, Articuno, Dewgong, Jynx (all versions except Yellow), Cloyster
First available Pokémon: Shellder via the Super Rod (from Route 12 from a fisherman), attainable after you complete Lavender Tower and move the Snorlax. Shellder can be fished in various areas of Kanto.
Covers weaknesses? No, Rock is not neutralized.
Ideal Team: Snorlax, Tauros, Clefable, Pidgeot, Chansey, Wigglytuff
Optional Pokémon: Porygon, Fearow, Dodrio
First available Pokémon: Pidgey and Rattata in Route 1
Covers weaknesses? Yes!
Ideal Team: Venomoth, Golbat, Venusaur, Nidoking, Nidoqueen, Tentacruel
Optional Pokémon: Vileplume (Red, FireRed, Yellow), Victreebel (Blue, LeafGreen, Yellow), Haunter, Weezing (all versions except Yellow), Arbok (Red, FireRed)
First available Pokémon: Bulbasaur via starter or Nidorans via Route 22 in Yellow
Covers weaknesses? No, Psychic not neutralized.
Ideal Team: Kadabra, Mr. Mime, Exeggutor, Jynx (all versions except Yellow), Starmie, Slowbro
First available Pokémon: Abra via Route 24 after Mount Moon.
Covers weaknesses? No, Bug and Ghost are not neutralized.
Ideal Team: Graveler, Rhydon, Onix, Aerodactyl, Omastar/Kabutops
First available Pokémon: Geodude at Mount Moon
Covers weaknesses? Surprisingly, yes.
Ideal Team: Magneton
First available Pokémon: Magnemite via Power Plant through surfing (need the Soul Badge)
Covers weaknesses? No, Ground, Fighting, and Fire not neutralized.
Ideal Team: Blastoise, Slowbro, Poliwrath, Lapras, Tentacruel, Vaporeon
Optional Pokémon: Starmie, Gyrados, Omastar/Kabutops, Cloyster, Dewgong
First available Pokémon: Squirtle via starter or Magikarp via the Pokecenter just before Mt. Moon in Yellow
Covers weaknesses? No, Electric is not neutralized.
Update 12/23/2018-This article now contains links to my other Single Type Run articles located at the bottom of this page.
Pokémon Gold and Silver remains one of the top rated and favorite games in the Pokémon franchise for fans all around. Their popularity was heavily boosted with Heartgold and Soulsilver which, at the time, modernized the games and brought with it Pokémon that could follow you wherever you go. And now, with the rerelease of Pokémon Gold and Silver on the Virtual Console, I thought it was time to revisit these games but this time ask the crucial question, what are the best types for a Single Type (or Monotype) Run?
The full list of teams are located below but first, let’s set some rules
- Only Pokémon of a certain type may be caught and trained.
- You must catch the first Pokémon available of that type if your starter does not match that type (you’ll then have to discard that starter).
- You may train a Pokémon that evolves to said type as long as you do it ASAP.
- No trading allowed.
- Only Pokémon caught before Elite Four are counted.
Generation 2 has an advantage over its predecessor as it’s building off of most of the original 150 Pokémon with the addition of a 100 new Pokémon that bring more type diversity. As such, there are a lot more fun runs to choose in these games compared to Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed, and LeafGreen. The best type for a Single Type Run is probably the Water type. A huge diversity of Water Pokémon available throughout the game makes this a fun type to play as there are many different team combinations. Most notably, this generation introduced Quagsire which neutralizes Water’s weakness to Electricity and can be caught after the first gym. The Flying type is probably the second best as you can catch about ten different type combinations and there’s a new catchable, Flying Pokémon after each gym battle. Other types do very well including Ground, Bug, Normal, Poison, and, if you are generous, Grass and Rock. Check out the list of team combinations below.
The usual suspects for a bad Single Type Run are found here namely Dragon and Ice. Dragon’s especially bad as you can only catch a Dratini after the final gym and you can’t get a Kingdra unless you trade for one. Ice is very funky though as although the weaknesses are neutralized regardless of the game, the first Ice Pokémon you can catch is the Union Cave Lapras after you get the Surf HM (which is activated after the 4th gym). So you’ll be playing awhile without any Ice Pokémon. Ghost is also not that swell as despite Gastly’s pre-first gym availability, the next Ghost Pokémon you can catch is Misdrevous at Mount Silver, so basically at the end of the game!
Since Gold and Silver introduced Dark and Steel it’s no surprise that there is a rather low and late diversity of them in these games. You have some pretty big handicaps as Steelix and Scizor are basically off the table unless you have a trading partner. Then there’s poor Dark as many of the famous Dark Pokémon (Houndoom, Tyranitar, and Sneasel) are available after you beat the Elite Four. Although once you finally catch that Murkrow, you won’t have to worry about Fighting and Bug attacks!
Before I list Type Team Combinations, I should talk about the Pokewalker. As mentioned before, HG and SS are basically the same game as Gold and Silver with some tweaks, graphics update, and other gameplay features which doesn’t affect a route’s Pokémon. But the Pokewalker, God bless this device, makes it so you can catch some Pokémon as early as the first route. Sure, you might have to do a lot of walking but it will be worth it! The Pokewalker makes it so you can catch Electric, Steel, Psychic, Fighting, Dark, Ice, and even Dragon Pokémon right from the get-go! All these Pokémon are Pokémon you can still catch before the Elite Four so you won’t change your team diversity but at least you can get them earlier. This means you can do a feasible Ice type Run as you can catch a Shelldar and a Smoochum fairly early on. If you still have your Pokewalker, give HG and SS a go because a lot of types become more fun for a Single Type Run. I’ll make special mention of the types that are affected by the Pokewalker below.
Ideal Team: Heracross, Venomoth, Shuckle, Parasect, Scyther/Yanmega, Forretress
Optional: Butterfree (G, C, HG), Beedril (S, C, SS), Ledian (S, C, SS), Ariados (G, C, HG)
First Pokémon: Caterpie (G, C, HG)/Weedle (S, C, SS)/Ledyba (S, C, SS)/Spinarak (G, C, HG) in Route 30 before the first gym. Venonat and Paras via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? Yes
Ideal Team: Murkrow, Umbreon
First Pokémon: Eevee given by Bill in Goldenrod after the third gym or Murkrow via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? Yes, thanks to Murkrow and Fairy not being introduced yet
Ideal Team: Dragonite
First Pokémon: Dratini via Dragon Den after the eighth gym or bought at the Goldenrod Game Corner after the second gym (or by Pokewalker).
Covers Weaknesses? No
Ideal Team: Raikou, Ampharos (G, S, HG, SS), Magneton, Lanturn, Electrode, Jolteon
First Pokémon: Mareep via Route 32 after first gym (except Crystal which would be Magnemite Route 38 after the second gym) or Magnemite, Elekid, and Voltorb via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? No, Ground is not neutralized.
Ideal Team: Primeape (C, G, HG)/Machoke, Poliwrath, Heracross, Hitmontop, Hitmonchan, Hitmonlee
First Pokémon: Heracross via headbutting trees after the second gym, Poliwag in Crystal via Route 30 before the first gym, or Machop via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? Psychic and Flying not neutralized.
Ideal Team: Typhlosion, Magmar, Ninetales (S, SS)/Arcanine (G, C, HG), Flareon, Rapidash, Ho-Oh (G, HG)
First Pokémon: Cyndaquil via starter
Covers Weaknesses? No; Rock, Water, and Ground (besides Ho-Oh) are not covered
Ideal Team: Gyarados, Dragonite, Gligar/Gliscor (G, C, HG)/Skarmory (S, C, SS), Murkrow/Honchkrow, Jumpluff, Xatu
Optional Pokémon: Dodrio, Pidgeot, Spearow, Mantine (G, C, HG), Crobat, Yanma/Yanmega, Scyther, Ledian, Butterfree (G, C, HG)
First Pokémon: Pidgey and Hoothoot via Route 29 before the first gym. Pidgey, Doduo, Spearow, Hoothoot, Murkrow, Zubat, and Dratini available via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? Yes, regardless of your version
Ideal Team: Haunter
First Pokémon: Gastly via Sprout Tower (or at night at Route 30 in Pokémon Crystal) before the first gym; Gastly can also be caught on the Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? No, Ghost and Dark not neutralized
Ideal Team: Meganium, Jumpluff, Victreebel/Vileplume, Exeggutor, Parasect, Tangela/Tangrowth
First Pokémon: Chikorita via starter
Covers Weaknesses? No, Flying, Ice, and Fire are not neutralized.
Ideal Team: Quagsire, Dugtrio, Rhydon, Nidoking, Nidoqueen, Mammoswine/Piloswine, Gligar/Gliscor (G, C, HG)
Optional Pokémon: Graveler, Onix, Donphan (G, C, HG), Sandslash (G, C, HG or by slotmachines in S and SS)
First Pokémon: Geodude, via the southern route of Route 46 before the first gym or Geodude, Onix, the Nidorans, and Wooper via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? Regardless of your version, all weaknesses are covered
Ideal Team: Piloswine/Mammoswine, Lapras, Dewgong, Cloyster, Jynx, Delibird (S, C, SS)
First Pokémon: Lapras in Union Cave after the fourth gym or Smoochum and Shelldar in Pokewalker
Covers Weaknesses? Surprisingly yes
Ideal Team: Pidgeot, Stantler, Dodrio, Girafarig, Miltank, Tauros
Optional Pokémon: Urasaring (S, C, SS), Fearow, Noctowl, Kangaskhan (via Pokewalker), Lickitung, Ambipom (HG, SS), Persian
First Pokémon: Pidgey, Rattata, Sentret, and Hoothoot via Route 29 before the first gym. Kangaskhan, Doduo, and Spearow via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? Yes
Ideal Team: Haunter, Venomoth, Tentacruel, Victreebel/Vileplume, Crobat, Nidoking/Nidoqueen
Optional Pokémon: Muk, Weezing, Arbok, Ariados (G, C, HG), Beedril (S, C, SS)
First Pokémon: Weedle (S, C, SS) or Spinarak (G, C, HG) in Route 30. You can also get Grimer, Koffing, Tentacool, Gastly, Zubat, Venonat, Oddish, and the Nidorans on the Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? No, Psychic is not neutralized.
Ideal Team: Espeon, Exeggutor, Girafarig, Xatu, Jynx, Starmie/Slowbro
Optional Pokémon: Lugia (S and SS), Kadabra, Hypno, Wobbufett
First Pokémon: Slowpoke at the Slowpoke Well before the second gym. Abra, Wobbufett, Slowpoke, Smoochum, and Staryu via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? No, Dark is not neutralized
Ideal Team: Graveler, Rhydon, Shuckle, Sudowoodo, Corsola, Onix
First Pokémon: Geodude via southern portion of Route 46 before the first gym, or Geodude and Onix via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? Yes
Ideal Team: Magneton, Forretress, Skarmory (S, C, SS)
First Pokémon: Pineco via headbutting trees after the second gym or Magnemite via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? No, Fire is not neutralized
Ideal Team: Feraligatr, Gyarados, Quagsire, Slowbro/Starmie, Tentacruel, Lanturn
Optional Pokémon: Lapras/Dewgong/Cloyster, Vaporeon, Seaking, Golduck, Azumarill, Kingler, Corsola, Poliwrath, Octillery (S, G, HG, SS), Mantine (G, C, HG)
First Pokémon: Totodile via starter
Covers Weaknesses? Yes
Other Pokemon Games
Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon
Let’s Go Eevee/Pikachu
Over the past few Pokémon generations, Gamefreak continuously tweaked and balanced Pokémon to the point that weak types (like Poison) were strengthened while other types (like Fighting) were checked. New moves, abilities, and stat changes made weak or irrelevant Pokémon respectful. But through it all, one type has remained virtually unchanged since Generation 2 and that’s the Ice type.
The Ice type is notorious for its great offensive lineup but abysmal defense. The only type it resists is itself and it’s weak to Fire, Fighting, Rock, and Steel moves. Keep in mind, Fighting, Fire, and Rock moves are plentiful due to the plethora of Pokémon that can learn them. As such, many hardcore players favor fast, hard hitting Ice Pokémon, like Weavile, if they want to use them at all. Meanwhile, defensive Ice Pokémon, like Avalugg or Cryogonal, can not fully live up to their tank desires. Personally, I usually train dual-typed Ice Pokémon to mitigate their poor defenses.
Ice Pokémon as such, are in desperate need for an upgrade. Gamefreak needs to fully realize this type and bring it into the fold as a well-rounded type. But how can Gamefreak do that? In order to answer this question I decided to do a quick analysis of all 18 types of Pokémon and determined which types could be nerfed in order to advance Ice Pokémon.
In short, I compared each types Super Effective (SE) to Not Very Effective (NVE) ratios for both offense and defense. Some types are better defenders than attackers (e.g., Poison and Steel) while others are vice versa (e.g., Ground and Rock). In our case, we want to up Ice type’s defense to be on par with the average type. At the same time, however, we want to ensure that other types aren’t severely nerfed. After a lot of tinkering, pondering and calculating, here’s what I came up with.
Changes to Ice Type
Steel normally damages Ice
Ice resists Ground
Ice resists Ghost
Hail boosts Ice Type’s defense by 50%
This may surprise some of you for my choices so I’ll break it down why I chose these types to improve Ice. First off, Steel can just get out of here! Steel is the best defensive type in the game, period. As such, Steel does not need to be SE against three different types. I love how Steel is powerful against Fairy as that really plays into the mythical history of fairies and forged weapons. But Ice??? I don’t honestly see why it’s SE unless you’re a snowplow. There are plenty of types out there that are only SE against two types such as Electric, Dark, and Poison so we can shove Steel into that category.
Ice losing its Steel weakness does not majorly affect Ice as Steel moves aren’t that common as mainly Steel Pokémon use them. Plus, as mentioned before, Rock, Fire, and Fighting are very common moves so you can easily use these types to take down Ice (Steel Pokémon also commonly learn Rock moves).
Speaking of common attacking types, let’s talk about Ground! Ice is already SE against Ground so it wouldn’t be surprising if Ice gained a resistance towards them as well. Sooooo many type combos have this relationship including the famous precedent of Fire-Grass-Water. Ground and Ice should be similar. Ground also has the best SE to NVE ratio out of all the types being SE against five types with only two types resisting and a third with immunity. I ask the court to look at Fighting for my justification as well. Fighting has five SE and six NVE/immune defending types. An added resistance would still not place Ground on the same level as Fire. In short, Ice’s resistance towards Ground would not hugely impact Ground’s usefulness.
Which comes to my final type change, Ice resisting Ghost. After I decided Ice should resist Ground I was debating whether to even add another resistance. After all, the Ice Type is a GREAT offensive type. It’s SE against Dragon, Grass, Flying, and Ground. A great mixture that leads to quite a few 4x weaknesses. When compared to other types, Ice is above average when it comes to attacking. As such, Ice should still be below average when it comes to defense. But here’s the thing, quite a few types have four or more resistances so having a third resistance would still place Ice in the below-average category. But which type?
When I first started this project, I leaned heavy towards an Electric resistance as ice in real life conducts electricity rather poorly. Electric also only has one weakness. However, Electric already has a rather poor showing in the attacking category as only two types are weak to it whereas three resist and one is immune to it. I eventually chose Ghost as only Normal and Dark can counter it. Plus, when Gen VI rolled around, Gamefreak removed Steel’s resistance of Ghost giving it a mild boost. As such, I don’t think it would harm Ghost that much if Ice gained a resistance out of it.
BTW, what’s the logic behind Ice resisting Ghost? Well, I kind of feel like it would counter the shiver people get when their scared. Since Ice types are already cold, they can’t shiver like Ghost Pokémon would want them to, hence, they resist Ghost attacks.
Finally, let’s talk about the weather! Back in Gen V, weather teams were all the rage. Thanks to the like of Hippowdon, Ninetales, Politoed, and Tyranitar, weather effects on the battlefield were common except for Hail. Snow Stream may benefit Ice Type’s and their abilities but that’s about it. Even Sandstorm gave Rock Pokémon a 50% boost in their special defense. Why can’t we say the same thing about Hail? With this addition, Ice Pokémon can “weather” out attacks and stay strong on the battlefield.
Who benefits the most out of this?
Obviously all Ice Pokémon would rejoice if they were to hear these news but these changes would benefit some Pokémon more than others specifically…
Defensive Ice Pokémon
Avalugg, Cloyster, and Cryogonal would now shine in their tanky roles. Cloyster was already an effective tank but it had to use its Water typing to get an edge. With this update, Cloyster now resists five types and is weak to four. Cloyster can be used as an effective check towards such Pokémon as Scizor, Aegislash, and Excadrill.
Alolan Sandslash, fresh off of Sun and Moon, would benefit nicely as well with its 120 defense power. A Ground weakness is now neutralized leaving a 4x weakness to Fire and Fighting. This adds up Sandslash’s resistances and immunities to 11, a fantastic, defensive Pokémon.
Thick Fat Users
Thick Fat is an ability that halves damage from Ice and Fire attacks. Dewgong, Mamoswine, and Walrein all have this ability which helps them tremendously. The updated Ice Type would definitely benefit them especially Mamoswine. Now, a Thick Fat Mamoswine would resist four types, be immune to one and be weak to three. Mamoswine could finally be a decent switch-in against many Pokémon including prominent Ground and Steel types.
Froslass and Jynx would now be one of the few Ghost and Psychic Pokémon that have normal resistance to their dreaded Ghost foes. I feel like Froslass, with its average stats, would profit the most out of the two by gaining some sweet advantages. Froslass can now Shadow Ball her Ghost comrades and serve as a decent counter to the likes of Golurk, Palossand, and Aegislash. This is not to say that Jynx wouldn’t benefit as well as now she can serve as an effective status inflictor and a by-the-books offensive sweeper.
We saved the best for last. With a 50% boost in defense in Hail, Ice Pokémon can now become tough-as-nails in their weather. Plus, many Ice Pokémon have abilities that directly benefit from Hail including Snow Cloak, Ice Body, and Slush Rush.
Let’s start first with Abomasnow. Ice Pokémon hail their pine tree bro as he gets the party started with his sweet Snow Warning ability! Abomasnow would be a great switch in to Rain Dance/Sandstorm teams as he could withstand oncoming Ground and Water attacks and dish out a 100% accurate Blizzard (plus it doesn’t hurt that he can Mega evolve). After you got a decent Hailstorm brewing start throwing in your tanky Ice types to sow anger and discontent among your foes. Ice Body users like Glaceon and Avalugg will be blessed by their increased defenses while a Walrein with Leftovers would be extraordinarily difficult to take down.
This scenario will make Hail a now viable weather scenario that could be taken seriously among hardcore players. Hail would still not be as popular as Sandstorm and alike but at least it would be treated respectfully.
Could this ever happen? It’s hard to say in all honesty. Gamefreak’s continuous modification to Pokémon means anything’s on the table. Maybe Ice wouldn’t gain these respective resistances but a new type could shake things up and make Ice defensively viable. Granted, this probably won’t happen until the next Generation which would be awhile and that’s fine. But until then, fingers crossed!
All images from pokemon wiki
For over a dozen years, I’ve been looking for a good book about video games. For such an influential media, it’s surprising that there are very few books that dive into this topic that are seriously good. When I heard about Console Wars, I knew I had to check it out and I finally did this summer.
Console Wars focuses on one of the most exciting years in video game history, namely, the war between the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo. And rather than being a standard nonfiction book (dry and full of references and quotes), author Blake Harris crafts a novel that’s more story than essay yet does not lose the flavor of reality. His book throws you into the early nineties and drops you into the heated moments and settings that shaped the era of videogames. The author’s love and enthusiasm for video games really comes through in this novel and as such, I had a hard time putting this book down.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Console Wars is how big it is. This book is dense but thankfully, does not overload the reader. Even though I knew a lot about video game history, mainly thanks to the internet, before reading this novel, I was surprised at just how little I actually knew, and that was great!
Some of my favorite moments in the book are those that seem like they’re straight out of a movie. I particularly liked the scene involving the recording of the infamous “SEGA!” scream used in commercials. Then there’s the part where the Sega employees were inspired to do a worldwide release of Sonic and Tails on Sonic 2sday. It’s moments like these that really help the book come together nicely.
Now truthfully, this doesn’t mean Console Wars is perfect. There are some problems I have which fortunately didn’t dampen my love for this book. One of which was the many characters. Although the photo section was helpful, I wish there was a simple group shot of the Sega team as I kept losing track of who was who. The biggest problem I had however was one of the big conflicts in the book; the Sega of America vs. Sega of Japan conflict was mainly from the Sega of America point of view. This, unfortunately, paints Sega of Japan as mean, subversive, and unpredictable. I wish we got more scenes from their point of view to understand exactly why there was so conflict between the two. Same thing can be applied to Nintendo as well. Nintendo in this book was like the antagonist in an action movie; we would get scenes of them every now and then and peek into their diabolical plans for their plucky foe. I wish we could see more of them to really help us understand what they were thinking.
But the thing is, that’s not really the point of the book, the point of the book is how Sega, through Tom Kalinske, president and CEO of Sega of America, was able to bring Nintendo to its knees and really shape the video game market. As such, “Console Wars” as a title is a bit off and perhaps a better title would be “the Rise and Fall of Sega” (but then it wouldn’t be catchy).
On another note, I’m pretty sure Blake Harris is a fan of the Angry Video Game Nerd. There are several spots in this book that seem a lot like what AVGN has said before. The casual reference to the porno Atari game, Custer’s Revenge, was too on the nose as nobody knew about this game until after AVGN did an episode on it. Even more obvious was the reference to LJN’s bad video games, I mean, that’s one of AVGN’s gimmicks! He hates LJN games! But I love it and I find it funny to think that Blake is a fan of the Nerd.
I was sad when the novel eventually finished as I would have liked to see the battle between the N64, Playstation, and eventually the Sega Saturn. However, part of me is glad that Blake did not talk about that. This is the story of Tom Kalinske and how he turned Sega from a joke to a star. That era of video games was not under his jurisdiction. As such, Blake Harris should seriously consider writing another novel on video games (whether it be nonfiction or fiction) as his love for the material is fantastic. Perhaps a book about Nintendo’s comeback via the Wii? Or on the Atari era and why it eventually collapsed? Or even why the Playstation 2 was such a huge success? All of these are great topics.
And yet, nothing can ever hold a candle to the Console Wars of the early 90s. So much was happening at that time that it almost seems unreal. New video game franchises were born, records were broken, the media boundaries were pushed, and deep rivalries formed. I doubt there will ever be a time just like the early 90s for video games.
As for me, I’m glad I was finally able to read a book about video games. Thank you Blake, you kept me up late many times.
Author’s note, this article does not necessarily reflect the views of the National Park Service or Fossil Butte National Monument. This is just my own personal opinion.
When I was a kid, I would bike to a nearby state park and walk through the woods in blissful delight. I would imagine myself walking through Viridian Woods, a fictional location in the Pokémon video games, and pretend I was catching forest Pokémon that lived in that forest such as Caterpies or Heracross. I would envision myself on a journey; to fight other trainers and travel across the land. This was only imagination but that never stopped me from hoping this might be true one day.
And now, Pokémon Go has given us that opportunity to get as close as we can to capture Pokémon in the real world. So many fans have responded positively to this App that its no wonder Nintendo’s shares have been soaring. There is a real sense of discovery, excitement, and wonder packaged in this app. And this app doesn’t take you to just localized areas in your city but across the country as well. To such places as the National Parks.
The National Park Service (NPS) is currently facing a rather perilous position on park visitation. On the one hand, such great and notable parks such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Grand Tetons are receiving too much love. The parks are super crowded and the park facilities are strained to their limit to deal with the massive amount of people that visit. On the other hand, some parks and monuments are facing too little visitation or simply aren’t viewed as parks as all. These parks go out of their way, whether it be social media, attending county fairs or visiting local communities, to connect to their local audience and attract those that live miles away. In my opinion, these are the parks that are on the forefront of innovation.
The NPS has had a history of adapting through perseverance. In the early 1900s, train companies would boast what national parks they go by, in the 1920s, roads were built and more eastern parks were established to attract a wider audience, in the 1960s, visitor centers and facilities were built to accommodate the large amount of visitors and in the modern age, parks are using social media to reach out in ways that would be impossible even 15 years ago. Our latest slogan, “Find Your Park,” encourages people from across the country to find nearby parks they should visit.
Now, who’s to say that the NPS shouldn’t use Pokémon Go or other geographic-depending apps?
Pokémon has had a surprising history of bringing people off the couch and together, even outside, since its birth. In fact, the main reason why Pokémon has yet to see a home console release is that the creators firmly believe it would devalue the branding (it is short for “Pocket Monsters” after all). Children would bring their Gameboys around and trade with each other. The DS generation got rid of cables and introduced global trading as well. It’s a very interactive game.
The Pokewalker was the best device that got people outside. The Pokewalker was compatible to Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. You could transfer your Pokémon to this pedometer and walk around outside. Every step you took added another experience point to your Pokémon and as such, I would constantly find myself going that extra thousand steps to ensure my Pokémon would level up and get stronger. And now, people can do this not with the pedometer but with their phones! Hatching eggs and catching Pokémon is out there! They’re walking about ready to be caught! It’s exciting! And this is what the National Park Service should be capitalizing on.
Here’s the biggest reason why I think this could work.
At the National Park Service we sell such things as hiking medallions, pins, patches, and magnets. Each park, for the most part, have their own, unique, collectable items along with the iconic stamping stations. Visitors are incessant on acquiring these stamps and items. It’s sometimes one of the first things they do when they enter the visitor center. Two of the most common questions I answer are “Where’s the bathroom” and “Where’s the stamping station?” No other question even comes close to their popularity. The visitors desire to collect every stamp or item for each National Park they visit (sound familiar??).
And the best part? Sometimes, the stamp stations are the only reason why they come. And when they come they are surprised by what we have to offer. Beautiful fossils preserved almost to perfection. A whole ancient ecosystem of fishes, birds, early mammals, plants, and insects are at their beck and call. Leaves have their veins intact, fishes have their scales, and delicate feathers are still attached to their host. We are unusual, that’s why we are a national monument. That’s why we are here. That’s why you are stamping your station.
Pokémon Go has tapped into that same desire of Catching Them All. We get off our couches and computer chairs and go outside! It’s crazy! Every day I read so many fantastic things that are happening because of Pokémon Go. People are interacting with each other, discovering new places and walking so much their legs get sore. It’s fantastic!
And how do we combine these two? Well, this is the best part (and I’m surprised no one has thought of this yet to the best of my knowledge…)!
As of the writing of this article, we have 57 (counting the three in the upcoming games) Legendary Pokémon. And ALSO right now we have 58 national parks in the United States! That’s crazy! It’s like the stars aligned for us because what if we could find a legendary Pokémon for each of our national parks?
Think about it.
Our national parks are treasured for their uniqueness. There is nothing else like them in the world. As such we protect them to make sure they are preserved for future generations. Likewise, there is only one Legendary Pokémon (i.e., there can be multiple Pikachus but only one Mew). So what if you were to go to say Yellowstone and go through one of the trails and find Volcanion (which is essentially a geyser Pokémon). Or enjoy Denali and find Regice? How about Celebi at Great Smoky Mountains or Heatran at Hawai’i Volcanoes? If your desire to catch them all is that strong then visit us. And be amazed at what you have to find here.
The biggest downside to this though is that Pokémon Go could depreciate the value of parks and even outright insult them. People working at parks that are more scenic or scientifically inclined would likely not care as much about Pokémon Go visitors as those working at monuments that value an emotional event. I certainly cannot imagine a case where the NPS would embrace Pokémon Go at such sites as Flight 93, Battle of the Little Bighorn, or Boston African American National Historic Site and that’s fine. We don’t have to do that. It is a tricky subject and I’m certainly not the guy to try to resolve that situation.
But for those of you that believe that Pokémon Go will devalue the parks consider this. A passage from Interpreting our Heritage by Freeman Tilden, one of the greatest books about interpretation in the NPS. In chapter 2 Tilden writes
“A roster of the reasons why people visit parks, museums, historic houses, and similar preserves, though a fascinating excursion into human psychology, need not detain us here. All interpreters know from their experiences that the reasons are so many and diverse that merely to name them all would take pages of this book.
I go upon the assumption that whatever their reasons for coming, the visitors are there. What we should determine, then, if we aim at establishing our first principle of interpretation is: now that the visitor is here, in what will be his chief interest, and inevitably his chief interest, while he is with us?
The answer is: The visitor’s chief interest is in whatever touches his personality, his experience and his ideals.”
And from there, we must connect, our experiences, our ideas, emotions, feelings, and attitudes towards the visitor. Pokémon Go can act as a gateway to the NPS. They are here so perhaps we may find some connection with them on a personal level (why can you find an Articuno at Glacier?). And before you do so ask yourself, what is Pokémon all about? How can it be related to the NPS?
For me the two are similar in that they are a sense of discovery, exploration, social connection, and wonder. It harkens back to what I was saying earlier of my childhood. Walking through the forest and catching that caterpie. Now, I can do that for real.
And as for you. Will you Find Your Park today and decide to Catch Them All?
P.S. Check this video by the National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. That’s awesome!
I’ve been teaching introductory biology labs for several semesters now and if there’s one thing that I learned it’s that you have a limited time to teach your students the current week’s material before they get bored. Most of the time, this is not an issue as students have already become familiar with the topic thanks to the lecture. As such, lab lecture is more or less reminding students of the material and less of teaching them something new. After a short introduction we get right into the lab and have some fun.
But for the times when the lab is covering something new, things can get a little tricky. I heard somewhere before that you have five minutes to teach your students the pre-lab material before they begin to zone out. Five minutes, unfortunately, is painfully short and as such, I try to mix things up as best as I can so my pupils can continue to remain engaged (one time I even dressed up as a Eukaryotic cell and asked my students what each of my organelles do to keep me alive).
Such as the case two weeks ago when we tackled the vertebrate diversity lab. One of my favorite labs ever, the students were divided into three groups and each group dissected three different vertebrates; a lamprey, a dogfish, a perch, a mudpuppy, a frog, an anoles lizard, a turtle, a pigeon, and a rat. These animals represented the numerous broad groups of vertebrates; agnathans, chondrichthyes, osteichthyes, amphibians, squamates, turtles, archosaurs, and mammals. The overall message for that week’s lab, through the dissection of the nine animals, was that vertebrates have all evolved from a simple body plan to accommodate their environment and lifestyles.
Now, on the whiteboard, I had drawn a simplified version of a vertebrate phylogenetic tree as provided to the students by their lab book. However, as I was talking about each group of animals, I would slap on a printed-out picture of a Pokémon as an example of that animal such as Eelektross for agnathans.
Eelektross is always the first animal/Pokémon I would use as it represents the first branch off of the tree. Immediately, once I place this Electric-type Pokémon on the tree, everyone sits up and takes notice. I like to think that I have jarred them out of their sleepy, spaced-out zone and thrust them into something that they don’t know about (if they’re not Pokémon fans) or have much interest in (if they are Pokémon fans). Even if they’re not familiar with Pokémon, I would give my students a real life example of that animal it represents (lampreys) and then explain what sets this animal apart from all the other animals in the small phylum. After doing so, I would continue to the other animal branches and elaborate what makes them so special all the while continuing to slap on example Pokémon on the whiteboard.
Besides doing this for comedic sake, I like to use Pokémon for two reasons. One, using Pokémon is a way to get students interested in the subject manner at hand. Many of my students are pre-Med or pharmaceutical majors and that’s totally fine. But here, at the doorstep of all that is biology, where students are exposed to so many different topics that they will never tackle again in their future, I try my damnedest to show them how awesome those weird and unique topics are even if they may be as seemingly uninteresting as plants or population genetics. I know I will not convince many of my students to change their chosen path in life but if I have just one student that just stopped and ponder briefly whether they should pursue another topic in biology because of my lab, then I have succeeded. Using Pokémon is just one of many ways I try to generate excitement of all that is biology (paleontology is another one as well, of course).
The second reason why I like to use Pokémon is that I try to encourage a friendly, welcoming environment in my lab. I like to have a lab where people can be themselves. My icebreaker question even sets the tone for my labs as I ask each of my students what they’re nerdy about. Let me tell you, this question is great as I get to learn so much from my students and I get to relate to them for that particular hobby at hand or a hobby that’s close to it. I even like to chat to them as the semester progresses about certain news that may pertain to their nerdy hobby such as a recent episode in Game of Thrones or a movie update for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Be yourself and be open to new ideas. As gimmicky as these may sound, I adhere to them like a barnacle on a hard substrate. I don’t know how well these two ideas have been picked up by my students, but I will say that they…I don’t want to necessary say “enjoy”…but certainly like my labs judging by my evaluations. I hope though in the long run, maybe 10 or even 20 years from now, they’ll remember my lab lectures and one day recall, while playing Trivia Pursuit, that Mantine is a manta ray and all manta rays are chondrichthyes and then they’ll win the game! But I’m just fantasizing at this point.