Tag Archives: Nintendo

Pokemon Go, the National Park Service, and Our Drive to Collect Them All

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!

Pokemon in the Biology Lab

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.

pokemon phylogenetics, vertebrates, pokemon

Yes, I know this vertebrate tree is highly simplified but this was the level of education the lab was focusing on for the students. The class textbook goes into greater detail about the intricate relationships. All images are from bulbapedia.

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.

One Year Later: Evaluating my Super Smash Bros Predictions

One year ago, I was preparing to start my own weekly blog by prewriting several articles to ensure I would meet my self-imposed deadline. Unfortunately, my blog started much earlier than expected thanks to an ill-timed Nintendo Direct video. The unlikely article that was now forced to become my first article for Unapologetic Nerd was “Possible New Smash Bros Characters.” I want to look back now and evaluate how good were my guesses. Some of them I got right, others I got close to, while the rest I was completely wrong about.

The Ones I got Right

Only two characters from my list were correct and granted, this is pretty good all things considering! The Mii Character was the first one and although I envisioned Mii using a variety of everyday objects such as a tennis racket or a golf club as weapons, Nintendo surprised us with a diverse character that could be a brawler, a shooter, or a swordsman. Still though, the inclusion of Mii into Super Smash Brothers was still an obvious choice thanks to their ubiquitous presence from the past seven years or so.

Less of an obvious choice was Mewtwo. Like so many other fans, I hoped dearly that Mewtwo would make a return even though it seemed unlikely thanks to the large amount of Pokémon fighters. Initially it seemed like he wouldn’t but that changed thanks to the Super Smash Brothers-only Nintendo Direct and its great reveal of Mewtwo. And let me tell you, I’m super looking forward to playing him again!

Characters I almost got Correct

Last year, I strongly predicted that Chrom from Fire Emblem: Awakening would be a new fighter. I was…not quite correct…Lucina was the first new character but the more new interesting character was Robin. Robin answered my problem with Chrom as I thought of him as too similar to the other swordfighters. Robin, however, was more diverse using both magic and swords to fight his opponents. And hey! Chrom makes an appearance anyway in the final smash for Robin!

Completely Wrong

Last year, I was predicting many favorite Third Party characters that starred in Nintendo consoles such as Simon Belmont, Bomberman, Professor Layton, and Banjo-Kazooie. I also guessed characters from already-represented franchises like Ryu and Phoenix Wright (CAPCOM) and Tails (SEGA). Third Party Characters were unfortunately low this time but I still can’t believe I missed one of the most famous video game characters of all time, Pac-Man (who is super fun to play btw!).

King K. Rool and Paper Mario also unfortunately didn’t make the cut despite how amazing both of them would be. I’m especially sad about the King K. Rool as we definitely need more bad guy as well as Donkey Kong representatives.

But…

The best part about all of this though is that there is still a chance that these characters can be in the game! Ever since Nintendo revealed in their latest Nintendo Direct that you can vote for a new Super Smash Brother character, I have seen a wide variety of requests from various screenshots promoting many of the characters I have talked about here. What’s more, Nintendo allowing third party characters to be included has open the door for a diverse set of possibilities. Many of the developers and owners of these characters have already expressed interest for their character to be featured in the game including WayForward’s Shantae, TeamMeat’s Meatboy, and perhaps most exciting of all, Xbox’s Banjo-Kazooie.

If I were to guess, we probably won’t be hearing about character selection anytime soon. Maybe at the earliest they’ll be announced in Autumn but more realistically speaking I’m thinking we’ll know by early next year. Still though, if my blog were to continue on for another year, I’m pretty sure I’ll be writing another article evaluating my predictions from the new DLC characters and I hope this time, Bomberman will finally be chosen.

Tomorrow, I’ll post my one year anniversary article where I pick my favorite articles I have written and a little about my experience on the website. Thanks for reading!

Rise of the Poison Type

The latest Pokémon game I played was ORAS and for the first time ever, I seriously trained a Dustox.  Let me just say right now that Dusty is quite a cutie.  I especially love feeding him in Pokémon Amie and bonding with him in general.  My team roster may see powerful members come and go, but Dusty stayed with me until the end.

But Dustox is by no means a strong Pokémon; in fact, this is the first time I decided to train one.  Dustox always struck me as weak, with a poor move distribution and a bad type match up.  What changed?  Why have I now bonded strongly with a Pokémon that before I didn’t take for granted?

Here’s something that many of my Pokémon friends know about me, Poison is my favorite Pokémon Type.  There are so many great and cool Pokémon that I have loved and trained throughout the years.  Just about every game I play in Pokémon has seen at least one Poison Type Pokémon on my team.

My Haunters are usually named Strawberry or Cherry.  Image from http://www.ign.com/wikis/pokemon-red-blue-yellow-version/Haunter

The Poison Type was probably at its peak in Generation 1 when 22% of all Pokémon were Poison Type.  Out of 15 types too!  That’s ridiculous!  You can find them everywhere from the Starter Bulbasaur, to the swarming Zubats in caves, to the swimming Tentacools in the oceans, all the way to the Safari Zone.  You could easily make a team of just Poison Pokémon in Red and Blue.

But the Poison Type has suffered setbacks since Generation 1 that has dropped it to the okay zone.  In Generation 2 it was no longer super effective against Bug (leaving just Grass) and the newly introduced Steel Type was immune to any poisoning.  And from Generation 2 on only a few Poison Type Pokémon have been introduced in each generation dropping the abundance to just 8% of the total Pokémon population (and now, even five generations later, over half of all Poison Pokémon were introduced in Generation 1).

I have had many Crobats, two that stand out to me are Calcite and Leofsig.  Image from http://maestropkmn.blogspot.com/2014/03/estrategia-pokemon-crobat.html

But I remained a steadfast and loyal Poison Type fan.  I just love these guys, they are so much fun and they can be quite versatile as well, especially if they have a second typing.  Gengar, Nidoking, Crobat, Tentacruel, Dragalge, Toxicroak, and of course Bulbasaur are all Pokémon that I loved and trained for more than a decade.  They are like the underdogs in the Pokémon world; they may get the short end of the stick at times but man do I love them.

Poison Type’s position as a sub-par type began to change in Generation V when it, along with many other types, were given new moves and hidden abilities.  Nidoking now had Sheer Force, many of the moths got Quiver Dance, and Toxic’s accuracy rose to 90%.

My Nidoking was called Aragorn. Image from http://pokemondb.net/pokedex/nidoking

But Poison Type finally got to shine in Generation VI.  Poison became a Type to be feared, respected, and used.  Not only did a lot of Poison Type Pokémon got a small boost in their stats, such as Dustox, but an even more important event happened that made Poison viable for both the games and the metagame.

When the Fairy Type was introduced I was beyond excited.  Not only was this a new type, but now the dynamics between type relationships would be shaken.  In the Fairy Type’s introduction video, Gamefreak showed that Fairy would be super effective against the powerful Dragon Type.  Already this was big news but what was not revealed was what was Fairy weak against? Would Poison be good against Fairy?

Thankfully, my prayers were answered and I rejoiced.  Poison was only one of two types super effective against Fairy Type and one of three that resists it.  Now, Poison Type was good against the now prevalent Fairy Type and many Pokémon benefited from that.

But more importantly, Poison cemented itself as a great defensive type.  Immune to poisoning with resistance to Fighting, Bug, Grass, Poison, and now Fairy, the Poison Type is now a good type to use when inflicting statuses on opposing Pokémon.  And with Toxic now 100% accuracy for Poison Types, they are able to excel at it.

My Bulbasaur was sometimes named Cretaceous. Image from http://pokemon.wikia.com/wiki/Bulbasaur

The Poison Type is a great example how things change for each passing generation.  Sometimes, a few Pokémon may become worse, but most of the time, every Pokémon becomes slightly better, slightly more usable, slightly more appealing.  New moves, new abilities, and maybe even a stat or type change makes this so.  So when the remakes come out, such as ORAS, Pokémon that you may have skipped the first time around now gravitate you towards them.  Dusty is one of them, he is amazing and I’m glad I caught him.  He’s is one more Pokémon I can add to my most favorite Pokémon Type ever.

 

The Best Wii Games Nintendo Should Sell on the Virtual Console

Nintendo made a great move in January by allowing Wii games to be downloaded on the Wii U’s Virtual Console. Now, games that are no longer in print or are hard to come by can easily, and cheaply, be accessed on the Virtual Console. But the selection is still small and as such, I thought I would weigh my opinion on the best Wii Games Nintendo should sell on their Virtual Console.  I’m only selecting games that I think would benefit the most on the Virtual Console.

Pikmin and Pikmin 2.

One of the more obvious choices, Pikmin and Pikmin 2 are great games that are meant to be played with the wiimote. After playing the Gamecube version and switching over to the Wii, I was happy at how everything was better managed and easier to control. However, the prices for these games on Amazon are pretty high even if they are used.

Selling both of these games on Virtual Console would not only allow for a greater audience to be exposed to these games, but it would also serve a tantalizing lower price for two gems. What’s more, Nintendo could sell them with a discount if bought together.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Though more ubiquitous than the Wii Pikmin games, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess would benefit with a Virtual Console option. This is a great year for them to release it with two official Zelda games coming out. Also, Nintendo is very good at releasing or updating older Zelda games to the modern audience. The amount of Zelda games you can get on Virtual Console is pretty high. What’s more, this game is almost ten years old so selling it online can open the door for new players.

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Going for $70 used on Amazon, Radiant Dawn is another perfect Wii game that would be good for the Virtual Console.  It’s just like Metroid Prime Trilogy, a good game that is quite expensive.  Again, this is also a good year for its release thanks to another Fire Emblem game coming out.  And who knows, maybe Nintendo will have a Gamecube emulator and release the Fire Emblem Gamecube game as well.

Third Party Games

The Wii may not have the Third Party strength compared to the PS3 and Xbox360 but there are still a host good games out there could be sold on the Virtual Console.  It’s not that far of a stretch as well considering Nintendo is selling Capcom and Konami games from the NES and SNES era.  This can include Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, Red Steel Series, and No More Heroes.  All these games were good Wii games that didn’t get that much press.  And what the hell, throw in Resident Evil 4 while we’re at it, that game is freaking awesome.

How about you?  What Wii games do you think the Virtual Console should have? Let me know in the comments!

Who Would Win? Rocky vs. Little Mac

Ladies and Gentlemen! I bring you a match-up that will get your heart a-pumpin and your voice a-screamin! This is between the most famous fictionalized boxers of all time, Rocky Balboa from the Rocky movies and Little Mac from the Punch Out video games! They are known for their indomitable will, their stubborn tenacity, and the ability to beat the odds no matter what against larger-than-life opponents. Both of these boxers never met each other in the ring but what if they did? Who would win between these two boxing legends?? Let’s find out folks! Only canon sources are applied and no items will be used, let’s determine whose will and fortitude is stronger in a fantastic, 12-round, battle of Rocky the Two Time Heavyweight Champion vs. Little Mac the Champion of the World Video Boxing Association!

Image via huffingtonpost.com

Let’s start off with Rocky! A native Philadelphian, Rocky’s humble origins were eventually thrown into the spotlight when Apollo Creed, the Heavyweight Champion, handpicked him to fight in a special match. Since his legendary battle with the Champion, Rocky has faced tough opponents over the years such as the vicious Clubber Lang and the monster Ivan Drago. He even faced the new Champion, Mason Dixon, when he was 60 years old! He has had several trainers over the years such as Apollo’s trainer Duke, Apollo himself and of course, Mickey Goldmill played by Burgess Meredith. All of these trainers had imparted their boxing wisdom onto Rocky and he would have definitely not been the champ if it wasn’t for them.

Rocky’s main strength as a boxer is the ability to tire out his opponents. This is thanks to his iron jaw but especially to his will of steel. Even when faced against stronger opponents, he’s able to tire them out and finish the job. He actually uses this to his advantage by taunting some of his opponents, like Clubber Lang, and make them wear out faster by aggressively attacking him. One of Rocky’s main traits is his “southpaw” fighting, better known as fighting primarily with your left hand. It’s quite unorthodox in the boxing world and supposedly can throw off your opponent. In the end, Jim Lampley in Rocky Balboa said it best that Rocky has a “cast iron jaw, ferocious body attack, and will of steel; all of which carried him to victories over the years against physically superior opponents.”

Despite his talent as a great boxer, Rocky has some bad shortcomings that saw him some of his defeats. Rocky’s ego can get the better of him at times whether he either lacks or has too much of it. He had too much ego going up against Clubber Lang for their first fight and too little shortly before his first fight against Apollo Creed. Rocky also has a bad right eye which he got fighting his first match against Apollo Creed. He lacks some peripheral vision for that eye and that can be an almost literal blind spot for him. Also, Rocky seems to forget that he has hands and on those hands are gloves and he can use those gloves to block. He’s like Homer Simpson when he decided to take up boxing in “The Homer They Fall,” boxers punch him in the head but Rocky doesn’t seem to care.

Image via smashbros.com

Little Mac hails from the Bronx and is primarily known for his short height. In the NES version of Punch Out he was 4’ 8’’ but then he was buffed up to 5’ 7’’ in the Wii version. Little Mac has faced many vainglorious opponents that were much bigger than him during his boxing matches. They’ve all been diverse and use unique techniques even to the point that some of them use magic to help them win. As such, Little Mac has valuable experience that was bestowed to him by his opponents and has prepared him for any kind of situation.

Little Mac’s main strength is his fast reaction. Some of his tougher opponents have punches that can strike fast and hard. However, all of them have tells that indicate their plan of action and Mac is good at picking those up. Depending on how well Mac knows his opponent, he can leave a match unscathed with another KO under his belt. Sometimes, Mac knows the tells so well that he’s able to hit his opponents at the right time to give him star punches. Star punches are extra strong punches that can do a lot of damage on his rivals. If he saved up three star punches he can knock them down with one blow. What’s more, if he’s out of hearts (basically his level of fatigue) only one star punch is needed to knock down the opponent and if he uses all three then that can knock them out for good.

However, if Little Mac is hit once after he gets a star punch he loses it. As such, he has to be careful to hold onto those star punches and use them when appropriate. Little Mac is also not the best defender as he can get knocked down by a few strong moves or even with one special move such as Bald Bull’s charge. If Little Mac gets hit, or if he blocks, or if he hits a blocking opponent then he’ll lose his hearts. If he reaches down to zero hearts, Mac will have to rest a bit and dodge his opponents until he can recover his hearts. During this critical time, Mac can’t throw any punches (except the star punches).

Doc Louis, his trainer, is also not the most helpful trainer at times. He’s good at getting Mac into shape and he was the one who taught Mac his star punches. However…Doc will give Mac cryptic advice how to beat his opponent in-between rounds and even then that doesn’t happen too much. Sometimes he’ll say what his favorite flower is (chocolate) or that he should join the Nintendo Fun Club. Other times he just commenting on how Mac is doing, the rival, or that Mac should finish this fight up. So yeah…not really the best support…

GIF from brotherbrain.tumblr.com

Alright, now that we have our introductions aside, we can begin the match! Before we begin we’re going to level the playing field a bit and say that Rocky or Little Mac do not know each other at all going into the ring. All they know is their height, weight, age, and Win-Loss ratio. With that said, let’s get ready to rumbleeeeeeee!

In front of a large, screaming crowd, Rocky and Little Mac are introduced and they meet each other for the first time in the ring. Rocky is initially surprised that his opponent is so small while Little Mac is relieved that for once his rival does not initially seem wacky or loud. As they step forward for the referee to explain the rules, Rocky notices that Little Mac means business, he’s got the Eye of the Tiger. Already, Rocky is breaking down his opinion that maybe he shouldn’t go easy on this guy.

They step back to their corners and the bell rings.

The crowd screams as the two opponents warily step forward. They test the waters by jabbing at their opposites. Little Mac in particular is trying to find the chink in Rocky’s armor. He jabs at his stomach and at his head, trying to determine where is the sweetest spot to hit. Rocky blocks the stomach punches and returns with some counter punches of his own.

But Little Mac is fast, he has reacted to opponents much quicker than Rocky before and he easily dodges his punches. After he dodges one, he returns back with a solid uppercut to Rocky’s face. Rocky is momentarily dazed and now Little Mac is wailing on him. Mickey screams at Rocky while Paulie clutches at the loose strands of hair on his balding head. Rocky finally regains his composure and steps back from Mac to regain his senses.

Rocky is now no longer going to take it easy on Mac. Mac means business and he can hit hard at that. Rocky is now dancing the ring trying to determine what to do. Little Mac sweeps in though and starts pummeling him in the face. Little Mac has picked up that Rocky’s face is the best part to hit as he rarely blocks it. Rocky responds with a hook onto Mac and he finally hits him squarely on the side.

Little Mac is momentarily stunned and now has to dodge Rocky’s punches. As he wonders what to do next, the bell signaling the end of Round 1 rings out.

Rocky, Little Mac, Rocky vs Little Mac, Punch Out

Image photoshopped by me. Punch Out NES text from https://www.splintered.co.uk/experiments/152/

Understandably, Mickey is more than pissed at Rocky and fiercely shouts that Little Mac is not some shrimpy punk; Mac has what it takes to beat him. Meanwhile, Doc Louis cheerfully talks riddles to Little Mac leaving Mac once again frustrated and confused towards his trainer.

Round 2 begins and now everything is changed. Rocky has regained his desire to win and he’s no longer treating Mac as a fragile, plaything. He goes out there like a bull in a china shop and is now throwing punches fiercely at Mac. Mac is dodging, dodging, dodging. He’s pondering hard where to strike the now serious boxer.

And now, an opening! When Rocky lets loose a right hook, he leaves the right side of his face open for a surprise attack. Mac dodges the right hook and strikes an uppercut at Rocky.

Ding! Little Mac just got his first star punch. Before Rocky knew what literally hit him, Mac decides to let go while he still has the chance and release the star punch onto Rocky.

Bam! Rocky stumbles back and hits the ground hard. The ref starts counting and before he even reaches three, Rocky is back up again. He’s ready to dance with Mac again.

Little Mac throws another uppercut at Rocky but he blocks it. Little Mac throws another one and Rocky blocks it as well. Rocky then lets loose a series of jabs at Little Mac and for once the Bronx-fighter was too slow. Little Mac is getting slammed repeatedly and can’t break away from Rocky’s onslaught. Rocky lets loose another punch and Little Mac is the one to go down this time.

Little Mac climbs back up, now bruised and badly hurt, and decides to step off from the attacks to analyze his opponent some more. Rocky comes back with his own attacks and he misses again and again. Another right hook from Rocky is responded by a counter from Little Mac to his face again. Ding! Little Mac gets another star punch but he’s holding onto it this time.

The bell rings and it’s the end of Round 2.

“Hey, Mac!” says Doc to Mac, “Chisel away at Rocky with your uppercut punches.”

Round 3 begins and now the bruised fighters are coming back out again. Rocky is about to attack but he’s surprised by Mac as he took the initiative and punched him right in the stomach.   Ding! Another star punch for Little Mac. Little Mac now proceeds to let a storm of punches onto Rocky. Left, right, left, right. Some to the face and some to the stomach. Rocky tries to respond with some punches of his own but Little Mac dodges it with ease. Another uppercut sends Rocky back down.

This time the referee gets to four and Rocky is back up. Rocky is about to attack again but Little Mac surprises him by jumping his star punches early and taking him down a second time.

Little Mac thinks that will keep Rocky down but he is surprised that Rocky comes back up, though admittedly struggling.

Rocky is now in full swing, he is in the zone, he can now visualize himself winning.

“Come on!” Rocky taunts to Little Mac as he starts dancing around him, “come on! Is that all you got??”

Little Mac swings at Rocky but he dodges and counters back with two quick blows to the head.

Little Mac is unsure what to do now and steps off from attacking his now loud mouthed opponent, waiting to see what he does now.

Rocky comes back in with a series of jabs and Little Mac dodges. Rocky let’s loose a series of punches that are entirely random. Left, left, right, left, uppercut, right, left hook. Rocky is successfully confusing Little Mac. He can’t dodge all the punches.

Bam! A solid punch to his stomach sends Little Mac down.

He climbs back and starts aggressively attacking Rocky again to the face. But Rocky responds by putting his hands up again and again and again. He then hits Little Mac back with another left hook.

Little Mac glows pink as he his fatigue takes a hold of him. Rocky sets up a right hook but Little Mac is ready this time. He dodges it, recovers, and hits Rocky again squarely below his right eye.

Ding! Another star punch. And just in time too, Round 3 just ended.

Round 4 begins and Rocky, after some encouragement from Mickey, begins taunting Little Mac again. Little Mac swings at Rocky but Rocky blocks and hits Mac in the head. Rocky randomizes everything now. He comes in close, he dances around Mac, he punches low, he punches high, he blocks his stomach and sometimes his face.

It’s too much for Little Mac, he can’t hit Rocky at the right times, he can’t figure out when he should dodge and when he should counter.

Little Mac goes down again. He’s struggling hard to get back up. He tries to attack again but it’s fruitless. Rocky has this fight. After a series of dodges and blocks, Rocky punches Little Mac one more time and he’s down and out. KO.

The winner is Rocky.

via Rocky II.

So why do I think Rocky would win this fight?

There are several reasons why I think he would win. First off, let’s look at Rocky IV. Ivan Drago has a punching strength of 2,150 psi, well above what even the strongest boxers can achieve. This punch was so devastating that it even killed Apollo Creed in the second round. Rocky was able to take Drago’s punches to his head multiple times, went the full 15 rounds, won it, and lived long enough to make two more movies. Even Drago commented how Rocky had a body made of iron.

If Rocky was an opponent in Punch Out, he’d probably be one of the most frustrating opponents ever. His health bar would barely decrease after every punch. Even when he’s knocked down multiple times, he will be able to get back up and keep fighting.

Little Mac on the other hand has a weaker body. One strong blow from Mike Tyson can lead to an instant knockdown. Little Mac can also go down so many times before he is KO’d for good. He is definitely a short-term fighter.

That’s not to say it was all in the bag for Rocky. Little Mac was definitely the faster of the two. He could dodge many of Rocky’s attacks with ease and respond promptly as well. True, Rocky got a speed boost in Rocky III but even then, Rocky’s agility does not compare to some of Mac’s more tricky opponents such as Mike Tyson, Mr. Sandman, and Bald Bull.

And if Little Mac was able to figure out what the hell Doc Louis means when he talks about Rocky’s Northeye, then he could exploit Rocky’s bad peripheral vision for his right eye and get a few good star punches from it as well.

I think though the real reason why Rocky would win between the two is that Rocky is human. He doesn’t have a set pattern like all of Mac’s opponents do. He can change things up and randomize his attack pattern to the point that Mac couldn’t keep up with him. At the heart of the matter, Little Mac is a responder. He doesn’t have the hearts to waste by senselessly attacking his opponents. He has to gauge when to accurately use them or not. Rocky would realize this halfway through the fight and would just go crazy in the ring. From southpaw to orthodox, from swarmer to out-boxer, he would just mix things up so much that Little Mac wouldn’t know what to do.

So Rocky wins in the end but…

…what about a rematch?

via killscreen.tumblr.com

In true Punch Out and Rocky fashion there has to be a rematch. It’s funny because whenever I would look up what other people would say who would win between these two titans (or one titan at least) no one would talk about a rematch. I guarantee you that no matter who would win the first fight, the loser would win the rematch.

Besides the fact that’s the way underdog stories go, there is a clear reason why I think the loser would win the rematch. First off, if Mac won the first match, Rocky would go on a training montage and change up his fighting style just like he did for Apollo and Clubber Lang. He was able to win both rematches. This new style would throw off the pattern-loving Little Mac and Rocky would win.

But in this case, Little Mac would win because Doc Louis has a trump card that helps Little Mac through any trouble.

You see, in Punch Out for the Wii, Doc has an awesome training simulation machine that helps Mac through some of his more tricky opponents. He can practice again and again with them until he’s able to take the opponents in real life with ease. In this case, Rocky would practice against a Rocky simulation.

But how? How could Mac win against Rocky’s iron will and body?

The best method is to build up his star punches as fast as he could and knock Rocky down in a TKO. Three knockdowns in one round would satisfy a win for Mac. Mac would endlessly test against the simulation to determine weaknesses that even Rocky doesn’t know about.

And when that rematch happens, Little Mac would be ready and he would take Rocky down in a surprise upset in the first round.

And here, dear readers if you have managed to read this 3000+ word article, I leave you with this. I seriously believe that after that second match, Rocky and Little Mac would become friends similar to Rocky’s relationship with Apollo. Rocky would enjoy finding time to spar with a friendly rival while Mac would revel at the chance to be with a boxer that was not crazy or mean. Cause their burning hearts are, after all, made of gold.

Thanks for reading my longest article yet! This article was a culmination of research done on my free time by watching Rocky fights, playing Punch Out, learning boxing terminology, and watching Mike Tyson fights. Do you agree or disagree with who you’d think would win? Say so in the comments! I would be more than willing to hear what you think!

Favorite Games I Played in 2014

2014 was the Year of the New for me as I never before had played this many games that were either just released or released within a year that I played them.  This mainly stems from my 3DS which even though I got in October of 2013, I wasn’t able to exploit the games on it until 2014.  Another small boost came in the form of my used Wii U which I bought it and Mario Kart 8 at a decent price.

Even so, I still played many games that were released several years or more ago including quite a few for the DS, one on the PS3 (Arkham City), and one on the Gamecube (Metal Gear Solid: the Twin Snakes).

With this being a noteworthy year for my video games, I will give you my list of the new games I played for the 2014 year along with small awards for the “Best of” for that category.  Here’s the full list of them:

DS: 999: 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors, Professor Layton and the Last Specter, Miles Edgeworth Investigations, Phoenix Wright Trials and Tribulations

Gamecube: Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes

PS3: Batman: Arkham City

3DS: Bravely Default, Pokémon ORAS, Fire Emblem Awakening, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Pokémon TCG (via Virtual Console), Super Smash Brothers

Wii U: Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Brothers

Most Hyped: Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright

Okay, this was pretty close for me, it was either PLvPW or Super Smash Brothers.  True, I’ve been waiting for Smash Bros longer than PLvPW but I just love the professor and the lawyer so much.  It was very agonizing for me to just sit here in the U.S. seeing Japan get the game…and then Europe get the game…and we don’t!  I was sure it wasn’t going to come…and I was soooooo happy that it finally did.  You see, I knew Super Smash Bros would get to the U.S. eventually but not PLvPW.  But opening up that game and turning it on and hearing that music and seeing that title screen and seeing the characters gloriously animated was quite a treat and would have been hard to top.

Best Multiplayer: Super Smash Brothers (WiiU)
This should be pretty obvious, Mario Kart 8 was super fun and it’s nice to play against your friends on the 3ds version of this game but come on, 8 players!  That just seals the deal for me right there.  Playing with my friends on a variety of controllers with a variety of characters was just simple fun with simple madness.  Can’t be beat.

Best Game to Play with Mary: Animal Crossing: New Leaf

We smashed, we raced, and we played Pokemon together but Animal Crossing is the best game to play with her.  True, I love doing all three of the previously mentioned games with her before but Animal Crossing is different.  We are in a town together with our own homes interacting with our own villagers.  And though we can’t directly interact with each other, our interaction with the town and its quirky villagers makes this a nice gem to play.  Animal Crossing towns do have a vibe of loneliness if you’re the only human player but this is cured if you have other people inhabiting your town, it makes it feel more active.  Plus it makes funding projects that much easier!

Best Story: 999
I played games that had a good story in them whether it was the trials in Phoenix Wright, Snake infiltrating Shadow Moses, or Professor Layton duking it with Phoenix Wright but none took me on the twist and turns of 999.  Perhaps it was because I was not familiar with the series but the game took me on a wild ride and that never stopped (until I failed an ending and had to restart).  I was legitimately creeped out by some of the moments in the game and I regretted playing it while I was in bed.

Special shoutout though has to be done for the story behind PLvsPW as that story took me on an emotional roller coaster with some good twists.  Another special shoutout has to be done for PW: Trials and Tribulations because that final trial was definitely a doozy and remains among the best in Pheonix Wright’s cases that I have done so far.

Unexpected Hit: 999 and Pokemon Trading Card Game
These two are on top of the list for different reasons.  I knew 999 was critically acclaimed but I just didn’t get why until I played the game.  I devoured this game in less than two weeks (normally it takes me at least a month to finish games).  On the other hand, Pokemon Trading Card Game was just so much fun to play.  I first played this game more than ten years ago and I suuuucked at it even with the cheat codes.  My brief dance with the TCG in real life made me learn how to play the TCG and so when I bought it on the Virtual Console it was just too much fun.  Creating your own deck was fun and beating the game (which is hard mine you) was quite rewarding.  I definitely hope Nintendo decides to release an updated version of this game!

Biggest Disappointment: Bravely Default

For all the hype and praise surrounding this game, I was honestly burned out by it.  The amount of grinding I had to do was intense and it just got to me.  I haven’t played the game in awhile but I’ll probably pick it up again later.  The same thing happened for Fire Emblem Awakening (which was fantastic btw) where I got frustrated by it and stopped playing for three months.  I picked it up again, powered through it, found out I loved it, and finished it rather quickly.  I’m hoping BD will be the same thing but I won’t be touching it again for awhile.  I’m still surprised by people’s praise, anyone want to give me their thoughts on this game and why you might have liked it?

Best NPC: Joker from Batman: Arkham City
999 had a host of characters that I enjoyed interacting with.  Most of the characters I originally passed off as Trope characters that had only one particular trait, however, as the game went on, they would continuously surprise me by the things they did, their knowledge, and their history.  Number 7 was one of my favorites.
However, Joker was by far the best NPC.  Mark Hamill was as usual great in his role as the Clown Prince of Crime.  Plus, Joker’s role in the game was a I think better than his main antagonistic role in Arkham Asylum.  His joking personality was at his height here and let’s not forget those hilarious answering machine messages he left for Batman.  Classic Joker.

Best Line Delivery: Twin Snakes

Enough said.

Best Sequel: Pokemon ORAS
I played a lot of sequels during this year of franchises that I love.  A good sequel in my book is one that retains the original charm of the first game while adding new stuff to it that makes it a refreshing experience.  For that, Pokemon ORAS was probably the best sequel of them all.  ORAS not only was a good Hoenn remake but a good step forward in the evolution of Pokemon games.  The sneaking mechanic for Dexnav made catching pokemon a whole new level of fun!  Hidden abilities, special moves only learned normally through breeding, and held items made it fun to find the best pokemon.

Not only that but the map and pokedex features improved a lot making you want to catch odd pokemon even if you didn’t want them in the first place.  The New mega evolutions are great and Hoenn getting a full 3D remake was just amazing.

Best Item(s):  The Brave Weapons from Fire Emblem Awakening
In the Awakening game, weapons matter a lot to you especially for the higher ranked ones as they can give more damage with better bonuses as well.  The brave weapons as such were among the best weapons in the game that I liked to equip my warriors with.  True, they may not be the strongest ones, but they’re among the best weapons to buy and that goes a long way.

Best BossThe Grand Masters from Pokemon Trading Card Game

As said before, defeating the Pokemon TCG was challenging mostly thanks to the Grand Masters.  All of them were packing Legendary cards that I couldn’t access yet.  Getting my butt kicked by Courtney, the first Master, several times made me rethink deck strategies to the point of dismantling them entirely and working from the ground up again.

Ironically, one of my easier battles came from the final battle against Ronald, your rival in the game.  He flat out refused to call back his Zapdos despite the fact that he only had fire and water energy cards.  I chose not to kill him on a gamble that he wouldn’t return him so I just outwaited him.  He ran out of cards before I did and I won.  One of the most hilarious victories I ever had.