Tag Archives: video games

The Best Pokémon Games and Types for a Single Type Run

Self-made video game challenges and runs have been a staple in recent gaming and can create exciting and new ways to replay your favorite games. There are a whole variety of them ranging from a no-kill run in Metal Gear Solid to only using your knife as a weapon in Resident Evil 4. Pokémon is no exception to this rule as one of the most famous video game challenges of all time is the Nuzlocke Run which actually makes the Pokémon games exceedingly difficult. Today, I offer you a different sort of run, one that although is not as challenging as a Nuzlocke Run, is still very enjoyable. I give you, a Single Type Run/Challenge.

Simply put, a Single Type Run is where you catch Pokémon who only belong to a certain type whether it is Water, Bug, Dark, or Dragon. If a Pokémon does not have a type in that category then it’s out.   This is a great challenge I think because you can form a team around your favorite type(s) and not have to worry much about picking your favorites. Your team’s weaknesses are what make this challenging as you have to look out for moves or Pokémon that may defeat you. And to be fair, this isn’t exactly a brand new, exciting concept; many people have done this Run for a long time. That is why today, I’m going in depth and telling you what Pokémon games and types are the best for a Single Type Run. Let’s take a look!

If you want to cut right to the chase, just click the image below that will explain everything to you concisely. Below the chart I have written my methods in approaching this monumental task and the overall best games and types for a Single Type Run.

Pokemon, Pokemon Single Type Run, Single Type Run, Single Type

Before I analyzed a whole bunch of different pokedexes, I had to design a series of rules to make sure I kept my analysis consistent. As such, here are the rules for my version of the Single Type Run.

  1. A type must be selected before starting the game. Upon playing the game the player must make all attempts to capture a Pokémon of that type as soon as possible. Once captured, the previous Pokémon of the party must be disregarded if they are not of that type.
  2. Pokémon that have yet to evolve into that type (e.g., Nidoran in a Ground type Run or Caterpie in a Flying type Run) may be caught but must be evolved as soon as possible.
  3. Mega Evolutions that changes a Pokémon to your type are allowed provided you mega evolve the Pokémon as soon as their battle begins.

Of course, everyone has their own version of the rules and that’s totally fine! This is just how I approached the analysis.

In order to determine which Pokémon games are the best for a Single Type Run I had to design a categorizing system that was nonsubjective. What’s more, I had to find a simple but effective rating system that can satisfy all 406 possible combinations between typing and the games. This was solved by a dual grading system using numbers and letters. Every typing and video game combination has a one letter (A-F) and one number (1-4) grade for how beneficial a Single Type Run would be. Numbers indicate a game’s type diversity. For instance: 1=At least six unique catchable Pokémon, all weaknesses are neutralized/covered; 2=At least six unique catchable Pokémon; 3=Three-to-five unique catchable Pokémon; 4=Only one-to-two unique catchable Pokémon. Letters indicate how early you can catch a Pokémon: A=First Pokémon you can catch is before the first gym; B=Between the first-second gym; C=Between the second-third gym; D=Between the third-fifth gym; F=After the fifth gym. For example, if you were to do a Ground type run in Pokémon Red, you would have a 2A rating (i.e., you can catch at least six Ground type Pokémon and the first Pokémon you can catch is before the first gym (the Nidorans)).

As such, a 1A rating in Single Type Run is the best rating you could get when selecting your type and game. You can catch a Pokémon fairly early on and you can get a diversified team that has all of its weaknesses covered. If that doesn’t bother you and are fine with doubling up, then hey, that’s cool. Surprisingly, given all the strict guidelines, there are a whopping 145 combinations that have a 1A rating. That’s 36%! This is mainly thanks to Generation 6 which had a huge diversity of Pokémon in their respective games (64% of their possible type combinations had a 1A rating).

For the purpose of saving a lot of headaches, trading was not included in the Single Type Run Chart. Trading defeats the purpose of the Run as it’s much easier to get a team of six Pokémon (especially in the later generations) that has all of its weaknesses covered. This is why a lot of games on the Chart (such as Generation One for Bug types) won’t have the full team even if they have the diversity needed (Scyther and Pinsir are version-exclusive Pokémon). Also, Pokémon catchable after the Elite Four were not included as, in my opinion, you’re at the end of the game. I imagine you win the challenge once you beat the Elite Four. True, some games have a lot of content after the Elite Four (such as the Johto games), but this is only after hours and hours of playing the games. Tyranitar in Gold/Silver is a great example as you can catch Larvitar at Mount Silver but that’s only after you acquired 16 badges (and by then, what’s the point?).

The Best and Worst Pokémon Games for a Single Type Run

By far, the best Pokémon games for a Single Type Run are Pokémon X and Y followed by Pokémon AlphaSapphire, and then Pokémon OmegaRuby and Pokémon Platinum. Both Pokémon X and Y had a remarkable 1A ratio of 13-18. That’s unreal! And the other types that did not get a 1A were also pretty good as the worse rating was only a 2B (Dragon). And considering how this is one of the few games that an Ice type Run is actually feasible, I think this is a good bet to go for! Alpha Sapphire is the other game I recommend you play for a Single Type Run. It has a high amount of 1A ratings (11-18) and is the only game in the entire series to have a 1A rating for Ghost! This is thanks to Nincada in Route 116, a Sableye in Granite Cave, as well as the plethora of catchable Ghost Pokémon near the end of the game.

The games to avoid would definitely be the Generation 1 games and that’s not surprising given the games’ initial lack of diversity. Pokémon Blue and Yellow only have one 1A rating (Normal) while Red has that and Electric. Ironically, the Electric type only sometimes acquires a 1A rating given their low diversity. If you want to do an Electric type Run in Yellow, catch a Pikachu and later catch a Magnemite, then Jolteon, Electabuzz, Voltorb, and Zapdos. I wouldn’t recommend this though given the mentioned Pokémon have a rather low movepool (look towards B2 and W2 if you want an Electric type Run).

The Best and Worst Types for a Single Type Run

Normal, Normal, Normal, Normal! The Normal type is the only type that has a 100% 1A rating. This is thanks to Normal type having only one weakness (Fighting) which it can easily cover! Oh, and guess what! The Normal/Flying type combination is the most common type combination in the games. Every generation has introduced one and you are more than likely to run into one in the game’s first route. Boom, Normal’s commonality combined with its low weaknesses and early route availability makes it the perfect type for a Single Type Run. I recommend going old school and do a Normal type Run in Generation 1 as you can catch a plethora of iconic Pokémon like Jigglypuff, Pidgey, Tauros, Kangaskhan, and Snorlax. You will have a fun time as they are strong and can learn a variety of moves.

If you don’t want Normal I would then recommend a Water type Run (although Ground, Bug, and Flying are also good). Again, their commonality and low amount of weaknesses make them a great type to do a Run. Water/Ground and Water/Flying Pokémon are surprisingly common and are introduced in almost every generation. These two potent combos cover Water type’s weaknesses and more than help you have a good time. If I were to recommend some games they would be Pokémon Sapphire, Emerald, and Alpha Sapphire. Pick Mudkip as your starter (Water/Ground), catch a Lotad (Water/Grass) in Route 102, and Wingull (Water/Flying) in Route 104 and you are set. From there, you are given a huge range of great Water Pokémon. Some off the top of my head are Gyarados, Crawdaunt, Sharpedo, Lanturn, Tentacruel, Marill, and Relicanth.

Ice and Dragon type are the worse types for a Single Type Run. This is not surprising given they are usually available fairly late in the game and their diversity is rather lack luster. Surprisingly, Ice type received a 1 rating in Silver and Crystal but is severely marred by their late game status. If you want to do an Ice type run go for X and Y. Pick up the Sail Fossil, resurrect Amaura, and start catching some great Ice Pokémon. Unfortunately, Dragon type never gets a 1 rating although it has come close. As for which game, I’m honestly torn between XY and ORAS. On the one hand, you can get a Mega Sceptile/Altaria in ORAS although in X you can get a Mega Charizard X. Tough call.

Trivia

-If you want to do a Water type Run in Pokémon Yellow, your first Pokémon will be a Magikarp from the Pokecenter salesman outside of Mount Moon. Have fun!

-In general, the third game in a series (Crystal, Emerald, Platinum, and B2W2) will have an increase in 1A ratings due to an increase in diversity. The only exception to this is Pokémon Yellow.

-Remakes’ (FRLG and HGSS) ratings are generally similar to their original games as Pokémon availability are generally the same. The major exception to this is ORAS which introduced the National Dex before the Elite Four and not after. ORAS has a 1A rating of 11/18 (61%) while Ruby and Sapphire averages out to 6.5/17 (38%).

-Despite being introduced in Generation Six, Fairy type has a 1A rating of 100% in all four Generation Six games. This is thanks to the variety of Pokémon from previous generations changing to the Fairy type like Mawile, Gardevoir, Marill, and Wigglytuff.

Final Thoughts?

So that’s the article! I worked on this for a couple of months, whenever I had time to kill or just wanted a break from my normal work load. I double checked my sources although I know I might have messed up a rating so if you spot something that’s incorrect, let me know! Happy playing!

Crazy Theory: Missingno. is in Pokemon Sun and Moon

Okay, crack theory time.

In the latest Pokémon Direct (February 26th, 2016), the Pokémon Company revealed that you can transfer your Pokémon in Red, Blue, and Yellow, from their Virtual Console games, to Pokémon Bank, and to the newly revealed upcoming games, Pokémon Sun and Moon. This is exciting news. As I’m sure you are aware, fans were very displeased when Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire were released as you couldn’t transfer your Pokémon from Generation 1 or 2 to these games. You had to leave your old Pokémon behind.

But now that’s changed. Not only can you replay the original Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow games, now you can play them and transfer them to new games and still be with them.

And in all of the excitement of transfers, I would like to bring up Missingno. which has been confirmed, via fan footage, that you can capture this “Pokémon” again in the new virtual console games. The question though begs to be asked, can you transfer this glitched Pokémon to Pokémon Bank?

In Generation 1 when you transfer Missingno. to Pokémon stadium, it can become a ditto or a substitute doll no matter what form. Will the same thing happen to Pokémon Bank? In this case, will Missingno. turn into a ditto upon upload?

I (like to) think not and here’s why. One, Nintendo knows that Missingno. exists as evidenced by their Customer Service account. Two, since they do know it exists, and the potential harm Missingno. can have on saved accounts, why would they bother to still keep it in the game? At the very least they probably programmed it so you can capture a Missingno. and still have infinite items without messing up your data.

As such, I propose my very crazy theory in that Missingno. will be an actual, for real Pokémon, in Pokémon Sun and Moon. Not only will it be a Pokémon, it will be an story driven Pokémon that the evil team will use to glitch the world into their favor. Maybe they won’t use it in Sun and Moon (perhaps in a sequel), but the possibilities of Missingno. are endless as the evil team could use this Pokémon to create infinite items, say Master Balls, and use the Pokémon to exploit the world you live in. And if they’re not careful, could throw the whole world out of whack. Super scary thought for sure.

Although the above scenario is highly unlikely, I still find the upcoming events of Missingno., Virtual Console, Pokémon Bank, and Sun and Moon quite interesting so keep an eye out for that when more information is revealed.

This could work: Star Wars KotoR and One Piece mash up

Surprisingly, I played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic for the first time this year after some pressure from my friends and Mary. Despite a few buggy issues, the game was marvelous (even if I was spoiled). The characters are funny, complex, and memorable, and the combat system is neat with a diverse range of upgrade options. This game has convinced me to try out the Mass Effect games sometime in the future as not only does the same company make them but they also have been highly praised as well.

Now with that said, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a KotoR-style game in the One Piece universe? Imagine it, you are a captain of a pirate crew and you travel the world of One Piece while recruiting members, fighting the marines, and establishing yourself as King of the Pirates! Now, you could do a game following the Straw Hat Pirate crew but that can be limiting in terms of story and character development (plus the story is not even done yet). Instead, this game should follow KotoR’s path and establish itself far in the past, free from all the restrictions of Luffy and his crew’s main storyline.

Of course, the immediately clear benefit of this is that all the Devil Fruits are ripe for the eating! All the Paramecian, Zoan, and Logian fruits would be available for yourself, your crew, and the variety of enemies you can fight! Maybe at the beginning of the game, while you are designing your character, gender, and so forth, you can choose (or Hell just forego completely!) a certain selection of Devil Fruits for your captain-to-be. Afterwards, you can name your ship, your crew name, and the design of your flag.

After you pick your character and his fighting style, you can then recruit characters as you sail the four seas and the Grand Line. Maybe certain characters would want to be a great brawler, swordsman, or sniper. As they level up, put skill points on the variety of fighting styles to improve their profession.

Leveling up would also give you noncombat skill points for carpeting, navigation, cooking, music playing, and first-aid. Navigation I think would be especially important as every crew needs a good navigator to get through the seas with their wild and crazy storms. Certain islands would need a navigation skill level, and of course the required log post, in order to reach them. Especially high would be islands in the New World. Likewise, carpeting can improve your ship’s sailing and battling capabilities as well as needed repairs. Carpeting could also improve your ship’s accessibility to treacherous waters that would otherwise capsize or demolish it. Cooking would give you handy healing and morale-boosting items that would otherwise be unavailable during the game while first-aid training would serve as your standard “Healer” role in RPGs. As for musician training, you can do your standard morale-boosting spells but also incorporate music into your attacks, that would be great!

YOHOHOHOHOHOHO

Now your crew members, I think, should already be their own characters in the same vein as Mass Effect and KotoR. They were what made KotoR so great, all the great characters like HK-47 and Jolee really made the game fun to play. Likewise, having kooky characters with a variety of personalities or traits would bestow a real charm to your crew (plus the bickering would be quite amusing).

One important aspect of KotoR that would also be incorporated into this One Piece game would be the moral decision making. Do you choose to be honorable pirates or pirates that do whatever the hell they want or pirates who burn, pillage, and kill anyone and anything in its path? One Piece has certainly given us a variety of pirate crews that vary considerably on this sliding scale of morality. Key scenes such as whether or not to kill some captive marines, stealing a poor town’s treasure, or a simple good deed can reflect your popularity (and notoriety) with citizens, the marines, and other pirate crews. The same could be said with your actions whether it’s finding a little girl’s mom or toppling an island’s ruthless dictatorship. This would be very similar to Red Dead Redemption’s morality and popularity scales.

Speaking of which, bounties in the game can be interesting as depending on your actions, yours and your crew’s bounties could increase over time. The marines are very bias (and corrupt) though so certain actions, like sinking a marine ship, could raise your bounty faster than stealing a town’s gold. I can only imagine how that will affect your performance during the game as what would happen if you got caught or lost a battle? Maybe it will reset to your last save point but I haven’t come up a good way in handling bounties yet in this One Piece RPG.

Something that also could be incorporated into the game is having your own fleet. Once you achieve a certain amount of popularity, you could recruit other pirate crews to be your division commanders and that would be AWESOME. Having a fleet means you can storm guarded bases like Impel Down or Enies Lobby or even topple an entire country! You could have an army of ships, ready at your beck and call and take down any pirate crews who stand in your way!

There are still other potential ideas that I have untouched like bounty hunting, ship customization, and haki training. Aaaaaah. Just writing this article makes me so excited even though this game doesn’t exist. This game should be made, I would play the hell out of it!

This Could Work-A Total War: Great War Game

Revolt, Rebellion, Revolution.  These three “R”’s are the magic words that help define both the Creative Assembly-produced Total War video game series and the awful Great War which is currently “celebrating” its centennial anniversary.  I am both surprised and not that these two topics haven’t come together to produce an in-depth, strategy-filled game that takes place during the Great War-era.  This game has the potential to be amazing but it could very easily be bogged down with bloated mechanics and stretches of time where you do nothing but click the next turn button.

I first thought about this marriage while I was playing both Empire: Total War and Napoleon: Total War.  Compared to other Total War games, both of these games take place relatively late in human history representing late 1700s and early 1800s respectively.  The use of guns and canons is a far step forward compared to the arrows and swords Total War embraces in its Rome, Medieval, and Shogun settings.  But, they are done surprisingly efficient especially when combined with cavalry and fortresses.

The Great War is also extremely perfect when playing as certain factions.  You can play as Britain, Germany, France, Austria-Hungary, Russia, and maybe even Ottoman Empire and Italy.  All seven of these nations fought in huge conflicts that ranged throughout a greater part of Europe.  And it’s not like the Great War: Total War would restrict you to certain allies or enemies.  You could start the game in say, 1900 (or even 1870 if you want to include the Franco-Prussian War) and have all the participants naturally decide their allies on their own accord.  It would be very similar to the board game Diplomacy now that I think about it.

The United States (and other foreign powers) could also play an important role in the game even if the map focuses only on Europe.  All these countries can play as a neutral to a less-than-neutral position at the beginning of the game.  Do you choose to sink a neutral power’s supply ships in hopes of hurting your opponent?  That may backfire and the neutral power could declare war on you (and your opponent could get maybe 10 more, free, soldier units or something).  Perhaps you could win over a neutral power through diplomacy, gifts, and trade agreements.  The choice is yours to make.

Given this is the late Industrial Era; you can have many improvements for your home country such as the usual factories and farms but even infrastructures such as railroads, electricity, and telecommunication.  Man, you could transport your armies so fast if you built railroads in your homeland.

The three “R”’s would also play a huge role in this game, perhaps more so than other Total War games.  Worker riots and soldier mutinies run rampant during the Great War, then you got the occasional independence rebellions like the one the Irish started in 1916 and of course, you got some major Russian revolutions to cap it off.  Soldier morale could also be affected by say recent gas attacks, current weather, or battles where many soldiers died and nothing was gain from it.  Whole units of soldiers can lay down their arms or even fight you in response to the awful conditions!  Also, can you imagine sending terrorists or instigators to your rivals in hopes of stirring a revolution?  That would be awesome!  On the one hand, you would have to keep your people happy but on the other, you can cause chaos from the inside out!  The Austria-Hungary Empire could disintegrate before your very eyes as armies representing different nationalities spring up and take back cities belonging to the people!

And maybe get a certain Archduke assassinated to start off a major conflict…? Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archduke_Franz_Ferdinand_of_Austria

Although a Great War setting is not a far cry from Empire or Napoleon and can be done easily there are a few key differences that have to be addressed.

The first key difference, machine guns, and by extension trench warfare, were such an integral part of the Great War that it’s hard to find one without the other.   So many soldiers were killed on both sides by these weapons of war that it was probably one of the main reasons why stalemates happened all the damn time.  This is where a Great War: Total War game can be frustrating if not done right.  Your own soldiers can be killed en masse after several machine gun units mow them down.  Though historically accurate, it’s not very fun to play with (except when you’re the one shooting of course).

As such, you can do several things to nerf the power of machine guns.  For one thing, they are a better defensive than offensive weapon.  As such, soldiers carrying them would be quite slow and cumbersome.  The soldiers can also only fire them for so long before the gun either jams or overheats making them not very effective for long battles.  Technology upgrades can fix these overheating issues somewhat but you still wouldn’t be able to fire them for very long.

Gas grenades and shells would be easier to incorporate as they’re basically a stand in for the howitzers.  You could probably do some sort of penalty against soldiers with tear gas (like they’re slowed down, do not fire as well, or morale is lowered) but the awful chlorine gas is where things truly matter.  Not only would there be a lot of fatalities but it would be a good morale killer for even hardened veterans.  And of course, one of the first technology upgrades you can get for the soldiers is the ability to wear gas masks which would be represented as a button on the tool bar during the real-time battles.  The gas masks might lower accuracy and make your soldiers tire faster but at least they’re not being gassed at.

Tanks would be another technology upgrade you could easily incorporate into the game.  At the beginning of the game, you could have cavalry units for horses which although they might be useful very early on (especially if we’re starting the game 1870), they can soon be antiquated by the arrival of the machine gun.  Tanks wouldn’t make their appearance into very late in the technology tree but once they do, they can easily smash through defensive lines of barb wire and trenches.  Still though, they would be expensive to produce and they would be rather slow and have the chance to break down (again, trying to make sure they don’t become OP).

But the most difficult technology to incorporate would be airplanes.  Though it would be easy to use biplanes for reconnaissance or blimps to bomb distant cities, the real-time strategy would be much harder to handle if it’s used at all.  The real-time section of the games work on a (mostly) two dimensional terrain and adding aircraft to the mixture would make them impossible to control, much less use them for their full potential.  Perhaps you can send in a squadron to bomb a certain part of the map during the overworld phase.  Maybe a passive advantage is an added accuracy bonus for artillery allowing them to hit a group of soldiers on target.  Though both of these sound acceptable, they still don’t really use the planes to their fullest capabilities.  This will need to be played around with before aircraft are fully realized.

I really hope the Total War series makes a Great War game.  After thinking about it and writing all the potential it has, I really think it could work very well.  The lack of a prominent Great War game should be filled by a prominent series.  The Total War series is that game as its elements of nation building and alliance forging go perfect with the Great War along with its real time strategy on the battlefield.

The Childhood Sweetheart Trope as Interpreted by 999 and Danganronpa

One of the most predictable and used tropes for anime, and in general other media, is the Childhood Sweetheart Trope (CST). A pre-ten year old boy and girl meet each other for the first time, acquire puppy love, and then are tragically separated due to extraneous circumstances before they meet up again as young adults. They fall in love again through a series of mishaps or adventures and then get married. There can be some fidgeting with this but for the most part this is basically the sub or main plot for a lot of romantic/semi-romantic anime ranging from the humorous Love Hina to the very gruesome Elfen Lied.

I am critical of this trope though for several reasons besides its foreseeable conclusions. One is that the characters, especially the female ones, are quite dull or one sided and have no overall personal goals or conflicting feelings that paint them as actual people. Two is that we as the audience already expect them to get together and thus when we see the boy or the girl dating someone else we know it will end badly. Three is that the trope has a very predestined feel behind it, especially if the boy and girl make a marriage promise, as the girl and boy are fated towards this end result no matter what they do. Finally, the girl characters are treated like rewards or trophies for the boy, especially if we primarily follow the boy’s POV, and not as actual humans.

Now I know this is not always the case (e.g., Elfen Lied) but CST is certainly prevalent in the story telling community. As such, I want to discuss two stories, the DS game 999 and the visual novel game/anime Danganronpa, and their unique interpretation of this dry trope. These two stories have an interesting approach to this tired theme and I wanted to gush why I think these two nailed it (and of course, spoilers).

Lower row, directly in the middle is Makoto and to his right is the blue-haired Sayaka. Image from http://www.egmnow.com/articles/reviews/egm-review-danganronpa-trigger-happy-havoc/#

Let’s start with Danganronpa, our main character, Makoto Naegi, likes Sayaka Maizono, a pop idol girl, whom he became acquainted with in middle school. The two hadn’t seen each other until the events depicted in Danganronpa and they hit it off well as they’re the only people they’re familiar with in the whole cast of characters. There is an implied mutual attraction and support between the pair.

Though they didn’t know each other before middle school, this is still the CST at heart as they were separated at a young age before being reacquainted several years later. When the terrible events of Danganronpa unfold, the story seems to set up the notion that their relationship will only get stronger before they become an actual couple.

However, this does not happen as a fellow student murders Sayaka and as such, we see the first twist Danganronpa offers for the CST. Makoto and Sayaka’s relationship will not blossom but Sayaka now becomes a martyr for Makoto, a beacon to for Makoto to triumph in the end.

Although Sayaka’s death may be inspirational, she is still a rather flat character. That was the case until an episode after her death revealed her hidden intentions. Sayaka, in all her innocent goodiness, was planning on murdering a fellow student and then frame Makoto for it. Of course, the murder doesn’t go as plan and she got murdered instead. This shocks both Makoto and us the viewer. We are set up at the beginning that Sayaka would be an innocent, loving girl and yet her actions had proved otherwise. Why did she do it? Well, we’re shown in the previous episode that her band members were severely hurt/already dead and probably would not be saved unless she murdered someone and successfully got away with it.

This…is awesome.

Her reasons for murdering actually seem sensible (besides, you know, the whole murder thing). Her band members are in grave danger and she has known them for years, they’re probably like family to her! Seeing them in peril prompted her to act the way she did so she could try and save them. She tricked Makoto into switching rooms with her, lured a student to the said room for the promise of teaching him music, and then attempted to murder that student and blame it on Makoto. Since she barely knows Makoto, she didn’t have any strong emotional attachment to him and thus didn’t have a problem in framing him for murder. I actually want to see an alternate universe where she did murder the student and and how Makoto would react to that.

Though I kind of thought she would be the first one to get murdered, I definitely did not see her ulterior motives coming and was nicely surprised by it. These first few episodes definitely set the tone for the rest of the series. Well played, Danganronpa.

Guy in the middle frame with the blue vest is Junpei and to his right is Akane.  Image from http://zeroescape.wikia.com/

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors just takes this trope though and blows it out of the water. Now, this game has so many ideas, themes, and morals behind it that I try to find any excuse to talk even just one of them. In this case, I want to talk 999’s interpretation of the CST as it’s just amazing.

Our main character is Junpei, a 21-year-old college student who is found on a rigged-to-blow cruise liner and must play the “Nonary Game” in order to escape from it. He meets eight other characters after escaping from his cabin room, one of which is Akane Kurashiki (alias “June”), whom he knew when they were kids. IMMEDIATELY, when Junpei explained who she was I was like “Ah, crap, here we go, another Childhood Sweetheart story.” I was not looking forward to Akane and I actively avoided her early on in the game. She seemed like such a flat character, another one of those innocent, sweethearts or whatever.

Well, as you may know, there are multiple endings to the game. After the first time through (I died of course), I went a different route but this time I actively engaged with Akane more often.

Holy crap, she’s funny, and a bit crazy too. Her sexually suggestive quips embarrassed Junpei (lol) and her crazy metaphysical concepts made him question her sanity. I was happily surprised how untypical she was while I was playing the game.

In fact, the more I played the game the more I realized that there was something really special about Akane but I couldn’t figure out why.

And then, wham, I came across the true ending to the game and my mind was blown. It was revealed that all along she was the one behind the “Nonary Game” and it was all an elaborate setup to not only get back at the people who hurt her ten years ago but also to save her from her own death.

Okay, where to begin.

When Akane was a kid, she was trapped in a room that was going to burn her alive. Her only way out was to solve a puzzle that she didn’t know how to answer. Her only way out was to telepathically communicate Junpei and have him solve the puzzle instead. How? Well, this is the part where things get crazy. One of the themes of the game is that the past is set but the future has multiple paths laid out. Akane tapped into that idea by communicating to Junpei ten years in the future and have him solve the puzzle instead. Her future self created an environment that was exactly similar to her past’s environment. This allowed Past Akane to look into the different future paths and try to steer Junpei to the puzzle that she could not solve. This is why the game has multiple endings (which blew my mind, this game did that a lot for me), Akane is trying to find that perfect ending. Once Junpei figured out the puzzle in the exact same environment, he telepathically communicated the answer back to past Akane and then she was able to figure it out.

This is actually why present Akane would inexplicably collapse when she and Junpei were exploring their environments. If the player chooses a wrong path (i.e., the path that takes them to the life-or-death puzzle) then present Akane would become sick because Junpei is not exposed to the puzzle, which means he can’t solve it, which means he can’t communicate the answer back to past Akane, which means she will die in the burning room, which means present Akane will die as well. Wrap your head around that one.

There are internet articles out there that like to deconstruct this concept into pieces and explain why this is so amazing so I won’t go into that. But what I do want to say is that all of this…the telepathy, the puzzles, the multiple endings, and the character herself just utterly destroy the CST. Whether done intentionally or not, 999 builds up CST and then just tears it down piece by piece and I really liked that. It’s not often that a storyteller has effortlessly guided my initial opinion of a character into making me think one way of them and then pull the rug from me and reveal what truly lies there. So good.

Image from Amazon.com

Okay, so what do these two stories have in common?  Why do I like them both?

Both of them set up the boy and girl’s relationship very casually, almost as if they were simply cookie-cutting the trope into their twisted plots but still keeping true to CST.  In Danganronpa, Makoto and Sayaka would get out of the murder game alive and become a couple; in 999, Junpei and Akane defeat Zero through the power of a emerging love.  However, this does not happen.  We are given a scenario where both Sayaka and Akane have ulterior motives and are trying desperately to win no matter what the costs.  We see what makes them tick and why they acted the way they did.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that these two females felt like actual people to me.  They feared, they planned, they made hard decisions, and they are not defined by simply trying to find that special someone or being in love.  That may be a part of them yes but it’s not the full picture.  I really liked that but it’s unfortunate that these characters stood out to me because they directly oppose a rather flat trope.  Regardless, because of their actions, they are what help make 999 and Danganronpa great as they took this trope and punched it right in the face.  Now that is awesome.

Unapologetic Nerd will be on hiatus next week in preparation for an extensive Star Wars article for Star Wars Day.  It will focus on one of my favorite novels in the series.  Don’t forget to check it out!

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!

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!