The Imagination of Nintendo

I bought a Switch. It was a little impulsive. E3 was last week and they announced they are doing a core Pokemon RPG for the Switch.

If you are unaware, I’m obsessed with Pokemon. Plushies and figurines litter my room to the point a friend visiting asked where the 12 year old was. I’m the 12 year old. The moment they announced some nebulous Pokemon RPG for the Switch, I was in. I went out, hit up three Targets, and bought one.

There are about six games for the Switch. I picked up Zelda. There is a beautiful world with lots of weird things to kill you, and some neat abilities. Zelda is an amazing life lesson. Run up to a goblin thing with a branch, hit it and do no damage, proceed to have it kill you in one shot. See a lake, try to swim across it, die immediately from cold. This is the game. “I want to do this thing!” Die. Still, it’s a beautiful world.

Then I picked up Mario Kart 8. There is no sense in Mario Kart 8. Truly, there never has been, but I haven’t played since college. The lanes wobble either due to psychedelic haunted houses or Bowser punching it.

The maps are gorgeous, imaginative, expansive. They tell entire stories, while only taking three minutes to do a few laps on.

Image result for mario kart 8 screenshots tough guy mountain

While the fact you hang glide is cool, you’re hang gliding after driving down a waterfall. To get to the top you drove up a water fall. You drive upside down, sideways, every which way. You’re really not sure where you are in relation to the ground. Every once and a while you want to throw up a little at how the world moves because it’s not supposed to move that way.

Image result for mario kart 8 screenshots tough guy mountain

That’s a space station. There are three Rainbow Roads and each is more ridiculous than the other. It’s incredible. One is over a city, this is in space, and the other I can’t quite remember but it’s an acid trip.

Why do I bring this up? Between Mario’s LCD and Zelda’s attempt at becoming Skyrim, my imagination is exploding. I didn’t realize how stagnant it was. I do think NieR: Automata helped a little, but it’s also been putting me into an existential depression.

Fantasy and science fiction more and more needs to fit into a neat box. I blame our zeal for science. Everything must make sense. It must have an explanation. Mario Kart doesn’t care about your science. It doesn’t care about gravity. It doesn’t care. It inspired me not to care, and to write a few more imaginative pieces.


Pokemon Red


I got Pokemon: Red on my 3DS. Originally it was to let my nephew play from the beginning, but kids love their pretty graphics, and so he was bored quickly. I upgraded him to Diamond, and he seems to accept that leap, despite his complaints he wants X/Y. Sorry kid, I can’t afford to buy you a 3DS, but I can afford to give you my old DS.

With my nephew moving on to decade old technology, I dove into a game that came out when I was 12. At this point in my life, there was a Playstation, I played Final Fantasy VII, middle school was a horrifying experience, but life overall was good. However, I only watched people play Pokemon.

I’m used to wrap not interrupting me for three turns. I’m used to poison wearing out when my Pokemon reaches 1 HP. I’m used to a skinny pikachu.

fat pikachu.jpgYes. Pikachu was fat. Actually it was because in the anime he was slimmed down and kids liked that more so pikachu lost the baby fat.

Anyway, there are a lot of things that I had become used to, as I first started in Gen III and IV. A lot of these changes were brutal. A kid with an under leveled ekans nearly slaughtered me because he was a little faster than me and kept using wrap. I just watched for three turns as he curb stomped me, then hoped that maybe this time I would be faster. Or he would use leer. What I learned is I need a speed arbok and I’ll crush all in my way.

Last night was a nostalgic reminder of how difficult games were. Today for Pokemon, you get an XP share that works for your entire party. It’s easy to get rid of status effects. You know how you’re training and don’t need a guide on which Pokemon give which stat boosts. From the sound of it, in the next game you won’t have to breed Pokemon for 8 hours to get the ideal one for competition. One. Out of six. And you usually need one or two a month to keep up with the evolving trends.

I kind of miss those difficult video games where imagination was king. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I really like seeing a picture of my Pokemon and I know what it is, instead of a blob.

Pokemon Sun and Moon Demo

The demo came out today. I’ve been waiting for it as they show more and more of the features. It looked like a living world that wasn’t just battles and a few side missions like coordinating. Instead of battling to the equivalent of a gym battle, you have to take photos of rare Pokemon hiding all over the cave. When you get past a certain point, you can do a Pokemon catching competition. There will be a contest to see how many millions of Pokemon players can catch shortly after release. This is incredible.


So I started playing the demo. It’s really limited. You start as a boy named Sun. You get an epic geninja, which I can’t wait to use in the game. You also get to see the first trial. From what I can tell there aren’t any gyms. It’s all trials. Each one seems a unique challenge.


So I’m excited for the new game. It’s one month away, and I will likely play the demo a lot. A friend asked me today why I liked Pokemon. What made me so giddy about it. I love going out to adventure. In my head I’m not simply running around with some pixelated animals in balls. I’m talking to them, like a writer talks to their characters. I coach them. I think about what it would be like in that world, walking alongside them, going through challenges.

So one month. I just need to wait one more month.

Pokemon Go: Day 4

I think it’s day four.

For those of you unaware, wondering about all the weird people glued to their phones outside major landmarks and stores, Pokemon GO released last week. The game is AR, where Pokemon are placed in our own world, and we go catch them.

There are gyms and poke stops at places marked by Google Maps. The gyms have people vie for power to show they are the very best. Some of these gyms are really hardcore, and I feel lacking with my 200 power, compared to the 700 I often see.

I digress.

The last few days I’ve gone on several walks. We walked downtown when visiting my brother, from nine to ten at night. I went for walks with my niece and nephew to catch some Pokemon and collect a poke stop.

The first night, my brother and I walked around three blocks, and I was winded. In this moment I had a realization: The game would make me fit or kill me.

Yesterday I bought a bike so I could go down to the lake which is two and a half miles, in order to catch water Pokemon. Really, the idea is to start this as a Pokemon thing, then make it so I bike pretty much everywhere in the city, even if not Pokemon related.

What I learned is bikes are hard. There’s the balance thing and peddling. This one has gears, so it’s figuring out how much friction and which gear to be in for the best peddling. I found a good middle ground that lets me get going good enough.

In time I was pretty capable on the bike, though it was a little weird. I’m in my 30s, biking around a bunch of high school kids. Really need to knock someone up so I can share this with a kid and not look all sorts of creeper.

However, I was living the dream. Those of you who never touched Pokemon or grew up don’t get it. This dream has been 20 years in the making. I mean, I only hardcore got into it in college, but I still have some of the old school stuff.

On top of that, some people are living this out to extremes.


There is a gym out in the ocean, in the middle of a bay, because there is a landmark out there. These two women got a kayak and went out there to battle the gym and claim it.

“Well that’s just nuts,” you say. That’s because you don’t get it, you didn’t live the game. I just finished the end of Omega Ruby. You enter a volcano to capture a massive dinosaur. There is a gym where you climb a rock wall to reach the battle. You bike for miles, which now that I’ve tried, I wish I had started this quest as a 12 year old where the bounce back is quicker.

To point, these two women are living out dreams twenty years in the making. They saw a test and challenged it to prove they’re the very best like no one ever was.

Now others did take it from them, but that’s not really the point. Sure it’s cool to have and hold gyms, but there’s something I really loved about Pokemon: it was as much about the journey as about being the best. The destination is impossible. There’s always someone better. It’s all about how you get there, and these two women got there in style.

Anyway, now I have a bike. I’m excited to get on my adventure, even though there’s not a whole lot immediately around me. Looks like it might be a mile or two bike ride just to hit good places, so I’m guessing my chunk is going to burn off pretty quick. Should be good.

Happy hunting to the other trainers out there!

The Witcher: Morality

Witcher 3 spoilers ahead!

I’ve learned a lot the past couple days about morality through the Witcher 3. I mean, I had before, but I looked some things up on Reddit, and it taught me even more.

There were three crones in a swamp. They kept an orphanage of kids. These children were unwanted by their parents because the parents couldn’t afford to feed them, so the children were sent to the witches.

These children had a keeper. She was an old woman, and also happened to be the baron’s wife I was looking for. I went to the crones and asked for them to free the woman, and they said as long as I did a deed, they would free her from her burden. I agreed. I’m a witcher. I do deeds.

I was to go to a local village, find out about an evil spirit in the area, and kill it. Easy. I’m a witcher. I kill evil spirits.

I go to the village where they practically worship the crones. It’s creepy in that, “If I never come back here, I’m okay with that.” Which elevates to, “I’m never coming back here again,” after you see some of their rituals.

The villagers point me to a tree. I go to the tree, get under it to the roots, and there’s a weird growth that’s breathing. Weird may not be the right word. Really weird.

lady of the woods.png

Basically a breathing grouping of fleshy chestnuts.


I am a diplomatic soul, and honestly an enemy of the crones could very well be an ally of mine. If I kill the crones, they’ll let the woman go too. Because they’re dead and can’t really say anything about it.

The spirit tells me it will defend itself if I try to kill it (I already slayed a werewolf it used as protection, so really what was the tree going to do? Bark at me? Get it?). It gives me the option of freeing it, and it will go far away.

There was a book on this spirit. She-Who-Knows. She went by several names: She-Who-Knows, Lady of the Woods, the Mother. All creepy monikers. I like to know my enemy, so I read the book before proceeding. She was a pretty good ruler of the peasants. She only took sacrifices once a year. Then she started to increase it. She went mad and the countryside was drowning in bloodshed, so her daughters, the crones, locked her away.

That’s pretty evil. I mean, when an entity crosses the lines for your bar of “You’re evil,” there’s something wrong.

So this is pretty cut and dry. I can kill the crones later, but this creature must be put down. Then it tells me something. “The crones eat the children.” I’m not going to lie, not a shocker.


The body parts hanging out of their bags tipped me off.

“I can free them, and then I will go far away.”

Now she has my attention. She can free the children, they will be able to live out their life, and this may weaken the crones and give me a chance to kill them. Heck, maybe the spirit and the crones clash and I just need to finish off what’s left of the monstrosities.

I freed her. Told the villagers the spirit wouldn’t bother them anymore. They cut off an ear and gave it to me for me to give to the crones. I told you it wasn’t a preferable vacation spot.

I return to the children are freed. Good job. However, in punishment for losing the children, the woman I was trying to save was turned into a water hag. I can’t show pictures. They’re too grotesque. The crones are also not dead, and a great evil has been loosed into the world. But it’s not my problem.

I go back to the baron, tell him what happened, and we marshal a small force to invade the swamp. Background on the baron and his messed up family.

This all starts because the baron wants you to find his wife and daughter, for that he’ll give you information on your adopted daughter.

Ultimately you find out the baron was a great soldier, was out a lot, his wife ended up sleeping around with another man while he was out, eventually left with him. The baron found her, was going to bring her and his daughter him, but when he saw the man plowing his wife, the woman he loved, he murdered him. The wife hated him, she was forced to live with him, and basically it spiraled into the wife trying to commit suicide, kill the baron, and the baron drinking and beating his wife. Fantastic family environment. The daughter became a warrior cultist. To be honest, I think it’s an improvement.

However, the baron loves them dearly, even if he’s wretched at showing it, and he charges to certain death, stating to the Witcher he’d rather die then let his wife to her fate.

We went to the orphanage, killed a lot of monsters, found the curse on the wife, and went into a cellar. I had to pick a doll and if I pick the right one, curse lifts. Pick the wrong one, she dies.

I did both ways. One way she burns up and it’s horrible. The daughter’s really angry. The other way the mother dies slowly, but in her normal form. She says goodbye. The daughter warms up slightly to her father. Either way, the baron goes home, hope drained from his eyes, and says, “Come back to the manor. You’ll get your pay there.”

As you approach the courtyard, everyone is gathered around a tree. A tree that baron is swinging from. The first time my breath caught. I looked away from the TV. Then I steeled myself and moved on. The stakes were too high, the Witcher said, when picking between two evils. It was better to pick none, but if you have to pick, never look back.

I was a little shaken, but it wasn’t going to ruin my day. They were horrible people. I saved a bunch of children. There was an evil spirit roaming the countryside that one day I’d likely get paid to kill. I wasn’t thrilled the spirit was out, but she seemed to have gotten her head on straight. Despite the outcome, I justified what I had done. Oh, and the evil spirit slaughtered the creepy village. Now it’s a wraith farm I visit from time to time when I need wraith supplies. But they picked the way they’d live. The children didn’t.

I checked Reddit because I knew there was a path where they survived. There was a way to keep the woman and baron alive. The woman was still wasting away and they had to go searching for a cure, but they did. It was a sort of happy ending, if you could ignore the children getting eaten.

On Reddit people said that was the good ending. They saved the family. They were able to destroy an incredible evil. The loss of the children was acceptable. I was blown away.

Yet the death of the baron and wife, the slaughter of the creepy cult village, the loosing an evil entity on the world was okay to me. I rationalized it, or at the very least reached a point where I was okay with what I did. Mind you, for the most part I try to block out those decisions, where it led, the lives which were lost. But I found people rationalized the death of those children in the same way I rationalized the death of the baron and his wife.

It’s a video game, but don’t we do this in real life?

Our current election. My Bernie friends were adamant that Bernie was the only choice and Hillary is a horrific choice. They posted article after article about how bad a pick Hillary was. Now Hillary is likely the DNC nominee. Their Facebook lights up with why Hillary is a great candidate. Yet she’s beyond corrupt and unethical.

Republicans swore they’d never vote for Trump. Fortunately most my conservative friends still refuse to vote for him, but there are those who not long ago claimed he was a mad man, and now they say he’s the person our nation needs. He’s a self-serving narcissist.

We have two obvious evils, but we’ll vote for one because it’s not as bad as the other. We even decried it as evil not that long ago, but now that it’s the only option, we’ll do it.

We do this all the time. I, however, really like Geralt’s advice on picking the lesser of two evils.





Today I saw Warcraft. The critic reviews on Rotten Tomato were 27% as of this writing. The audience reviews were 83%. I was nervous. Could it be another Dungeons & Dragons debacle?

I already saw how they were working the CGI. The graphics wouldn’t be crisp how we know them, but they would have the slightly over sized, sort of cartoon feel that I remember from the games. Not World of Warcraft, but Warcraft III. I was not disappointed.

The story was entertaining, the dialogue was decent, the world was glorious. Overall I was highly entertained, I was enchanted by the vastness and magic of the world, and it had several call backs to Warcraft.

People harp on the story. It stuck to the game, it was entertaining, but I also wouldn’t say it’s the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen.

They go after the characters. I admit there were probably three or four I cared about. The rest I couldn’t pick out of a line up.

Despite the flaws, the short comings, I enjoyed it a great deal. The magic looked good. The battles looked good. The orcs looked good.

It does set up for a sequel. I hope it gets the chance. The chance better include more on elves and dwarves, but I’ll take what I can get for now.

If you like fun fantasy, go check it out. If you can’t put aside your inner critic to enjoy some entertainment, then move on and see something else that’s boring and no one cares about.

Far Cry Primal: Verisimilitude

Well kids, we should have the talk. The talk where someone stretches verisimilitude to the point of breaking.

What’s verisimilitude you ask? I’m so proud of your inquiring mind! Verisimilitude is a writing term which refers to the believability of the work.

An example would be a book on the middle ages has machine guns. This would likely break your suspension of disbelief. That’s drastic, there are far simpler examples. Look at people who survive when they shouldn’t. Over and over again. At a certain point, they should croak, and you start getting to the point where you can’t believe they’re still alive.

Are there exceptions? Most certainly. Deadpool knows he’s not real. Any Mel Brook’s movie goes way off the top, but it makes sense in context. Robin Hood asked for the script at a point. Most of these are parodies. There are the less ridiculous alternate realities. Just enough anachronistic shenanigans to keep it interesting, but not enough to make us go, “Are you kidding? Please be kidding.”

Enter Far Cry Primal. I’m really confused on how to feel about it.

Who doesn’t like a trailer? Anyway. That’s the gist of the game.

Moving on!

The game takes place in 10,000 BC. You’re basically a caveman. And by basically, you literally live in a cave, though at least your village doesn’t. You’re beset by a group obsessed with fire and another obsessed with man-flesh. Not like, advancing the LGBT community man-flesh. Like…eating it. And really they’re gender neutral on the whole cannibalism thing.

You are the first animal tamer. Cool concept. I do wish I’d go out, tame some goats, and bring them back to the village for milk and meat, but apparently I only comprehend massive predators who can rip my enemies apart. Still very awesome, but what I’d do for domesticated goats. Let’s get these people some cheese.

They have different regions, which are cool. The landscape is impossibly varied, but understandably you only have so much ground, so I shrug at that. It’s a common component in sand box games.

Then I saw I get bombs. There is a bee bag bomb, which while stretching suspension of disbelief, it doesn’t entirely shatter it. Then there are fire bombs. They explode.

Wait what? In 10,000 BC? By conservative estimates that’s only like…10,800 years off? Why are things exploding?!

But that’s fine. I’m enjoying hunting animals. It apparently takes a while to get the greatest technological advancement ever known by cave men, and I still enjoyed just chilling in shadows or riding my bear into combat. And no, I’m totally okay riding a bear. I had hallucinations on how to tame him. Totally all within the world’s realm of possibility.

Then I got a new bow, instead of my crappy short bow, which was basically, “Look, a twig!”

Longbow. Wait….

Need a history lesson? The longbow was one of the greatest technological advancements. It gave Britain a huge advantage during the 100 year war with France. That’s right. Britain and France were official countries when the longbow was invented, which was around the 1300s AD. Only 11,300 years off this time.

From the fact that I’m not using bombs and the longbow was an improvement I didn’t really need (better range, though not actual longbow range, and a zoom feature because…I don’t even know), they obviously didn’t have to shatter these two walls. It just annoyed me that they would try to pass it off as something normal.

I still love the game and highly suggest it. There’s something about running around with an animal killing other animals, cannibals, and arsonists. Not that I’m really innocent on the arson.

They do a great job with the invention of fire. I love burning forests just to see what happens. I’m a horrible person.

Anyway, still pick it up. Lots of fun. I’m going to burn down a village before I get back to edits.