Pokemon Comic: Nugget From The Net

Posted on March 20, 2011

Pokemon Comic: Nugget From The Net
To celebrate the release of Pokemon Black and Pokemon White today, we’ve got a very funny (and true) comic for you from Katie Tiedrich of Awkward Zombie. For t …

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Pokemon Black and White set new one-day sales record (Pokemon Black / White)

Posted on March 20, 2011

Don’t think for a second the Pokemon craze is past its heyday. In just one day the newest entries in the long-running RPG series surpassed sales of more than one million units. According to Nintendo, roughly 1.08 million copies of Pokemon Black and Pokemon White were sold, which makes it the best launch day in Pokemon history…
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Pokémon Past, Present, And Future

Posted on March 13, 2011

This week marks the long-awaited release of the fifth-generation of Pokémon titles, Black and White. Game Freak co-founder, Junichi Masuda, and the graphic designer who created many of the game’s 150 new Pokémon, Mana Ibe, tell us about the past, present, and future of the long-running franchise. Did you know the traditional routes found in Pokémon games were initially created as a workaround for cartridge limitations? Did you know that Pokémon originally didn’t evolve? If it weren’t for the lengthy six-year development cycle of the original games, these series staples would not have existed. Read on to learn more franchise secrets.

Game Freak’s beginnings

Masuda: First it was a gathering of people who knew each other who really liked games, “game freaks” if you will, kind of like indie developers. We all got together with Satoshi Itaji and decided to make an indie game at the time for the Famicom, Quinty (Mendel Palace in North America). After creating that game and nearing the end of its completion, we decided to come together and form the company Game Freak. From here on out, Game Freak’s philosophy is to challenge new things, challenge ourselves, and make games that make people happy, games that people can play over and over for a long time, and have a smile on their face when they play it.

Pokémon began as a vehicle for communication

Masuda: At the time the Game Boy had just come out and it had the Game Link Cable that allowed communication between two Game Boys. Itaji came up with the idea that he really wanted to find a way to use that link cable so players could trade. At the time the idea for Pokémon still wasn’t right there. The starting point of creating Pokémon came from the idea of finding a way of communicating to trade.

The six-year development cycle

Masuda: The development processes for the first two games was very long – it was a six-year development span – and at first obviously with the Game Boy the cartridges didn’t have much memory at all, as a result of that, we had to program it in a way for the data to be as small as possible.

Pokémon open world game?

Masuda: In the beginning we really wanted to make a really big world, a really big field, kind of seamless, but because of the hardware limitations we had to connect these various maps with routes and it’s become a tradition that we still use in the games up until now. It wasn’t originally planned, but because of the hardware limitations we had to implement that.

No evolution, types at outset

Masuda: During original concept, there was no concept of evolution for Pokémon to evolve and get stronger, and have their design and appearance totally change. That’s obviously an important part of the Pokémon series, one of the characteristics that wouldn’t have come if the development process wasn’t so long.

Also, stuff like individual types was something that came up later in development that really added a lot of strategic importance to battles, and the reason a lot of this was gradually added on when development went on was because the Game Boy cartridge’s memory continued to expand over its lifetime. This allowed Game Freak to increase the amount of Pokémon in the game and add the Pokédex because at that point we had so many Pokémon we wanted something that players could use to look at detailed information for each Pokémon.


Masuda: One of the original names [for the games] was “Capsule Monsters” because they go in capsules, but decided later on to go with Pocket Monsters or “Pokémon.”

From Red and Blue to Black and White

Masuda: It was actually the themes behind the games that decided the titles [for Black and White]. One of the themes is to really express two polar opposites. For example, you have the big city in one field, and then you have the countryside in the other field. The theme of the polar opposites is what brought us to think of black and white.

Pokémon RPG not designed for console

Masuda: Portability is really important for the Pokémon series. For example, in Pokémon Black and Pokémon White versions we have the new C-Gear that appears on the bottom screen that has a lot of communication features. When it’s on it’s always communicating information with players nearby, for instance, at a place where a lot of people get together or at a friend’s house. Turn it on and if other players are nearby you can find out what they’re up to, whether they’re catching Pokémon or in a battle with trainers. It’s this concept of always playing and communicating with nearby players that has always been important to the Pokémon.

Aside from that, to be able to communicate with players who are really far away or can’t be in the same area, in Pokémon Black version or Pokémon White version we are introducing the Pokémon Global Link (PGL) that allows players to communicate data from their DS to their computers, go on the Pokémon Global Link website, and view rankings for battles or communicate with players that are really far away. I look forward to seeing how well this does, especially in the United States, as a lot  more people use the internet off their computers.

Designing 150 new Pokémon

Ibe: There were about 17 designers for Black and White project at Game Freak and one of the ways we make sure we don’t have too much overlap with any of the previous Pokémon is if we have a new design, we’ll take a silhouette of it, just the outline of it, and color the rest of it in black, and make sure the shape of it doesn’t overlap with previous Pokémon designs, and make sure it still looks original. We also do that with the color palette, color combinations, and make sure that there aren’t any Pokémon in the older games that share that exact same color palette as the new ones. Some of the directions we got from planners was to not be restricted or bound by old designs, for example, just because there might be one type of Pokémon existing in the old games, doesn’t mean you can’t make a similar type of Pokémon in a different light.

Finding inspiration in real-life animals, objects

Ibe: I’ll sometimes go to the zoo and look at various animals or animals outside and study their behavior. I also get inspiration from inanimate objects as well, such as an umbrella. If you combined an umbrella with an animal, how would they use that umbrella? How would you combine that to make an interesting creature?

Never running out of ideas

Masuda: Video games haven’t been around as long as other media. In the past I was worried that once I turn 50 would I still be able to come up with new ideas? But then I look at other creators in the industry who are older like Shigeru Miyamoto, who keeps coming up with new ideas. I’m relieved to see that because even if you keep getting older you keep coming up with original ideas. There’s still a lot of stuff that hasn’t been done. In the past it was sometimes said in Japan that people over 30 wouldn’t be able to use computers because they just get too old for them, but nowadays you have grandparents, people at work in their 50s using computers. There’s still a lot of room for innovation and I hope to keep making games as I grow older. I’m always thinking about new ideas and trying to find ways to realize those ideas, and I feel confident going forward that I’m going to find ways to innovate the series and just games in general.

Future of the franchise

Masuda: Often I’ll think about what computers are going to be like 10 years from now. In movies you’ll see representations of the future. You’ll see transparent floating computer devices in the air, touch and pull screens on a transparent screen. It’s just something like in a dream. I hope that the Pokémon series can turn into something that we would dream of now in the future.

Ibe: I played the original Red and Blue games years ago, I was a kid back then, and I’m really impressed that Pokémon is still accepted by society and still popular among people. I never even imagined that I’d work at Game Freak. The ones that come out now are made by people of my generation, obviously the older people make them as well. The new games are matching this generation and I expect that they’re going to continue to evolve with new generations.

Check out our review for Pokemon Black and Pokemon White versions.

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Pokemon Black and White spotlight: Gothitelle and Reuniclus (Pokemon Black / White)

Posted on February 12, 2011

This week we’re highlighting two pure Psychic-type version exclusives, Gothitelle and Reuniclus. Gothitelle is exclusive to Pokemon Black, and she feels like a Jynx 2.0. Reuniclus, exclusive to White, is a blobby group of cells with great Special Attack. Find a friend to trade one for the other depending on the version you have, and let’s take a closer look…

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Analyzing The New Pokémon

Posted on February 12, 2011

When Nintendo first introduced Pokémon in 1996, players were
entranced by the creativity of the game’s 151 unique species of pocket monsters.
14 years later, the series now boasts roughly one hundred billion Pokémon in
its roster, and it appears that Nintendo is really scraping the bottom of the barrel
for new character designs.

How do these new contenders stack up against the veterans
like Pikachu, Squirtle, and that thing that has a plant growing out of its back? I
haven’t played a Pokémon game since the original Blue version, but that’s not
going to stop me from critiquing 31 of the new creatures from Black and White based
on the flimsiest of observations.

All of the following information and images are from
Nintendo’s official Pokémon Black and White website,
so be sure to check it out for more information.

Victini is classified as a Victory Pokémon – apparently that’s a category of Pokémon
now. So there you go; I guess we can skip the other 30 Pokémon, because Victini
apparently always wins. You’re probably going to want to catch one of these things as fast you can – they’re way better than creatures from the Defeat Pokémon

In case the name and category weren’t enough to convince you
of how great Victini is, its special ability is called Victory Star, and it
also waves the victory sign whenever it gets the chance. Oh, its stupid head
also makes a big “V” too. That’s some unified character design right there.

Now here’s a category I can get behind. Basculin is classified as a Hostile Pokémon,
and it certainly looks the part. Basculin’s abilities are Reckless and
Adaptability, which seem to contradict each other, but I guess if you’re going
to be reckless you have to be able to adapt to whatever mess you create.
Basculin is a Water-based Pokémon, which should have been obvious since it’s a

Pansage is a Grass Monkey, which isn’t nearly as cool as a
Brass Monkey…that funky monkey. Pansage is also not as cool as that other Pokémon monkey
whose ass is on fire. However, I love the fact that its special ability is
Gluttony – that almost makes up for the broccoli growing out
of its head.

The best thing I can say about Alomomola is that its nearly-unpronounceable
name is a palindrome. That’s not a good sign. Alomomola is a Caring Pokémon,
which in a fighting tournament is about as helpful as a Pacifist Pokémon (I
wouldn’t be surprised if that’s a real category too). Its abilities are
Healer – which is helpful enough – and Hydration. Is that a problem in Pokémon games
nowadays? Do you have to worry about your monsters becoming dehydrated?  Something tells me that Basculin would wipe the sea floor with Alomomola, who would probably just say “Gee Basculin, that
was really great how you kicked my ass just now. Here, have a cup of water.”

Speaking of non-combatants: Deerling is a Season Pokémon,
who comes in four different colors depending on what time of the year it is.
These colors are pink in Spring, green in Summer, orange in Autumn, and…brown
in Winter? What does brown have to do with winter?!

Nothing about Deerling says that it would be a good Pokémon to
have in a fight – its abilities are Chlorophyll and Sap Sipper? What is going
on? Do Pokémon games have a non-fighting mode nowadays? Selecting this creature
would be like bringing a pug to a pitbull fight. All I can say is I would
really hate Deerling if it wasn’t so damned cute. Luckily though, Deerling is
adorable, and I kind of want one – I’m just not going to bring it into the
arena with me…

At first I thought Sewaddle got its name because it must
waddle when it walks, but then I realized the emphasis must be on the “sew”…because
it’s a Sewing Pokémon. Sewing should not be a category of Pokémon, unless there’s
some kind of sewing minigame now that I’m not aware of. Sewaddle also has
Chlorophyll as a (non)ability, but Swarm might be cool, and Struggle Bug’s
description sounds as helpful as its name is adorable. I don’t normally like
Grass-based Pokémon, but Sewaddle is alright in my book.

Watchog looks like a pissed-off meerkat. Its Illuminate ability
might be cool, but how good of a Lookout Pokémon can Watchog be if it got caught
in the first place? Keen Eye, huh? Have fun using that ability to stare at the
inside of your Pokéball prison…

Patrat is the Pokémon that Watchog evolves from, and is
equally worthless – clearly both its Keen Eye and Run Away abilities failed to
keep Patrat from getting caught. I’ll give this guy a break though, since he at least looks like he’s trying to do a good job, waving off the other Pokémon
until the coast is clear. Too bad Patrat has to “evolve” into such a
disgruntled-looking jerk.

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Pokemon Black and White spotlight: Marakacchi, Ishizumai, Zuruggu and their evolutions (Pokemon Black / White)

Posted on January 24, 2011

Another week, another set of brand-new Pokemon from Black and White to discuss. This week we’ve got a lovely cactus to share with you, along with a duo of crabs reminiscent of an old friend from Red and Blue, plus a pants-wearing lizard with unique typing. Let’s take a closer look…

Go to Source (GamesRadar)

Pokemon Black and White spotlight: Basurao, Sandile, Darumakka and their evolutions (Pokemon Black / White)

Posted on January 17, 2011

We’ve got a little something for every Pokemon trainer this week, with three very different families of Pokemon, all next to each other in the Unova Pokedex, and each boasting a trait unique to their evolutionary line. Fiery primate Darmanitan is easily the most intriguingly unusual Pokemon we’ve encountered in Black and White so far, with a bizarre alternate form that adds a secondary type and completely shifts its stats, which only emerges when Darmanitan’s health is at 50% or less. Let’s take a closer look…

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Rumor: GameStop to distribute Celebi for Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver

Posted on January 05, 2011

There are already plenty of upcoming opportunities for you to go to stores and download new Pokemon for HeartGold, SoulSilver, Diamond and Pearl. According to reports claimed to originate from GameStop employees with access to the promotional materials for those events, there is still one more that has yet to be announced. In the underworld of retail Pokemon data distribution events, news travels fast.

According to the reports, GameStop will offer Celebi downloads from February 27 through March 7. This is noteworthy enough, as Celebi is exceptionally rare, but this particular Celebi activates a time-travel event when encountered in HeartGold and SoulSilver, which can’t be accessed any other way. Having this Celebi and transferring it into the upcoming Pokemon Black or White will also allow you to get a Zorua, one of the new Pokemon in that game.

So, in conclusion, we just wrote a whole bunch about a Pokemon distribution event that hasn’t been announced. Didn’t expect to do that today.

JoystiqRumor: GameStop to distribute Celebi for Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver originally appeared on Joystiq on Mon, 03 Jan 2011 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Pokemon Black and White dated March 6 for North America

Posted on December 28, 2010

Nintendo’s encapsulated warrior creatures return to North America in a new adventure with Pokémon Black and Pokemon White on March 6, 2011. The two versions of the game continue the tradition of being slightly different (this time, slightly more than usual) with different locations, creatures and seasons available. The Black version will offer the Pokémon Reshiram and a setting called Black City, while White will contain the “lush, green area” of White Forest and let you capture Zekrom.

The game will also feature seasons this time around, with certain areas only becoming accessible during specific times of the year and several creatures — of the 150 new ones in the game — appearing more frequently at specific periods. Nintendo of America has made no mention of those classy Pokémon Black and White DSis with regards to a stateside release.

JoystiqPokemon Black and White dated March 6 for North America originally appeared on Joystiq on Mon, 27 Dec 2010 09:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Pokemon Black and White Spotlight: Monmen, Churine and their evolutions (Pokemon Black / White)

Posted on December 20, 2010

These two adorable pure Grass-types are Black & White version counterparts of each other, with wild Monmen available only in Black and wild Churine only available in White. However, they’re not quite version exclusives – it’s still technically possible to get both Pokemon without trading with someone who has the other version. Let’s see how, and take a closer look…


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Pokemon Black and White spotlight: Nageki and Dageki (Pokemon Black / White)

Posted on December 04, 2010

It’s no wonder that Black and White introduced two sets of Psychic/Flying Pokemon (Koromori and its evolution Kokoromori, plus Shimbora), because this generation also debuts four families of pure Fighting types (Psychic and Flying are Fighting’s two weaknesses). This week’s spotlight focuses on two vaguely related Fighting-type Pokemon that are clearly throwbacks to the original Red and Blue generation – Nageki and Dageki are the Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan of Black and White. But how do they compare?


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Pokémon Black/White: The Original Monster Collecting Franchise Evolves

Posted on December 04, 2010

After more than 10 years since the original Pokémon titles first hit Japan, the franchise has shown no sign of slowing down. Game Freak’s remakes of Gold and Silver were evidence that the classic collecting mechanic and rock-paper-scissors style battle system hadn’t lost their luster. Still, Pokémaniacs have anxiously waited for the franchise to take steps in a fresh direction, and with the upcoming releases of Pokémon Black and White versions, these loyal fans won’t have to wait much longer.

Pokémon Black and White versions immediately show off the fifth generation’s new direction with an animated cutscene. An uncharacteristically dark scene reveals a crowning ceremony for a mysterious young man with no supporting details as to who he is and the role he’ll play. The scene then jumps to a more upbeat scenario with the signature Pokémon theme song as the words “Hope,” “Dream,” and “Discovery” flash on screen, all the while expansive new environments of the Isshu region and images of a ton of new Pokémon just waiting to be captured are revealed.

With a quick introduction by Pokémon expert Dr. Araragi, you’re free to explore the bustling new world. While we know little about the plot at this point, you’re still responsible for collecting badges and battling stray trainers you’ll encounter on your quest that include confrontations with troublesome Team Plasma. After a few hours of exploring the Isshu region, you’ll notice more densely populated towns, tall housing structures spanning multiple floors, and the Pokémon Center and Poké Mart combined into a one-stop shop. Environments are colorful and detailed with each new area featuring its own catchy soundtrack. Camera angles dynamically change while traveling, giving the three-dimensional space a sense of large scale. You’ll have plenty of land to cover when seeking the 156 new Pokémon that appear in Black and White.

Players will select among three new starter Pokémon: Tsujara (grass-type), Mijumaru (water-type), and Pokabu (fire-type), and begin traversing from one grass patch to the next to engage monsters in combat. The battle system has received a graphical overhaul, as creatures are far more detailed and better animated than the old pixelated sprites. Camera angles shift to give a greater sense of action and battle music intensifies when your Pokémon are low on health. Up to three Pokémon are able to participate in some battle scenarios, introducing an element of party-based combat. Even though the battle mechanics remain similar to one-on-one, figuring out which half of your six Pokémon to call upon while being mindful of elemental strengths and weaknesses certainly shakes things up.

Pokémon Black and White have already been greeted with success in Japan, becoming the fastest selling DS games of all time. We will just have to wait a bit longer as Game Freak’s latest entries launch next spring in North America.

All details in this preview pertain to the Japanese version of Pokémon Black/White. Names in the North American version are subject to change. Preview of the North American version coming soon.


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Pokemon Black & White spotlight: Dangoro, Koromori and their evolutions (Pokemon Black / White)

Posted on November 14, 2010

Pokemon fans who’ve been with the series since Red and Blue can all attest that at this point we’re getting tired of Pokemon’s ubiquitous cave dwellers, Geodude and Zubat. Black and White’s Dangoro and Koromori, who are geode and bat Pokemon respectively, are clearly updated versions of the original cave duo, but are they upgrades or downgrades? Let’s take a closer look…


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Pokemon Black and White spotlight: Munna, Mamepato, Shimama and their evolutions (Pokemon Black / White)

Posted on October 25, 2010

We’re speeding through the Pokemon of Isshu, and this week we examine three evolutionary families that have nothing in common except that they’re all next to each other in the Pokedex. As the numbers get higher, we’re starting to see some more interesting and powerful Pokemon. Let’s take a closer look…

Go to Source (Games Radar)

These Pokemon Would Really Hurt If you Stepped On Them

Posted on October 03, 2010

Note: This post will not contain that terrible phrase “My Pokemans, let me show you them.” That is all.

It seems as though the same genetic mutation that predisposes some humans toward liking video games also steers them toward LEGO. Here’s another clever example of the intersection between games and the plastic bricks.

Flikr user Filip Johannes Felberg has created a series of models based on Pokemon creatures. His latest batch includes blocky renditions of Weedle, Paras, Seel, and Gastly. They’re surprisingly faithful recreations, aside from the extra nubs on their tops.

Great job!

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