Category: Gaming


Princess 2017

My usual apologies for the lack of posting. This time it was a combination of coursework being due in on the 16th (got both pieces in before they were due, score me) and as soon as I had handed them in, I came down with that rather nasty cold/plague that’s been doing the rounds. Two weeks later and I’m still coughing and sniffling, and I do wish my lungs would start working properly sometimes soon.

However, it has been a busy year so far. Mostly coursework and gaming, with extra gaming since the coursework got handed in (I’ve been playing a lot more video games since then, there was this kind of cool indie one called Stories: Paths of Destiny, and I’ve started Skyrim for the first time ever rather than just watching other people play). Including a Princess crossover game where the two groups actually got to meet up and tackle a really big problem that was kind of threatening to literally rain monsters down on our cities. We tackled it, although it wasn’t easy – I play a front line fighter who has such good defences they are near impossible to badly hurt, and I nearly ended up bleeding out. Although the giant monster did eat me a little bit.

d10-diceI really love this tabletop game (and there’s another session tonight, hooray!), and a lot of stuff has happened since we started playing. I’ve gotten a much better handle on my character, they’ve gone through a court change, and a name change associate with that, and they are currently exploring their own gender identity, transitioning from female to non-binary as I explore them and how they actually act and feel about that area. It’s something that I might have mentioned before, but I see a lot of parallels to writing, because it is telling a story, and telling it over such an extended period of time actually helps to build in these character arcs as I get to build on them with each game rather that it just happening all at once. That, and I love this character so much, it’s really nice to just sit down and play them and have all the terrible things that our GM loves to throw at us happen – the biggest external plot they’ve got going on right now is that someone from a past life (probably past lives, they seem to have encountered each other quite a lot) has shown up again and is being a bit weird around Aegis, who isn’t exactly sure she can trust anything they say given which court they are in. It’s beautiful drama.

And because I love it so much, I’ve started writing fan fiction about it. I call it fan fiction, but since it’s my character in a game I play in, I’m not sure that’s an entirely accurate term, but you know what I mean. So, here’s a little extract of that.

***

 “Come on,” Aegis held their hand out to Keres, looking down at the other princess as they detransformed, their shirt corners settling down over slightly worn out jeans.

Keres sniffed as she looked up, a slightly confused look on her face as she gazed at the hand that was still extended out to her. Aegis wiggled their fingers, obviously expecting the hand to be taken. There were a few more moments of hesitation, as if Keres couldn’t quite believe that it was suddenly this simple, after so much resistance, but then she reached out, and Aegis pulled her to her feet.

Keeping the hand in their own, Aegis started walking down the street.

“Where are we going?”

“Back to my place. Just a small diversion first.”

There was a tiny frown still on her face as they walked through the city, eventually coming up to a school just as the bell rang out. Soon after floods of kids poured out of the doors, joining the various parents who were waiting outside for them.

“Luca!” The last ‘a’ was elongated as a short person with a long flying ponytail came blasting out of the door and leapt at Aegis.

Aegis easily caught her in their arms and lifted them up in a big hug, “Hey small one. Good day?”

“We got to play with keyboards in music class! Who’s that?”

“That?” Aegis followed the glance to look over at Keres, “That’s one of my friends whose coming to dinner tonight.”

Imogen looked at Aegis and blinked, “You never have friends over.”

“First time for everything.”

“Can we still have fish fingers?”

Aegis looked back over their shoulder again, “You like fish fingers?”

Keres opened her mouth and then shrugged, “Sure.”

“Yay!” Imogen wriggled out of Aegis’ arms and dropped to the floor, immediately going over and inserting her hand into Keres’ as she struck up conversation about her day.

Aegis came the other side of her and took the other hand, walking out of the school with an easy smile on their face as they listened, occasionally commenting, on the small one’s school day.

The flat was on the third floor of the block, as Aegis took out a key and unlocked the front door.

“Who’s home?”

“Me,” A slightly apathetic voice came from the sofa, and Aegis walked over and smiled.

“You go to sleep now and you’ll never get any rest tonight.”

“But I’m exhausted! My P.E. teacher effing sucks.”

“Language.”

“I didn’t swear!”

“Effing is hardly enough of a diversion from the word you were going to say. Come on, up. You’ll need to share the sofa tonight.”

Jake rolled up and over, his uniform rumpled from where he had collapsed on the sofa, and blinked in surprised as he spotted the other person in the flat.

“Whatever,” he grumbled, but shuffling over to free up some space on the sofa.

“Have you got homework?”

“No.”

“The only person who gets punished by your incomplete homework is you.”

He grumbled again, then pulled his bag towards him and flipped out a book onto the table, pen in hand as he slumped over and started scrawling.

Time passed them by, food was cooked and then demolished, even if there was a tiny incident with peas. Soon enough the evening had gone, without a call from Aegis’ fellow princesses for once, and they came out of the bedroom which they had just ushered their siblings into, closing the door quietly.

Keres looked at them, like she was expecting them to say something, but they didn’t as they walked over and sat down on the floor, leaning back on the sofa before dragging a pad towards them and flipping to a new page of paper.

There was a few minutes of scratching, before Keres broke the silence.

“So what was this?”

“Hm? It was dinner. Admittedly simple, I’m not the best cook in the world.”

“No, I mean. You’ve never given any indication that you trust me, and suddenly, you’re letting me into your home? Letting me meet your siblings? I mean, I guess you had some, but you’ve never given anything away about them, and suddenly here I am.”

Aegis continued to write as they looked down at the paper, “You needed it.”

“What makes you think that?”

Their lips twitched up into that trademark not-quite-a-smile, “The collapsing and sobbing wasn’t enough?”

“I was not sob- wait,” she looked at the back of their head, the short blond hairs still in disarray, “You remember, don’t you?”

There was a pause from them this time, “More than I’ve been letting on. Not as much as you claim to. But some things, like how you could sometimes lose your grip.”

“On what?”

Aegis finally turned their head to look at her, “Reality. Tonight was supposed to help ground you. Remind you that’s it’s not all princess business and there is a world here. Sometimes I think you forget that.”

Keres reached out, stretching her fingers out to gently touch Aegis’ cheek.

“Do you trust me?”

Aegis looked at her, those grey eyes boring into her, “I hope I can.”

She sighed, and let herself fall over on the sofa, hand trailing around to the back of Aegis’ head, playing with the short hairs at the nape of their neck.

“I’ll take it.”

She could almost hear the lips twitch up again.

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Eberron – Breakout

Bit late this week, however I am going to Empire this weekend, so I won’t be able to post anything else until Monday at the earliest because I’ll be in a field running around being a mage and things.

So what I have for you today is quite long, to kind of make up for that. And also because it came out long. It’s a fiction piece about my character in the Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Why? Because it’s going to start again in a couple of weeks and I am so excited to be playing this character again, and we’re resuming just as the entire country of Cyre has been wiped out by this weird mist – so many feelings! And writing this fiction is helping me to remember and get back into the headspace of the character, it has been seven months since we last played. Enjoy.

Her arms were twisted behind her, held tightly between two stony-faced guards. Stripped of her armour, weapons and anything else that they thought could be a magic item, Adara had been left bare foot and dressed in only her shift and leggings, which was not a good position to be in overall.

Still struggling against the grip, she was hauled through the darkened corridors that led down to the dungeons. Strangely, Adara found that she was missing the jovial banter with the guards that she had been able to have whenever she had been in detention in the army. Which had happened several times, she didn’t deal well with authority some of the time, which made being in the army a somewhat odd choice. She’d had her reasons. Of course, those reasons had long since died, along with the fog. Now, there were other thing to fight for.

The guard walking in front of the three of them took a bunch of keys from his pocket, and opened up one of the dungeons doors, a solid wooden affair with bars set into small window. With a large amount of force, the two guards hurled her into the small room. She landed on her feet, but before she had finished turning around, the door slammed shut and was locked, the guards leaving without a word.

Adara let out the sigh that she had been holding in and straightened up, stretching out her arms, shaking out her copper hair into something resembling neatness. They had not been gentle in manhandling her down here. But so far so good. In the dungeon, now to see if their intelligence was good.

She went over to the door and inspected it – quite a good set up, she couldn’t see the mechanism of the lock at all from this side, the hinges were also on the outside of the door, and the surrounding wall was made out of stone and looked far more solid than the wooden door, which in itself was impressive.

Coming back from the door, she sank into a sitting position in the middle of the room and focused on her breathing. Once calm, she could reach out, and let the currents of the surrounding emotions wash over her, feeling out for the presence of other people in these dungeons. And there were quite a few, each one a small beacon against her senses. Fear, dread, anger, hopelessness, there was much of that present here. But in small pockets, there were feelings that reassured her for the wellbeing of her countrymen, especially as she felt a familiar presence a few cells over.

“Who’s there? Were you just brought in?”

Adara smiled, “Hello General.”

“Who? I know your voice,” there was hesitation in the voice, but she could feel the strain of hope starting to rise in his feelings.

“I should hope so, I’ve been running your errands for some years now.”

“You were in the army?”

“Under Milton Wallace.”

“So there are other survivors?”

“Many more than your probably thought. Parts of the Army, traders who were out of the country, civilians living on the edge of the land, the Prince and his retinue.”

“The Prince lives?”

“Yes, he does,” Adara smiled as she thought about the dark haired man with a degree of fondness, “He’s gathering survivors, getting aid. The King of Breland has let us set up camps in his land, and Oargev is trying to persuade him to let us have some land permanently.”

There was a heavy sigh from down the corridor, “It is good to hear that there are other survivors. It’ll make this hellhole more bearable.”

“Hold that thought for the moment. Do you know of any others in here?”

“Of course there’s more of us in here you red-haired whore! Those of us that they didn’t slaughter and turn into undead have been rotting in here for months! I’ll give them endangered species.”

Adara sighed, “Naturally,” she said more to herself than anyone else. Well, the dragoons had had horses, getting out fast kind of was their thing.

Undoing the laces on her tunic, she could slip a hand down her front, and fiddle under the binding she was wearing, and ease out the ring that had been hidden down there. They had been very thorough in their search, but they hadn’t gone so far as to strip search her, and thus the ring had remained hidden. The opal gleamed at her, even in this dim light, from the wrought black metal of the setting. Wiggling it around, she fit it on her finger, and allowed herself a passing admiration of how pretty it looked there. Shame they would probably have to give it back, but for now, she could stand up, still extending her senses out so she could track the people around her.

Riserr was a seething pool of anger, and General Tinshy was a wild mis of exhaustion, exasperation, but a tiny current of hope buoying him up. That tiny current was beginning to spread around to other people that had heard the conversation they had had, and Adara could hear one thing in particular spreading.

“The prince. The prince is alive,” whispered from cell to cell around the entire dungeon.

It was only a couple of hours later, although it was slightly hard to tell given that the only light was from lamps down the corridor, that a pair of guards came down, slowly walking past the doors and peering into each one, clearly on patrol.

Adara leant against a wall with her hands pressed into her back. A casual pose, and she felt the eyes of the guard linger on her only momentarily before they moved on.

Turning the ring around on her finger, she raised her head and focused on the backs of the guards, disappearing out of the narrow view of the barred window and triggered the ring. The world disappeared, and then reappeared a moment later, with her out in the corridor, doors either side and the backs of the guards in front of her.

Silver light exploded around her as her feet touched the stone floor, the radiance of her power blinding down the corridor. The left hand guard stumbled forward, collapsing onto his knees as the right hand one staggered but didn’t fall over.

Darting forward, she stripped the guards sword from his belt, and then turned to face the right hand guard as he struggled to free his own weapon, slicing up and across his chest as her psionic power came round to bear, and both of them staggered further, a ringing in their ears as she turned their own emotions against them.

A short thrust into his lower chest, more than enough to hurt, probably not enough to kill, her power echoed around them again, and both guards collapsed, the left one on the floor where he had fallen, the right hand one slumping against the wall as she removed the sword.

Quickly searching the two of them, she found the bundle of keys that she was searching for and stepped down the corridor to unlock the door she had located the general behind. He looked up at her, his salt and pepper beard a lot more salty than the last time she had seen him, but there was a gleam in his eyes that she knew was new.

“Adara.”

“Ready to leave general?”

“The others…?”

“We’re hardly going to leave them here are we? Here,” she worked the ring open and shook half the keys off it, “you work with these ones, I’ll take the others.”

The general stood up, taking the keys with one hand and clapping her on the shoulder with the other. Between the two of them it didn’t take too long to go around the cells in the dungeon and open up the doors, letting their fellow Cyrans out. The two guards were stripped of their possessions and placed in one of the empty cells, the few weapons they had on them passed around to the people who could use them best, made harder to decide since almost all the people imprisoned here had been in the military.

Adara came up to the last door and leaned against the wall, looking in at Riserr.

“Well? Are you going to unlock me?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t decided how offended I am about you calling me a whore.”

“You’ve been called worse.”

“By you, no less.”

“Riserr! Swallow your pride, apologise and let’s get the heck out of here,” Tinshy didn’t look overly impressed, with either of them really, but it didn’t bother her as she swung the key around on her finger and watched Riserr grind his teeth.

“Fine. My apologies, you are not a whore, harlot, tramp or any other synonym of the word.”

She looked at him for a few more seconds, feeling the insincerity warring with desire to leave in him, “Eh. Good enough.”

And she unlocked the door, closing her eyes as she felt a different presence in her mind.

“Now what-“

“Shush,” Adara said, listening to the voice in her head and carefully composing her response.

“You-“

“I said shush,” she silenced him again as she sent her reply before opening her eyes again.

Riserr looked aggravated, but he usually did, so she ignored him and started moving in the direction of the exit to the dungeon, “Look lively lads and lasses, time for us to make a sharp exit from the dreadfully dreary place, wouldn’t you say?”

“As much as I’m in favour of that, they do have a reasonable number of guards, and we are underarmed.”

“My dear General, did you really think the rest of my team would just let me get captured?”

The timing was beautiful as from above them, they heard the muffled sound of an explosion and a thump, which was probably the doors to the garrison being opened in a non-subtle fashion.

She gave him a faint smile, and used the keys on the door to the dungeon, spotting two  guards down the end of the corridor. Signalling that to the people behind her, she crept up behind one of them and with another flare of psionic energy, ran him through as he started to turn to the small noises of people behind him.

With the addition of more people, the scuffle was over quickly, and more weapons were handed around.

“Which way’s the door?”

“That way,” Adara pointed, “But I plan to go and find the armoury if anyone cares to join me. I’d imagine that’s where my equipment, and yours if you had any on you, is.”

Riserr looked thoughtful, “I would like my sword back.”

Tinshy shook his head, “I’ll be heading straight for the door, with the rest of these people.”

“Milt should be heading up the force, with our squad and a few others. Find them and they’ll get you out and away on back to the rest of our people.”

Tinshy clapped his hand on her shoulder, “I expect to see you catching up to us.”

“No fear of that. Go on, scoot,” she waved them off even as she turned around and started to go in the opposite direction, Riserr following after her.

“Any idea where we’re going.”

“Not really. I can guess based on the construction of the garrison.”

“Fantastic.”

She laughed at the level of sarcasm in his voice as they moved through the garrison, searching down corridors and in doors, until Riserr waved her over and signalled that there was one guard in there.

Bursting through the door, Riserr’s charge did not go as he intended, as the guard was not surprised, instead grabbing a hammer that lay next to him and smashing it into his face.

“That the best you can do?” Adara said as she feinted low then straightened up, going for his shoulder, scoring a glancing blow but it was enough to psionically open him up for another attack. Too bad Riserr was still scrambling around on the floor and couldn’t take advantage of it.

The guard gave him a short kick, but went for her, the hammer smashing against her purloined sword, and she found it impossible to grip as he twisted the hammer around and caught the blade, flinging it across the room.

Catching his chin with a punch, she was still able to call upon her energy, turning her abilities to defence, of both of them as the guard turned and attempted to smash the hammer into Riserr’s skull. The flare of energy as the hammer hit the shield rang out, and the guard turned back to Adara as she looked around for a nearby weapon, finding nothing on the table nearest her, and shield too big for her to grab on the wall.

He came in close, and she ducked under the hammer, only to have his free hand grab her by the throat and slam her back into the wall, knocking the shield over.

Struggling with his fingers as her air supply was cut off, her psionic energy flare, try to find a weakness in this man’s mind as she delivered an apparently useless kick to his armoured knees, doing nothing but scraping some skin off her foot.

He twisted the hammer round in his hand and brought it back, then let out a sigh, his fingers going slack, the hammer dropping to the floor with a loud clunk as he slumped over.

The fey blade slipped out from his back as Cale turned his silver eyes over to Adara, who was coughing, regaining her breath.

“You cut that close.”

“Took me a while to find you,” he turned his head and looked down at Riserr, who was struggling to get back to his feet, “Really?”

“As much as I try to not admit it, I’m not really a horrible person. Couldn’t really leave him there.”

“Even if all he’s good for is falling over? Really, you have to wonder how he can ever get on his horse.”

“Bite me, you pointy-eared git.”

“Still with the insults. My my, what terrible manners,” Adara said, deliberately stepping on him as she walked into the centre of the room.

“Your spear’s in the locker over there. We could use you in the fight downstairs.”

“I thought you’d never ask,” Adara said, opening up the indicated locker and smiled as she saw her silver spear gleaming at her, “Hey gorgeous, you and me have a date with some very disagreeable Karnath downstairs.”

 

 

Pokemon Go!

Okay, I know I said that Monday’s/the early week was going to be a time for writing posts, but Monsieur Chuck Wendig didn’t post up a fiction challenge last week, I sort of have an idea for a writing related post but it’s not all that developed, and yet another hurdle has come up as a time sink, in the form of the explosively popular new game Pokemon Go.

And considering I spent my A to Z challenge this year talking about all things Pokemon, I can’t not talk about the game now that it’s out. Well, sort of out in some places and unofficially obtainable in other places, yes I did in fact cave in but it’s Pokemon! How could I not?

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For those of you that haven’t heard or do not know, Pokemon Go is a AR (Augmented Reality) game played through a mobile device such a phone or a tablet. It uses real-world information such a location and your camera to superimpose Pokemon into the real world, at which point you can walk around and catch the Pokemon, thus working towards completing your Pokedex. Pretty simple Pokemon premise – catch them all – finally meets the real world.

Of course, it is a little different to the games that are played on the DS and the like, mainly because it has to be, the mechanics of those games don’t work so well for the mechanics of walking around holding your phone. But the way they have implemented it is amazing.

So, you load up your game, you customise your avatar and you choose a username. Nice, but make sure it’s what you want because there’s no way to change this at a later date (wish I had known that at the time, I’d like to change my avatars clothing, but, hey, not a big thing). It then works out where you are, puts you down in the real world, and three Pokemon spawn up around you. You might have guessed – Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Charmander. (As a side note, I have since learned that you can get Pikachu as your starting Pokemon. If you run away, as in physically run away through the real world, from these three, then they catch up to you. Do this three of four times, and eventually a Pikachu will spawn alongside the three of them. Pretty cool!). The game teaches you how to catch a Pokemon, gives you a bunch of Pokeballs, and then away you go!

Second important thing – Pokestops. These are real world things which are flagged up in the game as point on the map. When you get near them, you can tap on them, and they’ll give you items. Pokeballs, Greatballs (I levelled up enough, finally!) potions, Razz Berries and the like, this is how you get your items (you can also buy them for real money, but mostly you should get enough items by visiting these points) and they also give you a bit of XP to level up your Trainer Level. I think these are pretty cool, since they always tie into real world things, like murals, cool wall arts, plaques, interesting buildings and the like. There’s like a sentence which explains what it is, snippet local history as it were, but mostly I just get them for the items and the XP!

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Levelling – you as the Trainer have a level. You get XP by catching pokemon, evolving pokemon, battling gyms and just generally playing the game. As you level up, you can bump into rarer and rarer Pokemon, and you get better items. I’ve just hit level 12 today, and I now have access to great balls. No idea yet if there is a cap or not, but the increase per level in now a flat rate, rather than increasing, so I only ever need 10,000 XP to level. At the moment at least.

Pokemon levelling is a bit different. Especially from the games. Rather than a level, every Pokemon has a CP rating – Combat Power. It will have a minimum and a maximum, and you can raise this up by feeding them dust and candy. Dust is generic, candy is specific to a Pokemon and it’s evolution chain. So Squirtle has Squirtle candy (Wartortle and Blastoise will also use Squirtle candy) and Caterpie has Caterpie candy. You get both of these by catching the Pokemon, 100 dust and 3 candies for each catch (candy will be appropriate to the pokemon you catch. Caught a Magikarp? 3 Magikarp candy obtained.) Evolving a pokemon is also done with candy. Depending on how rare the Pokemon is, and what stage in the evolution chain, it may take 12, 25, 50 ore more candy to evolve them. The most I’ve seen is Magikarp to Gyarados, which takes 400 candy. Going to need a lot of those…

It’s a fairly simplified system (once you get used to it) but it works really well for the mobile game. Basically, it means that you just need to get out there and catch a lot of Pokemon, the same type of Pokemon, to get the evolutions and complete your Pokedex. Oh, and there are Eggs. Eggs also drop from Pokestops and you hatch them by walking. An Egg will need 2km, 5km or 10km to hatch it, so yes, I’ve been doing a lot of walking.

Last mechanical bit are gyms. There are three teams – Instinct Yellow, Valour Red and Mystic Blue, each symbolised by one of the three legendary birds Zapdos, Moltres and Articuno. These are for Gyms battles. Like Pokestops, Gyms are locations, and when you claim a gym, you claim in for your team. If you are in that team, you can bolster the gym by putting your Pokemon in there (up to the gym maximum, which you can increase through battling) and if you’re one of the two opposing teams, you battle it to try and knockout their Pokemon and take the Gym for yourself. It’s the part I’m least interested in, and I haven’t yet got the hang of the battling system, which is a mix of dodging, hitting and then a special move which for the life of me I can never get to trigger. But, it is fun, and my friends certainly like doing it, so I usually go around and shore up the other gyms for my team. Blue forever!

PokemonGoStarters

So, that’s the game explained in some detail. My thoughts and feelings? I love it. Like, really, really love it. That’s not to say there aren’t issues, the servers are a bit up and down, because the company didn’t expect it to be so popular so they’re doing a bit of firefighting at the moment, and the official release has been delayed in Europe (I, like a lot of people, am playing through a mirror) because of this. There are also some bugs, including one which means the Pokemon you are battling in the gym gets to 1HP, and then stays there, which is a driving factor behind me not really getting into the gym part of the game because it’s no fun to waste all your potions because of a bug.

The game is a huge drain on the battery life of the phone, and it doesn’t track things properly (like the distance walked for hatching eggs) when it’s in sleep mode, so you kind of have to keep it active the whole time. I can get about 2.5-3 hours from a fully charged phone, but I’ve already missed out on some nice Pokemon (there was a Scyther near the bus stop last night) because of a dead battery. But, this one I can fix by ordering a charger pack, which should be here sometime this week.

Now for the positives – I have done more walking in the past weekend than I can remember doing for a long time. Possible Empire/LRP levels of walking around, which is saying a lot. Motivation is high, and I really do want to get out of the house and go look for more Pokemon.

My friends are playing it as well, and as has already happened over the weekend, small group of us can get together and go walk around town, making it easier to track down Pokemon as we split off into different direction and then shout to each other when we find them. That, and we bump into other people, usually strangers who you’ve never met before, but who are also playing the game, and have a little chat. That rare pokemon is over there, caught anything nice today, gyms battles, I just feel like I had a bunch of small interactions that I wouldn’t have had without the game, and they’ve all been positive and it’s just great to feel that sense of community with other people.

And finally – I GET TO CATCH POKEMON! Me! My own pokedex! At the moment it’s only the first 150, but I hear there are plans to expand that out to the other generations at some points, trading will come in as well, and I have no idea what might be happening with the legendaries, but I can’t wait to see. In the meantime, I’ve got about 50 Pokemon in my Pokedex, including a Dratini! My next big thing is to get a Growlithe, and then evolve both of them up! I can’t wait to get back out there and catch more!

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My Vulpix!

A2Z survivorThird year, complete! I kind of feel like a bit of an old hand at this, except for the mild panic I felt some days as I was like “Ah, haven’t done my post yet, need to do the letter for today!” which I have to admit happened on more than one day. But, I didn’t miss a day. And for some that doesn’t write or schedule their posts in advance, I’m doing them all on the day, that’s not bad going.

What do I love about this challenge? Meeting other bloggers mostly, going over, seeing what they’re up to, having them come visit me. I do have to admit that unfortunately I didn’t have as much time as I wanted to during the month, and I wasn’t checking other blogs as much as I should have been. So I’m probably going to be using the reflections list on the A to Z website to go out and find those others blogs, and keep visiting people even after April. Because blogs are an all year round thing, not just for April.

I should also mention, I had a wonderful thing going on with a writing group I’m part of. We had this mega thread for all of those participating in the A to Z challenge, and me and another writer would have this friendly competition to see who could post first each day! I got quite a few of them, but it was just this fun little interaction between us, and it really made my days good, especially since it would mean that I would try and write the posts earlier in the days, just to try and ‘win’ that letter.

Honestly, there aren’t many things that I don’t like about this competition. Sure, it’s a strain to try and keep up when you’re writing your posts on the day, and I don’t have a lot of free time all the time for things, but I love the challenge so much that it makes up for that, and I really like being able to stand back at the end of the month and say “I’ve completed this.” It is a challenge, and I like completing challenges.

My theme for the year – Pokemon. So many people seemed to click with it, and I was so happy to have people just dropping by, either with their own memories, or the fact that their children had played it, it was awesome to see. And it was really awesome for me to write as well. Sure, had to fudge some of the letters, but when don’t you? Although I was surprised that K turned out to be one of the harder letters this time round. And I’ve been playing a fair bit of Pokemon since I started these posts. That, and more information about Pokemon Sun and Moon has been released, I’m so excited!

So, in summary, I love my theme for this year, I really had fun engaging with people, I am going to continue to find new blogs after I make this post because there are tons of awesome blogs out there to be found, and I am totally signing up again next year!

A2Z Reflection 2016

ZA high level of nostalgia means that this year my chosen theme for the 2016 A to Z challenge is Pokemon. Whether you yourself have a similar level of sentimentality or you’ve never really gotten into it, I hope that you enjoy this month of posts as I indulge myself.

Zoroark: Master of Illusions is the 13th Pokemon Movie, and for the last letter of the month, that is my topic – Pokemon Movies. Yes! Got through the alphabet!

A Pokemon movie is a feature length film, typically 90 minutes or more, which will generally feature Ash and his friends from the current anime series, and a legendary or rare Pokemon. There are also a number of shorts that focus on Pikachu and the adventures that he gets up to without Ash around, and they tend to be super cute Pokemon centred adventures. These are often shown before the movie.

Typically there is one film released every year, usually in July, and by this point, this means that has been at least one film every year since 1998. Which means that there are 19 movies in the running total ‘main’ series as it were:

  • Pokemon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back
  • Pokemon The Movie 2000 – The Power of One
  • Pokemon 3: The Movie – Spell of the Unown: Entei
  • Pokemon 4ever – Celebi: Voice of the Forest
  • Pokemon Heroes: Latios and Latias
  • Pokemon: Jirachi: Wish Maker
  • Pokemon: Destiny Deoxys
  • Pokemon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew
  • Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea
  • Pokemon: The Rise of Darkrai
  • Pokemon: Giratine and the Sky Warrior
  • Pokemon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life
  • Pokemon – Zoroark: Master of Illusions
  • Pokemon the Movie: White – Victini and Zekrom / Black – Victini and Reshiram
  • Pokemon the Movie: Kyurem vs The Sword of Justice
  • Pokemon the Movie: Genesect and The Legend Awakened
  • Pokemon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction
  • Pokemon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages
  • M19 – Coming later this year

Typically, because they have more time, they can explore different and deeper topics then the ones they touch on in the anime, and usually it involves the battle between greedy people who want to use Pokemon for evil and their own gain, and people who are friends to Pokemon, such as Ash and his friends.

MewvMewtwo

Outside of Japan, we haven’t had them released in the cinema’s since the early movie, but they are always released in Japan and they tend to do quite well over there. In the UK and United States, we tend to get them shown on cartoon channels and we can always buy them on DVD.

As well as movies, there have been four specials. These weren’t released in cinema’s, but they are a lot longer than the normal half hour episode of the anime, so they get their own special little category. Interestingly, only the two prefaced with ‘Pokemon:’ contain Ash and his friends, the other focus on different trainers. Origins tells the stories of Red and Green, the trainers from the original Red and Green games/anime/books.

  • Pokemon: Mewtwo Returns
  • The Legend of Thunder!
  • Pokemon: The Mastermind of Mirage Pokemon
  • Pokemon Origins

Basically, there are a lot of movies and move length features, and they are an excellent showcase of Pokemon, the trainers, the world, and those things that cartoons like to try and teach kids about. I just like seeing the legendary Pokemon getting up to hi-jinx. Mew & Mewtwo are my favourites, and turn up in more than one movie much to my delight.

 

ZekromPokemon of the Day

Z is for Zekrom

Zekrom is a duel Dragon/Electric type Pokemon, is the game mascot of Pokemon White, and along with Reshiram and Kyurem is a member of the Tao legendary trio from the Unova region. This black bipedal Pokemon resembles a dragon or dinosaur, looking almost like it is covered in modern armour. It’s large, conical, spiked tail has been likened to an electricity generator, as it produce lightning for attacks and emits an anti-gravity field, allowing Zekrom to fly. It can cause thunderstorms and will generate them and then hide in the thunderclouds.

There are actually a surprising amount of Pokemon that begin with the letter Z, far more than X or Y, but I went with one of the legendaries because A) it’s a dragon, and B) I rather enjoy the black-white combination and that they swapped the colours of so you get the Black Legendary in White and the White Legendary in Black. That, and it ties in nicely to the theme of the day, because in the movies, they did something slightly odd. They released two movies, one featuring Zekrom, and one featuring Reshiram. The plot was the same, but the Pokemon got swapped over, and you could choose which movie to watch, which was pretty awesome.

yin_yang___zekrom_and_reshiram_by_hibiyoruchihiyro

 

Y – Yellow

YA high level of nostalgia means that this year my chosen theme for the 2016 A to Z challenge is Pokemon. Whether you yourself have a similar level of sentimentality or you’ve never really gotten into it, I hope that you enjoy this month of posts as I indulge myself.

Pokemon Yellow was the special edition of the game in the first series of games. In the UK, this took the form of Red, Blue & Yellow, released as a trio of game, with Charizard, Blastoise, and of course Pikachu as the mascots.

You pretty much know this already, because it’s been almost impossible to talk about the various aspects of the Pokemon world without relating them to the games. But I am going to run through the games that have been out, because there have been a lot of them. Main generations games, that I have been familiarising you with are:

  • Generation 1
    • Pokemon Red
    • Pokemon Blue (In Japan it was Green version)
    • Pokemon Yellow
  • Generation 2
    • Pokemon Gold
    • Pokemon Silver
    • Pokemon Crystal
  • Generation 3
    • Pokemon Ruby
    • Pokemon Sapphire
    • Pokemon Emerald
    • Pokemon Fire Red (Remake of Red)
    • Pokemon Leaf Green (Remake of Blue/Green)
  • Generation 4
    • Pokemon Diamond
    • Pokemon Pearl
    • Pokemon Platinum
    • Pokemon Heart Gold (Remake of Silver)
    • Pokemon Soul Silver (Remake of Gold)
  • Generation 5
    • Pokemon Black
    • Pokemon White
    • Pokemon Black 2
    • Pokemon White 2
  • Generation 6
    • Pokemon X
    • Pokemon Y
    • Pokemon Omega Ruby (Remake of Ruby)
    • Pokemon Alpha Sapphire (Remake of Sapphire)
  • Generation 7 – Coming late 2016
    • Pokemon Sun
    • Pokemon Moon

 

pokemon games handheld

Of course, those are simply the main series of DS games (okay, so actually they started on the gameboy, then gameboy colour, then gameboy advanced, then DS, and now 3DS. It’s been going for a long time, there have been a fair few upgrades in technology since the start). There are actually quite a number of other Pokemon games out there, which I would like to give you a brief introduction to:

Pokemon Stadium & Pokemon Stadium 2 – These were on the N64, yeah, quite old, but I remember playing the original one a lot. Sure, there was an arena for Pokemon battles, but there were also cups to compete in, the Elite four to take on, you could import your Pokemon from Red/Blue/Yellow to fight, you could get rare Pokemon to export back into your game, you could fight Mewtwo after you did a bunch of other things. But mainly I remember the mini games. Themed around different Pokemon, I had huge fun with Lickitung’s all you could eat game, hoop-la with Ekans and Diglett, and Run Rattata Run! Massively fun, fairly simple games, which I could and did sink hours into.

PokemonSnapCharmandersPokemon Snap – I can complete this game in six hours. How do I know this? Because I played it a heck of a lot, even during university, and I timed myself. It’s a Pokemon game where you play a photographer. you have to go around various Pokemon environments, take photos of Pokemon, sometimes trigger special events, and then Professor Oak will evaluate your photos and give you points for them. I was insanely fond of this game. And I am pretty sure that somewhere I still have the cartridge. At the end of the game you unlock a level with Mew in it, and it’s ridiculously hard to photograph, but it’s so pretty when you do!

Pokemon Colosseum – This was sort of like a cross between the Stadium style of battling, and the RPG of the games. You’re a trainer, there is a plot line (a fairly good one from what I recall) revolving around stopping the resident villainous team from stealing Pokemon’s hearts and minds. And them as well probably. It was an interesting game, because the battling style was a fair bit different (probably because it was on the gamecube) but also because you started with a pair of levelled Pokemon – Umbreon and Espeon! Can you see why I might have liked this game a lot? Pokemon XD was a follow up game which was very similar to this, which I never did get around to playing.

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Series – Yeah, I can actually count this one as a series, because there are currently seven or so games that are called Mystery Dungeon. I just picked up the latest one Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon. The basic premise is that you yourself are a Pokemon, and you go an join up with the explorers guild. You then explore various dungeons, fighting Pokemon in a special system, recruiting more Pokemon, and finding treasure. They are super cool, playing as a Pokemon is awesome, and there’s a surprising amount of plot packed in there as well. I’m rather looking forward to playing this next one.

Pokemon Go screensPokewalker – A pedometer crossed with a simple Pokemon catching game. Walk around in real life, and you will walk around in the tiny little screen, and then you have a chance to find and catch wild Pokemon. Mainly I mention this because also coming out later this year is Pokemon Go! which is going to be a augmented reality game through your phone. Using the GPS software in your phone, run around the real world, and in the game, you will be running around tall grass trying to catch Pokemon. I am looking forward to it far more than I should, and I am very much going to be running all over town trying to catch Pokemon!

Of course, these are just the games that I choose to mention specifically. Pokemon has been around for a long time, and there are loads more games. The Ranger series, computerised versions of the cards games, puzzle games, pinball games, Pokemon Dash, which was this fun little racing game. However, this post is already running long, so I’ll leave you to explore extra titles as you want to 😛

 

YveltalPokemon of the Day

Y is for Yveltal

Is a large Pokemon that contains both avian an draconic traits. It has a dark body, wings, and a bright red underside with branching black markings. It has five claws on each appendage, a beak like snout, and a large ruff around it’s neck. When the appensages are fully extended, the shape resembles the letter Y. It’s the counterpart legendary Pokemon to Xerneas, and has the power to absorb life energy. When it reaches the end of its lifespan, it will steal all the life energy of the living things around it and then transform into a cocoon to sleep for a millenia.

Again, since we’re fairly near those awkward, end of the alphabets letters, there isn’t much choice for Pokemon of the days, but I thought since we’d had Xerneas yesteday, it made sense to have Yveltal today as the other half of that equation. That, and he looks badass, Dark/Flying is a cool type combination, and he can sleep for 1,000 years, which is something I wish I could do sometimes.

rise_of_yveltal___red_by_dekus

X – XP

XA high level of nostalgia means that this year my chosen theme for the 2016 A to Z challenge is Pokemon. Whether you yourself have a similar level of sentimentality or you’ve never really gotten into it, I hope that you enjoy this month of posts as I indulge myself.

XP! Or experience (possible even experience points) if you want to use the full word, but considering I need to hit all the letters, I don’t!

XP is very important in Pokemon. It’s how Pokemon get more powerful, causing them to level up, and levelling up can cause such things as evolution and learning new moves. How do you get XP? Mostly, it’s battling your Pokemon agaisnt another Pokemon, whether a trainer or wild. As long as your Pokemon does not faint, then it will gain XP, and there will generally be a little bar at the bottom that fills up, so you can tell how far it is until your Pokemon will hit that next level.

PokemonExperienceThere are a whole bunch of complicated equations that determine how much XP a Pokemon will gain when it wins a battle. It depends on your level, the opponents level, and some items can effect this.

Levelling is effected by the experience group that the Pokemon falls into, of which there are six in the current generations: Slow, Medium Slow, Medium Fast, Fast, Erratic and Fluctuating. This basically describes how much XP a Pokemon needs to gain it’s next level. I won’t go too much into it, because it gets very maths based, and although I like maths and graphs, I know that a fair few people don’t 😛

The maximum level a Pokemon can achieve is level 100, after which point they just stop gaining XP. Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that high, because it takes a heck of a lot of work. The highest I ever got was high 80s, I think, and that was my Pikachu in Pokemon Yellow, because I used it for everything.

ExpToNextLevel

The last thing to mention is XP sharing. If you start the fight with one Pokemon, and then swap out halfway through, then as long niether of those Pokemon faint, they will split the XP of the fight between them. It’s a good way to fast level up slightly lower level Pokemon on your team, and I do it all the time. It gets a lot easier when you pick up an item called XP Share, which you give to a Pokemon to hold, and any battle that you fight, they will get a fraction of the XP from it. And the best part about this item, it that it doesn’t take any XP away from the Pokemon that actually does the fighting. I always look forward to getting it in the games.

 

XerneasPokemon of the Day

X is for Xerneas

A blue and black stage-like Pokemon, it has eight sets of antlers, four extending from each side of its head. In active mode, these horns are pale gold in colour and the tips is adorned with a glowing colour, changing for each set of horns (orange, red, purple and blue). In neutral mode, the horns are a pale blue, matching the colour of it’s upper body. It has x shaped pupils, and markings on it’s bodys, along with it’s horns, form a large x shape. Xerneas is a legendary Pokemon which is said to have the power to share eternal life, denoted by the horns on its head shining in seven colours rather than four. At the end of its lifetime, it releases all of its life energy into all living things around it, transforms into a tree, and then sleeps for 1,000 years. It also has the power to create trees and forests, making it a very benevolent and powerful force for nature.

So there are only two Pokemon that begin with X – Xerneas and Xatu. But I’m actually impressed that there are Pokemon that begin with every letter of the alphabet, even if there’s only a couple. So, today, you get my pick of the two X’s, which is Xerneas, the mascot of Pokemon X, and one of three legendaries in generation 6. It’s kind of cool, it actually resembles the letter X, and it’s got this awesome forest god things going on. I didn’t use it much, but I like the fluff from it.

horizontal_by_shadeofshinon

W – Walkthroughs

WA high level of nostalgia means that this year my chosen theme for the 2016 A to Z challenge is Pokemon. Whether you yourself have a similar level of sentimentality or you’ve never really gotten into it, I hope that you enjoy this month of posts as I indulge myself.

Walkthroughs, sometimes called strategy guides, are used to help players get through games, giving them hints as to what to do next, what they can expect to find in certain places, and just basically providing a map to how to play the game. You can find them in print, or online, because every thing can be online these days, and actually, quite often, the print version are produced by the people who produce the game (often marked as ‘Official’ guides).

Does Pokemon have walkthroughs? Of course it does. And actually, I mostly choose the title today, so that I can show you one of my prized possessions – a walkthrough guide to Red, Blue, but mostly, Yellow:

20160427_185509 20160427_185522 20160427_185550 20160427_190114

This is more me showing off a cool thing and finding something for an awkward letter in the process 😛

 

WooperPokemon of the Day

W is for Wooper

Wooper is a duel Water/Ground type Pokemon that has a blue body, short legs, a tail, and frongs coming out from either side of it’s head. Male Woopers have a lot more branches in these gills than females do so it is easy to tell them apart. Wooper is a fairly dull-witted and slow Pokemon, possibly due to it living in cold water for most of its life. It will partially bury itself in mud at the bottom of a pond, lake or river when it sleeps and if it does come out onto land it will only do so on cold days, most in the evening, and searches for food along the banks. Whilst on land it coats its body in a slimy film to keep it moisturised, and this causes a shooting pain if touched with a bare hand.

Mostly I like Wooper because it’s modelled after axolotl, which are these super cool amphibian salamanders, which has those really cool gills on the side of their head. That, and this Pokemon closely resembles me of a morning. Completely derpy (my best friend calls me a derpy turtle, so, you know, derpy axolotl isn’t a millions miles off :P)

wooper_by_silvervanadis

V – Victory Road

VA high level of nostalgia means that this year my chosen theme for the 2016 A to Z challenge is Pokemon. Whether you yourself have a similar level of sentimentality or you’ve never really gotten into it, I hope that you enjoy this month of posts as I indulge myself.

Victory Road, on the path to victory! Although since it’s a cave most of the time, the road part is open to some interpretation 😛

Victory Road is one of the last parts of the games, and will only open up to you as a trainer after you have defeated the eight gym leaders of an area. Once you pass through into the cave, you will find a bunch of tough trainers to beat, and of course, a whole bunch of wild Pokemon that vrwill jump out at you for experience and catching. Also depending on precisely which game you are playing, your rival might show up for one final battle, depends if they’re the champion or not, which changes between the games. It tend to be a bit of a long journey, and you have to rely on the items in your bag, so it’s actually rather good preparation for the Elite Four, which is what you will encounter at the end of Victory Road.

The Elite Four are much like Gym Leaders. There are four of them, they tend to have a theme type of their Pokemon team, and they are very, very tough to beat. You have to have all eight badges, so these guys are even tougher than the gym leaders, and you will face them one after another with no chance to go back to a Pokemon centre in between, so you better have a lot of medicine items on you. Oh, and the Elite Four will use healing items as well, it’s super annoying.

Kanto and Johto are unusual in that they share their Victory Road and Elite Four between the two regions, although it doesn’t matter if you have the eight Kanto gyms badges or the eight Johto badges, as long as you have eight badges out of the region, you can go challenge them. Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova and Kalos all have their own Pokemon Leagues.

Taking the last Elite Four (eee, new Elite Four in Sun/Moon!) from Kalos as our example you had:

  • elite4-drasnaMalva, Fire Type
  • Siebold, Water Type
  • Wikstrom, Steel Type
  • Drasna, Dragon Type

They were some very cool fights, with epic rooms themed around the type in question. The dragon room for instance has a huge stone dragon with wings embedded into the walls, and the wings unfurl as you come into the room. Very over the top cool.

And then, once you get passed these trainers, you can go take on the Champion. Fun fact, the champion is the only trainer (apart from your rival, sometimes, in some games) who will have a team of six Pokemon? Even the Elite Four trainers have four or five.

In Kalos the Champion is Diantha, who is not only an actress, but also a very powerful trainer. I liked her, mainly because she trades you a Ralts which is holding the mega stone for Gardevoire, which as you should know is my absolute favourite Pokemon.

 

VivillonPokemon of the Day

V is for Vivillon

Vivillon is a butterfly like Pokemon, thought to be related to Butterfree, with an elliptical shaped body in different shades of grey, and segmented wings that come in a variety of patterns. It has back legs and hands (but no arms) and two long antenna coming out of it’s head.  It is capable of many dust and powder attacks, and has been know to calm the fighting spirit of many Pokemon.

Had a bit of trouble choosing today’s Pokemon. Not because there are a lack of Pokemon, but because most of the Pokemon I would have chosen have already been covered in some form or another by others letters. Vulpix was covered under N – Ninetails. Venasaur was covered under I – Ivysaur. Vaporeon was another choice, except that I’ve already done Eevee, Espeon and Umbreon from the Eeveelutions. So the Pokemon I chose today isn’t a favourite per say, but it is really cool for a particular reason.

The picture you see above is the most common form of Vivillon (for someone like me who lives in the UK), the Meadow pattern. However, Vivillon is highly reflective of the environment that it lives in, and thus the pattern on the wings will change depending on where the Pokemon catcher in question lives in the real world. In total there are twenty known patterns of Vivillon wings, isn’t that cool? It’s a tiny catch them all within a much larger catch them all? So whilst Vivillon isn’t a Pokemon that I would save a spot for on my team most of the time, I do like trying to catch and trade as many different patterns as I can.

vivillon wings patterns

U – Undaunted

UA high level of nostalgia means that this year my chosen theme for the 2016 A to Z challenge is Pokemon. Whether you yourself have a similar level of sentimentality or you’ve never really gotten into it, I hope that you enjoy this month of posts as I indulge myself.

Playing around with letters a bit today, as U was slightly awkward. U is for Undaunted, Undaunted is the third main expansion of the Pokemon Soul Silver and Heart Gold series of Pokemon Trading Cards, and that brings us to the actual topic today – The Pokemon Trading Card Game. Success!

CardbackOften abbreviated to Pokemon TCG, it’s a tabletop game that involves collecting, trading, and then playing cards against opponents, mostly 1 versus 1, much the same as you would in a Pokemon battle. All your favourite Pokemon are in there, and the rules are somewhat derived out of the rules of the games and anime, but obviously, as a card game, it has it’s own set of rules and mechanics, and is very, very different to the video games.

I’ll admit, I never really played much of the card game. I collected the cards, and somewhere around here I still have my original Team Rocket folder with most of my cards in them (my brother stole some of my shiny cards and then lot them, the fiend) so I’m more talking about the game today in an abstract, it exists and there are still loads of people who play it because they release new expansions for it fairly regularly. My local gaming store has a very active card game community, and they do indeed have players of Pokemon. Quite a lot, if I remember the last time I spotted games happening.

So, with card games, you have your cards and you build a deck with 60 cards in it. There are energy cards, which will be one of the Pokemon types, Pokemon cards, and then trainer/items cards. The aim to to get your Pokemon out, evolve them up (potentially, depends on the Pokemon), power them up, and then hit your opponent and make all their Pokemon faint. You win when your opponent runs out of cards in their deck, take all six prize cards (ah ha! I remembered a thing, there are six prize cards you place to one side at the start of the game, and you get one when you knock out an opponents Pokemon), or when your opponent can’t field any more Pokemon. It’s probably more complicated than that, with rules for how you get Pokemon out, evolving them, attaching energy to power moves, but like I said, I haven’t played in forever, I was always more of a collector.

Arena_Pokémon_Trading_Card_Game_italian

 

UmbreonPokemon of the Day

U is for Umbreon

Counterpart to Espeon, Umbreon is the Dark evolution of Eevee, who will evolve after attaining high friendship with Eevee and levelling up during the night. Or it can be exposed to a Moon Shard. It is a black furred mammalian Pokemon, with four legs and a bushy tail, but has yellow bands and circles around various parts of its legs, tail and ears. These markings will glow at night, along with its eyes, and will strike fear into anyone nearby. It hides in the darkness, setting ambushes for people and Pokemon, and will glow as it attacks. In the wild this Pokemon is very rare, and is much more commonly found in Urban areas under the care of people.

As I said with Espeon, Umbreon is one half of my favourite eeveelutions, and at the moment, it just about edges Espeon out, although that can definitely change depending on how I feel at given times. It’s Dark type, likes biting and attacking people, and is generally a bit sneaky. I love its demeanour, its connection to the moon, and how it looks. Definitely has a place on team, when I can get it to evolve that is, it’s a little tricky with the moon and sun timings.

__moons_charm___shiny_umbreon_by_evilqueenie

 

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