GA 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 my nostalgia.

“Hiya! I can tell you have what it takes to become a POKéMON champ! I’m no trainer, but I can tell you how to win! Let me take you to the top!”

Famous words of the Gym Guy (seriously, that was his name for four generations)(now we know him as Clyde) who stands a the front of each Gym and gives you a small pep talk on how to defeat the trainers inside, all the way up to the Gym Leader.

In the Pokemon world Gyms are kind of like the real world, in that they are places where you go to train. Unlike in the real world, it’s your Pokemon that are training, and you battle your way through junior trainers, gaining experience, and navigating interesting (or sometimes frustrating) floor puzzles to get to the Gym Leader.

Nimbasa_Gym_BWEach Gym will have a theme, and that theme is usually one of the Pokemon types. In the original games it was Rock, Water, Electric, Grass, Poison, Psychic, Fire, and Ground. In the latest games, X & Y, it’s Bug, Rock, Fighting, Grass, Electric, Fairy, Psychic, Ice. So as well as being the appropriate level for the Gym, players will often choose Pokemon so that they can type advantage against the trainers inside, since they will almost always have Pokemon relating to the Gym type.

The junior trainers are a way of getting in some good experience and money before the Leader. They usually have Pokemon along the same theme as the Leader, are usually huge fans of the Leaders (Leaders are kind of famous and have an amount of celebrity status in the Pokemon world) but tend to only have two or three Pokemon, so they are very nice speed bumps along the way. Quite often they are palced at strategic points in the Gyms so that you have to go past them and battle them, they are unavoidable,  You can also think of them as some kind of gauntlet to run.

The gyms themselves usually buy into the theme of the Leader as well, and will often include floor navigation puzzles, where you have to work out a route through warp tiles, how to slid across the ice, or even this example from Nimbasa Gym from Black/White, which is the electric gym, where you have to take various roller coasters to navigate across the gym. (Spoilers, the picture tells you the route)


And after all that, you then have to fight the Gym Leader themselves. These are the people that run the Gym and really test you to see if you’ve got what it takes to be a Pokemon master and go for the Elite Four (more on them later in the month). They’ll be higher level than the junior trainers, and they tend to be intelligent, using items in battle, switching Pokemon and all 2986629-kanto+league+badgesthe tactics that you would be using to test (or annoy) you. Basically you need to have appropriately levelled Pokemon, your own bunch of items, and if you can type advantage it, all the better. Once you defeat the Gym Leader they will give you their Gym Badge, and in each game you need all eight of the badges to go and take on the Elite Four. They also tend to give you a TM of a move that they liked to use in the battle you just had, so you can teach it to your own Pokemon.

As well as being a step forward on the road to being a Pokemon master, the badges also have side benefits. Outside Pokemon (Pokemon that are not originally from your Save file, so mainly traded Pokemon) will only obey you if you have the appropriate badge for their level (so the first badge gets you up to level 20 Pokemon, and the last badge earns you all levels). They dictate which HM moves a trainer can use outside of battle, what items the Pokemart will stock (this one is in later generations) and in the first couple of generations the badges applied a slight stat boost to the appropriate type Pokemon moves, despite never being mentioned as a thing that happened in the game. That was only up until generation 3 though, so it doesn’t happen in the latest games.

So yeah, Gyms are a pretty important part of the Pokemon world, and there’s a new eight every time we get a new League. I can’t wait to see what they are in Sun/Moon.


GardevoirPokemon of the Day

G is for Gardevoir

Gardevoir is a Fairy/Psychic Pokemon, although prior to generation 6 and the introduction of Fairy type, it was a pure psychic type. It is a bipedal Pokemon, yes it does have legs under that gown, and closely resembles a humanoid figure wearing a white gown, with green hair. It has tremendous psychic powers, and because of this, does not feel the pull of gravity, often floating along instead. It is the final form of Ralts, along with Gallade, as it is a split evolution tree, and it can Mega evolve as well.

Gardevoire is an absolute favourite of mine and has pretty much always had a place in my team since it came in in generation 3. As you might be sensing, I quite like elegant, graceful Pokemon, regardless of what form that actually might take. I mean, it’s not an iron clad rule, but in general terms. I also really like psychic Pokemon, and Gardevoir has a mega evolution, and I pretty much just love them, so as soon as I can get my hands on a Ralts I evolve it up and it’s taken pride of place in my team for at least the last two games.