Pokémon Journal Entry 5

Because of my busy weekend, I wasn’t able to make entries as frequently as I would have liked, so this particular entry will be pretty long. Enjoy!

Exploring Malie Garden was nice. It reminded me of the Japanese Tea Gardens we have here in Hawaii, especially with the bamboo and pagoda.

Heading off to Mt. Hokulani to take on the next Trial. There’s an observatory up there like on Mauna Kea on our Big Island.

I met Samson Oak, cousin of Professor Oak from Red/Blue!

Met a little girl named Acerola in the Malie Library. She seems to know a lot about Alolan myth. Who’s her dad anyway?

Visited the Malie Recycling Center and learned that Grimers and Muks eat all of Alola’s garbage. Wouldn’t that be a great thing in real life?

Learned a new battle style—Elegant!

Took a bus to the top of Mt. Hokulani and saw the peak of Mt. Lanakila. In Hawaii, we have two tall mountains on our Big Island – Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. I immediately drew references between them.

I heard about Professor Kukui’s dream to build a Pokemon League on top of Mt. Lanakila.

I met Molyane, the administrator of the Pokemon box system of Alola and Professor Kukui’s old adventuring partner.

Arrived at the observatory on Mt. Hokulani and stumbled into Sophocles’s Trial Challenge. The audio quiz he gave me was pretty easy, but the Vikavolt Totem Beast was pretty challenging.

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Pokémon Journal Entry 4

The game’s starting to get interesting now as I reach the third island. Here’s some more highlights from my adventure.

  • I evolved my Brionne into Primarina!
  • Took on Mallow’s Jungle Trial. It was interesting enough – gathering ingredients, and pretty simple, at that. The final battle against the Totem Beast was easy with my Butterfree using Bug Buzz. The trials are started to feel like less challenging, reskinned Gyms.
  • Went to the Dimensional Research Lab and met Burnet. Damn, Professor Kukui is taken by Professor Burnet!
  • Learned about Ultra Wormholes to other dimensions and the Ultra Beasts that come from them. Apparently Palkia, Giratina, and Bronzong all can travel between them.
  • Memorial Hill was another graveyard. Pokemon can get a little dark and deep sometimes.
  • Visited Koni Koni city with its Asian flavor. The lady there that gives massages uses the Lomi Lomi technique, a popular one here in Hawaii. The word “lomi lomi” means “to massage” in Hawaiian.
  • Bought a bundle of new TMs at the Pokemon Center shop.
  • I met Team Skull Admin Plumeria, who basically confirmed that Team Skull is comprised of a bunch of “dummies”, in her words. They’ve been a pretty pathetic team so far.
  • I defeated Olivia’s Grand Trial and her rock Pokemon easily with Primarina.
  • I spent some time tossing Pyukumuku into the ocean and earned 20,000 pokebucks for it. Not bad for a part time job! Apparently you can go back and do the job every day to make more money!
  • I met Faba and learned about the Aether Paradise, the artificial island for Pokémon.
  • I visited Aether Paradise and met Wicke. I love her style and those glasses!
  • Lusamine is Aether Foundation’s president. She’s got some crazy looking hair! Talking to her was a bit strange, and her going on about wanting to love and save every Pokemon. There’s something seriously off about that…
  • A jellyfish looking Ultra Beast appeared and attacked us. I defeated it with water type attacks. Lusamine’s react after the fight was strange. Those evil eyes and wicked smile don’t look so good. What’s up with her?
  • I challenged Hau to another battle after reaching the new island, Ula’ula. It’s time to explore a new place!
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Now THAT’S an evil smile if I ever saw one…

Pokémon Sun Journal 3

Here’s the next segment of my Pokemon Journal series. My Pokemon Rides are filling up pretty quickly!

  • I met Hapu and her Mudsdale and battled Team Skull again. They’re shaping up to be a pretty pathetic team. I haven’t felt genuinely threatened and they seem like a disorganized group of lowly thugs, to me.
  • I evolved my Trumbeak into a Toucannon!
  • Found the Game Freak Lab! There’s one in every game, isn’t there?
  • I reached Version 3 of my camera.
  • I met the Masked Royal (conveniently shirtless) and Kiawe (also conveniently shirtless). Hi.
  • Had my first Battle Royal, which is a free-for-all match with four trainers. Similar to the battle arenas from the other games, you get BP for winning and can trade them for items (TMs, stat boosters, training gear, etc).
  • Visited the Thrifty Mega Mart that gives you a discount coupon at the door.
  • I completed Kiawe’s Trial, although I don’t like how the challenges played out. I understand that the game was trying to be goofy, but it could have easily been a real test of memory and skill. It made Kiawe look a little lame. I’m starting to miss the gyms, honestly.
  • Now I can call Charizard as a ride Pokémon!
  • I flew to the Pokepelago for the first time and got a lot of beans. I upgraded the bean stalk island to level 2 and got the berry farm, training, and exploring islands on my first day.
  • I may be enjoying Pokemon Refresh with my newly evolved Machoke a little too much…

All right! On to the next trial, the Lush Jungle!

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That’s a good boy.

Pokémon Sun Journal 2

I’ve decided to make the remainder of my Pokemon Sun journals into lists of important events, places, and/or characters that piqued my interest. That said – here we go with Journal Entry #2.

  • I defeated the Trial in Verdant cave, and then took down the Kahuna of Melemele Island. This prompted a very familiar update – Pokemon of up to level 35 will now obey me, even if received in trade.
  • I received the ability to call Tauros and use its charge to destroy rocks. I found quite a few hidden items and gained access to 10 Carat Hill.
  • The Fighting Z-Crystal is now mine, which went to my Machop.
  • I got the False Swipe TM from Professor Kukui, which is early for that particular move. I’m happy about it though, since it makes catching Pokemon a lot easier.
  • I explored a beautiful meadow full of yellow flowers and caught myself an adorable Oricoros.
  • My Popplio evolved in Brionne, and my Pichu evolved into Pikachu.
  • My camera reached level 3, with an even better zoom!
  • I’ve been dabbling in Pokemon Refresh and realized that the effects of high affection are similar to those in X/Y. It’s nice getting those extra critical hits and status cures in battle.
  • I traveled to Heahea island and reached Paniola Town. The cowboy theme is no surprise to me – the word “Paniolo” means “cowboy” in Hawaiian.
  • The Nursery in Paniola Town replaces the Day Care centers of previous titles. It’s basically the same except your Pokemon won’t gain levels while staying there.
  • Shortly after my arrival on Heahea, I learned there are three Trials on the island. As I’ve played more, I notice that Trials aren’t all that different from gyms. You travel through an enclosed area, each with its own obstacles and gimmicks, and fight a powerful foe at the end. It seems that Trials are just gyms with a different flavor.
  • I caught an actual Tauros (that I can include in my party). I’m happy that I found one.
  • I got another Pokemon ride ability – Stoutland Search. This basically replaces the item finder gadgets from previous games. I’m still having a hard time figuring out how to use it properly.
  • I unknowingly entered another Trial and took on a whole bunch of Wishiwashi. The Trial itself was disappointingly easy, but the giant Wishiwashi at the end was pretty challenging. That part I liked.
  • After completing the Trial, I finally got a Fishing Rod! It seems like you can only use it in certain spots though.

I’m enjoying this game a lot! Stay tuned for future updates!

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My current Pokedex completion numbers… I have a long way to go!

Pokémon Sun – Journal Entry 1

I’m nearly six hours into my journey now, and I wanted to share a brief collection of my thoughts with you all. As a warning, these posts may contain story spoilers and other game details, so proceed with caution.

First of all, I have to say I really like the new Pokemon Refresh! You get access to it early on in your adventure, and while being very similar to Pokemon Amie (except you have beans instead of Pokepuffs), you can also heal your Pokemon’s status ailments outside of battle with Medicine! Talk about convenience!

Hau’oli City, the largest city in Alola, apparently, is one of your first stops in the game, which is a nice change from previous entries. Before your adventure barely begins, you already gain access to a well stocked Pokemon Center with a Shop and Café, and you can buy new outfits and style your hair, all on the same street! It’s great to have these facilities open up early on.

I’ve also gotten the Rotom Dex and accessed it’s nice little camera function, reminiscent of Pokemon Snap. You get notified of good photo spots on your map as you walk around, and you get rated on the pictures you take. Collect enough “Likes” and you level up! I’m already at version 2 that allows me to zoom. This is a nice bonus feature that pays homage to all you Pokemon Snap fans out there.

You can also enter the Festival Plaza relatively early too, which hosts all kinds of games and extra activities you can do, including missions where you can use communications and team up with other players. I haven’t tried it out yet, but it seems really neat. Another nice thing – you get the Exp. Share from Professor Kukui pretty quickly, so that definitely helps the grueling low level grind quite a bit.

The little details make me smile. The colors are all very bright and vibrant. You can hear Pokemon cries as you walk by tall grass. The locals are dressed in colorful aloha attire like muumuu and aloha print shirts. The music is all very Hawaii in style and tone, with delightful notes of ukulele sprinkled throughout many of the tracks I’ve heard so far.

I haven’t seen too many Alolan Pokemon yet, though I did catch a Yungoos, Pikipek, and Alolan Grimer and Meowth. I also caught an Abra and a Pichu, woohoo! I took down a trainer’s school, and met Captain Ilima (a pretty Hawaiian name), and battled the goofball Team Skull for the first time.

I guess the one minor complaint I have right now is the gimmicky ways the game prevents your progress, but I suppose there’s no way around it in a Pokemon game. Wet paint prevented me from opening a gate, and an angry Tauros has been conveniently blocking my way when the story wanted me to go elsewhere. All games do it so I’m not faulting Pokémon for it, but it’s just very evident when these devices are being used.

All-in-all, it’s been great so far! On to Route 2!

Nintendo Switch (NX) Reveal – Literally Crying

Since Nintendo announced the mysterious NX last year in March, I’ve been fidgeting on the edge of my seat waiting for some authentic news. Rumors and speculation abound on the internet since, some of it sounding marginally credible, others more farfetched and seemingly implausible. As an early birthday present to me, Nintendo finally broke their painfully long silence and released a preview trailer on October 20th for their new console. A sudden announcement dropped on Twitter a mere day before the event, though hushed whispers across the digital sphere seemed to have been in the know for awhile. Needless to say, despite the video being released at 4:00 a.m. my time, I dutifully set my alarm for 3:45 a.m., aiming to be awake with the rest of the world when Nintendo drew up the curtains. I was extremely glad that I did. The rest of this post talks about what happened in the special preview video and some of my thoughts and feelings that resulted.

It all starts off in a cityscape at night, and we find ourselves in the home of a man playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on his TV in the living room. That’s nothing too unusual so far, but I could already feel my heart pounding in anticipation. The musical accompaniment aptly matches the hushed mood, a familiar scene that most of us gamers live through as we wind down for the day and settle in with our favorite video games.

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Then a dog comes into the room and barks; it looks like its playtime. An attractive red screen appears abruptly, on which we’re introduced to the console’s true name, the Nintendo Switch, its cool square logo, and a wonderful clicking sound effect that I KNOW is still stuck in ALL of your heads. The background music changes and picks up with the reveal, a hip and fun tune that takes us through the rest of the preview.

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Letter to My Younger Self

As I talked about on Twitter earlier this week, I’m sharing a letter that I wrote to my younger self as part of a writing assignment from my psychologist. It was an emotional experience, though a little strange, as well. So here it is, edited for grammar and spelling but content intact. I hope this can help some of you in some way, like it helped me.

“Hey Travis, this might sound weird, but this is your future self talking. Yeah… hello. I know things are tough for you right now. Kids pick on you, your dad is gone, it feels like mom doesn’t care, and you’re scared and lonely all the time. Trust me, I know how that feels. You probably feel small, powerless, and sad. You probably think something is wrong with you since your dad left you, and you don’t have any friends. I know it’s tough.

I guess I’m here to tell you that… well, yes, it is really tough. It’s OK to be sad. It’s OK to cry. You’re going through a lot and it feels like it’ll never end. It feels like you have nothing to look forward to, that every day feels like something you have to just get through so you can get back to your room and lose yourself in your video games.

I know it’s hard, but you have to remember something important – there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re a sensitive kid, you care about others, you just want to be loved. Believe me, I totally get it. It’s wrong that others are picking on you, taking out their problems on you. They’re cruel. They’re mean. But there’s nothing wrong with you – you’re a chubby kid, and chubby is beautiful. Your dad left, but your dad is a jerk with a lot of his own problems. He didn’t leave because of you.

And yes, you’re gay, but there’s nothing wrong with that either. Don’t feel bad that you’re scared of it – the world was a scary place back then, and so was your school. You’re going to love being gay when you grow up, and people are eventually going to love you, relate to you, and respect you for it. You’re going to get what you want someday, trust me.

You might feel like you’re completely alone, but you do what you have to in order to survive. That’s OK. You have to. You’re a tough kid and you had to adapt to make it. You’re a good kid, Travis. You’re perfect just as you are, curves, dorkyness, gayness and all. You are perfect. You are sensitive and hold a great deal of love and caring deep down in your heart for others.

I know you just want people to be kind to you, to love you for who you are… Trust me, it’s coming. You’re going to get there. Just hang on for a little bit longer and everything will be OK. You’re you, and that’s the best thing you could ever be. I have to go now, little Travis, but I’ll always be right there with you, waiting for you in a better future.”

Final Fantasy XIII Review: From Hate Sprouts Love

A year ago, I would have never even imagined myself writing this largely positive review. I’ll be the first to admit it: when I first played Final Fantasy XIII, I downright hated it. Everything looked very nice, sure, but the initial impressions I had of the main cast turned me off: Lightning was a cold, heartless bitch, Snow was an annoying wannabe hero, Hope was a whiny little brat, and Vanille was a complete airhead. Sazh was the only one that seemed to have some common sense; on top of that, there was a tiny baby Chocobo using his hair as a nest. Who couldn’t love that? Combat felt inconsequential without any particular reward, and I found it difficult to relinquish full control of my party, giving commands to just one character at a time. Everything progressed in a linear fashion with little reason to branch out and explore, and the entire experience seemed to drag on and on. Not long after reaching the crystallized Lake Bresha, I lost interest, chocked it up to a poor entry in the series, and moved on.

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#Zelda30 My Top 10 Characters

#10 Epona—Ocarina of Time

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Although Link gets stuck with perhaps his most infamous companion to date (“HEY!” “LISTEN!”), he also finds invaluable friendship with another, less annoying and equally loyal partner—Epona the horse. Once you learn Epona’s Song from the young Malon, the once shy steed takes a liking to Link. Riding Epona all over Hyrule Field is one of my best memories of Ocarina of Time, instilling a sense of adventure and freedom in the already epic game. Continue reading

#Zelda30 Top 5 Easter Eggs

#5 Christine the Goat Uses Princess Peach’s Photograph—Link’s Awakening

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Apparently “catfishing” was something happening on Koholint Island long before it became a TV show. As part of the trading sequence that eventually nets you the powerful Boomerang, you encounter a goat named Christine that’s been posing as someone else in her love letters—Princess Peach. What would Mario think? Continue reading