Give the series some Space! – The Video Game Sequels Problem

When it comes to video games, there are so many different series in multiple genres and most of them gain sequels as the years roll by. As gamers and consumers, we will always want more: more quality stories, more options of gameplay, more innovation, and more quality productions. However, as is all business, the way to earn a profit on sequels may be to cut back on innovation, slap a new logo and new coat of paint, and call it the next best thing. From some of the successful series I’ve played (and many of the indulgent series that cash in on sequels), there’s plenty of things that can change to have more successful, critically acclaimed, and praised-by-fans sequels.

Give Development Time Breathing Room

It’s hard to want fewer games when the genre provides such visceral experiences for players. However, since demand is high and the business is a booming industry, it only makes sense to create more for profit. The Batman Arkham series is a relatively new franchise that has barely had a misstep. However, the latest title, Arkham Knight, suffered from delays and was pushed back 6 months. While we can all moan and groan, no one can complain now that the title has been released and I think the development needs to take its proper course. Patience is rewarded most times and I think more developers would benefit from slowing down the timetables to truly innovate on every conceivable level.

Only Make Necessary Sequels

We can’t talk unnecessary sequels unless we are talking about Kingdom Hearts. While the main titles have been great and seeing the spin offs tackle more new Disney worlds has opened up so many possibilities, enough is enough. Ironically, I fell in love with the series after playing Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, a GameBoy Advance connection between the first and second game. It was simple, it was fun, the replay value was incredible, and it all made sense. However, after Kingdom Hearts II, those sequels were left off the leash and ran rampant. The desire for Kingdom Hearts III has been a decade in waiting and all that has been left in the void are sequels and remakes. We have seen the same worlds, stories for every side character, a well-conceived prequel with Birth By Sleep, and the games are still excessive and repetitive. With the announcement of Kingdom Hearts 2.8, I can’t help but roll my eyes and wait even longer for Kingdom Hearts III. We all just dive deep into the next story, not simply wade in the kiddie pool that is older worlds with newer graphics.

Work on New Projects

Take a look at the Last of Us, one of the most incredible titles in the Playstation (or any) library. The game was developed by Naughty Dog, originally known for the Crash Bandicoot series and, more recently, the Uncharted games that have taken the world by storm. The team adapted the excellent third person engine that allowed Uncharted’s Nathan Drake to scale building and mountains, engage in shootouts, and fend off baddies with refreshing combat. This translated well to the cinematic and survival-focused Last of Us, which used the best aspects of Uncharted to make an all new game. If something works well, you can do the same thing over and over, or you can innovate in a new field (or in this case, genre).
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tlouslam

It’s for the love of games that I say we can all wait in between games for a few more months to get a greater product. Would I love to see a Last of Us 2, a new Metroid, or even a new Advance Wars title? 100%. But I would be kidding myself if I expected it within a year, two, or even three. Until then, I’ll replay the oldies, the goodies, and avoid the cash-ins of the month.

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Apple TV – New Gaming Platform?

Yesterday, Apple introduced new additions to its line of products.  While most people were set on learning about the new iPhone, Nerd Swole was intrigued by the new Apple TV.  The product is being promoted for video streaming, music, sports and even online shopping.  However, our focus is on its gaming capabilities.  While it can’t rival or replace an Xbox One/PS4, it has the potential to expand the gaming audience.  For the first time, it will have its own App Store.  Therefore, third party developers are welcome to bring new content to the table and potentially become a family-friendly gaming platform.  On the other hand, the App Store does impose limits as to what content goes on there so expect an abundance of family-friendly titles.

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Crossy Road

Now in terms of family gaming, Nintendo has been a power house for years.  Some have speculated that the Apple TV will take customers away from Nintendo’s audience because just about everyone plays Candy Crush.  That’s simply not true.  Nintendo makes games with intriguing and complex endeavors that caters to its most serious gamers.  Plus, Apple TV is pretty similar to the Wii/Wii U in terms of motion based gaming and the remote.

Wii U or Apple TV for family gaming?
Wii U or Apple TV for family gaming?

Apple never really promoted its new TV as a gaming platform.  It’s simply an upgrade/alternative to the many video streaming devices out there.  Siri is a nice addition if you rather talk to your TV and tell it what you content you want to see.  It also has the nice capability of checking for content availability across Netflix, Hulu, etc.  It’s hard to imagine anyone doing their online shopping through Apple TV but it’s the effort to appeal to everyone in the family.

The new Apple TV is set to release in October, just in time for the early holiday shoppers.  Will you be testing out its gaming abilities?  Do you think it can really add to the gaming audience?

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Top 5 Weird Pokémon Evolutions

Evolutions (Leveling up, specialty stones, trade, etc.)

No one really questions the biology behind certain Pokémon and their evolutionary stages.  You simply power on the game, collect 8 badges, defeat some whack job criminal organization and become Champion.  Well, Nerd Swole broke down selected evolutionary lines and decided to bring you the Top 5 Weird Pokémon evolutions that GameFreak expects you to accept.

1. Three for One

Diglett is the tiny mole-like Pokémon that pops its head above some dirt and leaves you wondering what lies underground.  Upon evolving into Dugtrio, three heads with some attitude come together to exist as one entity.  Magnemite and Magneton are the same case.  So theoretically, find three wild Magnemite, glue them together and voila.  You now have the lazy man’s version of Magneton.

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Magnemite Magneton

2. Bro

The concept behind Slowpoke –> Slowbro was first introduced in the anime.  Once a Shellder bites on a Slowpoke’s tail, both beings create the bipedal Slowbro.  Slowbro does all the eating and feeds its leftovers to the Shellder latched on its tail.  Should the Shellder fall off, the Slowbro becomes Slowpoke once again.  This reversal is nonexistent in the games.

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Yet, check out Mega Slowbro.  The Shellder threatens to devour the pink guy.

Mega_Slowbro

3. Shell Shock

Imagine a snake shedding its skin and then, that skin becomes a separate, living entity.  That somewhat describes the concept behind Nincada –> Ninjask and Shedninja.  Shedninja happens to be a shed exoskeleton.  It’s deemed a ghost type, implying that it once lived although GameFreak doesn’t consider ghost Pokémon to be dead.  Imagine if the shell of a Metapod left by a Butterfree became a Pokémon?

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4. Software Upgrade

Porygon is a result of programming code.  You’ll never see it or its evolution line in the anime thanks to Pikachu’s electrical attack that triggered seizures on young Japanese children.  Each stage is allegedly an upgrade, yet Porygon Z appears to be a failed, erratic glitch.  So it’s like getting the latest smartphone with all the glitches?

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5. Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream

Vanillite –> Vanillish –> Vanilluxe

This evolution line looks someone at Cold Stone picking between “Like It”, “Love It” and “Gotta Have It”.  Someone a GameFreak was probably enjoying some ice cream when it hit them to turn the tasty treat into a Pokémon.  Just looking at any of the 3 will probably compel anyone to take a lick.  Is that weird?

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Do you agree with our list?  Feel like there are even weirder Pokémon out there?

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Diancie – Exclusive Event Pokémon

Here’s your chance to add an event-only Pokémon to your collection in Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (ORAS)!  Starting on July 24 and ending on July 27th, you’ll be able to receive the dual type, Fairy/Rock Pokémon known as Diancie.  It will be available to you as along as you can connect to the Internet in-game. It will know the following moves:

Dazzling Gleam

Protect

Moonblast

Diamond Storm

Diamond Storm is probably the one move we all want to see in battle.  It has the capability of raising Diancie’s defensive stat by one for each Pokémon that it hits.  The probability is 50% for each Pokémon hit and it’s a powerful Rock type move with a base of 100.  This is complimented by Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB) since Diancie is part Rock type.

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The fun doesn’t stop there.  According to a video on the Pokémon website, you’ll receive Diancie’s Mega Stone at a Pokémon Center.  Its Mega evolution has the highest base stat total of all Fairy and Rock type Pokémon.


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Don’t miss your chance to get this event-only exclusive Pokémon.

Here’s the video promoting the event:

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Interested in writing for Nerd Swole? Contact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com.

Top 5 Questionable Pokémon Game Mechanics

The Top 5 Questionable Pokémon Game Mechanics is a list of some of the things we probably never questioned about the Pokémon games.  They are in no particular order and we invite you to chime in with your thoughts.  We at Nerdswole would like to know if you’ve ever pondered any of the following:

1.Fainting and Capturing Wild Pokémon

In theory, the best way to capture a wild Pokémon is to bring its health bar down to red along with a physical ailment of some sort (sleep, paralysis, frozen, etc.)  However, wouldn’t a fainted Pokémon be easier to catch?  It no longer has the will to battle and it won’t flee, so you could just chuck a Pokéball at it.  We think this game mechanic is probably for ethical reasons.

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2.HM Slaves

HM01 (Cut) always bothered us because we asked ourselves how is it possible that a small tree impends our quest to become a Pokémon Master?  In addition, some parts of the game require multiple HM moves for complete progress.  Thankfully, some Pokémon such as Linoone are the Jack of all trades in a sense.  That Pokémon occupies a slot in your party of 6 and chances are that it isn’t a part of your competitive team.  Therefore, you’re burdened with making a switch every time you need HM moves.

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3.10 Year Olds > Villains

How does a 10 year old trainer halt the heinous acts of an evil organization such as Team Rocket?  Easy, by taking on members in Pokémon battles.  Realistically though, why do these grown adults stop in their tracks?  We think it’s because a young and bold trainer makes these evil doers realize the error of their ways.

Just win and even buff dudes back off
Just win and even buff dudes back off

4.Gym Leader difficulty

In most generations, you start your humble beginnings in a small town with a Pokémon Lab.  You’re given your first starter at level 5, now go out and make everyone proud.  Sure, the initial wild encounters are Pokémon around the same level and these levels increase as you progress.  The same concept applies to gym leaders.  However, what about other trainers from other cities?  What if you’re not Ash, from Pallet Town but Maxwell from Lavender Town?  Therefore, your first gym would probably be Sabrina, in Saffron City.  To remedy this, we believe gym leaders have various teams, corresponding to the skill level of each challenger.  This can be seen in Pokémon Origins when Red battles the Pewter gym.  Brock sees that Red is  rookie trainer and battles accordingly.

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5.Owning Legendary Pokémon

In the games, you come across stories and hints regarding legendary Pokémon.  With progress, you eventually encounter and capture these mythical beasts.  These Pokémon are designed to be more powerful and godlike.  Now, you own them and no one questions this.  The bringer of rain, Kyogre,  nearly flooded half of Hoenn but now it’s yours to control.   Therefore, you now control the rain!  Yeah, no one is bowing at your feet.  Just go about your business and make mom proud.  We think this is possible because legendary Pokémon are mostly, one of a kind.  Therefore, few living souls have ever seen them, further adding to the divinity and mystery.

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Can you think of others?  Pokémon fans, please like us on Facebook! And follow us on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest!

My Top 5 Random Pokémon Facts

I’m sure many of us are familiar with well known Pokémon facts.  Examples include the number pun with ArticUNO, ZapDOS and MolTRES. There is also the martial artist tribute in HitmonLEE and HitmonCHAN.  Allow me to share with you some of my favorite, most interesting top 5 random Pokémon facts.

1. Splash - Normal Type move
1. Splash – Normal Type move

Back in the day, I always wondered why “Splash” was listed as a normal type move.  It turns out the Japanese word for splash can also mean hop.  It explains why the grass type Hoppip or the psychic type Spoink can also use splash.  I suppose splash was initially used in the English versions because of its exclusive association to Magikarp.

2. Poliwag Swirl
2. Poliwag Swirl

The iconic swirl found on Poliwag is actually a nod to the visible intestine found in real life tadpoles.  The evolution line also resembles the real life Glass Frog.  This particular species has transparent skin, enabling visibility of its internal organs.

3. Azurill gender change
3. Azurill gender change

Azurill’s gender ratio is 25% male to 75% female.  The evolutions Marill and Azumarill share the same 50-50 ratio.  A female Azurill runs a 1 in 3 chance of evolving into a male Marill.  This is the only Pokémon to do this.  I think it was just an oversight.

 

4. Foreshadowing?
4. Foreshadowing?

In Red/Blue/Yellow and the remakes, a Picnicker trainer mentions that she wants to have a pink Pokémon with a floral pattern.  Perhaps game developers must have kept this in mind when the Pokémon Munna was introduced in Black and White (generation V).

5. Rhydon #1
5. Rhydon #1

Ever wonder what Pokémon was in statue form inside the gyms?  It’s Rhydon!  That Pokémon was actually stated to be the first Pokémon ever created.  It even predates its previous stage Rhyhorn.  I think its statue inside the gyms is a nod to its first one status.

Extra trivia  

Speaking of Rhydon, ever wonder why Rhyhorn’s cry sounded virtually the same as Charizard’s?  That is because in generation I, 37 unique cries were used for the 151 types of Pokémon.  Pitches, speeds, echoes and sound channels were manipulated to differentiate Pokémon cries.  For reference and nostalgia, here’s a YouTube video.

 

Thoughts?  Any random facts you would be willing to share?  Anyone want to take part in Pokémon battles?! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

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Amiibo – Wave 4

Nintendo just released what they call Wave 4 of amiibo.  In past releases, some variations of amiibo proved to be hugely popular and high in demand.  Therefore, scalpers have become an issue.  To address this, Amazon set a certain schedule to purchase the new set.  Basically, throughout the day on May 29, characters like Pac-Man and Lucina would be available for purchase at retail price via 30 minute windows.  One- click purchasing was disabled and customers were limited to one amiibo per purchase.

Cosumers everywhere
Consumers everywhere

According to various reports, Lucina and Robin sold out on Amazon within seconds.  What is it that makes amiibo so high in demand?  For one, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has stated that certain amiiboo would be produced at certain quantities for a limited time.  Amiboo like Robin and Lucina were promoted on that unicorn status (ultra rare).  In other words, people had one chance to purchase these rare variations at retail price.  In turn, this influenced online retailers and scalpers to swoop in and resell at much higher prices.

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Others like Ness were exclusive to GameStop, Jigglypuff to Target and Greninja to Toys ‘R’ Us.  A silver version of Mario was thrown into the mix not to long before the Wave 4 release, just to make consumers’ mouth water.  So there you have it.  You basically needed a team to successfully collect all of the Wave 4 release.

Marcin Gortat on joining Celtics

Personally, I was never on board the hype pipe that is amiibo.  These items are meant to be played with and bring joy to Nintendo fans everywhere.  All this consumer craze to acquire amiibo reminds me of the Beanies Babies craze of the 90s. Back then, the Ty company began to “retire” and produce limited quantities of certain designs.  By the late 90s, these hot items began to fade out and I believe this is what will happen to amiibo.

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Any luck obtaining Robin or Lucina? Any Wave 4 release?  Are you reselling an amiibo?  Share your thoughts with us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest!

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Thoughts About Stuff: Vortexxy Gaming (Legend of Zelda Theories)

Vortexxy Gaming is a YouTube channel that consists predominantly of Legend of Zelda theories, and it is pretty awesome. If you’re a Zelda fan, be prepared to lose half a day watching these videos and pondering the deeper meanings behind the time loops, dialogue, and implications of the Zelda series. Althought she’s got plenty of entertaining and mindbending Legend of Zelda Theories, my personal favorite video from her channel is a theory about the “Song of Storms” paradox.

If you don’t want to watch the video, it is about the time paradox in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in which older Link is taught the Song of Storms by Guru-Guru, and he learned it from a kid 7 years ago, as fate would have it is Link from 7 years ago after going backward in time to teach it to Guru-Guru to teach himself. Has your brain exploded yet? The theory goes on and forward and essentially explains that because in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask Young Link learns it from a Poe, and has some unexplained time as to where he could have been and teaching Guru-Guru, so Old Link can learn the song, and still go back in time so that Young Link after Old Link learns it can become Majora’s Mask Link to teach Guru-Guru. Vortex explains it in a much more eloquent way, believe me.

Vortex just dives into a bunch of fan theories, and theories she comes up with on her own, doubles it with research and presents a thought-provoking video as well as a grounds for really fun discussions. Her videos talk about the origins of temples, the lineage of mysterious characters like Ashei or even Twilight Princess Link, and the history of interesting items.

So if you’re a Legend of Zelda fan I suggest you play Epona’s song ASAP and ride over to VortexxyGaming’s channel and watch some fun fan theories.

Let us know your thoughts! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

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Top 5 Creepy Realities if Pokémon Were Real

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if Pokémon were real?  While the concept appears highly exciting, there are some disturbing scenarios to keep in mind.  I’d like to share you my Top 5 creepy realities in a world where Pokémon are real.

1. Gambling – Throughout its run, Pokémon battles have been a subject of controversy.  Critics have said that battles promote cock fighting.  In the real world, this is essentially what Pokémon battles would be.  On top of that, the winner earns money while the loser has to scurry to the nearest Pokémon Center.  Let’s not forget the Game Corners, another form of gambling.

Gambling-Addiction-061909L2. Collateral damage -Flying and normal types seem harmless.  Now, think about fire, rock or water types.  A Pokémon battle in an urban or a suburb setting just seems like a terrible idea.  Charizard, use flamethrower, but watch for the trees!  Maybe Pokémon battle insurance could become a thing?

Imagine
Imagine

3. Minors journeying on their own – In the early days, every 10 year old trainer embarks on a journey, through the wilderness and perhaps alone.  Is a ten year old even mature enough to make day to day decisions on where to eat and sleep?  I think it is silly that a 10 year old could possibly thwart the plans of an entire criminal organization.

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4. Pokemon actually fainting – You win battles by knocking out all of your opponent’s Pokémon.  What if they can’t make it to a Pokémon Center in time and Pokémon succumb to bad injuries, poison or burn?  Think of how traumatic such a loss can be on a 10 year old.  Hopefully Pokémon Centers would still be free of charge.

pika

5. Eerie ghost Pokémon– Remember Cubone’s dead mother storyline from Generation I? How creepy would it be to be haunted by a dead Marowak?  I think it would also be creepy to try and capture ghost Pokémon.  By definition, they are already dead.

Probably more sinister than this
Probably more sinister than this

Can you think of any other disturbing scenarios?  Let us know what you think!

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My Top 5 Old School Pokémon Habits

Hey Swole Patrol, do you ever develop habits while playing a video game?  Being a lifelong Pokémon fan, I’ve had my fair share of habits over the years.  I would like to share with you my Top 5 habits from playing Pokémon on the Gameboy (in no particular order).

1. Pressing and holding down + B while catching a Pokémon

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I’ve heard various button combinations but I believe down + B is the most common. Basically, inputting said command would increase the likelihood of catching a wild Pokémon.  I still believe in it and chose not to test its validity because I like to think it still works to this day.

2. Saving before an epic battle! (Gym leader, organization boss, Elite Four, etc.)

High five if you can hear the theme in your head
High five if you can hear the theme in your head

This habit developed as a result of being cautious.  At one point, Gameboys relied on Double A batteries and accidental bumps would cause a battery to fly out.  Secondly, any sudden bumps to the game cartridge would cause the game to freeze, thus losing all progress. Nowadays, I like to think of saving as taking a moment to strategize or restart the battle should it go south. (0-100 real quick)

3. Raising the volume for epic theme music associated with special trainers or Pokémon

It’s go time! In my opinion, epic themes make special trainer battles much cooler.   Nothing tops the original Kanto gym leader theme though.

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4. Restarting the game file and playing with a different starter.

I’m Team Charmander (most other fire starters included).  However, upon completing the game, I got nostalgic and wanted to see how life would be like with a different starter.  Often times, this let me experiment with different type combination for my team of 6 Pokes.

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5. Fully volving the starter before anyone else

In the end, my final team of 6 ALWAYS includes my starter’s final evolution stage.  I never sent my starter to the PC because I like to believe that starter is my go-to, come through in the clutch Pokémon.  With that being said, I always like to fully evolve that Pokémon first.

It's about to go down!
It’s about to go down!

Do you have any habits you would like to share? Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!