Pokemon Diamond (2): The bare run

Back for more beastly action! I will now elaborate further on my run of Pokemon Diamond. Before even starting to play the game, I wanted the said run to be characterised by two words: simple and basic. I wanted my first foray into the Pokemon universe to be a pure and bare-bones one, during which I would focus solely on the fundamentals. I wanted to play it my straightforward way, and that’s exactly what I did; and I’m now going to dissect that oh so basic run in front of your very eyes. 

By detailing my run, I hope to offer a different view of how Pokemon games can be played and a new insight into the depth and flexibility of the series. I have no doubt that I am not the only gamer who dutifully avoided the series for many years due to its heavy focus on completion and collection, thus depriving myself of many hours of fun without even knowing it; and if I can change the mind of such gamers and lead them to give a try to the series by showing that Pokemon games can be played and enjoyed without any sort of collection galore, then I’ll consider my gaming deed of the day to be done. 

The rules of the run

I jumped head first into Pokemon Diamond without any prior knowledge of the rules of the Pokemon universe; the only things I was vaguely aware of was that there was a strong notion of elemental complementarity at work, and that the battle mechanics could be incredibly complex. I had seen some headache-inducing tables about the amount of damage dealt in battle by every type of Pokemon, browsed some threads about battle strategy that read like esoteric writings, and had my brain whirling while discovering the enormous amount of data available about every single Pokemon on Bulbapedia; all things that could have legitimately convinced me to do my homework before diving into Diamond. However, I was not inclined to read any strategy guide or FAQ; I usually use these only when I’m totally stuck or when I clear a game and want to get a deeper insight into its secrets. I thus decided to proceed as usual and to rely entirely on my gaming instinct, trusting that my experience as an RPG veteran would allow me to navigate safely and ease my way through Sinnoh—and through the Pokemon universe as a whole. 

My first goal was to focus mostly on exploring and discovering the Sinnoh region, along with uncovering the story. My expectations regarding the narrative side were not quite met, as I explained in my last post, but I certainly got my fill on the exploration side. Sinnoh may be tiny, but it was a real joy to roam it and make it my own. The sweet and gentle vibe of Diamond greatly reinforced the pleasure I took in discovering that world: this is by far the least stressful RPG I’ve ever played, and it’s just delightful to take a break from your usual foe-laden, hazardous RPG once in a while and play something truly relaxing instead. 

But the meat and potatoes of Pokemon games is not the exploration of the local region, however charming and enjoyable this process may be; it’s obviously the recruitment of Pokemons. (I know that technically, this is more like capture and enslavement; but my soft gamer’s heart prefers to see it as a recruitment of sorts, and imagine that ‘Mons allow me to catch them because they want to join me.) With respect to that bread and butter of the Pokemon series, my stance was one of a potential adopter who would visit an animal shelter and check all the animals until they find one with which they click instantly. I wanted to base my recruitment solely on my instinct and gut feelings about the ‘Mons I encountered on the field. If practical thinking was needed at some point, I would act accordingly, but the main motto was definitely: “Awww, you’re so adorable! Come into my Pokeball!” With such guidelines, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I ended up with a team of ‘Mons that closely resembled real-life animals. Let’s now expand on the run per se! 

I ground it my way

Here is the basic data about my run. I fittingly named my trainer ‘Diamond’ and selected a Piplup as my starter, which I affectionately renamed ‘Piply’. I encountered 140 Pokemons (counting evolved forms) on the field and during my battles with trainers, of which I captured 10: Shinx, Goldeen, Ponyta, Stunky, Magikarp, Happiny, Shellos, Starly, Sneasel and finally Dialga. I subsequently freed Goldeen, Stunky, Magikarp, Happiny and Dialga, which was really heartwarming; I only regret that the game didn’t treat me with a small animation of them returning to the wild. Oh, well. My final dream team comprised four ‘Mons: Piplup aka Piply, who became a proud Empoleon; Shinx, who evolved all the way up into Luxray; Ponyta, who over—considerable—time became a fiery Rapidash; and, last but not least, Sneasel, who remained that way because I couldn’t get my hands on the special item needed for that Pokemon’s evolution. You’ll notice that I used the determiner “who” instead of “which”, against all grammar sense, and that’s because I grew really attached to my ‘Mons over the course of my playthrough: they were partners and friends to me, not just mere enslaved animals. These fab four were great troopers ready to tackle any battle; I let them fight in turn and by the time I finished my run, they had all reached a respectable level 50. I also had two supporting team members, namely Starly, later evolving into Staravia, and Shellos; these two didn’t take part in battles and their sole purpose was to learn and perform the moves ‘Surf’ and ‘Fly’. To wrap up that exposition, here are a few details that puzzled or amused me:

—I didn’t meet a single wild Pikachu. Could the ubiquitous mascot of the series as a whole actually be a super-rare Pokemon in the games, or at least in this one? Well, I certainly didn’t expect that. 

—On the contrary, enrolling Dialga was a total breeze, thanks to a special Pokeball with a 100% catch rate provided a bit earlier in the game. I’d have thought Legendary Pokemons would prove to be a much harder catch—so much so that I didn’t expect for a single second to be able to catch the resident Legendary of Diamond, while I was totally sure that I would get my hands on a Pikachu. You never know what life has in store for you, let alone Pokemon games! Anyway, this 100% catch rate Pokeball seemed like a cheap trick, and I never felt like using Dialga in battles: it seemed really insulting to force the Time Pokemon itself, co-creator of Sinnoh, to take part into something as petty as a battle against a wild ‘Mon or a belligerent trainer. Out of respect for that mighty beast, I freed it after some time; it deserved to be out there, roaming the very world it created, rather than squeezed into a Pokeball. 

—Since the booklet encourages you so explicitly to choose your trainer’s sex in accordance with your own, I expected some kind of romantic development to take place at some point, most likely between Professor Rowan's young assistant and yourself. However, nothing of the sort happened, which makes me scratch my head and wonder what was the whole point of that initial advice. Weird, indeed. Or maybe I’m just too old to ponder how much of a trauma it would be for a child to play as a character who’s not of the same sex as they are? Poor thing, that could obviously tear their very soul apart. (Insert sarcastic smile.)

Diamond gives you a so-called 'best friend', in the most tsundere sense of that word—understand, an over-excited wannabe trainer with an strong inferiority complex that he tries to overcome by constantly daring you to fight him. I took an undeniable pleasure into beating him to a pulp every time he foolishly challenged me that way, claiming that he was the strongest. Ha! You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into, you fool! I guess Diamond woke up the childish strike in me, making me enjoy this kind of silly competition again, if only for a short period of time.

After this juicy slice of trivia, let’s lay down a wider picture of my run. As I said, I stuck to the basics, dutifully ignoring all the mini-games that were thrown regularly at my face to distract me from my somewhat arid path. I didn’t dress my ‘Mons with accessories, I didn’t enrol them into any weird Pokemon pageant, nor did I walk them into the park. (Not that I could have, anyway: they were deemed not ‘cute’ enough to deserve that walk. Well, be it.) I only cooked a couple of Poffins to treat them with, which was rather funny and relaxing, and fished just enough to catch a Goldeen and a Magikarp. When it came to battle strategies, I decided from the get-go that my fighting team would count no more than six ‘Mons, but it turned out that even this modest number of beasts was too complicated to manage once on the field, which prompted me to concentrate solely on my Fab Four. As a result, my elemental options were obvious limited, which thus lead me to resort to that good ol’ fixture of RPGs: Grinding, ladies and gentlemen. I ground my way through Sinnoh, tackling patiently every single battle, crushing every single one of these pugnacious trainers who dared to challenge me. It was hard at times, but I always soldiered on, earning the eight Gym badges and finally reaching the coveted Elite Four Headquarters. This ominous building was looming large over me, daring me to engulf into its depths and challenge the resident trainers—which I did, of course. However, I did so in the most reckless way. I went in without stocking any vital items, just to sneak a peek and get a first impression; I beat the first Champion with great difficulty, and then saved my progress before realizing that I couldn’t leave the room and refurbish or heal my ‘Mons, basically painting myself into a corner. I tried forging ahead and beating the second Champion, but it became painfully clear that I would run out of items before I could beat all of them, so I basically quit playing at that point. I could have let the Champions batter me in order to escape that mess and get the opportunity to refurbish and grind a tad more, but I was not interested. At that point, I had been playing for 35 hours and I felt like I had gotten my fill of Pokemon action for the time being. Next time, I will prepare better and take these mighty Trainers down, I swear. For indeed, there will definitely be a next time, and most likely several of them: I’m not done with the Sinnoh region, and I’m certainly not done with the Pokemon series as a whole. 

That sweet lingering feeling

In fact, my run of Diamond may very well be the beginning of a long and solid love story. I didn’t have a thundering crush on that game like I did on all-time favourites of mine like Avalon Code or Link’s Awakening; this is more of a softcore, slow-burning affair that is slowly but surely growing on me. My run of Diamond left me with a sweet and warm feeling that gently flows back into my mind every time I think about the game. I loved the gentle exploration and the relaxing atmosphere; combined with the utter freedom I was given regarding recruitment and fighting, it makes Diamond a deliciously fulfilling and gratifying experience. Granted, it is not the most amazing or thrilling game I’ve ever played: the pace is slow, the fighting system is quite dated and fights can sometimes drag on painfully, and it can be really grindy at times; and yet, this game is incredibly memorable in its own soft, tender, non-invasive way. It nested into my gaming memory and carved itself a niche there—a very soothing, comforting and heartwarming niche, shall I say. Even restarting the game to collect my data for this post felt like coming back to a familiar and welcoming place, and I actually felt very much inclined to restart a playthrough right on the spot. 

However, I will not succumb, for I have juicier plans in mind: I’m definitely going to purchase and play more Pokemon entries, starting with the DS ones. On the long run, I may very well purchase every single episode of the franchise; for despite not having a completionist style of playing when I indulge into games, I am indeed very much the collector and the completionist when it comes to game series. Talk about irony! At any rate, I’m sure I will grow to love the series more and more as time goes on and games are played. I’m also quite sure that the best is yet to come, especially when one knows that Diamond and Pearl were far from being deemed outstanding entries in the franchise. From what I’ve read, they were rather criticised for their lack of innovation and outlandish roster of ‘Mons, and were perceived as a low point in the series. Many stated that Pokemon had lost its edge and was starting to grow stale, and Platinum didn’t change the series’ fortune significantly; only the subsequent release of the Black/White pair turned the tables, revigorating disappointed Poke-aficionados as well as the series as a whole in its wake. Knowing that, it’s fair to assume that if I loved Diamond despite its supposed lack of greatness, then surely I will adore entries that are deemed better. 

So, I have grandiose plans about the Pokemon series, and it thrills me to think about the countless hours of joy that lie ahead. My immediate plan is to purchase the Black and White versions, along with their sequels Black 2 and White 2, as well as Soul Silver/Heart Gold and Platinum. Pearl is not on my buying list right now, but I will certainly purchase it sooner or later, especially if I decide to collect the full series. I’m done with Sinnoh and the Pokemon series for now, but I will be back—and quite soon at that, if my current craving for more Pokemon action is to be trusted. As for now, thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!


Pokemon Diamond (1): A late discovery

After all these years, I’ve finally tamed the beast. Or should I rather say the beasts? You guessed it: for the first time in my gaming life, I played a classic Pokemon game. Better late than never, as they say. 

The reasons why the Pokemon series eluded me all these years are twofold. The first of them is that when the series reached Europe in the late 90’s, it was heavily marketed towards children and came along with all sorts of unsavory commercial tie-ins that blurred the picture and somewhat took the focus away from the games (so much so, in fact, that their RPG nature was then unknown to most, including myself); given that I was a young adult at that time and thus not the main target, I basically ignored the series altogether. Much later, when the initial craze cooled down, the focus came back to the games themselves and their RPG glory could finally shine brightly and unhindered. Learning that Pokemon was actually an RPG series naturally piqued my curiosity and interest; and yet I still didn’t dive into it senselessly, for it seemed to me that the core mechanics of the series were completely at odds with my gaming interests. I’m neither a completionist nor a collector, so the prospect of playing a game entirely based on these two principles didn’t thrill me the slightest. In fact, the very idea of having to collect the hundreds of Pokemons available in every entry felt more like a dreadful chore than an exciting challenge, which is the second reason why I shied away from the series even after becoming aware that it belonged to my favourite gaming genre. 

But not so long ago, I started reconsidering my position about the Pokemon series. My gaming experience, and more specifically my Dragon Quest IX Solo Run, taught me that there is always a certain amount of latitude in the way games can be played. Not only that, but my playthrough of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity showed me brilliantly that it was perfectly possible to play a Pokemon game without having to put up with any sort of recruiting galore. This definitely tipped the scales, and I decided to try a classic Pokemon game and see if I could, well, play it my way. 

Quite thrilled by the prospect of discovering such a huge franchise, I settled for a DS game for starters. I didn’t want to go all the way back to the Gameboy days, nor did I want to risk stumbling on a Gameboy Advance bootleg, and I was even less inclined to go for the brand-new 3ds entries, whose high prices were not really fit for a first try that could prove disappointing. I wanted to play it safe, and the sole reason why I finally elected Pokemon Diamond as my very first foray into the franchise was because of all the Pokemon games I browsed when I made my purchase, my now copy of Diamond was the cheapest. 

I’ll go on with a few words about the series, even though I’m quite sure it doesn’t need introduction. All Pokemon games were developed by Game Freak Inc. and published by Nintendo and covered five generations of consoles, from the original Gameboy to the 3ds. The canon Pokemon games always remained on Nintendo handheld systems; some occasional spin-offs were released on Nintendo home consoles, but the franchise always remained a portable one at heart. I find interesting that all the classic games contain the word “version” in their title—the only exception to this being the newly released X&Y pair. It’s not just Pokemon Diamond, but rather Pokemon Diamond Version; this gives the curious feeling that all Pokemon entries are only variations of an original formula bound to remain the same at its core. As for what this formula would be, we’ll see that right away.

Completion, collection and childhood. 

Pokemon is a game series that strives on completion and collection and makes no effort to hide it. It’s quite the opposite, in fact: the series wears this otaku-ish vibe of maniacal collecting like a badge of honor. Let’s not forget that the series is the brainchild of Satoshi Tajiri, who used to collect and classify insects as a kid and wanted to reproduce and emulate that process in a virtual form via the creation of Pokemon. It thus shouldn’t surprise anyone that Pokemon games center mainly on collection and completion and make all the necessary way for these processes to unfold.

Pokemon Diamond perfectly illustrates this. As the game starts, you are promptly asked by the resident professor, expert in all things Pokemon but apparently too lazy to pursue his own research himself, to depart from your quiet village in order to roam the game world (i.e. the Sinnoh region, based on the Japanese region of Hokkaido) and gather as much information as you can about Pokemons. You are given a database called Pokedex that you must fill with information about the ‘Mons you encounter and fight and/or capture, and explicitly encouraged to capture as many of them as you can. “Gotta catch ‘em all”, remember! And fill that Pokedex while you’re at it! Apparently, child slavery was not abolished in Sinnoh—nor was animal slavery, for that matter. Oh, well. You get the idea: your goal is to travel, explore, fight and capture Pokemons, preferably all of them. I was actually quite shocked by the lack of importance given to the narrative elements. There is no story to speak of and no ultimate goal to reach story-wise: the goal is purely and simply to catch all the available Pokemons, and everything story-related doesn’t have any other function than to provide some embellishment to this collecting quest. It’s even below the level of your average dungeon-crawler, where the story is here to give you an excuse to roam dungeons; Pokemon Diamond tells you loud and clear to go fetch ‘Mons in the first place and then sprinkles your quest with occasional bits of narrative to adorn it somehow. For instance, you quickly encounter a team of villains with typically dark schemes determined to hinder your progress. I totally expected an epic showdown at the end of the game, during which I would take them down in classic RPG fashion; but that is not the way things unfold in Diamond. Instead, you defeat these baddies long before the end of the game and then go on with your quest as though nothing happened, which confused me a trifle. Oh, well.

Another distinctive aspect of Diamond, and probably of the whole series, is that it’s aimed primarily at children. This is obvious from the get-go: the main character is a kid living with their mother, and the instruction manual explicitly encourages you, in what I can only describe as an annoyingly patronizing way, to choose your main character so that their sex will match your own. This child focus continues to shine through the whole game: the baddies are laughing stocks not the slightest bit threatening, running gags are abundant and you are constantly treated with all sorts of mini-games. Let’s also mention that the Sinnoh region is quite small and gives off a very welcoming vibe, with everybody being incredibly friendly and kind towards you. The gameplay was also visibly designed with children in mind. Unlike every other RPG under the gaming sun, Diamond won’t force you to pay in order to rest your wounded Pokemons: this is all free of charge, and you can use and abuse it at will. Random encounters are limited to some specific areas, namely the grassy ones, allowing the player to avoid them if they wish to do so. You are assured not to get lost in any way: in typical Zelda-like fashion, your progress is canalized by some physical obstacles bound to be overcome later in the game, giving a gentle exploration thrill to the whole process. There is of course no such thing as permadeath, your Pokemons simply ‘fainting’ instead if their HP falls to zero; nothing that a free-of-charge rest as the nearest Pokemon center can’t fix. The captured ‘Mons can be released at any moment, so there is no such thing as permanent animal enslavement. (I actually loved that feature and used it a couple of times, and I always got a warm, fluttering feeling in my chest when I freed a Pokemon.) All in all, Diamond is a sweet, relaxing and lovely RPG with a domestic vibe, in which you explore your own tiny, friendly world at your leisure.

This heavy focus on completion and collection and this softcore youthful vibe are strongly reinforced by the art direction of Diamond. To put it simply, this game is graphically and musically nondescript. Graphics are simple and basic, with clear-cut lines, a general roundness to everything and a low level of details. Pokemons and characters are drawn in a generic style that doesn’t show any further stylization than the one you encounter in your average anime, which somewhat shocked me: I expected such a huge franchise to at least sport a very distinct, specific graphic style, but this is not the case. As for the music, a single word sums it up: Elevator. Diamond’s soundtrack is a glorified compilation of the finest elevator music you can think of, declined in a lounge, jazzy or ambient mood depending on the setting and the circumstances. This soundtrack is actually quite huge and offers dozens of tracks that caress and soothe the ears while being unobtrusive and blending in the background. I was rather fond of it: I thought it was a nice change from the usual epic themes prominent in RPGs. This mellow soundtrack and simple graphics greatly enhance the sweet and childish vibe of Diamond, which was very likely their primary purpose. By being basic and somehow unthreateningly nonspecific, they also allow the player to concentrate fully on the main purpose of the game, i.e. collecting ‘Mons like there’s no tomorrow. A more complex combination of sound and graphics may have distracted the player from that goal: let’s be honest, the task of collecting the hundreds of beasts available in this game is already daunting and massive enough not to trouble the player further by forcing sensory overload on them. This is especially true for kids, who remain the primary target of the series, but can also apply to adults. I’d rather have the mellow and somewhat forgettable soundtrack of Diamond rather that a sweeping one that would grate on my ears and nerves after a couple of loops. As for the graphics, well… They are an acquired taste as far as I’m concerned. I would have loved a more stylized and elaborate take on them, at least initially, but I learnt to love them as time went on. 

That oh so well-deserved fame

The Pokemon craze of the late 90’s cooled down long ago: the card game sunk into the depths of oblivion, the TV show was kicked away by fresher contenders like One Piece and Naruto and the products adorned with Pikachu&co disappeared from store shelves. However, the games remained popular, and not only with children, but also with adult players, while at the same time being regularly sneered and sniffed at. Grown-up Pokemon aficionados are accused of being caught in nostalgia or afflicted with immaturity and bad taste in games, and the whole franchise is branded as nothing but a shamelessly commercial pile of crap. But surely, nostalgia, supposed bad taste or weakness to marketing tricks cannot explain alone the enduring popularity of Pokemon, can they? This is a series that has been around for two decades now and whose entries manage to garner stellar reviews over and over again, and there are obviously good, solid reasons for that. And upon playing Diamond with an open and curious mind, I can see what these reasons are, and understand much better why Pokemon is oh so famous. 

What happened is that against all odds, I deeply enjoyed my run of Pokemon Diamond; much more so than I actually expected. Even with my best critical eye opened, and without the benefit of nostalgia that makes the heart grow fonder, I found a lot of undeniable qualities in Diamond

The first blatant quality of Diamond, and probably of all Pokemon entries, is its sheer accessibility. The basic rules of the game are incredibly easy to figure out, and you can dive straight into the action from the get-go: there’s no need to ponder strategies or rack your brain in order to build the perfectly balanced team before you can venture on the field like in more complex RPGs. Not only that, but the purpose of every single object you encounter in the game world is dutifully and exhaustively explained, and that purpose is always clear-cut and one-dimensional: items have no hidden side effects like decreasing some of your stats, so you can feel safe and free to use them without fearing any sort of collateral damage. Every operation related to your ‘Mons, like healing them or teaching them new moves, is carefully broken down and laid down before you one step at a time, requiring your approval before moving on to the next step; while this may seem a tad too overbearing at times, it also guarantees that you won’t make any mistake and end up doing something you were not planning to do. This is a game that meets you more than halfway and does everything it can to facilitate your accustomization and assure that you will feel at ease while playing. 

However, while it may take only a couple of minutes to figure out the rules of Diamond and of the Pokemon series as a whole, it may actually take dozens, if not hundreds of hours to master them to the fullest. Despite its apparent simplicity, Diamond is a game that is extremely deep and packs an incredible amount of content. I played it for 35 hours, and yet I can very clearly feel that I only brushed oh so gently the surface of the game. There is a tremendous amount of content and knowledge that is still hidden to me, from the subtle layers of strategy involved in Pokemon battles to the Pokemon themselves, of which I captured only a fraction; and let’s not even talk about the complex mechanics of breeding and leveling up. One thing is sure though: it’s impossible to blame the series for being shallow and superficial. There is a lot to do and a lot to discover, and that is undeniable. I was actually quite flabbergasted by the depth of Diamond—right before becoming thrilled by the promises it held. 

Not that I actually uncovered and enjoyed all that Diamond promised; far from it, in fact. My run, on which I will expand further in my next post, was exactly what I planned it to be: a brief first shot at the Pokemon series, as straightforward and basic as it could be. And I have to say that it worked beautifully—beyond my wildest expectations, actually, which prompts me to mention what I consider to be the most prominent and glorious quality of the Pokemon series. And that quality, ladies and gentlemen, is flexibility. Diamond is a game that lets you play exactly the way you want without forcing any agenda on you: despite its heaving focus on completion, it never actually forces you to frenetically collect hundreds of ‘Mons. I feared that it would indeed do exactly that, which would have basically ruined my fun, along with my run; but my fears were absolutely unfounded. To my utter delight, I could play Diamond the very exact way I intended to play it, which was totally at odds with the series’ basic principles, and it worked like a charm. To infuse a game with such a high level of adaptability is not an easy feat; it’s so difficult, in fact, that very few games manage to reach that Eldorado of openness and offer every gamer the freedom to play their own way. Diamond is one of these precious few, and I’d wager that most Pokemon entries, if not all of them, boast the same delicious flexibility. Diamond smoothly molds itself into the very game you want it to be: it is really as deep and strategic as you make it, and you’re the one deciding how deep you want to delve. You can stay at the surface like I did, dive a bit deeper, or go for the abyss and master every single subtlety of the battle mechanics, and the game will very likely accommodate you every time, no matter which path you choose. 

I am quite convinced that this malleability and gentle catering to the player’s desires are the main reasons behind the enduring popularity of the Pokemon series. This is a game that truly has something to offer to everyone—providing that they are RPG-inclined to start with, even though I wouldn’t be surprised if the series could win over some gamers that are not into the genre. This sheds a new light on the simplicity of the graphics and soundtrack and reveals a deeper purpose for their nondescript quality: by being so basic and without asperities, they are likely to appeal to everyone, or at least be accepted by everyone, which reinforces the openness boasted by the series. They also give a timeless quality to the games and make the series more likely to endure and stand the test of time; and it’s working beautifully, if the high prices of the older entries are to be believed. But I’m now adamant that Diamond and the Pokemon series as a whole are indeed high-quality games: if I could enjoy Diamond so much while being anything but a collector and completionist, not being the primary target and not being under the influence of any kind of nostalgia, then I’m pretty sure every RPG aficionado can enjoy it. 

So, I’ve tamed the beast after all these years, and it was quite the blast. I really loved Pokemon Diamond; so much so, in fact, that I could nearly go for another playthrough right away. But I’m not going to do that; instead, I will purchase other Pokemon entries. I’m definitely set on discovering the full series now, including the older installments, and that is a thrilling and delighting prospect; there’s nothing quite like the late discovery of a huge series bursting with a whole richness of games to savour. Oh, the joy! I will stop for now; in my next post, I will expand more profusely on my basic yet utterly enjoyable run, with the hope of offering a new insight into Pokemon games and how they can be played. As for now, thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!