Gaming Post 35: Pokémon Silver Version

The random number generator chose Pokémon Silver Version. That’s interesting.

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Pokémon Silver Version was a Game Boy Color game that came out in October of the year 2000. It was one of the two video games that introduced players to the second generation of Pokémon (the group of 100 Pokémon that were revealed to players after the first 151). Silver Version’s mascot is the legendary Pokémon Lugia, who had been introduced to audiences earlier that year in the second Pokémon Movie, “Pokémon the Movie 2000”.

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When Pokemon Gold and Silver came out, I didn’t get Silver right away, but I did get Gold Version the first day it came out. I chose Gold instead of Silver because I preferred Ho-oh over Lugia. To me, Ho-oh seemed like a Pokémon that was even newer than Lugia, and that is what made me decide to get Gold first.

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I eventually received Silver as a Christmas present, seemingly on Christmas of 2001, but it possibly could have been 2000. My memories of that time in my life are a bit fuzzy. The only evidence against me having gotten it for Christmas of 2001 (that I can think of) is that Pokémon Crystal was already out at that point, and Silver was considered to be inferior to Crystal. I can’t say for certain whether or not I got Crystal on its release date, but if I really did get Silver for Christmas of 2001, it seems that Pokémon Crystal might have been received on another occasion some time after its release date.

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Thinking about this feels like a time paradox.

I was about 9 back then, and looking back at it, I seemed to be more focused on playing through the story rather than playing beyond the end. I got all 16 Badges in the game and beat Trainer Red like I had done in Gold Version, but in Silver, that’s where I stopped. My starter Pokémon was Totodile because I had already chosen Cyndaquil in Gold, and because Chikorita was in my opinion the lamest of the three.

 

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In those days, I had a guide which I attempted to use with my friend Jonah to complete the Pokédex, but it was a fruitless endeavor. There was no known way to get Mew or Celebi without cheating, and I wasn’t goal-oriented enough to capture the other 249 that were possible to catch. My first real attempt at catching em all would have to wait until Generation 3.

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I lost this guide some time in the past 15 years.

I remember reading that Pokémon Silver Version was considered by the Scholastic Book of World Records to be the most sold video game. I don’t think it was true though, even at the time it was printed. Maybe it was the most sold game during a specific year, but I’m not sure. Even so, if it was true that more copies of Silver were sold than Gold, it seems to indicate that people favored Lugia over Ho-oh at that time, even though the metal Gold is usually considered to be more valuable and thus better than Silver. The reason for Lugia’s popularity might be its design, but it seems to me that people were starting to prefer Pokémon that they were familiar with over those that were perceived to be new. Lugia had its movie, and although Ho-oh did appear in the first episode of Pokémon on TV, I know I never saw that episode until years later, so to many, it was completely new. The sentiment of preferring the familiar would drive some people who had previously liked Pokémon to dislike the newer Pokémon simply based on the fact that they were new and not of the original 151.

 

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As for me, I liked the shiny cartridges.

Pokémon Silver Version was good, but it was pretty much the same exact game as Gold. It was because I had already beaten Gold and Silver that I later found Pokémon Crystal to be not worth finishing until I finally did in 2014, but that’s a story for another time.

 

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Technically, I have still not played through the remake of Pokémon Silver that came out in 2010. I played Heart Gold but it was my brother who played Soul Silver. I’ll be sure to think of an excuse to play through Soul Silver one day.

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In Soul Silver, the HM background color is Silver! Not Gold! It’s Different!

I played Pokémon Silver again in the year 2014. I won’t tell you why, but you may be able to guess. Until the time is right, I’m leaving it as a sloppily kept secret. By the way, here’s a trailer for The Yellow Quest!

 

And here’s a link to the playlist

Thanks for reading!

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Gaming Post 30: WarioWare: Twisted

The random number generator has determined that the game I should write about next is WarioWare: Twisted. It was one of the 3 portable motion controlled Game Boy games that I know about, as well as the second real installment of the WarioWare series.

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WarioWare games are great. They’re difficult to play at first, but with practice they become more enjoyable. It consists of playing various micro games in quick succession. Each micro game is only a few seconds long, and the player either wins or loses based on their actions after quickly being given the instructions. Some of the instructions can be too vague to understand the first time you see them, but there are only about 200 micro games in the game, so you end up memorizing a lot of them by the time you’re finished. 200 micro games sounds like a lot, and it is, but they are divided into categories when you play through the main story, so the rotation of possible micro games should only consist of about 20 when you’re first learning them. You can play a mode at the end when any game can appear, but that’s after the main story.

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Aside from the first one, WarioWare games have always had a gimmick related to the controls. This time, the gimmick was motion controls. At the time, the Wii didn’t exist yet, so motion controlled games felt new and exciting. Despite how common they are now, this game is one of the best motion controlled games I ever played.

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Take a look at this cartridge! I don’t know how it works but it’s amazing!

The other motion controlled Game Boy games I know about are Kirby Tilt-N-Tumble and Yoshi: Topsy Turvy. WarioWare: Twisted is the first one I played, and the best of them, but I eventually beat all 3. I wonder why so many of these titles use the letter T so prominently. It might just be a weird coincidence.

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The story starts with Wario accidentally breaking his Game Boy Advance. He takes it to his friend Dr. Crygor and tells him to fix it. Instead, Crygor modifies it to have motion controls. Wario sees the potential of it and starts developing games for the new system.

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The whole game uses tilt controls and occasionally the A and B buttons. This also applies to the menu. You will never use the directional pad for anything.

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I’m a big fan of WarioWare. My friend Jonah introduced the series to me, but I only really got into formally completing the games myself once I received a download for the first WarioWare game through the 3DS Ambassador program. My local Target store dropped the price of the 3DS from $250 to $180 a day early, so I bought it for $180 the day they dropped the price but still got the Ambassador games.

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#Win

I always strive for 100% completion in WarioWare games. In order to do that, there’s a certain process I undertake. First, I try out the first category of micro games. If I make it to the boss and win, I unlock the next category of micro games, but I don’t move on to playing them yet.

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There’s a mode in the better 4 WarioWare games that lets you play a particular micro game over and over until you lose 4 times. Just like in the regular mode, the micro games get faster and sometimes trickier the further you progress. If you can reach the high score goal for beating a micro game a certain amount of times in one go, the game acknowledges this achievement with a flower icon (I think) on that particular micro game in the micro game selection menu.

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Example of a micro game

I work to get the achievement for every single available micro game, and I stop once I’ve reached all the high scores. If there are micro games you can’t access in challenge mode, it means that you’ve never encountered them before in regular mode. In those cases, I would go into regular mode with the express point of finding the locked micro games. Having practiced the micro games unlocked so far, I’d be able to survive long past the first time encountering the boss micro game, and as I progressed further, the faster micro games went and thus the more likely I was to encounter the locked micro games quickly. WarioWare is definitely a situation where practice makes perfect.

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Another micro game

Once I unlock all the micro games and complete their challenges, there are still neat things to collect. WarioWare: Twisted takes advantage of its unique controls by adding in neat virtual toys that they call “souvenirs”. I think it’s great that ideas like these see the light of day because they are bundled with a product that is actually worth buying.

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Example: When you rotate the game system, the globe rotates too.

My favorite micro games in WarioWare are generally the ones developed by the character 9-Volt. He’s a Nintendo Fan who (by an extension of logic) lives on the same planet as Mario, Wario and Donkey Kong. His games remix old Nintendo games with changes either in controls or context. This time he added Motion Controls to classic Nintendo titles.

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I wouldn’t be surprised if he grew up to develop NES Remix.

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WarioWare: Twisted was never localized in Europe. Some say it was never sold there because the mechanism inside the cartridge used mercury and mercury is one of the poisonous substances blocked from being sold in the European Union, but this is probably not why.

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A mercury thermometer. Not all thermometers contain mercury.

The main reason I don’t believe that the mercury rumor is true is that mercury is poisonous no matter what country you’re in. I am pretty sure that people wouldn’t allow a poisonous substance to be used in a toy or video game sold in America, so the only other theory I’ve read that makes sense to me has something to do with the long bureaucratic process for approving games to be sold in Europe. The idea is that either the process for getting the game’s approval took too long or it was predicted that it would take too long and (either way) was abandoned by Nintendo of Europe since their focus shifted from marketing Game Boy Advance to the Nintendo DS. A similar thing happened with Earthbound Beginnings between its release in Japan and its lack of localization anywhere else. Earthbound Beginnings eventually did get released worldwide on Virtual Console, but it took a long time and a lot of fan outcry to make it happen. For anyone wanting to play this game in Europe, I’d recommend just buying an American copy, since there was no region lock on the Game Boy Advance so it should work with a European console.

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Europe did get some of these WarioWare: Twisted micro games via the inclusion of a few of them in a category within the WarioWare game for Wii, WarioWare: Smooth Moves. Both games had motion controls, so the category’s inclusion was an elegant throwback to “retro” motion controlled micro games.

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A micro game in WarioWare: Smooth Moves

Theoretically, Nintendo might be able release the entirety of WarioWare: Twisted for the Wii U Virtual Console, but honestly, I don’t see it happening. WarioWare: Twisted is a great game, but it’s relatively obscure. If you want to play it, definitely order a copy online. I recommend it!

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Wario’s game development team

Thanks for Reading! I Appreciate it!

Gaming Post 29: Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3

The random number generator has determined that the next game I should write about is Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3.

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Wario Land is an interesting game in that it continued an existing series by transforming it. It is the last game in the Mario Land series as well as the first in the Wario Land one. You play as Wario, who was the main antagonist in the previous game, Super Mario Land 2.

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I bought this game from the 3DS Nintendo eshop when I was bored, along with Mario Land 1, Wario Land 2 and Wario Land 3. I already had Mario Land 2 from an eshop sale.

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After finishing Mario Land 2, PAX East 2014 happened. I didn’t have a Ticket for the Friday, but I did meet my friend Absol from the Internet outside the venue that day. I then sat for a few hours and streetpassed with people who were in line to get in. This campaign finally ended when my 3DS ran out of battery power and I decided to take the train home.

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When I got home, I was experiencing gaming withdrawal. Though it was true that I had been playing the Mii Plaza games Puzzle Swap and Warrior’s Way, I had only played them so intently that day because PAX East presented me with an opportunity to progress faster in those games than I usually could. That said, you can only play the street pass games for so long before they stop being fun.

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That afternoon, I played through the entirety of Super Mario Land 1 and then started Super Wario Land.

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“Best adventure yet”? More like “Shortest adventure yet”!

Super Wario Land is pretty easy, even without Restore Points, but I did use them for the sake of convenience. I ran into a problem early on in the game that taught me to be careful with restore points. I had accidentally created a restore point at a moment in the game when Wario was healthy, but there was no possible way to survive to the end of the level (there was a moving platform I was supposed to have jumped off of). This taught me that there are dangers to using restore points, and one should always be careful in their use.

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Wario Land 1 plays similarly to regular Super Mario games. Wario can obtain power ups like the Dragon, Bull or Jet to traverse levels differently or attack enemies more easily. If you get hit by an enemy, just like in Super Mario, you lose your power up, and if hit again, you become “Tiny Wario”. If Tiny Wario gets hit, it’s a death.

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Following Wario’s defeat in Mario Land 2, Wario wants to build a new castle. To pay for it, he decides to steal treasure from pirates.

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He eventually duels with Captain Syrup, the leader of the pirates, and her genie.

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After he wins, the genie builds Wario a new castle. Depending on how well you do collecting treasure, you get ranked at the end by how big the castle is.

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The genie built me a birdhouse.

Wario is a character defined by his flaws. In that way, he’s a much more believable character than his doppelgänger Mario. This game introduced his greed, and other games would feature his sloth and gluttony. Greed is his primary personality trait, because that’s what motivates him to get off the couch once in a while.

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The only Wario Land game that I haven’t beaten yet is the one they made immediately after this one, which was for the Nintendo Virtual Boy gaming system. The process of writing this article incited me to bite the bullet and order a Virtual Boy gaming system online along with the Wario Land title for it. I’ll hopefully play it soon.

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Even 9-Volt has a Virtual Boy. I wonder if he has Wario Land.

Through the process of writing this article, it can be said that my life has been slightly affected by a random number generator. Thanks for Reading! I Appreciate it!

Gaming Post 25: LarryBoy and the Bad Apple

A while back, the random number generator told me to write about one of the games that I’ve beaten, however, I’ve been procrastinating about it for some time now (of course while also playing lots of new games). The game was LarryBoy and the Bad Apple on the PlayStation 2. To explain why I played this particular game, I’ll need to explain what VeggieTales is and why it was so cool when it first came out.

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Nowadays, lots of our entertainment comprises of 3D rendered content, whether that’s monoscopic or stereoscopic 3D videogames, films, or television shows. It was not so prevalent when I was born though. There are plenty of full length 3D animated films available today, but the very first one was Toy Story which came out in 1995. Every film in this category came out in the past 20 years, which in the grand scheme of things is not a very long time. Before the first Toy Story movie came out, there was a “straight to VHS tape” series that was fully rendered in 3D. This series was VeggieTales, whose first episode came out in 1993, when I was 1. It must have been the coolest thing around.

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At the time, there had never ever ever ever ever been a show like VeggieTales. They even say so in the theme song!

VeggieTales was really great. I think I discovered it when I was about 4, when VeggieTales was 3 years into its run and there were only 5 episodes of the show. I think one of my cousins showed it to me after discovering it himself when he went to college. At the time, 3D animation was very exciting no matter what age you were because it was so new and fun. I’m sure many of us don’t even notice it today when we see it, because it’s become such a staple of entertainment in our society. It’s a technology that no longer seems new.

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VeggieTales episodes often feature moral dilemmas, sometimes through the retelling of Bible stories but also through original stories. There is always some humor to be found in the episodes, even though the plots of some of them can be slow for older viewers. I kept up with the series until about 2001 when I was 9, but the show seems to have continued at a steady pace.

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My favorite character was LarryBoy, the alter ego of Larry the Cucumber. Of the episodes that I watched, LarryBoy was in three of them, and was featured heavily in the two of them that took place in the fictional city of Bumblyburg. LarryBoy is a superhero similar to Batman, but he’s also a vegetable like most of the characters in VeggieTales.

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Sometimes characters can be fruits. After all, Bob the Tomato has seeds and is thus technically a fruit.

Years after I stopped following VeggieTales, I was going through a shelf of old PS2 games at a GameStop store, and I found a game called “LarryBoy and the Bad Apple”. The game is based on LarryBoy’s third adventure of the same name. I hadn’t seen the episode, so I figured that playing the game would be an approximation of watching the episode, but with added interactivity. That’s when I decided that I would play through the game.

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It was a pretty fun experience simply because I grew up watching LarryBoy and had sort of thought that a game about him would be cool. The gameplay was especially good in the segments of the game in which LarryBoy has to fly through the air. As a whole, the game mostly consists of puzzles and platforming. There are cutscenes taken directly from the VeggieTales episode that the game is based on.

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LarryBoy isn’t completely based on Batman. They went ahead and threw in a reference to Spider-Man too.

The main villain is an Apple who personifies temptation. This is especially interesting because as VeggieTales is limited to a cast of vegetables and fruit, casting the villain as an apple that tempts people cleverly draws a parallel between the villain in this story and the Apple of Eden that tempted Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis. In that way, this was both an original story and biblical. The thematic use of apples to represent temptation and evil is quite old and prevalent throughout literature and other media.

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The main villain is called The Bad Apple. She is an apple who tempts people. LarryBoy’s temptation is eating too much chocolate.
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A witch tells Snow White that eating this apple will grant her a wish. Snow White gives into her temptation and eats it, but it is poisoned.
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The future that the forbidden fruit foretells… I shall change the dream into reality. -Death Note Intro Song English Translation
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The Piece of Eden is temptation given form. -Al Mualim talking about the mechanical device called the Apple of Eden (Assassin’s Creed)

The villain, so called “The Bad Apple”, goes around tempting people to neglect their responsibilities to do other things they’d like to do instead, getting the mayor to vainly obsess over her appearance and a cook to watch an entire science fiction TV series. LarryBoy breaks people free from their temptations by completing levels, each one given the theme of the person’s temptation. Ironically, one of the people in the game who the Bad Apple has tempted is someone who wants to play video games all day. What’s ironic about this is that in order to make this character pay attention to their real responsibilities, you have to beat a level of this real life video game. The moral of that chapter is to not play videogames all day, and yet this is exactly what I did to finish this game.

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Am I subject to temptation? Absolutely. Do I give in to my temptation? Oh yes, definitely. That’s how I beat so many games.

And so with that, I’ve finished another article on Zelgerath.com. Maybe I can get back in the swing of things. As always, Thanks for Reading! =)