I Didn't Get To Choose My Friends - Pokemon Platinum Random Team Run

Hello! I am SpammyV, and I’d like to welcome you to this Pokemon Platinum Random Team Run/Let’s Play of mine.

"What the heck’s a “Random Team Run?”

The short answer is: I RNG a team of six Pokemon at the start and can only battle with those for the entire game.

The long answer is: When I replay Pokemon games I am not good at breaking my own habits and not just using again many of the same Pokemon I used last time. For example I’ve played through Diamond and Platinum a few times, and I keep ending up with a Shinx and a Ponyta for most of the game. Maybe I’d even notice before getting to the end! There are a lot of Pokemon out there, which means there are a lot I haven’t used. And since I’ve never personally been about catching 'em all… Why not take it out of my hands?

There’s an obvious question of “Why not just do a Nuzlocke instead of trying to be a special and unique Beautifly?” to which the answer is: “I feel too bad having to pretend my Pokemon died and couldn’t go back to a Nuzlocke after my team wiped.” But also even with the Nuzlocke restrictions, I was playing on my physical Platinum cart and it wasn’t hard to have most of the Pokemon I’d used my first time through. It didn’t really do what I wanted, where the Random Team Run concept did. And I’m not in the market for a full CHAOS REIGNS randomizer experience either.

It certainly worked! This is not my first time doing one of these.

I beat Emerald with Team Don’t Call Me Lance:

And then beat FireRed with Team Invasive Species:

Both of these were on another forum which unfortunately looks like it will be closed permanently. And also my old computer that I don’t want to dig out and plug in again. And also scattered around different image hosts (I was using Photobucket when things started!). Things started simply but gradually grew in scope and complexity into something I realized was more or less an LP. That said, I do have a note on the nature of this thread:

This is not going to be a 100% comprehensive playthrough of Platinum. I’m not talking to every NPC, showing every trainer battle, heck I’m not even showing every dialog box. It’s a little bit of challenge run commentary and a maybe a little bit of narrative.

Normal text is out-of-character stuff by me, your narrator, the adorable SpammyV.

Italicized text is characters speaking or fiction.

One other note: That aforementioned forum that’s probably closed for good now is where I started this but I obviously don’t think I’ll be finishing it there. But I won’t be dumping the updates as I’d really like to go through and redo a lot of the early stuff. I left off on the file right before fighting the 5th Gym (Byron), so like 45% through depending on how you count the plot. Some images at first might be a little wonky as I was still sorting out settings and workflow.

So with no further ado let’s begin the adventure of…

001

“What’s wrong with my name?”

UPDATES:
01: THE BEGINNING OF MISFORTUNE
02: TEAM STUDY BUDDIES ASSEMBLE
02.5: MEET THE TEAM!
03: REAL INTERPOL AGENTS!
04: NOBODY CALLS HIM THAT

UPDATE 01: The Beginning of Misfortune

002

After the “Welcome to the world of Pokemon” dream I’m willing to bet most of us can recite by heart we begin this game with Professor Rowan being kind of weird in a nature documentary.

Weird… or foreshadowing?

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Spamigo barely gets to turn off the TV before best (i.e. only) friend Barry runs up the stairs.

I didn’t feel like changing the rival’s name.

008

Barry… We get like five channels out here.”

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011

Spamgio pulled his newsboy cap down over his eyes as that seemed like the only way to express his embarrassment. “Barry that stuff only happens in shows- HEY!”

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Honestly after playing a bit of Pokemon Masters I can’t see this line without thinking of them trying to build on it further in that game.

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Screenshot included because it’s another reminder that I need to take my Wii down to the retro game store to see whether the Wii itself is bricked or just the power supply is. I have a good Wii library that I miss playing sometimes.

AND MOST OF IT IS GOING TO BE IMPOSSIBLE TO PORT FORWARD TO OTHER SYSTEMS AT LEAST HOW IT WAS INTENDED TO BE CONTROLLED.

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It’s cute how this implies that anyone knows what Barry’s up to.

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This is all you get to see of Contests in this thread.

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Yeah why can’t I have a Pokemon again?”

053

Note the snow on the ground because Sinnoh is cold, you see. This is why Diamond and Pearl had almost no fire-types.

But then they added a bunch of snow on the ground in Platinum and also added more Fire-types so that the Fire-type Elite Four wasn’t actually embarrassing.

040

Ah yes the double tall text really conveys the impact.

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They do a good job of drilling it in just how scatterbrained your rival is in this game.

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It’s weird how they’re playing all coy about Barry’s dad when… he’s in the dang game. It’s not like he’s in the plot abyss that the protagonist’s dad is. Like probably he’s away being busy doing whatever Battle Frontier bigwigs do but he knows the player so…

I guess since we know the answer to this question (it’s his dad his dad is hyper and has almost the same animation) we should be playing a sitcom laugh track?

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Oh yeah the reason he keeps saying he’s going to fine everyone 10 million Poke is that he wants to build his own Battle Tower to be the Tycoon of and have his dad challenge it. Thanks, Pokemon Masters!

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Oh yeah, and if your soul has been exposed to the horrible truths of the world and you can only stomach Pokemon stories if they’re made so dark that they absorb all light and the mews of baby kittens… You probably aren’t going to enjoy my takes on things. I’m here for friendship adventures with Pokemon. Friendship may save the world.

At any rate, you go north and…

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At least he ain’t run off yet.

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064

Barry… you remember the grass thing, right?”

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I’m posting this because I actually love Barry’s plan.

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Rowan (spoilers for the literal next image) is supposed to yell from off screen but uh… I missed it. My text speed settings are a little funky. More on that later.

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Bus-ted.

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You know how it is, you just get done watching a show about something and BAM, there they are. I had to quit watching Mythbusters back in the day because I’d keep bumping into Jamie at the grocery store.

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Rowan gets up to Final Fantasy level of ellipses and talks to himself a lot, but I guess you can do that when you have tenure or whatever Pokemon Professors get.

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It’s a But Thou Must and I’m not going to say no to all of these to show the text. Pretty sure you have Bulbapedia and other sources for that.

I have other hidden text you’ve never seen to show you.

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Funny how they frame this as the player answering first when the entire rest of this intro makes it feel like the player’s just been dragged along.

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Barry’s idea to find Rowan, Barry’s plan to cross the grass, Barry’s dad is the one who’s the big famous Trainer…

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And the player’s just there going along with it because they’re friends, apparently.

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Kid’s got a heart at least.

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What if… uh… we run into a madman plotting to destroy and remake the universe?”

Hmph. Well as the odds of that happening are astronomically low, you may endanger yourself to save the universe.”

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He doesn’t even know what he’s doing here, he was just drawn by his Grumpy Old Man senses.

Like that one gag in Nadesico when someone wishes that someone would explain what’s going on and it cuts to Inez standing in a hallway in a different part of the ship looking around like she just heard someone call her name.

You heard me.

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(did this really need to so many text boxes?)

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(spoilers if you remember your encounter rates from another game… we do not get a hard to replace Pokemon)

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As much as I might snark, I’m entirely down for friendship adventures.

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Your birthday is eleven days before mine, dude.”

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The starters were randomized to any three Pokemon that have two Evolution stages (more on this when we get the whole team). Interestingly, Platinum pulled up the correct description/category for Mareep and played the correct cry, but the sprite is apparently fixed.

I did not record what the other two options were. I believe one was Treecko. Either way there wasn’t anything that made me as excited as Mareep, so we’re going baa ram boom.

134

Maybe the real reason Barry goes second is to pick the one that beats yours.

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Don’t be mean to Pokemon, check.

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Dawn sounds like this whole assistant thing has turned out to be work instead of a way to have a chance encounter with a special someone.

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Still seems stern and scary to me.

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oh no

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my foolishness

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Alright so uh. Your rival always picks the Pokemon that’s next in the sequence to beat yours. It doesn’t matter what Pokemon is actually there, they get whatever’s supposed to have the type advantage on yours. But you may realize, Mareep was in the Water-type slot so he gets a Grass type. Grass is resistant to Electric. This will also grow up to be a Grass/Ground type which means Earthquake spam.

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It didn’t hurt a whole lot.

Oh also, Withdraw?

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Is all it uses. I don’t use Growl.

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Static doesn’t help when Turtwig gets a crit, too.

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I hope you weren’t expecting me to be amazing at Pokemon.

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Okay now you’re just being over-dramatic, game.

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Bet you didn’t know you could lose that battle. Bulbapedia doesn’t even know you can lose that battle. Their attempt to save every single thing a major NPC says doesn’t have the text if Barry wins.

I have brought you secret knowledge so where’s my damn Informative tag.

177

Yeah… see you later, dude.”

UPDATE 02: ASSEMBLE TEAM STUDY BUDDIES!

178

Scene: Mom walking out from behind the counter to go watch her Contests on TV. Presumably she didn’t ask the obvious questions about why Spamgio came home carrying an electric sheep.

179

Well Barry thought it was going to be a good idea to try to run through the grass at full speed to get to the other town before Pokemon could get us but before he got the grass Rowan showed up and told us off for being dumb but then he gave us Pokemon anyway so me and Barry battled and uh.

I lost.”

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Gamefreak this is still a really weird thing to try to call attention to.

185

So receiving a Pokemon is an in-person thanks thing? You can’t just send a thank-you card? I’ve never understood thank-you card etiquette.

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GET EQUIPPED
WITH
RUNNING SHOES

190

GET EQUIPPED
WITH
VISUAL GLITCH IN THE TRANSITION SHOT

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oh no Barry I don’t want to rematch right now

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Well the last idea worked great for you .

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Barry… there’s not actually a legendary Pokemon in the lake. There was the big special where they did the ground scan on the island and there’s no cave inside. Josh Gates was even in town and everything.”

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Barry the tourism board put the sign up.”

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Look.

Just because there was a blue-haired guy talking about time and space and the Legendary Pokemon that doesn’t exist and dropping his name does not mean you need to jump to conclusions about how he’s plot relevant. I’m sure this is just some early game flavor and that’s it.

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B-but they said there was nothing in the lake!”

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Let’s see… jacket, cap, sheep…

225

This is my favorite text box in this game, and probably in any Pokemon game.

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I really don’t think he meant we needed to drop in every time we needed something.”

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And then Barry runs off again.

241

Is there an NPC like this in every Pokemon game?

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I’m not showing you this because it’s tutorial text that deserves to be shown.

It’s because I feel guilty.

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Seriously though I feel like there’s always been a Potion Guy in every first route.

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I assume it’s more science-y on the inside.

254

Suddenly a sixth sense intuition stopped Spamigo in his tracks and led him to keep Dawn from opening the door.

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Thus avoiding another head-on Barry collision.

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Usually if you wait for him to finish talking you can add in the spaces between words and figure out what he was trying to get at.”

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Look but don’t pet her and then try to touch a doorknob or something. The static will knock you off your feet.

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I, uh, missed the screenshot. I named her Wilhelmina. I was going to name her Woolhelmina but that’s one character too long but by that point I’d already gotten attached to nicknaming her Mina.

Weirdly enough this is not the only time this happens in this run.

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It may not do much for his confidence but maybe it assuages Spamigo’s Spammy’s Spamigo’s guilt at losing so badly.

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As an aside when I reread this line for some reason my brain jumped to “Finger across the throat means death” and then I spent five minutes giggling to myself at Dawn the Destroyer.

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This is a Pokedex,” The Professor said as he handed Spamigo the device. “It’s a tool to record data on all the Pokemon that you could encounter in the Sinnoh region. If it is your aim to go on an adventure with your Pokemon I would ask you to record those Pokemon you meet for me.”

Spamigo didn’t respond immediately. The hesitation was plain on his face. Maybe, on some level, he’d thought about returning the Mareep. Maybe he was never cut out to be a Trainer. “But… I was just going along with this… and when me and Barry battled I… I lost.”

Rowan was silent for a time, and some of the sternness left his expression. “A journey won’t always be easy, or simple. And even if you lost, you’ve shown no shortage of care towards that Mareep. Never forget that, young man. In fact… I have several more Pokemon that I’ve acquired in my studies that I have no need for now, and deserve more than to spend their days in a laboratory. And I can think of no one would rather trust with them right now. Would you care for them as well?”

He didn’t answer immediately, but Spamigo accepted.

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It’s Return. When you just need a bunch of Physical Normal damage, think TM27! Think Return.

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Dawn explains about Pokecenter and Pokemarts.

Heal your Pokemon and buy things.

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Oh, right… guess I should tell mom she doesn’t need to worry about Mina shorting out the TV in the middle of a Contest.”

NEXT TIME: MEET THE TEAM!
It’s right below this post.

UPDATE 2.5: MEET THE TEAM!

Well now that we have the full team, let’s look at 'em!

Wilhelmina:

Yeah, Woolhelmina was one letter too long.

Technically Mareep/Flaafy/Ampharos are not on the list of Pokemon I’ve never used, I got one from the Dream World in White version that made it onto my team.

But nothing in White counts because I didn’t enjoy that game at the time or finish it.

Reina:

This run will also serve as a test of some of Universal Pokemon Randomizer’s features (more on that later this update) because in theory all I’ll need is a Dragon Scale to go from Seadra to Kingdra.

Castellia:

If it was a male Pineco I’d have named him Sting.

Thumbs up to anyone who gets that.

Anomalo:

Because AnamoloCarter is way too long of a name even if it is a reference to Anomalocaris. You can tell that Anomalocaris inspired Anorith because the Claw Fossil you normally resurrect one from is like how Anomalocaris’ claws were the first fossils discovered.

Also it looks exactly like one.

Also, the US/UM dex entries for Anorith say that people release them into modern oceans. Rampardos knocks down buildings. There was never a version of Jurassic Park in the Pokemon world.

Sid:

This is not the first run where I’ve had to drag someone who only starts with Wrap through the beginning of the game. At least Seviper should learn some real moves quicker than Dratini. For real though, this is how you waste an Attack stat.

Dogu:

Dogu’s name is in reference to the Dogu figurines that inspired its design. Ultimately it felt too self-indulgent to name it Hopkins just because I had a Baltoy in my Pokemon Mystery Dungeon fic whose name was Hopkins. He was partnered with a Sableye named Kelly.

If anyone gets THAT reference without Googling it then make yourself known because I’ll applaud you.

At any rate, this is where we begin. These six Pokemon, and only these six Pokemon, are all that I can use in battles for the entirety of the game. Catching things for HM use is acceptable, but those won’t be seeing any action whatsoever. Can this team get through the Elite 4? Probably, I mean, these games aren’t that hard. The real question is how much toil and frustration and me banging my head against a Gym that seems perfectly made to stomp my team it will take.

But hey, we lost the babby’s first rival battle. Unless I quit we really can’t go anywhere but up.

Oh, and for Trivia: Rowan actually has lines if you somehow grind your starter on level 2 Bidoofs until they evolve!

Unfortunately the check seems to simply be that your only Pokemon is not Turtwig/Chimchar/Piplup. But points for effort, Game Freak.

Where’s my damn Informative tag.

But how did I actually get my team? Well first things being first: Universal Pokemon Randomizer!

The Randomizer works on Gen I through Gen V roms. All you need to do is load a compatible rom and get to work. Even if you don’t intend to go full-on chaos mode with your game, Universal Pokemon Randomizer offers enough quality-of-life upgrades that I’d highly recommend putting your rom through it before beginning. Unless you really want a true-to-original experience, in which case don’t.

From here I hit “Change Impossible Evos.” What this does is fix any evolutions that would be impossible because most emulators don’t let you trade or some games lack the features required for a Pokemon to evolve. If you’re like me and never had friends are playing on an emulator it’s a great help to be able to use Pokemon you wouldn’t normally be able to.

Here I hit the “Random (basic Pokemon with 2 evolutions)” option. It gets you a starter-like experience with two evolutions, but with far more options. Plus you’ll usually end up with at least one Pokemon that has lategame potential this way.

Unless you chose Caterpie from the random options.

Set minimum catch rate is something I really need to remember next time I do one of these. It’ll save some wrangling with codes later on if every wild Pokemon just has a max catch rate. And besides, I don’t need to catch much.

“Lower Case Pokemon Names” is something I’m thankful for because the ALL CAPS in older games was something that bothered me.

I activated “Fastest Text” for this run but it’s a little twitchy in actual gameplay, with some text boxes that auto-scroll without my input. Or it just doesn’t like you setting the text speed to max in the in-game settings too.

The way that I typically do these runs is to choose the starter, and then hit up everybody’s friend random.org! The simple method is just to have it generate 5 numbers between 1 and whatever the last National Dex number is for this generation (493 here). If the number is partway up an evolutionary family, I’d roll back to the start because I’m interested in the development of the team. This will slightly skew the team composition in favor of Pokemon that evolve. If that’s not good enough you can also do work to create a list of National Dex numbers of fully evolved Pokemon and randomly select from that. I suppose that would be best in the odd case that you roll a Nincada or an Eevee.

While the team is random… I’ll do just a little editing. I’d reroll Unown and I swore on my master’s grave that I would never use a Luvdisc (The red Luvdisc slew my master). Castform would be chalenge absolutely accepted though.

Once you have the list, all you need then is to enter some force encounter codes, give yourself some Master Balls or find a code to make all captures successful, and go walking in the nearest patch of grass once the game lets you start catching.

It’s a little bit involved, but all the work is front-loaded setting things up.

If you’ve had random teams share your story!

NEXT TIME: Who got Interpol involved?

UPDATE 03: Real Interpol Agents Don’t Tell Every Preteen They’re Agents

001

Where last we left off our young hero needed to actually tell his mom that he was going on an adventure that would probably involve crossing the entire region.

002

Gotta say that I am a fan of Anorith’s big compound looking everywhere eyes.

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But there’s only so long that the plot can be put off.

(Dawn doesn’t let you go any further to the next town if you haven’t spoken to mom yet.)

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Yay!

007

“Well…

“RowangavemeabunchofnewPokemonsothisisCastelliaandAnomaloandSidandDoguandReinaandInamedtheMareepWilhelminaandthenhegavemeaPokedexandaskedmetotraveleverywhereinSinnohtoseePokemonandhelphimoutinreturnforthesePokemonsoImightbegoneforawhile.”

008
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Hooray for support.

011 012

I liked this feature of Gen IV. Not so much seeing random battles but it was nice coming back to the game and seeing the game acknowledge you beat a Gym.

019

Read: Now that mom doesn’t have to take care of us any more that means no more watching Contests on TV. She’s getting her Kangaskhan back and Fantina is going to be eating dirt by the time mom finishes terrorizing the Contest circuit.

025 026

What’s this? Has Barry gone missing?

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Of course Barry wouldn’t stop for dinner when there’s adventure on the line.

032

I will?”

033

The glare that I can feel piercing my spine tells me that I will.”

045

It’s been a weird couple of days, internet.

046

Dawn does the catching tutorial here, despite the fact that you could already have caught Pokemon by now.

There’s really not much to this early route except me trying to drag my team out of the start. Might as well be trying to get any XP on Sid now before Wrap rapidly reduces in effectiveness in approximately… one level. It’s mostly boring except for…

066

THE ULTIMATE BAGWORM BATTLE!

068

CASTELLIA SHALL RULE THIS MORTAL WORLD FROM INSIDE HER INPENETRABLE FORTRESS!

070

Ahem.

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Upon our hero’s entry into Jubilife, Dawn feels the need to remind him how new he still is at this.

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Thanks Dawn.

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But on their way to make Spamigo feel worse, they run into someone darting between streetlamps!

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I choose to imagine it’s like all those times in Yakuza 0 when Majima’s leaning out from behind a lamppost like he’s totally hidden.

You heard me.

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I’m pretty there’s no rule that says you have to tell everyone that you’re a member of Interpol if they ask you. Or catch you. Or look at you.

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When you think about it, it does sound like a superpower when you start talking about how you can sense photons being reflected off of objects and thus learn their position and distance.

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Looker also makes me laugh so you get extra Looker.

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Oh come on this isn’t Kanto where some mob boss gets a cushy Gym position to protect himself while having an army of goons out stealing Pokemon until all his goons and himself are beaten by a girl with a walrus.

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Probably my second-most favorite text box in the game.

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Inside the game continues to heap guilt upon me for losing the babby’s first rival battle.

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Anyway the thing that Barry’s Mom wanted us to deliver was a map and in grand Pokemon tradition there are two maps so you both get one. Now that he knows vaguely where it is, Barry yells about how he’s going to go challenge the first Gym.

147

Some people luck into getting a random starter that at level 5 already knows a STAB move that’s supereffective against the rival’s. Some lose. Both are fine. So I keep telling myself.

200

Also there’s clowns that ask you basic questions so you can get the Poketch, a.k.a. “That thing that we use the bottom screen for.”

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Oh, don’t mind my friend Chekov over there setting his gun on the mantle.

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Well that’s not so bad. That’s like what, two squares? I already walked like five squares just to get here. I guess we can go see what this Gym challenge thing is all about.

Would you walk everywhere in the Pokemon world? I’ll be honest, if I could set a lawn chair on the back of a Torterra and cruise along I probably would.

NEXT TIME: Nobody calls him that.

04: Nobody Calls Him That

001

We begin passing from night into day, passing from Jubilife to Route 203.

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We stop literally two tiles after that.

004

Well, one of us has a full team now.

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So no pressure, but I’m sure by this point the game isn’t going to let me lose rival battles, so now is the time of decision.

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Cool beans, she wasn’t using that anyway.

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This part seems pretty over yet.

015

A level 7 Starly just isn’t much of a threat.

That will change.

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C’mon Mina. That was just a fluke. RNG had the AI use Withdraw six times. Sheep are better than turtles.

020

NOPE IT TURNS OUT IT WILL JUST USE WITHDRAW SIX TIMES AGAIN.

But now we’re not stuck bashing our heads against this turtle.

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Can’t withdraw your brain from being messed with by Dogu!

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…I won?”

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And so Barry runs off, leaving our hero in confused elation over having won. Maybe this Pokemon journey won’t be a trainwreck of failure after all…

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The Trainers here all yell what Pokemon they’re using which… I don’t quite understand? It’s not like you can change your leading Pokemon between text box and battle.

045

…Huh. I guess Gen IV was before they made it so Electric-types can’t be Paralyzed. I’d say that I’m going to keep the tactical considerations of this in mind, but it’s unlikely to come up.

052

Castellia learned WHAT?

056

Oh… kay… so no sudden moves around her and everyone be real gentle.

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You did not! I didn’t take a screenshot of this battle and it didn’t sink in until I was going through screenshots, but all she has is a Psyduck with Scratch!


(thanks Bulbapedia)

You did not beat the Rock-type Gym, LIAR MADELINE!

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The cave was not indicated on the map. The Hiker right here gives you Rock Smash, establishing this game as being daring and bucking tradition by not having you get Cut first.

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Why are you trying to Cut things in a cave, anyway?

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Mud-Slap! For when Dogu’s just being too effective with Confusion.

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Oreburgh City: Coal minin’ town.

It’s weird that you start with a coal-mining town and the last Gym (spoiler) is in a solar-powered town. At least it’s not that coal mine that’s on fire.

(No massive underground fires making a town look like Silent Hill occur in this game so don’t get your hopes up)

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So did Barry already beat the Gym? Or is he somehow going to win between Roark plot-teleporting back and me arriving, while giving Roark enough time to heal his team or get new Pokemon?

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Spamigo stood in front of the sign, staring in puzzlement at the quote. He glanced down at Wilhelmina, who didn’t seem to understand it any better. He tried- quietly- to say it aloud, thinking that maybe it would make more sense that way, but it still sounded bad. In the end the only conclusion he could reach was “No one calls him that.”

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Facts.

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Well it makes more sense than naming your Psyduck Green.

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005

Okay hold on.

I’ve circled Oreburgh on this map. Y’all’ll note that we are nowhere near the ocean.

HOW BIG IS THIS MINE?!

011

HOW FAR DOWN DO THESE STAIRS GO?!

021

Sid that… that’s not really better.

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I guess this is why no one goes on and on about how much of an early game powerhouse Seviper is.

028

There’s Roark, and that big block behind him is coal, apparently. The entire thing, a hunk of coal the size of a small house. He shows you how to Rock Smash and then runs off.

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Like so.

Now that the Gym’s going to be open it’ll be time to solve this mystery!

NEXT TIME: THE STUDY BUDDIES IN “THE MYSTERY OF THE NICKNAME”

But can the world be ready for the truth?