Returning to Pokémon: confused by Poké Balls.

Last week, I touched on my reactions to Pokémon after skipping four generations. I’ve enjoyed the game so far but many of the new elements and changes have left me feeling old or confused. Last week I referred to the overwhelming sensation that Pokémon Y seemed to be in much more of a hurry than Pokémon Blue. Whilst I’ve enjoyed my time in Generation VI immensely, there are other aspects that have left me feeling out of touch with the Pokémon series.

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Firstly, the sheer amount of new items filling up the inventory in Pokémon Y is extraordinary. In my earlier adventures with Pokémon, there were five types of Poké Ball. The most important trio were “Poké”, “Great” and “Ultra” Balls, which were all an experienced monster catcher needed. Each variant was more expensive than the last, but had more chance of snapping shut. The Master Ball stayed in your backpack forever and Safari Balls were as radical and fancy as Pokémon capture became.

In Pokémon Y, my bag is full of balls my inventory is filled with a veritable cavalcade of Poké Balls. Not only do I not know what the majority of these contraptions do, but I’ve had no call to use anything except the trusty trio. The internet tells me that there are now twenty sixderivations (though I’ve been told there are even more than that). There are ones which work better with certain Pokémon types and others which seem to be included for totally artificial reasons.

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I don’t need a “Net Ball”. I already have something that catches Bug Type Pokémon more effectively than a Poké Ball. It’s called a “Great Ball” and it works well against all types. I find the “Love Ball” creepy in name and in function; I’d feel like I was pimping out my Pokémon, using their gender for my personal gain. And imagine how insulted a Pokémon would be if you threw a “Heavy Ball” at them. Not only have you just beaten them to a slither of health and slung into them a tiny container, but you’re actively mocking their weight as well!

When it comes to storing items in any video game, I’m a hoarder. I won’t throw anything away if it might come in handy later. Perhaps a difficult aquatic creature will require a “Dive Ball” thrown at its face at some point. Yet I can’t help feeling that most of these new editions are irrelevant. I’m pretty sure there are balls that I will never play with need to use.

The very nature of Poké Balls in the new generation leaves me a little confused and possibly a bit freaked out. I’m referring to the Pokémon-Amie feature, which allows the player to feed and play with their current companions so that you might bond with them. I realise this feature is new to this generation of games, but its introduction leaves me wondering whether I’ve misunderstood how Poké Balls operate.

Pokémon-Amie_screen

My interpretation was that, when the wild Pokémon was caught, they were shrunk down to fit snugly inside the casing, where they would remain safe but in stasis. The Pokémon-Amie function would have me believe that the Pokémon are miniaturised to the point where they are no more than a centimetre high and are entirely awake and responsive. They let you know how you are feeling, roll and tumble around the ball as you run around, generally being adorable.

This troubles me. For the majority of my time, only one of my Pokémon will be allowed out at one time. In my six-creature strong team, the fifth and sixth Pokémon almost never appear. I have hundreds of captured Pokémon, stored in an unseen vault somewhere. I could get on board with this when I thought that my Poké Chums were in some form of suspended animation. But now it seems I have imprisoned them indefinitely inside a tiny jail cell! The Level 2 Caterpie I could on Route One has been awake the whole time, wondering when his new master will come to let him out.

Is this a revelation for Generation VI? Or was this truth made public in an earlier installment? If so, I may need to go back to Pokémon Blue and release all those poor creatures I trapped 15 years ago. Though it may be too late; I imagine by now the captives will be institutionalized. Or worse still, I will return to find countless Poké Balls broken open, the occupants having clawed and scratched their way to freedom…

Oh the guilt.

Thank You for Reading.

As I said last week, these changes come across as strange but I’m enjoying the game. The whole practice of catching Pokémon is still as satisfying as ever, down to the same old wiggle animation that confirms the monster is caught.

If you enjoyed this post, then you might want to visit my blog. You can follow me on Twitter too. If you didn’t enjoy this post… at least you made it to the end. Well done you ^_^

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