Team Rocket Meets Meltan

I suck as a Pokémon trainer in Niantic’s Pokémon GO. For today’s Team Rocket takeover of all PokéStops from 4 until 5 pm local time, my Pokémon were too underpowered to put a stop to the evil doings of Rocket Grunts in my local park. While I leveled up a few of my Pocket Monsters and planned for type against the Rocket Grunts, I was just no match for them; I was not prepared for facing three 4003 CP Golbats in a row. Consequently, I managed to chase just one grunt away during that hour, and one more who lingered after the event. I caught and cleansed one shadow Pokémon, but the other got away. However, since I was at the park with time reserved for the game but not wanting to spend it getting my ass repeatedly kicked by Rocket Grunts, I decided to bust open my Mystery Box earned from transferring a Pokémon from Pokémon GO to Game Freak’s Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! Many a Meltan was then caught, as the mysterious critters spawn one after the other on opening for a half hour.

The Team Rocket takeover has begun.
She’s going to kick my ass for the next 13 minutes until I give up.
I suck. Where’s my participation trophy?
Hmm. What’s inside this inconspicuous box?
Oh hi, Meltan!
It’s a Team Rocket takeover!

So, today I learned I’m no match for Team Rocket Grunts, and it’s impressive those players who are level 40 and have Pokémon with CP over 9,000 or whatever who could turn today’s takeover into a picnic. While I was at the park for something like 90 minutes, I don’t really recall seeing much of it as my face was buried in my phone THE ENTIRE TIME. This is where I don’t understand the effort one needs to put into this game to adequately participate in such events. Is Pokémon GO supposed to be a casual game or is it supposed to be hardcore? If it’s casual, why do I have to be level 40 to kick grunt ass? If it’s hardcore, why can’t I breed some epic Pokémon like in the mainline series and send them to a gym to train?

Anyway, best photobomb ever:

Zippy Zap, We Made It to Fuchsia City!

Zippy Zap is easily my favorite move in Game Freak’s Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! In fact, I almost use it exclusively on my overpowered little electric mouse. The move is taught early in the game by a Move Tutor in Cerulean City. With it, Pikachu gets all electrified and charges his opponent with a pika, pika, PIKA! It’s so damn adorable and damaging, and the move’s animation is one of the highlights of the game.

So, with Pikachu, Zippy Zap, and a bit of a time commitment, I finally infiltrated the Team Rocket Hideout in Celadon City and faced off with Giovanni.

Let's Go, Pikachu!
We are cute.
Enter Giovanni.
Entering a world of pain.
Zippy Zap against Giovanni's Persian.

What kind of amazed me about the encounter with Giovanni is his apology for disrespecting my trainer avatar after I whooped his ass. I was not expecting such an “honor among thieves” moment in the game.

Giovanni's apology.
The Silph Scope!
Respect among trainers.

Afterwards, it was back to the Pokémon Tower in Lavender Town via Sky Dash, a secret technique in Let’s Go which serves as a replacement for Fly. Basically, it’s some Danny Deckchair balloon contraption operated by Pikachu. My first experience flying in a Pokémon game was on Charizard in Moon, so everything by comparison is either ridiculous or lame.

The flying contraption.

With the Marowak spirit calmed in the tower, I was off to wake and battle(!) a Snorlax, and then ziggety-zag through a bunch of trainers down Routes 12, 13, 14, and 15 to FINALLY arrive in Fuchsia City. FINALLY.

Finally entering Fuchsia City.

Soon I’ll get to see what this whole GO Park thing is when coupled with Pokémon GO, but for now, I need to make like a Snorlax. Meltan will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

Holy Bonus EXP, Zubat!

Having grown a bit bored with Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!, I decided to detach the right Joy-Con and see what all that flinging was about. Needless to say, after a few minutes, I felt confirmed in my judgment that the whole concept was just another Nintendo gimmick. But then I remembered I had purchased the even more gimmicky Poké Ball Plus just to get Mew. So, I got that gizmo hooked up and forced myself to play through the Celadon City gym with it.

Though it was painful, I managed, assuring myself I would go back to playing Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! with the Switch in handheld mode shortly. After defeating Erika, I saw something I had never seen before: Pikachu in the bottom left corner of the screen waving the left Joy-Con back and forth. And so I did.

Soon enough, a girl fell from the sky joined by Charmeleon. In my party, Charmeleon follows my Ivysaur, and since I had Ivysaur out of its ball and walking with me, I’m going to assume that’s why Charmeleon made an appearance.

Welcome Player 2
We have come here to chew Razz Berries and kick ass. And we’re all out of Razz Berries.

So, I ran around Celadon City a bit, and it was fun trying to get my brain to control two characters on two different controllers. Seeking EXP, I headed out to the short Route 7 and bumped into the first critter I met. And then I found myself flinging TWO Poké Balls. This is a feature I had completely forgotten about in the game as I, of course, never actually previously played it with anyone.

So it’s sorta social. Demented and sad, but social.

BUT THEN THE EXP. ALL THE EXP. You get bonus EXP for flinging two Poké Balls, and it’s just nuts.

Loads of EXP
I just can’t.

Mind you, you’re burning through twice the balls, but Pokédollars are easy to come by in this game. So, anyway, the most fun I’ve had with Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! so far is playing multiplayer with myself. I wonder if it’s any fun with friends?

We need more balls.
We need more balls, Bub.

Staring Blankly, Lobbing Poké Balls

After starting and stopping a few times, I’m finally putting in the time to progress through Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! The game is stupid easy. Like, it’s bad enough you don’t even battle wild Pokémon and just lob Poké Balls at them like in the Pokémon GO mobile game, but there are plenty of evolved critters just roaming around. I’ve never played any of the Generation 1 games prior to this one (I only got into Pokémon in 2016 with GO), but I always thought it was a BIG DEAL evolving the Pokémon and not readily catching a Butterfree, Raticate, or Graveler freely roaming the overworld. Should I bother to evolve a Graveler, or will I encounter a Golem derping in the field as well?

Cerulean Gym
Just a bit salty.

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! is a $60 Pokémon GO with a story. Still, the game is sort of fun, the world is vibrant and beautiful, and I’m glad I’m finally touring Kanto.

Ride Pokemon

Currently, I endured the trainers of the Rock Tunnel and am now in Lavender Town climbing the town’s Pokémon Tower, a mausoleum for Pokémon. This I find fascinating, as there is something to be said about including death in what’s basically a kid’s game. Not said by me though because I’m way too uneducated for that kind of scholarship. However, I do think it’s inappropriate to be BATTLING IN A MAUSOLEUM.

Pokemon Tower mausoleum
Paying our respects to the Pokémon no longer with us.
Pokemon battle
Meh. Let’s battle!

But, then again, it is a Pokémon Mausoleum, and the critters do love a good battle, so maybe it’s quite appropriate after all. I’m tempted to see what is out there as far as “Pokémon & Death” scholarship. I’ve only gone so far as the Internet fan theory concerning the loss of your rival’s Raticate in the original Red/Blue, but I think I need to fire up the ol’ EBSCOhost at some point.

Concerning Diglett
Lady, I’m just a kid.

My motivation for playing Let’s Go, Pikachu! this time around is actually to obtain a Mystery Box in Pokémon GO in order to go about catching Meltan in the wild. Apparently, once you get to Fuchsia City and have access to the GO Park, a special Pokémon preserve, you can transfer the creatures from the mobile app to the Switch game which grants you the Mystery Box in Pokémon GO. This convoluted process is what I live for, and it’s much more fun than doing the menial tasks required for the Let’s GO, Meltan special research in the mobile app. I just hit 2/9 with that one. Likewise, I’m at 3/8 with A Mythical Discovery. It’s been over a year, and I’m nowhere near to catching Mew. Maybe the research tasks are fun for some people, but using 108 Berries to help catch Pokémon for A Spooky Message is such a menial task worthy of a PlayStation trophy. Just no. I’m at 1/3 there. My plan had been to play Crystal before I got the sudden urge to acquire Meltan, but now I’m thinking I’d like to give Yellow a playthrough, especially after I learned of the Mew glitch. At any rate, I have a lot of Pokémon to keep me busy before Sword & Shield release in November.

Slowpoke doing nothing.

July Community Day with Squirtle!

Yesterday was the Pokémon GO Community Day for July, and it was the first one in which I participated. With my phone fully charged, I headed down to the pond at the local park to catch Squirtle, lots and lots of Squirtle.

Going to the park on a Sunday afternoon in July is not something I normally do, and I couldn’t get over the number of people I encountered while there. While many people were at the park to do normal park things, there were plenty of people there catching Pokémon, either as couples, in small groups of family or friends, or solo, like me. Additionally, I encountered two large groups which were clearly organized and focused on raid battles. I had never experienced anything like that before, until the day before, when I crossed paths with a similarly large group at the park for the Articuno event.

The real world.
The Pokémon GO world.
My first Blastoise. Thanks to evolving during the event, he knows Hydro Pump.
I made a new friend. After the completion of each Field Research during the event, you would encounter a Squirtle wearing sunglasses.
Pikachu in summer hats were also to be found. I caught this one, but two got away.
I had just enough candy to evolve a second Blastoise. This one has sunglasses.
And just when I thought it wasn’t going to happen, I encountered and caught a shiny Squirtle wearing sunglasses!

The July Community Day was fun and rewarding, and I look forward to each month’s event from now on. You’re guaranteed a lot in a three hour window, so it’s worth getting out for it. Now that I have two powerful Blastoise, I think I’ll start getting into battling, something I’ve done rarely in the past two years. With this event, Niantic just may have gotten me playing Pokémon GO outside of a casual capacity. Just not today. It’s, like, 90 out.