Monday, April 24, 2017

10 Years of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl and Alfie's PetSmart Adventure

What's the first subject that comes to your mind when you think of Diamonds and Pearls? The actual gems? Steven Universe? Well to me, this will probably make me sound like a nerd (I am one.), the most iconic use of Diamonds and Pearls (Other then Knits and purls) would probably be Pokemon Diamond and Pearl.

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl would be the first games in the fourth generation of the Pokemon franchise releasing back in 2007 making this the 10th anniversary of those very games! To be more exact this game actually originally released in Japan back on September 28th 2006 (Funny enough the Japanese 10th anniversary was on the day I launched ZAK Entertainment... probably should've made that my first blog.) but us in America got to experience this game when it released on April the 22nd 2007. Due to this anniversary I've dug this old gem back out!

At the time of this release I was a pre-teen about to jump into his life of being a teenager, it was coming towards the end of Generation 3 of Pokemon and that time specifically was a huge Pokemon craze for me. Most people will tell you that PokeMania happened during Generation 1 go through to generation 2 and while I've been an ever loving fan of the franchise since that time but  the last year or two of Generation 3 leading into the release of Diamond and Pearl was probably the most impactful. Pokemon had been teasing Diamond and Pearl a lot earlier then they teased other generations so games like Pokemon XD: Gales of Darkness had hints and they even based the 3rd Generation 3 movie on a Diamond and Pearl Pokemon, Lucario. Closing more in on the release date Pokemon Ranger had released with its Generation 4 Manaphy teases as well as the "Pokemon Ranger and The Temple of the Sea" movie which introduced more Generation 4 Pokemon such as Buizel. The hype was definitely real coming into the release and I, being the Pokemon nerd I was (Am) was grasping at the bits of any information I could find. Yeah I guess I had a journalism streak in me even back then, see another reason why I should of blogged years ago. Luckily for me the end of 2006 leading into 2007 was actually my first steps into the World Wide Web so information wasn't so scarce. I could go so much more in depth on my experience before the release but that will have to wait until later on this year for my My Life as a Pokemon Trainer: Generation 4 (I have to do 2 and 3 first.)

Does anyone remember this? Right on the release of Diamond and Pearl here in America Nintendo and Pokemon hosted a launch party to celebrate the release and hosted it on for the world to see. It seems this webcast has been buried in time and I can't find anything about it anymore but I clearly remember sitting on my bed using my very first Laptop watching the launch party for hours. They had a special presentation of the new Diamond and Pearl anime series as well as some gameplay such as live battles. While I was already dead set on getting the game this presentation sold me and I remember bugging my parents to get me the game for my birthday a month later.

I went with Pokemon Diamond simply because of Dialga, I'm not sure why but Dialga's design has always been one of my favorites. I've put hundreds almost a thousand hours (I'm pretty sure I maxed out the clock at 999.99 hours) into this game over the past 10 years and while all my Pokemon from this game are now in my newer games such as XY and Omega Ruby I'm still getting hours out of this game by doing a restart. I figured hey it's the 10th anniversary why not relive the game and dive back into the snowy region of Sinnoh. It's crazy to think it's been 10 years as we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Pokemon as a whole last year.

Pokemon Diamond introduced 100 new Pokemon as well as bringing back some old favorites and even added evolutions to old favorites such as Eevee, Electabuzz and Magmar. Out of these new Pokemon came the traditional new starter Pokemon, Turtwig, Chimchar and Piplup. I was always sold on one specific starter Pokemon way before I ever got ahold of this game, Turtwig. Yeah I'm not sure what it was about that turtle but I fell in love instantly and I can say he's my second favorite starter Pokemon next to Cyndaquil. (And Pikachu... If he counts, he does right?)

You start your journey in the town of Twinleaf watching a television broadcast of some explorers in the nearby Lake Variety as they search for the mysterious Red Gyradose. (Was this a reference to Heart Gold and Soul Silver which came out two years later? I always thought it was, Game Freak is pretty good at hinting towards the next game.) Inspired by this newscast you crave to get out into the world and search for this rare Pokemon yourself. Your eagerness is interrupted by a boy who equals in eagerness, Barry your rival. Well I mean you can name him whatever you want but regardless you both set out to Lake Variety yourselves in search for this Red Gyradose. To your surprise at the lake you find nothing, other then a flock of Starleys who aren't so happy. Finding a suitcase lying around you discover three Pokeballs and decide to grab one to defend yourselves. Yeah apparently Professor Rowan left this suitcase behind... Is he related to Professor Birch? Because they both have a tendency to leave their luggage behind. After apologizing to the Professor you get to keep your Pokemon of choice, with Pokedex in hand you set out on a wonderful journey that involves Space and Time itself. (And bad dudes with really bad haircuts.)

On my new playthrough I decided to actually pick Piplup instead of Turtwig, I've never used Piplup on either Diamond or my Platinum version so I figured let's give Piplup some love on this playthrough, I mean i've always loved Piplup just never used him much except for the one my sister, who had Pearl version alongside me, gave me. For those interested here's my current team!

I currently have two badges and I'm in Team Galactic's first hideout in Eterna City... Oh yeah Team Galactic. These are the enemies you'll face in this game. 

Complete weirdos from head to toe but despite this they have some pretty awesome music. 

Speaking of music I always thought that this game had some of the best music, mostly the route and city music. I mean I love Pokemon's music as a whole but Diamond and Pearl is one of my favorites.

These two games also go pretty deep into the lore of the Pokemon world, introducing how the world was created (That's just an in Game Theory though.) and while all Pokemon games have had stories this game has some of my favorite and the Legendaries that accompany these stories such as Dialga are favorites.

The visuals of this game are similar to previous Gameboy Advance games in the sense of having 2D sprites but the entire environment was 3D. This was a pretty awesome step forward and Game Freak would continue improving the 3D environments until the series went full 3D with Pokemon X and Y.

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl have turned 10 years old but are to this day some of my favorite Pokemon games, though listing my favorites tends to be a hard choice for me. I actually think these games have aged quite well but I have noticed the battles tend to move a bit slowly, the responses times in between picking moves seems to lag? I never noticed this at all as a kid, it's no big deal (Though I hear a lot of people complaining about it.) but it's still odd how I never noticed or maybe never payed attention. 

The battles otherwise are pretty intense at times and the champion of this game (Spoilers... it's Cynthia.) worked me over countless times back then. At least she had some sick music to listen to while she beat my ass. Pokemon Platinum would fix these speed issues but also change story elements (Not in a bad way.) to where I can't just replace it with Diamond, Platinum really is it's own game.

Oh yeah this game brought back from Generation 3 the Pokemon Contests, redubbed as Super Contests as well as bringing Poke Blocks back as Poffins, which are a type of bread, kind makes more sense then PokeBlocks. This along with the return of the Safari Zone gives this game more to do once you've had enough battling.

Finally the most major part of this game? The Wifi. Yes these games were the first Pokemon Games to take advantage of the Nintendo DS's wifi capabilities. Finally we could battle trainers from all over the world simply by adding each other to the in game pal pad. I mean at that point we all had friends online, through Pokemon communities and it was great to finally battle them. I enjoyed battling people online for a while but like I mentioned in my Nintendo DS recollection blog I actually lost the ability to play on Wifi. Not because I lost internet access but because my DS suddenly just wouldn't allow the connection. Funnily enough it started working again in 2014 after all these years... Then Nintendo shuts down the DS Wifi Connection servers.

One last detail I want to add that made this game awesome was the Poketch. See with the Nintendo DS being dual screened GameFreak took full advantage of this and added helpful apps to the touchscreen such as a clock, a calculator (Which would of been really helpful if I did EV training back then.) and more. Every so often you'll be able to receive new apps from the Poketch building in Jubilife City. It's a shame these apps never made their return in future games I really enjoyed them, they were more useful then one might think.

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl were and still are great games in my opinion, setting standards gameplay and graphic wise that would be reused in the three Generations that came after it. Diamond and Pearl's gameplay mechanics really felt more like polished versions of previous games despite the slowness. Who knows what the future of Pokemon holds p though, with this 10th anniversary and the trend of remaking games... Perhaps we have a Diamond and Pearl remake on the way? The games still feel slightly fresh in my head but with the recent hints in Sun and Moon I think we may be seeing some more Diamonds and Pearls in our future. Sinnoh in the same graphics as Sun and Moon? Sign me up.

Well with that topic out the way and oh boy did I write to much again? I'm still not sure how much I should be writing and how much I should be excluding. I guess I'm still learning the ways of writing.

Anyway other then replaying Diamond and Pearl for old times sake we recently took our recently turned one years old Chihuahua Alfie on his first trip to a pet store! PetSmart to be more exact. 

This little blonde dog seemed to be full of excitement to take his first trip inside of a store like this. Strutting his way inside the store like the high class Chihuahua he is Alfie was immediately taken away by his surroundings. Sniffing the air full of scents from fellow dogs he seemed curious about every little detail. Of course the humans inside the store seemed curious too and Alfie suddenly became center of attention, kinda makes you jealous in a way.

I neglected to take any photos of Alfie in the store so here's a recent selfie of me and a sleeping variation of Alfie.

The store had quite a few animals for sale as well which caught our Chihuahua's attention. He seems to have taken a liken to the local turtles but a certain animal gave Alfie the chills... Guinea Pigs. Don't ask I can't really explain the situation myself but Alfie just did not like the looks of those Guinea Pigs. Maybe it was the fact they were the same size as himself. A Golden Retriever much larger then the golden Chihuahua grabbed his attention as well. All in all Alfie really seems to enjoy social interaction, which is a good thing as we travel often. We'll be taken him around to more public places in the future because of this. Though if he steals anymore attention away from me I might be concerned. (I'm kidding I'm not that egotistical.)

Well that brings us to the end of the blog for the day but before that I'm going to bring you guys an unexpected knitting update (Yeah I'm shoving a lot into this blog, I rather not split this stuff off for another day.)

Remember my Shawl? It's been so long I doubt you do but after taking a break from it to work on other projects I'm breaking it back out and in the past two days, despite it getting quite long I've gotten thirteen rows done on it.

Yeah I'm on a knitting roll again, getting more rows completed then I thought I could. I'm finally running out of yarn on my first ball (I'm using two yarn balls on this shawl.) so I'll be switching that out soon. Really loving how this shawl is coming out so far. Don't have a free pattern to feature today because of this being a really long blog, don't want to keep you guys too long. I wanted to include more stuff from our day out.

That's a wrap folks!

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