Pokémon X & Y has been in stores for a little over a week, and we imagine some 3DS gamers have devoted more hours to the game in that time than they'd care to admit. Gotta catch 'em all really means "gotta play the game until my eyes pack in".
While both X & Y are all about the serious business of exploring a mysterious land and capturing fantastical creatures into a small ball — the novelisation of which would surely win a Booker, or similar literary prize — we thought we'd highlight some of the humorous or surprising moments from our time with the game. Naturally some of these will cover different features from the game and, though we aim to be as spoiler-free as possible, consider this your light warning.
My journey through the vast region of Kalos has been both heart-warming and horrifying of late. After discovering that you can actually pet your Pokémon during battle by drawing a circle on the touch-screen once your opponent has fainted, I've taken to ritualistically congratulating my little team every time they have punched the lights out of another Pokémon. Sometimes I pause and think about the ethical impact of this kind of behaviour on the lives of different sub-species of Pokémon - enslaving creatures, forcing them to battle and then positively reinforcing them to be aggressive to one another... Then I feed them with Poke Puffs and feel much better about myself.
I also think that I've cursed my copy of Pokémon Y. No, really. After visiting a creepy mansion, I encountered a strange old man who told me a ghost story. He then demanded a very steep tip for the story, which I never even asked for in the first place so, of course, I flatly refused. Since then I've had a run in with what I believe to be a ghost, obviously sent by the old man to haunt me forever more. If you happen to be in the Northern district of Lumiose City and pop into a certain building, make you sure to take the elevator to the second floor. Just don't be afraid if the lights start to flicker...
My birthday happened to be the same day that Pokémon X and Y launched (happy birthday to me, right?), and when I entered a Pokémon Centre I noticed that the lights were dimmed. Suddenly, the lights came up and everyone inside wished me a happy birthday! Any Centre that I went to that day displayed a large cake on the screen above the desk until I spoke the Centre Nurse and continued on with normal Pokémon Centre operations.
It seems as though my game was notifying other players of my birthday via wifi because I kept seeing random well wishes scrolling across my bottom screen all day. I think it's so great that X and Y encourages such personal and community interactions!
Also, some guy I talked to in a Pokemon Center alludes to playing HarmoKnight, another Game Freak game.
I tried to go into Pokémon X as spoiler-free as possible, and one of the coolest surprises I found when I booted up the game and stepped out of bed in Vaniville town - aside from finding a Wii U waiting for me in my bedroom! - was the PSS. The online functions in past Pokémon games have always been a bit beyond me - I'm not big on competitive battling and I get too attached to my 'mon to do any serious trading - so I wasn't expecting to find much use for the expanded system in X and Y, but seeing my fiancée's avatar pop up on the PSS as we were playing in the room caught my attention. A few exploratory taps later and we were sending each other power-ups in real-time - amazing! O-Powers have got to be one of my favourite additions to the game - they're the karma-boosting and actually-effective equivalents to mashing down and 'B' when throwing a Pokéball, and sending them over the internet to trainers I've never met - from Canada to Korea - gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling of camaraderie with my fellow Pokémaniacs around the globe every time I play.
Even more addicting and karmically-charged than these random, anonymized acts of kindness, however, are the oh-so-aptly named Wonder Trades. Wonder Trades have totally changed the way I look at wild Pokémon - now whenever I see a fun new monster in the grass, I catch one for myself and then go looking for another one for a random trainer somewhere in the world. Sure, I've gotten a few Pokémon that I could tell were cast-offs ("Morgan's Home for Wayward Bidoofs now open in Box 3!"), but I've also gotten some amazing 'mon I never dreamed people would've offered up to the ether, and it always makes my day! I always knew I was going to have a blast with Pokémon X, but who'd have thought Nintendo's latest monster-trading masterpiece would offer up so many opportunities for merit-making?
I stopped playing Pokémon Diamond largely because of all the superfluous fluff that game crammed into every crevice. Don't get me wrong, it's one of my favourite RPGs; but fashion shows, berry planting, and a whole mess of unnecessary systems had me pining for the rock-solid simplicity of Pokémon Red/Blue. My heart began to sink (or at least spring a leak) when the same kind of filler began popping up in Pokémon X, distracting me from tracking down an Onyx with laser-focused intensity. When I found the Trainer PR Video building, I warily stepped inside. Yes, I played along, but why would I want to film a five-second promotional video of my character, exactly? That's when I watched the finished product.
The camera swooped across my highly appealing visage, no longer a smattering of sprites as in days of yore, but a fully modelled polygonal wonder. I watched myself dance about in my chosen wardrobe, striking the dumbest and most delightful of poses as a laugh track uproariously encouraged every last antic in this personal limelight of my own design. By the end I was chortling just as hard as the audience, pleased to my core. I can hardly explain my extreme reaction to this display of unchecked narcissism, but it has turned me into an artist dedicated to perfecting and sharing these videos with my friends (against their wills). Oh, and I found an Onyx, so this Pokémon game is all aces in my book.
I'm the type of Pokémon player who wants to give everything he catches a nickname, and will spend more time than necessary at the outset trying to come up with a theme to do so. This time around, however, I found myself on the other side of things when the in-game friends starting discussing what to call me.
I flippantly decided that they should deem me "T-Meister," then thought for a second. T? ...Tea? Yes! I would be the Tea-Meister! My rambunctious Chespin became Chai. My demure Flabébé was christened Chamomile. My Squirtle who is, uh, full of water? Kettle. I keep lists of tea varieties open on my laptop to find suitable names for my new catches, because once you cross the dork line, why not go all out?
So watch for the Tea-Meister when traversing through Kalos. He and his Pokémon offer rest and refreshment to the weary journeying toward their dreams, but a scalding spill to the laps of those who would do evil!
Those are some of our memorable and strange moments to date; share yours in the comments below!