The Pokémon Letters: Chapter III

Editor’s Note:

Congratulations are in order, for in the face of adversity and strife we have risen up to the challenge of our rivals, and we now sport the eye of the pika. Each week my internet piñata Owen Grieve is weathering numerous scatalogical attacks on his personality as we share a game of Pokémon Red/Blue. 

Follow our journey as we romp together in verdant virtual meadows, threshing dismayed animals out of their homes and performing twisted and sadistic rituals upon them.

I am 31 years old.

This week: Vermilion City!

Dear Owen,

I’ve come to a realisation over the past week, and while I’m not enjoying the game per se, I suddenly feel as if it’s clicked. I understand now why you have found this so absorbing. The moment my second-stringers started chain-evolving, as we saw last week, I realised where the investment of my time had been going. The return was pretty piss-weak and meagre, but it was better than nothing. In those moments, my posture towards the game rose from hostile to merely bored. Which, given that I’m over 20 years distant from its target audience, I think counts in its favour.

I stuck to my isolationist guns throughout my stay in Cerulean City. I spoke to no-one I didn’t have to, and when I did have to, I let my ruthlessly exploited menagerie do the talking. ♂COBRA♂ is emerging in my mind as a world-weary and embittered Man with No Name. He wanders a crudely-settled land, drifting from town to town, too battered down by life to bother with the niceties of conversation. His temper is short, his brows beetled. And with his weapon of choice, his deadliness is unmatched. The archetypal gunslinger – or perhaps ‘bunnyslinger’ is more apt.

He is yet only a child but his innocence is as corrupted wreckage, and his life must now be defined inevitably by conflict; wasted pursuing one ultimate, all-consuming battle, while the world rejoices. It is a tragedy on the grandest scale, that stoic Aristotle himself would weep to behold.

As to the fossil I collected under Mt. Moon: In ♂COBRA♂’s satchel, beneath the crumpled nudey mags and empty coke wraps, I found a helix. Perhaps I can flog it to the museum for a fortune, and settle ♂COBRA♂ down into a warm, comforting overdose. I did pay the Cerulean bicycle shop a visit and considered it something of a joke. Having said that, I never seem to be short of cash, so I assume it’s not that difficult to accumulate disgraceful quantities of wealth via the exploitation of mother nature.

Very well. To business.

First of all, I managed to completely overlook the blindingly obvious clue – which you had also provided, I now notice – of the house ransacked by Team Rocket, and instead wandered around and around Cerulean trying to figure out how to leave. I blame myself for this.

I can just imagine, yes.

I can’t tell you how relieved I was to finally see this, Owen. We get into a few random scuffles here and there as we pass along our way, but with the burgeoning WINTERBORN serving as our pokéhutch pit boss, I’m finding more or less everything we run across gets flambéed and mauled with barely a pause. He’s like a miniature Godzilla.

We stop in someplace and leave one of our adopted babies in the care of a complete stranger. I think it was LEONARD.

I assume this is to induct us into the world of trading in animal slaves. I take a couple of trades, and I don’t feel particularly good about it. I end up with something called SPOT, and a duck thing, which actually turns out to be pretty handy. Also the little animation takes ages and is fucking annoying.

This is the Pokémon fan club. Contrary to their credo, they make me feel very welcome, which just shows they’ve radically misjudged me.

I decline the polite offer of a Powerpoint presentation, and we go about our business.

The gym is only a couple of doors down from here, but there’s no way to access it. Instead, I decide to cash in our ticket for a cruise on the SS Anne. 

(Not to scale.)

Realising that exploring the companionways and cabins will just lock me into battles I don’t have time for, I head below decks, where this happens.

Wow, it feels like I only dispatched this joker about two minutes ago. Winterborn just burns everything he has to the ground until his spunk tortoise shows up, now calling itself WARTORTLE. That’s when WHITEWIDOW gets tagged and buries him. This time for good.

I’m all about that tactics.

AVIRGIN quits, and we find ourselves in the Captain’s quarters, where their occupant is bent over and groaning.

Ask me about the other types of relief I can offer, sailor man.

In return for our seedy and dubious intervention into his ‘seasickness’, the captain gifts us the power of ‘cut’. We bestow it upon USELESSBOB, whose hysterical moniker is becoming less appropriate by the week. This lets us turn our little bee fellow into an instant machete, which gives us access to the gym and the surly Lt. Surge!

I keep putting this cockend in his place. When will he learn to accept it?

I step all over Surge’s minions, and we’re faced with a really dumb randomised puzzle to open the steel doors the big bad army man has hidden himself behind. PTSD is a tough break, bro. Eventually we waltz through, and Surge immediately jumps all over our shit.

Hang tough, big guy.

WINTERBORN leaves him with almost nothing but the smell of charred fur in his nostrils, before he is sadly vanquished at the last hurdle. OWENGRIEVE hops up to put the coup de grâce on. He’s turning out to be one heck of a reliable back up for my hot little lizard guy.

And I guess that puts us over the top for this week. My frustrations with the battle system have now sort of waned a bit, Owen, not because I’m in a better mood, but because WINTERBORN can pretty much torch whatever the fuck he wants. Sometimes I like to imagine he sets them on fire before ‘mega-punching’ their heads clean off.

Most of my vitriol this week came from either getting stuck or getting lost, not to mention that sodding puzzle. Still, at least I feel like I know what’s going on now.



PS: I’m definitely not enjoying it.

Click for Owen’s reply!>>


1 Comment

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