Pokemon Blue, Day Thirty-eight

Last time,

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Now for the rest of the place.

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It’s weird to see this suddenly the focus, particularly because I’d think that telling you before now would have been helpful. At this point, most of my original pokemon have evolved.

Also…
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The protagonist is one lazy kid. Instead of saying anything about the pokemon he just repeats what we already know from the fossil.

Kabuto’s sprite always looked incomplete to me. It’s made up for by how awesome the evolution looks, though.
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Actually, given the draconian space limits, it often does.
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Here’s the gym. Like in Viridian, it’ll force you to walk backward after the automatic message triggers, but at least that doesn’t make you hop a ledge here.

But if you start on the coast and then walk to the door…
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The guy on the roof appears.

Considering it seems to have some link to the missingno glitch (the roof looks normal approached any other way) one possibility is that it’s the sprite of the old man from Viridian. But that guy walks back and forth rather than facing downward, so who knows. Back in the day I assumed it was Blaine.

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Why?

First off, real scientists conduct experiments in labs, not burnt buildings. Second, there’s already a perfectly good lab on this island! And it’s not like the place was only partially damaged, as we’ll see shortly.

I always found the burned building really evocative, but it doesn’t show up in most fiction. People tend to have a functioning lab here or somewhere similar if it comes up at all.
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Odd how? I mean, besides the gym locking thing, which is more just regular dickishness, and the guy intermittently appearing on his roof.
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Blaine is also a weird collection of traits. Hot-headed but into quizzes? And as we’ll see he also shares some traits with Surge.
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In the future, it’ll explode!

…wouldn’t it be cool if that sort of thing happened in the game if you played long enough? I was really disappointed that even in the third gen, the awakening of the insanely powerful monsters that created land and sea didn’t have more of an impact than whether or not it was sunny or raining out.
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Well, here’s the building. I’d like to take a moment to be grateful it doesn’t have a sign next to it saying BURNED OUT BUILDING or something. Thank you, designers, for knowing when to stop.
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This area has a much more expansive layout than most areas, which makes it seem freaky.
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Also, it has poison pokemon, meaning that your pokemon will get poisoned while you’re wandering a relatively large area.
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It seems like that would actually help. Better you have something devour the concentrated toxins and keep it in a small area than try to dilute it to harmlessness the way we usually deal with pollution.
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Why do horses hang out in here? Who knows.

There aren’t many fire types (seven lines in total), and of the ones there are, one’s a starter, another’s an evolution of eevee, and a third’s moltres (…admittedly, moltres hanging out here would make more sense than where they canonically appear, but the designers likely didn’t want to do it so close to the articuno’s appearance. But then again actually having articuno hang out in the mountains near the League would fit better…). And another fire type is lost to the fact that they made the vulpix/growlithe pair version exclusives. Foxes and stray dogs both make perfect sense here, but only one can appear in a given game.

It’s particularly noticeable after the last dungeon. The game is stuffed to the gills with water types, so it could stock Seafoam with a good selection and had no need to bring in unsuitable options like magikarp and goldeen attacking you while you walked.
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A bit random, but I won’t say no to one.
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Ah, and there’s the rubble. The designers didn’t seem able to really portray burn damage, but they did show the place’s structural integrity was lacking. (It’s really unclear how long ago all this took place…) That just makes it more confusing that some people seem to think this is a valid base of operations – barring significant and constant intervention that you’d only do if you viewed the place as some sort of sacred location. And yet, in game terms, isn’t it? It’s forever held in this stasis, and holds the mysterious journal entries – the holy scripture – of Mew and Mewtwo.
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There are also doors. But no worries, no card key is required here…
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There really are people hanging out here.

While it’s impossible to get trapped the way the game is set up, it does seem pretty dangerous to mess around as a group. As you’ll see, if other people were messing with the doors it’d be easy to be locked in.
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This is the secondary exit, but more on that in a minute.
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Like so many pokemon you only encounter late in the game, tauros have a weird moveset, starting with extremely powerful (for this game, anyway) moves like stomp and then learning stuff like tail whip that most pokemon are done with by L10.

Tauros actually are pretty solid. Stomp has a good flinch chance and my tauros always goes first (probably in part due to my badges – I do have speed by now, don’t I?), so it’s easy to trample my opponents into bloody pieces.
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I wonder if this gave anyone trouble? In other areas these are solely decorative. I tend to check them out due to interest in fluff text, so I had no problem discovering the switch, but someone who gained less enjoyment in seeing if Gary had gotten a badge yet could easily miss this for a while.
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I know!

Should you decline, the text makes it clear that’s only in the not-quite-yet sense. It’s a switch. Not pushing it at all isn’t on the table.
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What are these block things supposed to be, anyway? They seem decorative from how they’re arranged in the beginning, but why would they just be in a line here?

But anyway, as you can see, the door to this area has opened! Pressing the switch has removed the door issue forever :)
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And some beds. I guess they didn’t have much furniture so they had to stick beds in lots of places to fill up the rooms,
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Or actually, pressing the switch just switches which ones are open and which are shut. As a result, it’s impossible to reach the secondary exit from this area.
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Muk! I used to put one on my team for the elite four. I’ll show you why when we get there.
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Here’s an interesting bit. Someone just wandering around.
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I guess it is a bit confusing, but you’re not in one of the deeper areas, all you have to do is go down the stairs and you’re back at the –
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Wait you’re a trainer???

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Yup.

Burglars move about on their own and only fight you if you talk to them. You should though, they give you plenty of money for beating them.
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While that’s good to know, I’m confused how you can be so confused by the place when you understand the most complex part of this.
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Balcony!

I believe this is the only time the game will attempt to show this aspect of upper stories. I can sort of see why – the empty solid color doesn’t really look right – but it was a good idea. Far better to have a legendary bird hanging out here than the bottom of a cave. Really, the only bird whose area makes sense will be zapdos, because you can just assume the roof there is in pieces by now.
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Note the comma means that the christening was something other than naming it Mew.

Anyway, journal entries!

The journal entries made for some good fiction fodder. While I don’t recall much being done with the place in its state during the game’s present, people ran with the hints of what it had been. Like so many people, I once considered doing a story that was just the journal entries and then an expanded bit about what actually happened that day. Luckily we were all spared that, but other people did similar things, including some lovely stories. The entries are marvelously evocative. I think it’s the dates that really sell the whole thing – the sense that so much more is going on between each entry and we’re only getting just a glimpse.
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Amnesia may have been the actual gamebreaking god move, but I was a devote of minimize. It’s like sand attack, only it’s tied to your pokemon, not your opponent!
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I think back then there was a lot more emphasis on the rain forest being the cradle of everything, so it’s not just that it’s a good location for a new discovery but the natural place for the ur-pokemon.
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How long has this place been like this? Does stuff ever expire?
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Beds beds beds.
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It just looks weird in Blue, but it’s one of the few pokemon that isn’t so well served by art improvements, which show its body has meticulously rendered flame drawing on it – not exactly something that would actually blend well into a fire.
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Continuing what the balcony earlier began, yes, those are indeed spots where the floor has collapsed, letting you jump down to the lower level.
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I don’t know what’s with this guy, honestly.

Did the mentor die? Is he here to follow the guy’s footsteps, or just because the mentor mentioned that this is such a great place for experiments that it’s still good even after being burned and half collapsing, or what? Why is a place someone lived also apparently the lab Mewtwo was kept at?
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You know what my holy grail of pokemon AI is? One that learns. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
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Now, let’s consider a moment why someone would be doing experiments in an abandoned building that everyone agrees is practically a labyrinth. The only thing that comes to my mind is if you’re doing the kind of experiments that would otherwise get you arrested.

And so this guy who immediately attacks me and hangs out here then tells me that hey, the solution to my problem is jumping off a cliff?
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I think exploring a little first is warranted.
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That sounds pretty fatal.
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Yay!
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Her stats are relatively well rounded, just low.
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Another burglar.
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I feel like these guys are new at the whole burglar thing.
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And you’ll keep wondering, because my avatar never tells people stuff like this.
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Technically, this doesn’t preclude it being to an egg, given it’s unclear how long eggs take to hatch. We only know the hatching time in terms of steps, not how long that actually takes.

It also occurs to me that, depending on how you define gender, you could argue that we don’t know if this was asexual reproduction and that if it was, then the mew is an it rather than she. I tend to go with she in those cases, though.
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Here’s where it gets hairier.

Mewtwo is apparently distinct from Mew but has no differences listed. This suggests that Mew and Mewtwo may not be species names at all.

The pokedex entry will say Mewtwo is deliberately created, but oddly that’s not in the journal entries, which confused me as a child. It seemed from the journal entries that Mew gave birth on her own, and they just dealt with the result. The best option is that they messed around with Mew’s eggs and then implanted the modified version in her, but the pokedex also says that Mewtwo is the end result of a lot of horrible experiments over many years, none of which seem to be mentioned in these journals. (And I always took the lack of a year date as indication that there weren’t years taking place between them, but I don’t think there’s any sign that was really the intention.) It’s also a bit odd to make a point of Mew giving birth in that case, since they could have used a more common surrogate instead of messing with a unique pokemon. It could also be that the idea was they messed with Mewtwo’s genes after it was born – doesn’t particularly make much sense, but it would hardly be the weirdest idea in the games.

But one idea I liked was that Mew gives birth to Mewtwo in response to stress – that Mewtwo is not the direct product of humans but the indirect, resulting from capturing and experimenting on Mew, a peaceful member of a peaceful species. You’ll notice, after all, that Mewtwo was not the only one to get loose – there is no sign of Mew still being in scientist hands either. And from the way the entries talk of Mewtwo, he seems exceptionally vicious, as if meant for such a purpose. Entirely acanonical, but still a cool concept to play around with.

Sadly, all this fun speculation tends to be overwritten by the movie canon of Mewtwo growing in a tube.

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Well, I guess I have to jump.
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But first, can I just say how horrible ponyta’s back sprite is. Holy shit.
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It does have some respectable stats, but as you can see, ponyta are not cut out to be fire pokemon. Just look at the gap between its attack and special – and this will not be remedied in the least by the split in later games. Ponyta is good at flinch-stomping things to death like tauros, but it doesn’t get the stab for doing so.

I wonder if it’s any good now that fire attacks can be physical? It definitely has the stats for a physical attacker.

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There’s my tauros’ stats for comparison.

Anyway, back to jumping into the unknown because a shady guy suggested it.
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You’re not even the first guy I’ve seen. In fact I’m here at the suggestion of some guy right above me. Or are you referring to here specifically? In that case take it up with that guy.

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I don’t know what I’m talking about either.

I mean, who’d put a key in the middle of this mess?
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Ah, oldschool poison mechanics, I love you so.
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And here’s the way out! Exiting this brings you to the same door you entered from…
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…making it impossible to go back to where you were. Instead, you start at the beginning again. So don’t, or at least save first.
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Now to continue along…
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There’s actually two different ideas here, though I can’t say if the writer noticed that. Mewtwo is both vicious and powerful – if it was weaker, the viciousness would be no issue, but because of its power, that led to it being impossible to contain. Either vicious pokemon are exceedingly rare and people don’t know how to deal with them, which is why they failed so badly here, or vicious pokemon are commonly kept but Mewtwo blew through the usual safeguards. The latter allows for the option that there’s plenty of nasty lab pokemon lurking around that just happen to be below Mewtwo’s power level.

In either case I always took this to mean that people in this world really don’t know half as much about actually handling pokemon as they think they do.
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You guys are some really crappy burglars. Not just because you get lost…
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…but because as far as I can tell you’re burglarizing free stuff. Might just be that I’m a burglar too, though. Still, stuff lying around in a place like this seems like it’s crossed well into salvage territory.
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I mean just look at this place.
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As you can see, tauros can learn some good special moves, and actually have a semi-decent special stat to go with it. (That will be gutted in the transition to second gen.)
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Pressing the switch moves these doors as well, making you have to go the long way around. That’s pointless and annoying, game.
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A lot of the scientists seem like the mad variety.
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It’s worth considering what studies they’re doing. The journal entries are from before the place was wrecked. What even weirder things are guys like this doing now?
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More beds…
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The place also has some of the better TMs. Solarbeam won’t really be that great of a move until the addition of sunny day, but it actually would have been a decent move if other things had worked properly. A grass move with 60 power actually isn’t that bad – it’s only that razor leaf has a boosted critical hit rate, and in this game things with boosted critical hit rates always hit.
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And here’s the secret key. I assume a replacement one will be brought down promptly, as Gary must have done this same thing already.
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And as you see here, you have to hit the switches one more time to actually leave.

8 Comments

  1. Negrek says:
    You know what my holy grail of pokemon AI is? One that learns. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

    Totally! I’m definitely going to try making one.

  2. purplekitte says:
    It looks like even in later gens rapidash only gets one or two physical fire-type moves that are any good, and takes recoil.
    1. Farla says:
      It gets an electric move, though (even if it’s a recoil one. What’s with Nintendo and recoil moves?)
  3. actonthat says:
     I always thought that, having only one mew, they tried to implant an embryo based on Mew’s own DNA in order to get more mews. But something went wrong and they got this abomination clone that was stronger and vicious instead of a proper offspring.
    1. Farla says:
      Hm, that’s a thought. Though they really should have implanted it into other pokemon rather than risk their only mew. But they’re obviously mad scientists so I can’t expect too much reason here.

      Actually, mewtwo is plausibly what you might get in a botched cloning. Without the usual cellular processes regulating size, you can get over or undersized animals, and individual parts often aren’t to the same scale.

  4. Dragonfree says:
    “A grass move with 60 power actually isn’t that bad – it’s only that
    razor leaf has a boosted critical hit rate, and in this game things with
    boosted critical hit rates always hit.”

    Well, specifically, moves with a high critical hit ratio are eight times more likely to be a critical hit than normal moves, and as it happens the normal critical hit ratio is half of the user’s base Speed divided by 256. Which basically amounts to any Pokémon with a base Speed of 64 or above always scoring a critical hit with high critical hit ratio moves. (Well, it’s a 255/256 chance, technically.)

    As it happens the average base Speed across all Pokémon, including pre-evolutions, is something like 62, so when you’re getting to evolved Pokémon, nearly all of them will nearly always get a critical hit with those moves.

    1. Farla says:
      I’ve also heard that the first gen pokemon were all comparatively speedy compared to later gens.

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