The other day I stopped into my local GameStop to see if they had any of the San Diego Comic Con exclusive Funko Pop!s available. What I discovered when I walked in, however, was much more exciting. Recently, Mega Construx released a line of Pokémon-themed building block sets. Being the Pokémon fan that I am I was at first embarrassed that this line had completely flown under my radar when it was announced back in February, but at least stumbling on them the way I did was validating.
There were about twelve sets in total, roughly six larger boxed sets and six little minifigs sort of that come in a Pokéball. I bought a little Eevee Pokéball on the spot. I figured I’d get one of the small ones to dip my toe in a bit, see how I like them. When I got home, it took me about ten minutes to put together (which really only took that long because I kept dropping all the pieces.) Once the figure was complete, I was hooked. At first it looked a little janky with the thick little legs and awkward tuft of fur on its chest but eventually all that became part of its charm.
A couple of days later I went back to the store and pored over which of the larger sets to buy. What I like most about the line is there are a few different themes; besides the smaller figures, a couple of the larger Pokémon are represented, like Charizard and Gyarados. The line also includes the starter mid-evolutions, Charmeleon, Wartortle and Ivysaur as their own stand-alone sets. Each of the starters, Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur, along with Pikachu are paired off for battle scene building sets.
After much, much deliberation, I decided to go with Charizard. I also picked up Abra and Magikarp, a couple of my favorites, from the line of smaller sets so I can display next to little Eevee.
Again, the little ones were quick to assemble; total time for both of those was about fifteen minutes. Charizard, on the other hand, took roughly an hour to build. The build instructions were slightly confusing as the way they’re drawn isn’t as clear as what you’d get from a LEGO manual. I managed, though, and I’m really proud of myself.
I’m also really proud of this Charizard, which turned out to be a nice display piece. A lot of the articulation is really good, especially around the head, legs and tail. I would have liked if there was a bit more articulation, like maybe if the arms moved a little better and get some moveable fingers and jaw in there but I also realize that those features would impact the price, which may turn off a few potential fans.
As far as quality, it’s easy to tell why LEGO is the cream of the crop. That’s not to say Mega Construx are bad; in fact, they’re intricately designed and really capture the likenesses of the Pokémon they’re meant to replicate. However, the building aspect of the set was difficult at times. I found myself struggling to click blocks in place, having to rely on using my teeth to get the amount of pressure that I needed. This could have been due to some microscopic defect in the stud that made it just too big to fit. In fairness, though, it could have just been small parts and sweaty hands (it was a really hot day, you guys.)
If you do manage to get them clicked into place and realize you put the piece in the wrong spot, good luck getting it apart. Unlike LEGO, Construx don’t come with a handy separating tool so, once again, I lucked out that I had a mouthful of teeth to do the job. In fairness, though, I don’t fault Construx for this. It took LEGO years to realize a tool like this was a necessity and since they likely have a patent on it, Construx will need to design their own.
As I mentioned earlier, in addition to the larger sets, the series offers a few single figures, such as Pokémon’s mascot, Pikachu, and a few other fan favorites, like Eevee, Magikarp, and…Zubat. What I like most about these are the packaging; they all come in a plastic Pokéball that can be used as a display base once building is complete. And at around $7 each, they’re a pretty good deal. Considering LEGO minifigure blind bags can retail for right around $5 and only have about 5 pieces each and a substandard display, these Pokémon characters are basically a steal.
Even the larger sets are a good value. At this time, the biggest set was Gyarados, with a total of 352 pieces retailing for $30. Compared to some of LEGO’s franchised sets, that’s an amazing deal. The LEGO Batman Movie Riddler Riddle Racer playset has 254 pieces and is regularly priced at $35 (though was on sale for $24 at the time of this writing, for whatever that’s worth).
Then again, you get what you pay for. With LEGO being the Cadillac of building blocks, the Pokémon Mega Construx don’t size up to quite that level. Sure, the models are well done and really capture the likenesses of the Pokémon, but the builds aren’t as sophisticated as what one would expect from LEGO.
It was a great choice for Mega Construx to jump into the Pokémon arena, especially given the mainstream popularity of Pokémon GO. Building sets like these now appeal to a wider audience since they are familiar with the characters. Even though they aren’t perfect, they are fantastically modelled and offer great playability.
Bottom line: I want more. Not just “I want to buy more sets,” which is definitely true. The low price point and great showcaseability really make these sets a good value despite their shortcomings. When I say I want “more,” I mean more sets. I want this line to do well so that Mega releases additional sets, like maybe the Generation 1 legendaries, Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, and Mewtwo. Even a tiny little Mew hovering over a Pokéball would be sweet.
Also, I want to see some from the later generations of games: Tyranitar, Hoot Hoot, Lucario. There are so many great Pokémon that would make amazing display pieces that this could go on forever…just like the games!
Who is to blame for Pokemon Go?
Perhaps you are one of the legion of fans gobbling up pokemon in the new mobile phenomenon from Niantic. I certainly have been addicted to it these last few months. Are you frustrated with the constant server issues, lack of information on updates, and occasional broken features? Me too!
Who do we blame for this? We could blame Niantic for not anticipating the huge success this game turned out to be. We could blame Nintendo for not helping to establish a temporary community team of contractors since one does not currently exist at all at Niantic. We could even blame ourselves for our avaricious need to be spoon fed information constantly instead of letting a company function on making its product. However, the person we won’t be blaming is the Niantic Marketing Manager currently on maternity leave.
Why is this? Because I would like to believe we are not
assholes misinformed individuals like this individual “journalist” at i4u.com who published this article late last month blaming Yennie Solheim Fuller for daring to have a life outside of her job. Because to quote i4u News:
“Why is Niantic basically silent throughout the turmoil of viral growth that cause all kinds of issues?
The person who is responsible for PR and Marketing at Niantic gave birth two days after the launch of Pokemon Go. Yennie Solheim Fuller is on maternity leave.”
There are so many flaws in this article it would take a book length response to list them, but here are a few.
- a Marketing Manager is not a Community Manager
- it is virtually impossible to plan life events around a launch
- it takes a team of people to handle a launch this big for Community, not one person.
- talking to players is not her job.
I’ll let you in on a secret of the gaming industry. Things rarely go on schedule. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve tried to plan vacations, important events and personal time around a phase or launch date to zero success. Even if Ms. Fuller scheduled her baby’s conception down to the second to have ample time for launch, it would be unlikely to happen exactly on schedule. Even if this was an unexpected pregnancy, the company had 9 nine months to consider adding to their marketing team. It would be entirely her business to decide when to enlarge her family.
HOWEVER, Let’s take a second here and think. Their marketing was spot on since we all know about the game and are playing it. In fact, their marketing was so excellent that they garnered an audience far more than they expected – enough to surpass Facebook and Snapchat users as of this month. Great job marketing team! This is the result that companies dream of. Global coverage, eager players, widespread discussion.
This brings me to another important point – a Marketing Manager is NOT a Community Manager.
“A Marketing Manager is a person within a company who supervises and helps create the various advertising or merchandising sales campaigns the business uses to sell itself and its products. A Marketing Manager can be assigned to a single product, a product line, a brand, or the entire company.” (from payscale.com)
According to this definition, she created a buzz for the game, got the word out, supplied interesting journalists and media kits to cover it, all while preparing for the birth of her child and handing things like a boss. She excels at this.
Ask i4u.com why one should have an Accountant AND a Banker, they both work with money right? Marketing and Community is the same way, just with people.
Now dolls, I understand the disgruntlement with the silence from Niantic to your feedback and questions. For this type of help you need a Community Manager. Let me drop some knowledge on you.
“A Community Manager is responsible for advocating the brand on social networks. They create their own social persona and actively go out within the online community to connect with potential customers and advocate the brand.”
Wouldn’t one of those be helpful?
So who do we blame for the widespread craze of Pokemon go spreading to all corners of the world? Yennie Solheim Fuller. Now let’s wish her a well-deserved rest.
And let’s hope that Niantic is as wise when they select a Community Manager and team to handle the rest.
Feel free to tell Luigi Lugmayr your feelings on his opinion about pregnant women and their responsibilities to the masses, even though it seems that he values his privacy enough not to have a twitter account. Sad that he doesn’t want to communicate with his readers. Maybe he needs a “Marketing Manager.”
Hey everybody, just a quick blurb about the leaked Western release of Pokémon Go. I woke up this morning to many news sites claiming that we Westerners could download the game via a mirror site and play the full experience with no issues as long as you have an Android device. So as a 30 year old man, who has a deep nostalgia for Pokémon, I had to grab my balls (the poke kind), turned on my GPS (and watched as my battery drained faster than I had ever seen it deplete before), and created my character as I booted up this app. For people who know me, I have a very big problem with mobile games. Instead of going into a more venomous rant on those experiences, I will just simply say they are not for me. You know what is for me? Pokémon.
There are not very many character creator options in Pokemon Go, but that doesn’t matter when you have the goal to catch ’em all. The new professor introduces himself and then he sets you off to catch your first pocket monster. Bulbasaur was my first! After this quick tutorial you are set off with walking around your home town, or local areas and Pokémon will start populating on the GPS map in the app. Also the map is populated with icons that are in real life art, sculptures, or major places of interest. In the game they are turned into Pokémon stores, gyms, and other Pokémon related things. Going to these hotspots offer items such as: Pokéballs, eggs, (can hatch into new Pokémon) as well as incense and other items to use to attract these catchable creatures.
I have not spent much time in Pokemon Go but I am working my way to become Level 5 so I can take on my first gym. How that works I have no idea but I will certainly report back! For now I suggest going to the mirror site where you can download the Pokemon Go app here and start your Pokémon journey!
Pokemon is a 17-year old franchise, and flagship of Nintendo’s first party titles, that has relied on the same formula since its inception. While the policy to “not fix what isn’t broken” has certainly been successful for the Pokemon franchise, each new generation has brought with it new wishes from fans on how to make the Pokemon experience more personal, and how to improve the overall presentation. After 17 years, X and Y are now the quintessential and refined entries in the Pokemon franchise. Although the formula remains the same, this new experience is absolutely unparalleled.
X and Y begin as all Pokemon adventures do, with the protagonist having just arrived at a new home in a new region, before being handed a Pokemon partner, a digital encyclopedia and sent off on an adventure. Right off the bat, veteran players will notice subtle changes in start of this adventure. For instance, rather than having one rival character, you have four friends who accompany you on your Pokemon journey. Each of these friends has different goals and ideals, and this is one of the things I came to appreciate most about X and Y. The diversity in friends represents the diversity of people playing Pokemon. Some are determined to conquer the Elite Four and become Champions, some are on a journey to complete the Pokedex, while others are simply going around the world to have a good time and make friends. X and Y is an inclusive adventure that allows for all of these goals to occur.
X and Y has over 450 Pokemon available in the pre-Elite Four Pokedex, more than in any other region. Surprisingly, very few of these 450 are new Pokemon, and many of them are drawn from previously explored regions in the Pokemon universe. This creates a wonderful experience combining nostalgia and new adventures. For example, in this game, you get to choose two starter Pokemon: one from the new generation, and either Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle from the original Red/Blue games.
|The three new starters from the Kalos region! Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and will prove an invaluable ally.|
Perhaps the greatest strength of this new generation is the completely overhauled visual presentation, brought to life by the Nintendo 3DS. Despite the fact that the overworld cannot be displayed in 3D, the environments of the game look incredible. I would frequently get lost in the various routes and cities within the Kalos region, just to marvel at a shimmering river or softly falling snow, while spellbound by the music. Battles looks incredible as well, with each Pokemon now having been rendered in 3D, and each displaying unique attack and idle animations. For the first time, I feel as though Pokemon are creatures truly brought to life.
|Chespin prepares to launch a powerful Solar Beam attack!|
The plot of X and Y is relatively straightforward, and provides an engaging 35 hour experience before opening up to post-game contact. I really enjoyed my struggles to thwart the ambitions of Team Flare, all the while obtaining Gym Badges and preparing to take on the Elite Four. The plot is one of the most well-developed in the series, but does suffer from some minor pacing issues. I easily spent the largest percentage of my adventure between the first three Gyms, and then I quickly reached the fourth through seventh Gyms in almost immediate succession. Suddenly finding myself near the end of the game was a rather jarring experience, and I felt somewhat cheated as the plot rushed through several new environments in short succession.
However, some of the greatest strengths of X and Y are its new mechanics that provide the player with whole new ways to delve into the Pokemon world. Arguably the most popular of these is Pokemon-Amie, which allows you to pet and play with your Pokemon directly, using the touch screen of the 3DS as an interface. This function has plenty of appeal simply as a cute little mini-game, but playing with your Pokemon has some amazing effects in battle. Some of these effects are superficial, such as changes in the text when you send a Pokemon into battle. At one point in my adventure, however, one of my team members survived an otherwise fatal attack with one HP left, and I was informed that the Pokemon toughed out that attack simply because it loved me too much to disappoint me. It was the first time a Pokemon game has ever made me cry.
|Petting and playing with a Pikachu in Pokemon-Amie is a uniquely entertaining experience|
In X and Y, it is easier than ever to connect with friends in the Pokemon universe. Trading and battling with complete strangers can be done within minutes after obtaining your starter Pokemon, and that interconnectivity makes X and Y a uniquely collective experience in the Pokemon franchise. This installment has also revolutionized the competitive meta-game, with the new Fairy type balancing out previous type advantages, and the Effort Values of each Pokemon now directly visible and under the player’s control.
That is not to say that this experience is perfect. Aside from the pacing issues, I found that X and Y removed some of the challenge of Pokemon. New experience mechanics, such as capture experience and the revamped Experience Share item make gaining levels require little to no effort on behalf of the player. Without grinding to level up my Pokemon, or EV training, I almost immediately found myself with significant level advantages over AI trainers and Gym Leaders. Even the Elite 4 and Champion of the Kalos region were easy to defeat without breaking a sweat. That lack of challenge definitely takes something away from the experience of veteran players, while making X and Y more inclusive to a new generation of Pokemon fans.
Overall, however, X and Y provide an experience and presentation unmatched by any of the previous Pokemon generations. Whether you’ve been a fan of Pokemon since the days of Red and Blue, or whether you’re entering the franchise for the first time, X and Y is an essential addition to your gaming library.
Pokemon X is awesome. If you disagree then you are disagreeable. You like that logic? You better or else Pokemon X and I are gonna beat you up.
First off, the last Pokemon game I played was Pokemon Silver back in the year 2000. That’s crazy. 13 years ago. Somehow Pokemon X managed to hold on to everything that made Red/Blue & Gold/Silver fun to me back then, but also managed to change everything. “The more things change the more they stay the same”. That sort of thing. Having missed five generations of Pokemon game also means there are several hundred Pokemon I’ve never heard of before. It’s a delight to see all the new ones alongside my old favorites.
As I played, the old theme song line of, “Gotta catch em’ all” rang true. I have spent hours walking through the tall grass just looking for the different variety of Pokemon that show up, battling the ones that I already have and catching the ones I don’t. I will spend many more hours playing this game within the game.
True to form, Pokemon have to use HMs to “cut”, “surf”, etc. Most of the time I don’t have a move I am willing to give up, so just pass by the thorny bushes, noting their locations so that on my second play through I will get them.
Game Freak removed all the annoyances from the old games, like the fact that only my Pokemon in battle got exp (now everyone at least gets a little). They also gave me awesome roller blades. It’s fun.
Graphically there is a huge overhaul and it’s great. There are dynamic camera angles that go from over the shoulder third person to birds eye view, to the traditional offset angle. The 3-D is great. It only activates during battles and special events, saving battery power and not over-playing it.
And I finally have a T-Rex Pokemon. Need I say more? I have five badges currently and I’ll update you guys when I have more.
Pokémon have been inspiring fanart for decades (yep) now, but this may possibly be the cutest collection of Pokémon fanart in existence. The artist of the collection, who is named Randy, goes by “RLGO” 0n society 6 and “Itsbirdy” on Instagram. He has imagined what a variety of first-stage Pokémon would look like wearing hoodies of their final evolutionary stages. I don’t even need to write this article. Just look at these pictures, then go order them from Society 6. Or check him out on Instagram. Or do both. Yes. Do both.
You can tell how old I am based on which Pokémon I chose to feature.
Randy, or Birdy, posts plenty of other art on his instagram as well, in a variety of mediums, but the Pokémon are definitely my favorites. Ever.