Sunday, 27 February 2011

Feature: A Pokémon World

Being a parent in the late 90s must have been a nightmare. A new phenomenon had swept over the world starting in Japan in 1996 and reaching the UK in 1999. This phenomenon originated from two games with just a few differences between them and expanded to an anime, manga, big screen adaptations, a trading card game and other merchandise to cash it on the success. And any kid who had heard of this series wanted it all. This series was Pokémon.


As a child Satoshi Tajiri (founder of Game Freak and creator of Pokémon) used to collect bugs near his home in Japan. This was the inspiration for a game whereby the player would go around a map and collect all kinds of different creatures. When pitching this idea to Nintendo it was rejected however one Shigeru Miyamoto was intrigued and the one game soon became two after he insisted so. This was so that effective use could be made of the link cable and 'catching them all' would be more of a test.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Food for Thought, Gaming Edition

While on the train home on Thursday, something really bugged me. Quite a few things did actually - the fact that a woman was sat in my reserved seat, the fact that the kids she was with were the most upper class snobs under the age of 12 I've seen (they had the teeth to go with it too), and the fact that somehow we gained 10 minutes of the journey. The main thing though involves a bit of science. I would have blogged about it that day but my laptop ran out of battery within 30 minutes from a full 100%. Looking at it later it may have been because it hasn't been attached properly. Before the main point of this post however - my parents went to London last weekend and brought a book back for me. Yeah sure, I could walk into the Tinner's Rabbit (if its still open, bloody foreigners are buying out Ulverston completely) and it would be in there, but this book is one of the best things I have read so I'm just giving it a shout - it's called Time Riders and is the first of three books, all of which are out now too. If the events of April 1912, November 1963 and September 2001 ring any bells then they are all involved. Excellent read and I'm only a quarter of the way through it.

Right, the thing that bugged me. In Pokémon when a trainer throws a Poké Ball or Great Ball or Ultra Ball or any specifically made ball and it hits a Pokémon, it opens out and shrinks the creature down before trapping it inside. The creature then tries to break free and either succeeds or fails, the latter meaning it is now owned by the trainer (would you like to give a nickname to the captured Trubbish?). My problem isn't with how the Pokémon is shrunk but just how it works on only Pokémon and not humans. Your first answer would probably be "humans and Pokémon have different DNA structures" which is fine, but there are many species of Pokémon which thus have different structures too. On contact a simple "if" statement is probably conducted with the parameters of "if DNA != human_sample then capture else end" but then that leaves us with another problem. Each different human has different DNA. It is possible that one person's DNA could be similar to that of any existing Pokémon and it is not possible for every capture device ever made to store the DNA of every living human with the matter of babies being born all the time. Sure a quick swab of the baby after birth could give the DNA to upload to a global database that is then accessed via wireless but in caves and forests, the devices are going to struggle to receive a signal. My question to Game Freak is this - How do Poké Balls work?