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Pokémon Played It For You: Pokemon Sword and Shield (TSSSSS #1)

The Walrein

Pokémon Trainer
Partners
  1. gulpin
Welcome to the first of hopefully five one-shots I post this month as part of my NaNo goals, which I'm calling The Sealeo's-Subsequent-Shape's Saturday Stories!* (*May or may not actually be posted on Saturday during your time zone. May or may not actually be posted on Saturday during my time zone, in fact. May or may not be posted at all, actually.) This piece was inspired by comedian and cartoonist Kris Straub's amazingly funny Saw It For You series. I'm not actually planning on turning this into a series despite what the first sentence says, though I might do this for a few other games in the future. We'll see!

Also, note that this contains no actual spoilers to anyone who's been keeping up with pre-release information. It only spoils the names and minor details of a few Pokemon and characters.

Mild sort-of-swear-words, reference to death, reference to animal violence
Played It For You: Pokemon Sword And Shield

Welcome to the first edition of ‘Played It For You’! Using a combination of the latest 4chan leaks, a magic eight-ball, and a neural network trained on everything Junichi Masuda has said since early childhood, I’ve managed to reconstruct complete copies of the upcoming Pokémon Sword and Shield games for the Nintendo Switch. After an exhaustive 58-hour playthrough of both titles, I’ve compiled the following fact sheet:

Synopsis
  • The world’s most profitable video game franchise returns to its roots with a new adventure in the fan-beloved region of Kanto, now referred to as ‘Galar’ in an updated translation.
Trivia
  • Ken Sugimori got the idea for Grookey’s design when he went to the zoo and observed a monkey with a twig stuck in its fur getting beat up by another monkey controlling vines with mystical powers.
  • Although the games had initially been slated to release with all 809 previous Pokémon species available, drastic last-minute cuts had to be made when it was discovered that only a single byte had been allocated for each Pokémon’s national dex number, leading to overflow errors.
  • The source of the incredible supernatural abilities Pokémon possess is finally revealed to be due to ‘infini-chlorians’, a species of symbiotic bacteria that live inside each Pokémon’s cells and allow them to access infinity energy. Pokémon like Magnemite that do not have cells are revealed to receive their power from witchcraft instead.
  • To combat concerns about the core battle mechanic’s resemblance to cockfighting and similar forms of animal cruelty, the Sword and Shield games do away with Pokéballs entirely. Instead, Pokémon who have been caught with 'Pokébootycubes' will only join your party after receiving compensation with real-world currency, thus making it clear that the process is entirely voluntary for the Pokémon.
  • Pokébootycubes are only acquirable through opening lootboxes.
  • In an effort to avoid the mistakes of the heavily-criticized Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire games, Pokémon Sword and Shield are the first titles in the series to feature absolutely no water or water-type Pokémon of any sort. Although the game does appear to include humans, plants, and other water-based organisms, and the island nation of Galar appears to be surrounded by a fluid substance greatly resembling water, and all the characters still refer to this fluid as ‘water’ and refer to ‘water-type’ Pokémon, an opening text-crawl explains to the player that the Sword and Shield games take place in an alternate universe where all instances of the molecule H20 have been replaced by another, superficially similar but chemically distinct substance called ‘XYZ’, and therefore, a proper understanding of the philosophy of language must lead us to conclude that the Sword and Shield games cannot truthfully be said to have ‘water’ in them.
  • The IGN review of Pokémon Sword and Shield gave it a 7.8, citing "too much XYZ".
Mistakes
  • Glitch: Rotating the Switch controller upside down causes the direction of gravity in the game to reverse, flinging all the characters into space and rendering the game unwinnable.
  • Science Fail: Melting down two swords and reforging them into a new one does not create a blade with “the sharpness of the original swords combined!”. Similarly, stitching together two scabbards will not fuse them into a single scabbard with the “sharpness-containability” of the originals added together.
  • Glitch: Dying in the game causes you to die in real life. Fortunately, the game has no death-state, instead maintaining the tradition of the player-character 'whiting out' following a defeat in combat. Unfortunately, due to yet another glitch, whiting out in the game also causes the player to die in real life, with the addition of the player’s corpse immediately teleporting to the nearest Pokémon center.
  • Glitch: Defeating Champion Leon in a Pokémon battle will immediately crash the game, as the developers intended for him to be unwinnable. His strongest Pokémon is a level-50 Charizard with three moves, one of which is tail-whip, a move Charizard can not normally learn.
  • Continuity Error: Although multiple characters repeatedly refer to magma as “nature’s infinity energy”, infinity energy has been established as a natural phenomenon within the world of Pokémon.
  • Science Fail: Also, it is not, in fact, an infinite energy source. Delivering a “fist-sized globe of magma to every home in Galar” would not “permanently end the region’s reliance on coal-based power”. At best, it would heat a single room for a few hours before cooling down.
  • Missing Content: Chopping the entire world in half would have considerable side-effects beyond just allowing easier access to the magma in the planet’s mantle, but these effects are never depicted in-game.
Memorable Quotes
  • Marnie: “You’re talking nonsense. Even if Team Yell was secretly working with Team Pollute, which they aren’t, there’s no way they could’ve ever managed to capture the legendary Zacian."
    Professor Magnolia: “That was what I believed too, until I saw this image posted to the Team Yell discord server, captioned ‘look what I got from Mum’s wallet today LOL’ alongside a laughing Grookey emoji.”
    Marnie: “Is that… no! No, it can’t be! I thought it was just a myth!”
    Professor Magnolia: “Yes, Marnie, it’s real… the legendary Master Card, with the power to pay for the even the most expensive Pokébootycube… and now that Team Yell has it, no Pokémon is safe from their clutches.”
  • Leon: “...so it’s finally happened. I lost a Pokémon battle. My perfect streak is over. Yet, knowing that I lost to you, it’s, well… it’s an odd feeling. I lost, but I’m getting to see the rise of a new champion first-haAAAFDSFSDKL:SA#K_fdsfls PKMNSwSh.exe has encountered an uncaught PlayerWon exception and the application will now be terminated. Press any key to continue.”
  • Dr. O’Brian: "You’re too late, fools! Now that I have the power of gigantamax Zamazenta in my hands, you’ll never be able to split the world in half, meaning you’ll have to continue buying coal from Team Pollute forever! Bwahahahahah!”
  • Bede: “What!? How could I possibly have lost to a dweeb like Gloria?”
    Leon: “Bede, the reason you lost is because you forgot to treat your Pokémon with love and respect. Gloria has a stronger bond with her Pokémon than any other trainer I’ve seen, which is enough to outweigh any amount of dweebiness!”
    Professor Magnolia (suddenly bursting into room): “Actually, the results of my latest tests show that the reason Gloria won is due to the higher infini-chlorian counts in her Pokémon’s cells.”
  • Milo: “I like shorts! They’re comfy and easy to wear Pokébootycubes on!”
Notable Version Differences
  • In Pokémon Shield version, after Professor Magnolia says “Great! With the Giganti-Scabbard complete, we’ll be able to transport the Giganti-Shield to the north pole without worrying about accidentally shield-bashing any air molecules in half and causing a nuclear explosion on the way there!”, the protagonist starts to nod in agreement 32 frames later. In the equivalent scene in Pokémon Sword version, the nodding begins 33 frames later.
  • All of your favorite exclusive Pokémon and gym leaders are in the version you didn’t buy.
  • Due to a miscommunication within the ESRB about one of the games “literally having the s-word in its title”, Pokémon Bastard Sword version has a much higher rating than the other two games.
  • In Pokémon Sword, defeating the game unlocks an optional ‘challenge mode’ where all the micro-transactions are twice as expensive. In Pokémon Shield, defeating the game unlocks an optional ‘easy mode’ where all inputs to the game are taken from a Twitch stream rather than from the Switch’s controls, meaning the game will complete itself automatically in 17 days and the player-character will turn into a cannibalistic Morpeko-worshipping cultist who slaughters victims in the name of ‘Lord Hangrix’.
 
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kintsugi

golden scars
Location
waiting for the fog to roll out
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. silvally-grass
  2. lapras
  3. golurk
Using a combination of the latest 4chan leaks, a magic eight-ball, and a neural network trained on everything Junichi Masuda has said since early childhood, I’ve managed to reconstruct complete copies of the upcoming Pokémon Sword and Shield games for the Nintendo Switch.
Hi there I'm new to your style and everything, but it's really fun to read. I wasn't sure what I was expecting out of a thread about playing a game that literally isn't public yet, but this met that.

infini-chlorians
hi yes kill w/ fire pls

Pokébootycubes are only acquirable through opening lootboxes.
ironically I feel like the mainstream Pokemon lines are the only franchise that won't ever go into the lootbox route, but now that I've said it I'm going to be very wrong

The IGN review of Pokémon Sword and Shield gave it a 7.8, citing "too much XYZ".
a classic blunder!

n Pokémon Shield version, after Professor Magnolia says “Great! With the Giganti-Scabbard complete, we’ll be able to transport the Giganti-Shield to the north pole without worrying about accidentally shield-bashing any air molecules in half and causing a nuclear explosion on the way there!”, the protagonist starts to nod in agreement 32 frames later. In the equivalent scene in Pokémon Sword version, the nodding begins 33 frames later.
All of your favorite exclusive Pokémon and gym leaders are in the version you didn’t buy.
I loved all of your commentary across the entire review -- I realized that pretty much the entire review was going to be me quoting each line and going "LOL" or "haha loved this", so I ended up cutting that so as to not cause an infinite dialogue glitch, but I loved these lines in particular and think they were emblematic of the work so far? Humor really, really works when the jokes are funny and also have some sort of deeper commentary beneath them, and this set of lines was great at examining the non-differences between versions/version exclusives and how Pokemon can't really get away with just copy/pasting plotlines on top of one another without making things sound dumb af.

Loved this whole thing. I struggle with writing deeper commentary on humor pieces, but the jokes here really worked and I had a great time reading.
 

NonAnalogue

Losing her head
Location
Yes
Pronouns
she/her
Leon: “...so it’s finally happened. I lost a Pokémon battle. My perfect streak is over. Yet, knowing that I lost to you, it’s, well… it’s an odd feeling. I lost, but I’m getting to see the rise of a new champion first-haAAAFDSFSDKL:SA#K_fdsfls PKMNSwSh.exe has encountered an uncaught PlayerWon exception and the application will now be terminated. Press any key to continue.”

I can't believe you accurately predicted this one!
 

Negrek

Only the Lonely
Staff
Reading this after having actually played the game makes it even better, imo. (Though it does sort of defeat the purpose of someone else playing it for you!) Ah, new IGN review controversies...

The source of the incredible supernatural abilities Pokémon possess is finally revealed to be due to ‘infini-chlorians’, a species of symbiotic bacteria that live inside each Pokémon’s cells and allow them to access infinity energy. Pokémon like Magnemite that do not have cells are revealed to receive their power from witchcraft instead.
Just what the canon needed!

Pokébootycubes are only acquirable through opening lootboxes.
I knew it.

Rotating the Switch controller upside down causes the direction of gravity in the game to reverse, flinging all the characters into space and rendering the game unwinnable.
I have no idea why I find this so hilarious, but I do.

Chopping the entire world in half would have considerable side-effects beyond just allowing easier access to the magma in the planet’s mantle, but these effects are never depicted in-game.
tbh this practically makes sense compared to the completely out-of-nowhere and never-actually-explained villain plan in the actual game...

All of your favorite exclusive Pokémon and gym leaders are in the version you didn’t buy.
Every time. :(

...meaning the game will complete itself automatically in 17 days and the player-character will turn into a cannibalistic Morpeko-worshipping cultist who slaughters victims in the name of ‘Lord Hangrix’.
Hmm, I wonder what this could be referencing...

Anyhow, this one is a lot of fun, as always. If you've played the games now, I'm wondering what kind of new riffs you could come up with about them. :P
 

The Walrein

Pokémon Trainer
Partners
  1. gulpin
ironically I feel like the mainstream Pokemon lines are the only franchise that won't ever go into the lootbox route, but now that I've said it I'm going to be very wrong

I'm pretty confident myself that the mainline Pokemon games aren't going to have anything like lootboxes within the next, say, five years or so. After that I'm less sure.

I loved all of your commentary across the entire review -- I realized that pretty much the entire review was going to be me quoting each line and going "LOL" or "haha loved this", so I ended up cutting that so as to not cause an infinite dialogue glitch, but I loved these lines in particular and think they were emblematic of the work so far? Humor really, really works when the jokes are funny and also have some sort of deeper commentary beneath them, and this set of lines was great at examining the non-differences between versions/version exclusives and how Pokemon can't really get away with just copy/pasting plotlines on top of one another without making things sound dumb af.

Yeah, this was mostly based off of how the embodiments of Life and Death are used interchangeably in the plots of X and Y, as well as Truth and Ideals effectively being treated as a sort of aesthetic choice in Black and White rather than anything meaningful. To be fair, I can see why GameFreak wouldn't want to spend a lot of development resources creating widely varying plots for each version, but it does end up causing quite a bit of silliness.

Loved this whole thing. I struggle with writing deeper commentary on humor pieces, but the jokes here really worked and I had a great time reading.

Thanks for the review, and I'm glad you enjoyed the fic! I wouldn't worry too much about deep commentary - just hearing what jokes were people's favorites, or which of them didn't work, is helpful feedback for me.

I can't believe you accurately predicted this one!

Funnily enough, apparently there is a glitch that can trigger in a cutscene with Champion Leon...

Reading this after having actually played the game makes it even better, imo. (Though it does sort of defeat the purpose of someone else playing it for you!) Ah, new IGN review controversies...

Who would have guessed in 2014 that the next IGN review controversy would be over them giving a Pokemon game a too high score?

I have no idea why I find this so hilarious, but I do.

This one was pretty much directly inspired by a bit in Kris Straub's Saw It For You review of Jurassic World: "Technical error. When the movie ends, the credits cannot roll past the words 'The End' which never fade out and leave the screen. The credits crowd and bunch up beneath, filling the screen with a jumble of white letters. In most theaters, there is an apology, and the credits are then read aloud by an usher." I was trying to match the sheer absurdity of that joke, which I don't think I quite achieved, but I'm glad you liked it!

Anyhow, this one is a lot of fun, as always. If you've played the games now, I'm wondering what kind of new riffs you could come up with about them. :P

Thanks for the review! I haven't played the games yet, but I've been doing some research on them and I might have a few ideas...
 

kyeugh

onion witch
Location
florida
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. farfetchd-galar
once again i run into the issue of resolving to review one of your fics, only to be overwhelmed by the urge to quote every single line separately because they're all so damn good. i promise i'll try and keep it down to just a few.
Although the games had initially been slated to release with all 809 previous Pokémon species available, drastic last-minute cuts had to be made when it was discovered that only a single byte had been allocated for each Pokémon’s national dex number, leading to overflow errors.
i love this line because it honest to god feels like something that could happen. pokémon games sure are made up of some code that people wrote at some point, huh?
Missing Content: Chopping the entire world in half would have considerable side-effects beyond just allowing easier access to the magma in the planet’s mantle, but these effects are never depicted in-game.
might need a fact-check on this one man. the absolute state of journalism these days, smh.
for real though, the entire Mistakes section had me in stitches. the bolded text at the beginning of each bulletpoint really did it for me fsr. i guess i'm just reading it in the voice of a smug youtuber like "WOW, TOTAL SCIENCE FAIL! LOOKS LIKE THE DEVS DIDN'T DO THEIR HOMEWORK!"
Bede: “What!? How could I possibly have lost to a dweeb like Gloria?”
Leon: “Bede, the reason you lost is because you forgot to treat your Pokémon with love and respect. Gloria has a stronger bond with her Pokémon than any other trainer I’ve seen, which is enough to outweigh any amount of dweebiness!”
Professor Magnolia (suddenly bursting into room): “Actually, the results of my latest tests show that the reason Gloria won is due to the higher infini-chlorian counts in her Pokémon’s cells.”
this was really funny the first time i read it but it truly hits different after having watched episode ix. not sure how you managed to prophetically double-dip your fandom jokes here but i'm absolutely here for it.
All of your favorite exclusive Pokémon and gym leaders are in the version you didn’t buy.
this isn't even a joke. this is just real. now i feel bad.
In Pokémon Shield, defeating the game unlocks an optional ‘easy mode’ where all inputs to the game are taken from a Twitch stream rather than from the Switch’s controls, meaning the game will complete itself automatically in 17 days and the player-character will turn into a cannibalistic Morpeko-worshipping cultist who slaughters victims in the name of ‘Lord Hangrix’.
dang, meta! i must come out and say that i accidentally just typed "meat" instead of "meta," and feel weird now after having just read whelp a few day sago... but that's neither here nor there.

anyway, as i've seen said before, it's hard to give a really thorough review of a comedy piece like this because there's not really much in the way of contuinity or plot or narrative or whatever else to look into, so sorry this review feels a bit flat... given that your writing is always mechanically squeaky-clean, and that your jokes are always good, you make it pretty hard to level criticism! this got a lot of chuckles out of me and as i've said in the past, i almost never laugh aloud at writing, so you know you've done something special here. :p can't wait to see more.
 

The Walrein

Pokémon Trainer
Partners
  1. gulpin
for real though, the entire Mistakes section had me in stitches. the bolded text at the beginning of each bulletpoint really did it for me fsr. i guess i'm just reading it in the voice of a smug youtuber like "WOW, TOTAL SCIENCE FAIL! LOOKS LIKE THE DEVS DIDN'T DO THEIR HOMEWORK!"

I actually went back and forth on including the bolded text at the beginning, but I see I made the right decision!

this was really funny the first time i read it but it truly hits different after having watched episode ix. not sure how you managed to prophetically double-dip your fandom jokes here but i'm absolutely here for it.

Never saw Episode IX so I have no idea what you're referring to, but I'm just going to assume that whatever accidental Star Wars commentary I made was the height of genius.

anyway, as i've seen said before, it's hard to give a really thorough review of a comedy piece like this because there's not really much in the way of contuinity or plot or narrative or whatever else to look into, so sorry this review feels a bit flat... given that your writing is always mechanically squeaky-clean, and that your jokes are always good, you make it pretty hard to level criticism! this got a lot of chuckles out of me and as i've said in the past, i almost never laugh aloud at writing, so you know you've done something special here. :p can't wait to see more.

No worries! Just hearing what parts you especially enjoyed helps a lot. Thanks for the read and review!
 
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