Review #100: Pokemon Black

It’s time for review Number 100! I thought long and hard about what to review, and there is really only one possible choice: The newest Pokemon game.

“But Dan,” you say. “Those games are for the littlest babies.” To which I reply “Shut the hell up you stupid, ignorant bastard.” These games are awesome. There’s a reason they are some of the best selling games ever, and it has surprisingly little to do with their incredible marketing.

You see, most people that haven’t played the games associate them with the kids’ cartoon show. And I’ll be the first to admit, that show is absolutely terrible. I’d rather watch The View. (No I wouldn’t. That was an exaggeration to help make my point. Watching The View is like putting your head in a bucket of bees and screaming as loud as you can… just a bad idea.) Thankfully, the games have nothing to do with the tv series.

In case you have been oblivious to video games for the past 15 years, here’s the gist of the games: You travel the world collecting adorable and mind-boggling powerful creatures, forcing them to fight each other. Yes, it’s basically a virtual dogfight. But that’s okay because… they’re not real dogs? Alright, I’m having a hard time justifying the core concept.

Kermit and Miss Piggy
It’s like trying to explain why a frog would marry a pig… just ignore it and move on

So how is Pokemon Black specifically?

It’s umm….



*Cough* Sorry about that. Settling down.

This really is the best Pokemon game ever though. The goal of the development team was to make something that felt new and exciting, even to experienced Poke-fans. Which is good, because the most common complaint about the past few games was “Just more of the same.”

The Pokemon

The meat of any Pokemon game is in the design of the Pocket Monsters themselves. Every game has a few stinkers, but for the most part, they’re damn charming.

Mr Mime
Kill it! Kill it with fire!

I could fill up this review with images of the new Pokey mans, but I’m just going to say that, outside of an ice cream cone with a face, every new Pokemon is damn charming.

No, really.

My personal favorite is probably the buffalo with an afro.

No, really.

The Story

Most Pokemon games follow the same basic story structure: Kid gets their first pokemon, travels the world, stops an evil criminal organization, and becomes the best trainer in the world. While Black (and White) follow the same lines, there are some important updates. Best is the upgrade to the evil criminal organization: In Black, Team Plasma wants to stop Pokemon battling because it’s cruel. Which is kind of tough to argue against. Which means that… maybe I’m the bad guy…

Is it the mustache? It’s the mustache, isn’t it?

The Controversy

Pokemon is no stranger to controversy. An episode of the cartoon put 685 Japanese kids in the hospital with seizures. First generation Pokemon Jynx was largely derided as a Poke version of blackface.


So what could be controversial this time? Well….

All previous Pokemon games were based on real locations in Japan. This game is based in New York. Which is fine… even though New York kinda sucks. You can see on the map that we have Manhattan with a lot of large buildings in the financial district, Central Park in the middle… and between those two…


Yep, right where the World Trade Center used to stand is now barren desert. Maybe it’s a coincidence… I mean, yes, you can find the ruins of a great castle in the desert, but the’s a pretty common desert trope. It might still be a coincidence… Let’s dig deeper into what caused this wasteland…


It seems the desert was caused by a meteor crashing down, destroying everything in the area. “But Dan,” you say. “A meteor sounds innocent enough. That’s not exactly proof of a connection between this desert and September 11th.” It gets worse.

Nothing in the Pokemon games is ever caused by anything other than Pokemon. So, you find out that this “meteor” was actually a dragon Pokemon. A dragon Pokemon that stands at exactly 9 feet 11 inches tall. Subtle.

But, other than this instance of astonishingly poor taste, the rest of the New York reference is handled really well. You have subways, beautiful bridges, and the most ethnically diverse cast in any Pokemon game. Yay for progress!

Final verdict: This really is a great game and it’s as addictive as crack. I give it my highest possible rating: 9/10.

Also, if you say that it’s a baby game for babies, I will kick you in the spine… Douchebag.

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2 Responses to Review #100: Pokemon Black

  1. Cody says:

    Great review, I haven’t played a pokemon since Silver.

    I preferred when I could sing that pokemon song and name every single pokemon, remember that? Now what? There’s like 150…000? :|

    That 9/11 reference is unbelievable though, a dragon pokemon that stands 9ft 11 inches tall? Really? Why would they do that??