Fair Warning: this post is about 3.1 years old, so some of the information might be a bit dated. On the other hand, this post was last modified about 2.9 years ago, so maybe it's up-to-date after all. In any case, please keep all this in mind while reading. Thanks for understanding!
A Quick Diversion:

HOLY CRACKERS! The RMS Queen Mary has gone bankrupt? That was where the 2000 West Coast Super Trainer Showdown took place at, which was very first organized national Pokémon TCG tournament for Western players! What’s gonna happen with it? Hopefully this episode of Bankrupt from Bright Sun Films sheds some light on things… check it out!


The Actual News:

Oh boy-oh-boy… I still have a LOT to catch up on! It’s bad enough that I’m merely halfway done with my Unity certification (which means more lack-of-updating ahead), but the place I moved to after spending some three decades in foggy San Francisco had the audacity to start summer a whole five months earlier… so I’m suffering under HORRID 80°F (27°C) temperatures. I just can’t take the heat!

I hate having to explain a joke, but I also realize not everyone lives in California… so in San Francisco, we don’t get actual summer temperatures (basically anything above 70°F/20°C) until around late-September to early-October; we’ve always called this “Indian Summer”. PROPER summer time—June to September—is typically very cold, something like 55-65°F (12-18°C) is common; after all the pseudo-Mark Twain quote “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” wouldn’t be a thing if it wasn’t true. The point is, my April has been well over 20°F (10°C) hotter than it normally is and it’s been burning me out. I can’t even begin to imagine how hot it’s gonna get at the peak of summer. 7o7

But fortunately the wonders of air conditioning—man’s triumph over nature!—has given me the strength to finally get some work in. Well, that, and a little thing called “New Pokémon Snap”. Huzzah!

Anyways, today’s post will focus on two updates: the first being updating the TCG Background page with some new backgrounds that have been discovered by the PA! Community, and the other being a few significant steps towards getting the Lentalian alphabet deciphered once-and-for-all! Good times.


New Pokémon Backgrounds!

While this section will be short, the update itself isn’t. There has been a LOT of folk helping source the backgrounds on a number of Pokémon TCG cards!

In case you aren’t aware, on many Pokémon TCG cards during the game’s early years, much of the card art of the cards—particularly on cards drawn by Ken Sugimori—utilized stock photos from a Japanese stock photo collection titled Datacraft Sozaijiten, of which “Sozaijiten” (素材辞典) translates to “material dictionary” in Japanese. When it was first brought to my attention, I thought maybe it only appeared on one or two cards… but it turns out to be on a TON of them! The TCG Card Backgrounds page here on PA! has only just started, but every one we can add to the list is one more that we can chip away at. So let’s take a look at some of the pictures you guys found!

SET Name Card Art Original DS Image DS Source Notes
Base Set 55/102 Nidoran ♂ Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #107

This background would later be used again on GB Marowak (see next entry)
Game Boy (Promotional) B33 Marowak Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #107

This background was previously originally used on Base Set Nidoran ♂. I suspect that the artists simply forgot that that background was previously used before.
Base Set 40/102 Raticate Vol 009 – Paints and Pastels

Pic #063

Base Set 49/102 Drowsee Vol 007 – Lights & Crystals

Pic #043

The background was modified with Twirl filter of about 226%. Yes, we checked.
Base Set 77/102 Pokémon Trader Vol 009 – Paints and Pastels

Pic #067

Fossil 31/62 Arbok Vol 009 – Paints and Pastels

Pic #046

Fossil 24/62 Kabutops Vol 009 – Paints and Pastels

Pic #162

The top picture was flipped vertically when used as Kabutops’ background, so the example image was similarly flipped for comparison.

The other picture, on the other hand… is a complete mystery! Like, clearly it looks like it’s part of the Volume 9 “Pains and Pastels” collection… but if you look at the entire collection, you’ll notice that it’s not there! If you happen to spot it elsewhere, let us know!

Oh, and just so you know, that second picture was generated using the magic of Photoshop; I used filters to remove the above Pic #162 from the background, punched Kabutops out using a raw copy of the Sugimori picture, then filled in the blanks using blurs and brushes.

Unknown! (read description)
Fossil 22/62 Hitmonlee Vol 009 – Paints and Pastels

Pic #161

Another mix.
Vol 009 – Paints and Pastels

Pic #115

Black Star Promo 17 Dark Persian Vol 007 – Lights & Crystals

Pic #034

Background flipped vertically, so the example is similarly flipped. Base picture also used on Fossil Zapdos (Tropical Mega Battle Phone Card version)

Giovanni’s eyes were mixed in, but, alas, it’s not part of the Datacraft Sozaijiten collection.

Neo Genesis 23/111 Magby Vol 007 – Lights & Crystals

Pic #116

Unknown flame effect added to BG
Base Set 32/102 Kadabra Vol 007 – Lights & Crystals

Pic #108

Background image is flipped vertically relative to the original stock photo; the stock photo shown here was similarly flipped for comparison.
Team Rocket 56/82 Ekans Vol 009 – Paints and Pastels

Pic #052

Vending (n/a) Mew Vol 007 – Lights & Crystals

Pic #148

Jungle 13/64 & 29/64 Venomoth Vol 020 – Wild Flowers and Cherry Blossoms

Pic #034

Jungle 10/64 & 26/64 Scyther Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #078

Gym Challenge 98/132 Sabrina’s Porygon Vol 033 – Computers and Technology

Pic #057

Picture #057 is only BARELY visible relative to picture #058, but I assure you they are BOTH visible.
Vol 033 – Computers and Technology

Pic #058

Gym Heroes 41/132 Erika’s Ivysaur Vol 020 – Wild Flowers and Cherry Blossoms

Pic #085

Ivysaur’s background is zoomed in from the original; it is placed in the large empty (green) patch in the bottom-right corner of the original picture.
Black Star Promo 8 & 9 Mew Vol 009 – Paints and Pastels

Pic #190

That’s about it for now! I want to give my thanks to Alveinhero, cvramen, and CinnamonBiscuit for helping out with this update, but it’s far from finished! Now if you want to help out, the Datacraft Sozaijiten website has examples of their CD collection… take a look and see if any picture matches up with any cards in your collection. PROTIP: there are well over 200 volumes in the collection, but most Pokémon TCG cards pulled from the earliest volumes; start your search quite literally at Vol. 1 and work your way up!


New Pokémon Snap!

Well, yesterday was April 30th… and you know what that means? That’s right! wake up wake up get up get up, today’s the first of tha month!

Oh, and I guess New Pokémon Snap was released as well. I got my copy!

Anyways, as I’m sure you know by now, I’ve been working on decrypting the Lentalian alphabet with everyone over at the PA! Discord. We’ve got basically the entire alphabet worked out, except for a few key letters; specifically F G H J Q V W X Z. Well, now that the game is in my hands, I’ve actually uncovered a few new letters, as well as had one really useful idea (I know, shocking, huh??)

First off, let’s get to the new letters:

So while the region is called “Lental” (or “Lentil” in Japanese romaji), the island you start off on is called Florio. Which means the first letter on this sign is “F“. First letter down!
And with “F” sorted out, this means I’m 95% certain that the main male character’s generic name is “Fellow”, meaning the final character on the camera is “W”. That’s two! (I think…)
On your Photodex book, the word “LENTIL RE?ION” is stamped on the cover. That second word is almost certainly the word “REGION”, which means we now have “G” sorted out. That’s three!
Next, we have the text below the search icon which spells out “INITIALI?ING”, which is obviously “INITIALIZING”. Four? Shut the door!
Finally, WAAAAAYYY down there in the lower corner of the screen, you’ll see some text that says “LENTIL OS ?ER 7.65”. Any time you see numbers like that, that’s almost very likely the version number, meaning that word spells “LENTIL OS VER 7.65”. That’s “V”! Five new letters down!

So how about that? I barely turned the game on, and now five letters were solved in a snap (y’know what? pun TOTALLY intended!). This now leaves H J Q X. Which is actually rather strange because H is one of the more common letters in English. I wonder where it’s hiding??

Anyways, with that out of the way, I’d like to share my quick idea: I’m gonna make a Lental Translation Guide! I mean, since the Lental alphabet is simply an English cipher, there really isn’t much that needs to be ACTUALLY “translated”… but most people aren’t exactly fluent in the Lental alphabet, so it might be helpful if I could put together a simple guide for everyone playing the game. This is especially considering that while the game itself “translates” Lental text, it’s not exactly a 1-to-1 conversion. For example, take this bit of text in the beginning of the game:

Now technically it translates to “Laboratory of Ecology and Natural Sciences”, but—as we worked it out earlier—it actually says “LENTIL POKEMON AND NATURAL SCIENCE LABORATORY”. So if they’re gonna feed us LIES like that, what other bits of nonsense will they try to feed us next? /jk

Seriously tho, it might be useful to have a handy proper 1-to-1 transliteration of Lental text, and so that’s what I’ll set up for you. I don’t have it up yet, but I can at least share with you some of the other bits of Lental text I’ve run into during my initial playthrough, as well as a few other little pictures of note:

This says “LENTIL MAP”.

As a reminder, the logo on the side says “LENTIL INSTITUTE / POKEMON AND NATURE”.

The title on the book of Captain Vince’s stories says “LENTIL TRAVELOGUE”.
That’s it for any actual new words… so I’ll just share this quick pic with you! I guess we’re gonna be getting special New Pokémon Snap friend codes, but it doesn’t look like mine was initialized yet. Well, when I get it, I’ll share it with you folk… hopefully it’ll be easy to spot me when that time comes.

Anyways, that’s about it for today’s update! I still have plenty of other stuff to update about, such as some awesome artwork and research that the PA! community has been sharing with me over at the PA! Discord. Stay tuned for that!

Oh, one last thing! IcarusAvery on the PA! Discord pointed out an interesting coincidence that they spotted concerning the various Pokémon languages:

That’s quite interesting! I wonder what this could mean? Well, you’ll just have to find out in the next update! Hopefully it won’t take me three weeks to get to… but, even then it’ll still be worth it. Huzzah!