The Actual News:
God being an adult is the best thing in the world. This is what I’ve always been waiting for ever since I was a kid. I don’t have to go to school anymore, I don’t have adults breathing down my neck… I’m my own man, totally free to do whatever I want! Eat ice cream for breakfast? You bet! Cereal for dinner? Why not! No more homework, no more books, no more teachers… that’s right, because I’m an adult, now I have all the free time in the world to focus purely on making this site the best I can and expand into other areas! Now I have more time to think about how much money I don’t actually have now because I’m unemployed and in debt and have no property or anything else to show for it… and whatever free time I have is spent sitting around my parents house feeling like trash because I’m not making any income and I’m eating friggin’ ice cream for breakfast.
God being an adult is the worst thing in the world. … In fact, I think Billy Madison had something to say about growing up:
Oh but enough about my personal life, you’re here for the Pokémon! I’ve actually got three things I’d like to share with you, and I’ll try to make it quick. And by quick, I mean… y’know, a 30 minute long article.
RIP IN PEACE
This is more a generic notice, but it is still tangentally related to Pokémon and video gaming… but two (in?)famous folk just passed away recently: Norm McDonald and Mick McGinty, and I legit feel a profound loss for their passing. I mean, it’s not like I ever met them, along with every other famous death in my life. But their actions have still had a positive effect on my life, so their loss is still in a certain way personal.
In the case of Norm McDonald, the most relevant connection to him for this site is the fact that he did that Pokémon sketch on his 1999 TV show “Norm“. Ever seen it? Check it out!
This came out during the height of the original Pokémon hype, along with the early years of PA!, so of course I had to make my own fake cards for the show! Here’s four of my favorite:
When I posted about this on Twitter, I had a couple folk reply saying how they were thinking about these very cards when they heard about Norm dying.
Finally, in that YouTube video, someone left a comment which brought up a really good point:
Budus Busham: The best part of this is that you can tell Norm did his research. Correct pronunciations of the characters and everything. Rip you bizarre, brilliant bastard.
Norm McDonald was an insanely unique comedian, and seeing him treat Pokémon with a sense of respect—even if it’s “just a cartoon”—instead of one-dimensional mockery derision (eg “Pokémon is just for idiots and their kids”) shows how well he understood and respected humor. I for one understood that about Norm well before that episode… in fact, it was watching him on Saturday Night Live as the host of Weekend Update during my formative years which was a primary source of my own sort of dry, wry humor. And so seeing others who appreciated him just the same is heartwarming… it’s a regular reminder that people will appreciate you no matter what you’re like.
Mick McGinty, on the other hand, ended up being one of the more anonymous heroes of my childhood… and frankly many others as well. You might not have known his name, but you’ve certainly seen his artwork!
🇺🇸 Mick McGinty has passed away. Mick McGinty, the American artist to whom we owe probably the most beautiful covers in video game history, such as Street Fighter II, Streets of Rage 2/3, Shining Force, Kid Chameleon and many more … ❤
He was just 69 years old. 😢💔 pic.twitter.com/KJ0K6gFsMY
— Recalbox 7.2.2 🕹🎮 (@recalbox) September 19, 2021
The whole 90’s aesthetic might be poked fun of today, but it was legit a real deal for us kids of the 80’s and 90’s. Like, I was always a Nintendo kid, but seeing that friggin’ SWEET cover of Kid Cameleon for the SEGA Genesis made me want a Genesis more than anything (and especially more than Sonic himself!). In fact, for the longest time I got Kid Chameleon mixed up with Alex Kidd, SEGA’s erstwhile mascot, because I thought Kid Chameleon was just SO COOL that it had to take something like Sonic to replace him. …alas I later discovered “Alex Kidd” was totally UNCOOL.
But still, the point here is, Mick McGinty’s artwork set the tone and style for a lot of video games of the 90’s. His artwork was really the first time I felt like video games were proper COOL, versus being “fun” (which we all know is just a buzzword)… and so to see McGinty’s passing is just one more reminder of, well, growing older, the ever growing distance between the 1990’s and today, and the slow decay of mortality. Soon all will be dust… but at least that dust which had McGinty’s art on it will still look really really cool.
Look, I want to keep this one simple, but I’d thought I’d share some useful changes for you.
First off, I recently got a new phone—a Moto G Stylus (5G 2021)—and one thing that it came with was a SUPER WIDE screen. And when I saw my website design on the SUPER WIDE screen of my new phone… the site looked… well, super wide! A little TOO super wide, however.
OOF! I couldn’t read much of anything at that scale… and unless you’re Superman, I doubt you could either. So I thought I’d take care of it.
But if you’ve read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, you’ll know that you can’t just fix one thing without noticing something else needs fixing. And so on, and so on, and so on… and soon half of the site is broken! Don’t worry, I fixed everything that broke, but it did ensure a few other changes were here to stay. So without going into much detail…
- the main purpose of all this was to fix the page’s width when viewed on mobile devices, which should be a lot more easier to read. Pages will no longer be stuck on the extremes of being either narrower than a one-bike garage nor spread wider than the amount of butter I put on my flapjacks. Instead, whether you view the site on landscape or portrait mode, the site should be far more reasonable to read.
- I changed the sidebar font from Gill Sans to… something else. Right now it’s using the classic MacOS 8.5 font Techno, but I plan on cycling through different fonts to see which one I like better. Here’s a quick handy chart of what fonts I might play around with in a future secret update:
- These all look like they’d be a bit of fun… and yes, your eyes don’t decieve you, I really am gonna try to use that most infamous of computer fonts: Chicago. Hey, I don’t care about the controversy: this IS a fun, kid-related website afterall!
- Finally, speaking of updates… because of the new news format where I post a “preview” of the article on the front page instead of posting the ENTIRE article… this has made the Latest News section in the sidebar kinda redundant. Like, the idea of the Latest News section of the sidebar was so you can find the… well, latest news very quickly, seeing as it was hard to see them individually on the front page. So instead of a redundant Latest News section, I replaced it with a Recently Updated section. It kinda looks basically the same, so you might not have noticed right away… but instead of it having the same list of article as on the front page, the Recently Updated section covered EVERY page and post made on the site and shows which one of them have been updated most recently. Pretty nifty, huh?
- Alas, as you can tell, I really haven’t been doing much updating this month… serious IRL concerns unfortunately forces me to put PA! on a lower tier… but I’ve still managed to do SOME updating in the mean time. Most of it involved the e-Reader pages—which I’ll cover just below—but at least now I won’t have to actually ANNOUNCE the fact that I’ve updated something unless it’s some big update that I want to draw attention to. Otherwise, keep your eyes on that section if you want to see if I’ve done something new. Sweetish!
Neat, huh? There’s also been a few other little tweeks here and there… I’m not gonna list them all, but I figured those three would be the ones that you’d notice the easiest and/or right away. In any case, I hope this makes your browsing experience a little easier!
The e-Reader Updates!
Now this happens to be the big update I REALLY wanted to cover… but if you’ve been scoping out the Recently Updated section in the sidebar, you’ll see that I’ve been slowly working on the e-Reader stuff! I mean, if I can’t do any major big updates while most of my energies are being spent on job hunting, I can at least keep poking away at this, because it’s mostly just about typing up text from the E-Reader cards to the page itself. There’s some graphic editing involving, but honestly not much. And at least working on this helps actually fill in a gap in the Pokémon TCG’s collective history.
So what have I been doing in this time?
- NEW SPRITES!!! By my estimations I’m maybe about 2/3rds of the way completed, at least when it comes to the actual cards I own. There are some cards which I have the potential to scan but I can’t by virtue of not actually owning them. And while it’s possible to get them to scan, I need cash for that. But still, I can count the cards I lack on my two hands, so it’s really not a big problem.
- And if something else works out (which I’ll cover below), I may not need to actually buy the cards I need afterall! We’ll see…
- But yeah, the sprites are still the most fun to take care of, because it’s really neat seeing the two different kinds of sprites. As a reminder, take a look at some example entries below:
|Pokédex #||Pokémon||Main Sprite||Mini||Notes|
- When you scan a Pokémon’s short dot code bar into the e-Reader, the PokéDex entry for that Pokémon will load. All Pokémon will have at least a main 40×40 pixel PokéDex sprite… and if it is part of an evolution line, you can view what it evolves to and/or from, and those other Pokémon will appear as a simple 16×16 pixel mini-icon. Not every Pokémon has a mini-icon, especially if it’s a single, basic Pokémon.
- But yeah, the fun part of this project is seeing this generally unknown and untapped world of Pokémon sprites. Afterall, Bulbapedia has artwork for every Pokémon like Persian in pretty much every single official game that it appeared in… but it (and every other site for that matter) doesn’t have this! And that’s the real exciting thing about all this: it’s being able to see the cleanest sprites of every Pokémon encoded on their card, neither filtered through the GBA’s tiny screen nor the low quality capabilities of the GameCube’s Game Boy Player accessory, for the first time since basically it was originally designed. But at least this chunk of Pokémon history is being saved for all time, and that’s what makes it worth working on.
- Slightly less exciting—but no less important!—is trying to get the Pokémon’s other text data recorded and stored. A lot of it is data which already exists, like their PokéDex entries… but for many of them, there is also a set of card-specific data which also doesn’t exist anywhere. As a reminder, these cards had “special” tips related to using the cards. Unfortunately most of it is stuff like “this attack does damage to the defending Pokémon; if you attack enough times, it’ll knock it out!”… but still, it’s just great to see all this written out and collected for once.
Another interesting aspect about collecting this data is seeing what Pokémon were—or weren’t!—depicted in e-Reader form. Most of them were simply a lot of Gen 3 cards, since the e-Reader functionality ceased before every Hoenn Pokémon was officially given a Pokémon TCG card. But there were other unique consequences of all this… for example, there was never an Unown card released in e-Reader form. I guess programming it in would’ve been a pain in the… Lapras. But another Pokémon that I thought was left out was Farfetch’d… at least until I found a Farfetch’d in my collection. I wonder why I thought it was left out?
Sometimes a Pokémon was depicted TWICE in a very unique way. In this case, I’ve actually found TWO different, unique Eevee mini-icon sprites: the one on the left is what I call the “headshot” Eevee while the one on the right is the “bushier” Eevee icon.
Yeah so as you can see, the Espeon I’ve scanned use the “bushier” Eevee, while the Kanto Eeveelutions all use the “headshot” Eevee… yet Umbreon uses both! I’m trying to see if any other Eeveelution uses either Eevee icon, but so far pretty much every Eeveelution uses “headshot” Eevee while just two of them used the “bushier” Eevee. Now of course I don’t know for sure why this happened, but what I think happened is that the “bushier” Eevee icon was actually used first and thus appeared for all Eeveelutions. Unfortunately tho, someone higher up didn’t like the “bushier” Eevee icon and demanded that it be remade, and so the “headshot” Eevee icon was made. Headshot Eevee ultimately replaced Bushier Eevee on every card, but somehow the programmers accidentally forgot to update Espeon and that one Umbreon card with the new “headshot” Eevee icon and they simply fell through the cracks. Again, I have no way of knowing for sure, but because of its rarity combined with the fact that it even exists, it just leads me to believe that that is what might have happened to it.
I keep repeating myself, but this is all pretty neat stuff, huh?
Well, it turns out that I’m not the only one who thinks as much: when I started this e-Reader e-Recording e-Ndevour, I also mentioned how it was slightly inspired to start working on all this by the HitSave project, which were also embarking on their own quest to record, rip and save all e-Reader card data that they could. But they were focusing on the entire e-Reader family as a whole, while I was focused mostly on the Pokémon TCG. Anyways, as it turns out, one of the members of the HitSave project—Sunicune—was inspired by my efforts just the same, and we’ve been chatting up on Discord about our methods and discoveries. I’ve in fact got an interview planned with Sunicune to talk more indepth about the e-Reader and Card-E system as well as anything else I can learn to share with you… at least, as soon as our schedule link up just right. Still, I can’t wait to chat with Sunicune and see what I can learn from the HitSave project… I may not be able to share everything I find out—afterall I’m sure they’d like to have some of their discoveries released on their website first!—but hopefully I can at least make the most of what I’ve learned from the interview and apply it to this project. There may yet be more secrets left to be found on all these e-Reader Pokémon TCG cards… and maybe I’ll be able to make my own e-Reader compatible fake cards! Wouldn’t that be some good times??
T-T-That’s All, Folks!…for now
Yep, I tried my best to keep things as short and sweet as possible, but even with IRL concerns taking up all of my time, I still had a lot to cover today. Hopefully tho you’re still excited for my little updates and you keep swinging by to see what’s new. Your patience will be rewarded, because I still have quite a lot planned to post about in the near future. Hopefully I find a job soon enough so that I can go back to my regular posting schedule of one whole article a week! I can’t wait!!
LATE NIGHT EDIT [2021-09-22]: It’d help if I had a banner for this article! I totally forgot that I made one.