Just gonna keep things simple this week, as I haven’t been feeling very well over the last few days. Fortunately I have just enough energy for this episode (albeit a day late) but I hope to be back to normal by next weekend. Thank you for your understanding! As such, this week I just want to focus on Pokémon TCG design thoughts based on stuff that either just came out or something I discovered… as well as our weekly fake card release. Enjoy!
Remember: I still want to hear from you! If you found some cool or weird news to share, or just know something else that you want to help spread the word about, send it my way and I’ll add it to the upcoming Weekly Roundup. You can do that by emailing me at nick15 [at] pokemonaaah.net or messaging me on Twitter at @aaahpokemon. I can’t wait to hear what you have to share!
Today’s news will cover these topics:
- Missing Black Layer Uncovers A Card Design Secret
- New Card Game Hints Possible Pokémon Lineage?
- The Next Stage of Safari Zone HD Remaster Release…
- Finally… a Surprise Fake Card By Me!
Missing Black Layer Uncovers A Card Design Secret
Once again, AtoMan over at the PA! Discord shared this with us:
"Scarlet & Violet" One-Pack Blisters, Elite Trainer Box Contents Revealed!
Check out the full details on https://t.co/BBXqTvB8hd:
— PokeBeach.com 💧 (@pokebeach) January 17, 2023
Aside from that tweet, there are also two other pieces of artwork, although one is the same picture as the PokéBeach tweet (albeit in a different shade):
I wanted to share this Tweet from PokéBeach, as the artwork leaves out one important aspect of the card… the black (key) layer! As you can see, none of the art has any black color to it… either Cyan, Yellow or Magenta (three of the four colors used in four-color process printing). While it’s really neat to see what it looks like without the black/key layer, it actually reveals an interesting factoid about card design, and something that I’ve considered but never actually got much confirmation of… but the card text is printed as its own text layer OVER existing card background. Like, as opposed to if the text itself was masked out of the background and then printed within the mask.
You can see what I mean with the white blocks representing the Registration Mark, new Set Symbol format (which is LAME to be frank) and the Promo symbol: those themselves have white borders and thus the black artwork would be printed inside them. I didn’t know what to think but I felt that maybe the text was similarly masked out and the black layer printed over it… but obviously it’s not. Pretty neat! I wonder if I could use that method to spruce up my own fake cards??
Incidentally, now that I think about it… this is also how you can tell someone is using a proxy: the text layer is not crisp. Here’s a basic example:
On the left is a mock up example of a card that was printed from a scan using another round of four-color process printing; since it only had the scan data to work with, the text layer is blended as part of the card artwork and thus you can see the text’s edges as being a bit uncrisp. On the other hand, the example on the right is what a proper card should look like: the card background itself looks halftoned’ified, but the text itself is nice and crisp as it was printed over it. Therefore, basically all authentic cards will look like the example on the right.
Again, this is something I’ve always thought of, but wasn’t 100% positive about until now. Like even my jaunt through card design based on mysteriously acquired artwork from card artists didn’t quite reveal this fact as it could’ve easily been something where the artist themselves turned the text layer off or something. But with those pictures above, they are official artwork clearly showing the black/key layer as missing, and thus showing that the text is printed OVER the background as opposed to worked into it somehow.
UPDATE (2023/01/26): AtoMan posted two new Scarlet & Violet blister packs which are ALSO missing their black/key layers (click/tap to get the full quality version):
What’s interesting is that these packs have two Lost Origin cards as their promos instead, but regardless, they too show that they print their text (and type icons, for that matter!) over the background. If I ever had any doubts about this process, they have absolutely been assuaged.
New Card Game Hints Possible Pokémon Lineage?
This is one I found on my own, but the Nostalgix card game was recently advertised to me… either on this site or on some random Bolivian basket-weaving forum I visit… but either way, when I checked it out, something about it caught my eye. Lemme see if you notice it as well:
On a surface level, it looks like a mix between Magic The Gathering, Pokémon TCG and Yu-Gi-Oh. But one thing about these cards makes me think that MAYBE the folk behind this game… their use of Gill Sans for the card text! I mean, anyone could just look at a Pokémon TCG card and use any ol’ font they have installed on their computer to make their own card… that online card maker uses Arial for example:
Looking at the Nostalgix cards themselves, they not only have Gill Sans down, but also the using (parenthesis and italics) for game rule notes just like Pokémon, using the Stage circles just like Pokémon (in this case calling them “Levels”), attacks that have a name and do a certain amount of damage just like Pokémon… hmmmm!
So I figure, the folks making Nostalgix might have gotten their start playing the Pokémon TCG but then decided to make their own Pokémon TCG fake cards… and in the process began to understanding the various tips and techniques on making good designs (both layout and mechanics)… then decided to maybe turn their hobby into a career via their own unique IP. Now whether or not this is true… well, I’d like to think it is, and honestly, it makes a lot of sense to me.
Whaddya think? (Or maybe if you’re the folks making Nostalgix, what can you tell me? )
The Next Stage of Safari Zone HD Remaster Release…
So every week I like releasing Safari Zone HD Remaster cards that are somehow releated to either last and/or next week’s cards… and since last week introduced a seemingly out-of-nowhere Charmeleon card (combined with a factoid that Base Set Charmeleon was literally the ONLY normal “Charmeleon” card for literally three/five years), I thought I’d cover why exactly Base Set Charmeleon is part of this “Safari Zone Remaster”… because we’re including the other starters in the set! Take a look:
But wait, now I’m sure you’re wondering… there was only the original starters in the original Vending Machine set… where did Ivysaur and Wartortle come from? Well, we’ve included them from another unreleased Japanese set: the Two-Player Intro Deck released in 1999. The thing is, it’s worth noting that Wizards of the Coast, back when they had the Pokémon TCG license, had the right of access to every single Japanese Pokémon TCG card released. When I made my original Safari Zone Guesstimation Card List, it was based on the idea that the set would only have cards from Vending in it. But with modern hindsight, GC|Linkinboss and I kinda both agreed that perhaps a proper “Safari Zone” release would have other cards that would make for a decent release, especially to bring all these other cards into the hands of Western players… so why not include the Intro Deck as well?
And so that’s what’s going on here… the small secret as to why the Safari Zone HD Remaster has 134 cards in it versus only 108, and why Charmeleon was included… it was to include a Charmeleon alongside the Ivysaur and Wartortle included in the Intro Deck. We would’ve liked to have chosen literally ANY OTHER Charmeleon, but there was seriously NO OTHER Charmeleon card we could use! None released as a promo, or part of another Intro Deck, or another never-released-in-English set… NADA NIL ZILCH! So strange, but there we are.
…So I wonder what’s coming next week?
Finally… a Surprise Fake Card By Me!
I’m still trying to find the time to make fake cards again… but this is sort of an exception. Qwilfish over at the Art Gallery channel on the PA! Discord did a cute little doodle of Charmeleon, saying:
And on my tablet before bed, I drew Charmeleon x Initial D because I can. Tried to make it like a classic card but [shrugs].
…and so when I saw it, I just had to turn it into a fake. So here it is!
You like? More credit should go to Qwilfish for inspiring this fake, I just attached some silly Initial-D memes to it, lol Still, I think it definitely fits the classic card style, don’t you?
Wanna see more fakes by your’s truly? Swing by the PA! Discord and share some of your artwork… maybe I’ll fake-itize it too? (No guarantees, of course… but that shouldn’t stop you from sharing your art! We LOVE artists on the PA! Discord!!)
Okey dokey, that’s it for this (one-day late) Weekly Roundup. I’ve got some real bangers for next week, so I hope you come and visit us next week for that. Good times? Good times.