Justin Neese


First Official MGX Pokeblog!

pokeblogThe world of Pokémon is constantly changing, growing, and evolving. With such an expansive virtual world to explore, and so many Pokémon to obtain, keeping up to date on events, news, and giveaways can seem somewhat overwhelming. Enter the MGX Pokéblog, our brief weekly breakdown of Pokémon related news, compiled by our leading Pokémon professors. These posts hope to offer an in depth look anything you might have missed through the week, in a bite size and easy to process all-in-one post.

General News:

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This week in Pokemon we got to see a lot of our favorites from our childhood revisited. With the 20th anniversary of Pokemon celebration still going strong, The Pokemon Co. has dug up a few nostalgia bombs. Long time fans of the series can look forward to taking a trip down memory lane while seeing “Pokemon: The First Movie” re-released in theaters for the first time in over 10 years. Selected theaters will have matinee showings on October 29th, and evening showings on November 1st. Whether you want to relive your childhood, or introduce new trainers to the film, it is certain that there is something to enjoy for anyone attending.

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In similar fashion to the re-screening of the first film, The Pokémon Co. has decided to celebrate the Pokemon Trading Card game as well by reprinting one of its most iconic characters first card. In solid gold. Yep, you read that right, 11 grams of 24-karat gold. The card features original art work as well as the same move set taken from the initial print. The reprint is available on the online Pokémon Center web-store and retails for roughly $2,100 making it easily the most expensive trading card released in the series to date.

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Pokken Tournament players might have something to look forward to with an upcoming update to the game for the Nintendo Wii U. In the past playable characters have been released in the arcade format of the game overseas, before making their way into the home console release of the game stateside. While not all Pokemon released in the arcade are eventually brought over, more often than not they are available via update or dlc later on. Japan recently saw the addition of Scizor, and Darkrai to the arcade variation of Pokken Tournament, and Bandai, recently confirmed Scizor to be released on consoles. There is still no official word on Darkrai or the rumored Empoleon but we have our fingers crossed!

Pokemon Go:

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For all the Pokémon Go fans out there, you might have found that your favorite place to hunt has become empty or that you are able to track down new Pokémon in places you couldn’t before. That is because with the newest update to Pokemon Go the nest locations have began to migrate. Players have been reporting this change from all sides of the globe, and even began updating the “Pokenest Atlas” maintained by the Silph Road fan community on Reddit. Updates like these provide the opportunity to discover new Pokemon in the game and encourage players to get out and keep hunting.

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The holidays always provide an opportunity for developers and moderators to get into spirit through their craft. In the past we have seen these changes made in games like Destiny, Nights Into Dreams, and many more. With Halloween fast approaching players have been asking themselves and the community if we will see a Halloween themed event within the game. The games developer Niantic has yet to make an official statement, and instead has only touched on this subject with a brief post on their Facebook. Be sure to take your Pokemon with you while trick or treating just to be safe.

Upcoming events and releases:

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We are all counting down the days until the release of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon but Nintendo and The Pokemon Co. have much more on the horizon for us. In the spectrum of physical releases there is a good amount to talk about. Nintendo and The Pokemon Co. have teamed up to bring us what are quite possibly the cutest Pikachu collaboration we’ve seen. The items, which can be purchased from Pokemon Center stores in Japan, are Mario and Luigi themed and range from plushies and keychains, to 3ds covers and t-shirts.

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If you find yourself in the market for an imported handheld, Nintendo has announced a new limited edition 2ds system to go alongside the release of its upcoming games. The 2ds features pictures of characters from the games as well as fan favorite Pikachu on the face. The console will not include a copy of either game, and is also region locked so be sure to do your research before ordering!

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Nintendo is always releasing legendary and mythical Pokemon via official event, and this upcoming winter is no different. For those of you already owning a Nintendo 3ds and Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire be sure to log into the network to snag a few of these elusive creatures! For a limited time users are able to receive the legendary Pokemon Keldeo via mystery gift when connected to the Nintendo network. Players may also obtain legendary Pokemon Darkrai and Volcanion via serial code released via supporting retailers. These codes and events are all time sensitive and wont be around for long so make sure to get yours today!

Pokemon of the week:

With over 700 Pokemon released to date it is easy to look over a few and not give them much thought. This segment is designed to give you a closer look on an individual Pokemon, while explaining some of its history, backstory, techniques, and strengths, to give you an all around better understanding of the Pokemon. While keeping it festive, this week we take a closer look at the Ghost-Grass type Pokemon Phantump!

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Description, Origin, and Backstory:

Phantump is a dual type, ghost-grass, base Pokemon introduced in Pokemon X and Pokemon Y. It has quite the unsettling backstory and has been the cause of many Pokemon lore rumors. The Pokedex entry for Phantump describes it as a “rotting tree stumps that have been possessed by spirits” and states that its preferred habitat are lonely forests. Some players in the Pokemon community have taken the creep factor a step further and implied that the spirits possessing Phantump are those of children led into the woods by another ghost Pokemon named Duskull. Regardless of the creep factor, this cute little spook actually brings a unique typing to the table and can be useful in many situations.

Useful tips for training and battling:

Phantump’s dual typing is one of its biggest advantages. Phantump’s ghost-grass typing offers resistance to four common attack types, as well as makes it completely immune to normal and fighting type attacks. Another thing this little guy has going for him is the ability “harvest” which has a 50% chance to reuse a berry held by the Pokemon. This Pokemon is best used as a support for your team but can be efficiently used as an attacking Pokemon if desired. When setting up Phantump for competitive use there are a few moves highly recommended to use it at its full potential. The two “must have” moves for Phantump would be Substitute, and Horn Leech. Substitute provides optimal cover while setting up crucial attacks and buffs, while Horn Leech will attack defending Pokemon and offer a small HP recovery in the process. All in all Phantump can bring an unsuspecting set up to your Pokemon battles leading your opponent to misjudge your team which is often a crippling mistake.

What kind of build do you use on your Phantump? What Pokémon would you like to see next week? Which Pokémon is the “ace in the hole” of your team? We want to know!! Leave a comment below and tell us who you would like to see next week! Until then, happy hunting trainers! 

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Introducing the Nintendo Switch!

 

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Earlier this week, after much anticipation, Nintendo finally gave us a first look at their upcoming video game console. The once rumored “Nintendo NX” has officially been announced as the Nintendo Switch and the gaming community has had a lot to say about it. The reactions range from disappointed to optimism. For months leading up to Nintendo’s press conference the internet was ablaze with supposed Nintendo “NX” leaks and rumors. These rumors ranged from the unlikely to factual as we have found out after this weeks bombshell of information. Without getting to far into the politics and personal preferences of gamers we wanted to take a look at the new console and what we know about it as of the Nintendo press conference.

What we know:

One of the more prominent rumors was that Nintendo’s next system would be a true handheld and home console hybrid, which appears to be the case. Nintendo revealed that the console would include what appears to be a 7″ tablet style display, with controller attachments, and touch screen capabilities. The unique design of the console allows for the player to seamlessly transition from the comfort of their home to gaming on the go.

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The conference also showed us that the console will indeed use a cartridge based format for games. Many people had speculated that with the release of Nintendo’s newest console they would be returning to cartridge based games. With today’s advances in technology, cartridges are now capable of holding dozens of gigabytes of data on a cartridge the size of your average postage stamp. This will allow Nintendo to have larger worlds, faster characters, and all around a more magical experience we have come to know and love from the gaming giant.

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The video reveal is and was a lot to process, but one of the things we noticed in the video was a new “pro” style controller for the system. The last two home consoles released by Nintendo, players had the option of purchasing a pro controller. These controllers offer better control and all around a more universal controller styling. The Nintendo Switch Pro controller looks to be similar to its predecessors with a few changes made. The analog sticks for the controller seem to be inverted, similar to the Xbox 360 controllers. The controller also appears to have a matte finish on the paddles, leading one to believe a more textured grip as opposed to the gloss finish on Nintendo’s previous pro controllers.

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There was much speculation as to whether or not the Nintendo Switch would play Nintendo 3ds games or not due to the fact it uses cartridge based games. Nintendo has since put that speculation to rest and announced that the Nintendo Switch will not support 3ds game cartridges.

What we can Expect:

First impressions on the Nintendo Switch have left a lot up to the imagination. It is often difficult to compile information on a new system once it is announced, and most cases we are left desperately waiting for more news from Nintendo. While this is still the case for the Nintendo Switch, the information given has led us to a few expectations.

Firstly, Nintendo has stated multiple times, and stands by the original release window of March 2017. As of writing this article there is no pre-order available through retailers. While there is some concern on Nintendo’s ability to meet their own deadline, as well as demand, this would not be the first time Nintendo has had a console reveal so close to scheduled release. In the past Nintendo has had a habit of revealing new hardware with some times as little as months before its release date, like the Wii U having its release date of December 2012 announced in September of the same year. There is no surefire way of telling whether or not there will be any delays seen in the release of the Nintendo Switch, but with Nintendo’s track record, its unlikely we will see a delay.

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What is arguably the most important piece of information released thus far is the list of developers working on titles for the Nintendo Switch. One of the most common faults attributed to the Nintendo Wii U was the lack of third party support. When there are no developers willing to work on games for your system, it becomes hard to market and sell you console. The list of confirmed developers for the Nintendo Switch is borderline staggering. The list includes video game giants like Bethesda, Atlus, Capcom, Square-Enix, Bandai Namco, Fromsoftware, Konami, NIS, and many many more. These developers are collectively responsible for some of the most ground breaking and critically acclaimed games of the last few decades. With third party support from this super group of developers the Nintendo Switch will have no foreseen shortage of titles.

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Nintendo has always seemed to have an infatuation with peripheral device’s for their consoles. From the Pokewalker on the DS, Amiibos on the Wii U, even down to the AR cards for the Gameboy Advance, Nintendo is always trying something new. Although there are none confirmed as of writing this article, one can only assume we will see any number of peripheral devices to bring more depth to the experience.

What we still want to know:

Now that the veil has been removed and we finally got our look at the next Nintendo console, we are still left with a few questions. The video released by Nintendo showed a number of features and game play samples without going into a whole lot of detail, leaving the internet and consumers to speculate and formulate possibilities of their own. While most of these are still entirely speculation, its still nice to see what the community gets right and wrong after release.

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We touched on this point previously, but lack of third party support was one of the faults people found in Nintendo’s Wii U. With the video release we saw gameplay clips from developers, but the biggest one seen was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Skyrim is notorious for being a larger game that requires not only a significant amount of processing power, but adequate storage space. The fact that Nintendo’s new console is capable of running Skyrim is enough to celebrate, but the fact that it is able to accomplish such a feat on a portable display is almost to good to be true. There is currently no word on whether or not the game shown was Skyrim or its HD remaster, slated for release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC later this year. The idea of the Nintendo Switch being able to run the latter of the two is almost hard to imagine, but we would still like to know what other games we have yet to see or hear anything about from other developers.

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When marketing a tablet or portable electronic device, a key point to accentuate or mention is battery life of the device. With one of the core features on this new system being portability the community is curious as to how long they will be able to game on the go. A few other specs were not mentioned during the conference as well such as mobile network options, controller compatibility, online play, backwards compatibility, and other key specs most users look at when deciding on a new console. At this point in time all we can do is wait for more information as it comes.

Closing thoughts:

Whether you are a fan of Nintendo or not, you can not deny the impact they have made on not just the video game community but pop culture as a whole. From the golden cartridge era, to the underappreciated newer consoles, Nintendo has always found a way into our homes and hearts. But with their last two home consoles widely regarded as failures or unsatisfactory I think it is nice to see Nintendo taking such a huge step in the hardware department. We don’t know a whole lot of information at this point but what we have been told is definitely a step in the right direction. The design and creativity behind the console leaves the door wide open for the future of how gaming hardware will be designed, as well as approached. The amount of third party developers already working with or suggested to be working on Nintendo Switch software makes its potential library at least on par with the other major home consoles, and opening the possibility for even more.

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While the firestorm of speculation and rumors rages on, one thing is for sure though, come March of 2017 we will all get to make our own decisions about the Nintendo Switch!

Remember to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Receive updates on all the latest promotions, specials, and deals!

And don’t forget – we just want you to play games and have fun!

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20 Things About Pokemon Before Sun & Moon!

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With the release of Pokemon’s 19th and 20th entries to the core series fast approaching we wanted to take a look at 20 things all Pokémon trainers, new and old, should know! The Pokemon series as a whole has seen many changes since its debut, from the world it takes place in, down the the adorable little creatures themselves. This list serves as a primer for any trainer looking to brush the dust off their Pokedex, new trainers choosing their starters for the very first time, or even parents that would like to be more involved in their child’s game. After much research and debate, our Pokémon Proffessors at MGX have compiled this list to assist you in your journey. So here we go, 20 things all trainers should know before playing Pokemon Sun & Moon!

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1) Pokémon originated as a video game (before cards, show, books, etc)

Breaking the traditional mold for a children’s series, Pokemon was actually in circulation as a video game before the television series, trading cards, collectibles, or anything else for that matter. The creator of Pokemon had the idea from “gashapon” vending machines popular in Japan, which dispenses toys or charms in small capsules. Shortly after the games debut the phenomenon spread like wildfire, quickly making its way overseas and topping the charts of video games sales worldwide. The international response led Nintendo and Game Freak to expand the universe into so much more. The rest, as the say, is history.

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2) Pokémon is short for Pocket Monsters.

In Japan the game was released under the titles “Poketto Monsutā Aka” and “Poketto Monsutā Midori”, or “Pocket Monsters Red” and “Pocket Monsters Green.” The origin of the name stems from the idea of creatures being captured, trained, and contained within small capsules that trainers could carry in their, well, their pockets of course. The title was shortened to “Pokemon” in international markets due to potential legal issues with television series “Monster in my pocket.” The series was re-branded by combining the words “pocket” and “monster” hence the current name, Pokemon.

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3) There were originally 3 versions of the game.

Majority of the Pokémon titles have been released in pairs, with a third conclusion to them being released a year or so later. That was not the case for the Japanese launch of Pokémon, in which three games were released. Originally, Pocket Monsters Red, and Green we released at retail locations while Pocket Monsters Blue was only available as a mail in game from a magazine in circulation at the time. Pocket Monsters Blue was later released as a full retail version in Japan, and was released beside Pokemon Red in the US as Pokemon Blue. Pokémon Green would not be seen in the western market until the days of the Gameboy Advance with Pokemon LeafGreen.

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4) Pokémon are hatched from Eggs.

What are Pokemon? Where do they come from? Why are they here? While we can’t take the time to answer all of these questions in this post, we can inform you that Pokémon are bred and hatched from eggs. The Pokemon games feature an in game daycare center in which players can drop off a number of Pokémon to be trained while they continue their journey. While in the daycare center Pokemon can gain experience, find items, and even breed. If two of the same Pokémon type have been left in the daycare center for a certain amount of time they can produce an egg that can potentially have the stats, moves, and temperaments of their parent Pokemon.

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5) There are over 700 Pokemon as of Pokémon X & Y.

When Pokemon made its explosive debut there were only 151 little critters to chase after. As of the latest core titles in the Pokemon game series, “Pokemon X” and “Pokemon Y”, there are a total of 721 Pokemon to be obtained on your journey. While most Pokemon can be captured through standard gameplay, there are a number of Pokemon that are only released by Nintendo via special event. Each generation of games has version exclusive Pokémon that can only be obtained via trading, or special circumstances like time of day and in game location.

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6) All games take place in a separate region.

Much like real world the Pokémon universe is separated in to different continents known as regions. These regions vary in size and characteristics but in fact all take place on the same planet. Each generation in the franchise introduces a new region to be explored, challenges to overcome, and Pokemon to obtain. Starting with the Kanto region, and sprawling all the way to the most recent region Kalos, the world of Pokémon is massive. But in a world filled with over 700 creatures to obtain, gyms to conquer, and unforgettable journeys to be had, there must be plenty of space to contain it all.

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7) To date Pokémon is the second highest selling video game franchise.

Pokemon has evolved into so much more than a video game. With trading cards, toys, clothing, television series, blockbuster movies, and even pop tarts, its hard to ignore the notoriety of the series. Originally released in 1996 in Japan, the games quickly turned from the latest gaming trend to becoming the second highest selling video game franchise to date. With over 279 million games sold its no wonder “Ash” and “Pikachu” have become household names the world over.

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8) Rhydon was the first Pokémon drawn or conceived.

In the Pokemon community there is much debate on who was the “first” Pokemon. With some trainers arguing Bulbasaur, others contesting Arceus, and some standing with Mew, there is no debate behind the first Pokemon to be conceived in the series. While working on designs and ideas for the debut titles creator Satoshi Tajiri had drawn multiple scenes with the protagonist and his Pokemon that bares a striking resemblance to the now well known Pokemon Rhydon.

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9) Pikachu is the only Pokémon given to a trainer at the beginning of the game that isn’t a starter.

In the beginning of each game the player is presented with a choice between 3 Pokemon to start their journey with. In all but one game these Pokemon have all been either Grass, Water, or Fire typing with a stage one and stage 2 evolution. Pokemon Yellow was the first and only game thus far that does not include this choice, instead it pairs you with a temperamental Pikachu to start your journey.

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10) Stage 2 is the highest level of evolution for Pokémon

One of the core gameplay mechanics of the Pokémon series is the ability to “evolve” your Pokémon into a stronger, and often times larger, Pokémon. Pokémon start off as a “base” Pokémon, after one stage of evolution they become a Stage 1 Pokemon. However there are no Pokemon that evolve past the Stage 2 tier.

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11) Each game has a few creatures known as “legendary” Pokémon.

In each generation of Pokemon they introduce, what are known as “Legendary Pokémon.” These Pokémon all have base stats higher than most other Pokémon, and are only obtainable through specific gameplay conditions. These Pokémon are often given out in events by Nintendo or found post game. “Legendary” Pokemon include Mewtwo, Giratina, Darkria, Jirachi, etc.

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12) Most Pokémon are influenced by creatures or objects in the real world.

This one might not come as a surprise to many, but most Pokémon are influenced by real world objects or animals. The creators at Nintendo and Gamefreak have attributed this to making the games more approachable to a general audience. While there are definitely Pokemon that are unique to the world, the resemblance of most Pokémon to real world creatures or items is easy to spot.

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13) All Pokémon fit into an elemental typing (Grass, Fire, Water, Electric, Etc)

In the world of Pokémon, all creatures have an elemental affinity towards any of 18 different typing. These attributes come into effect when battling or training your Pokemon. For Example; Fire type attacks greatly damage Grass type Pokemon, or Water Type Attacks are super effective against fire Pokémon, Etc. It is a good idea to make a diverse party of Pokémon from all typing to have a well rounded team.

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14) Pokémon Go has become the fastest game to top the iOS and Google Play.

Whether you are a Pokémon master or beginning your journey as a trainer, it is hard to ignore Pokémon Go. Pokémon Go is an augmented reality cellphone game that allows trainers to capture and train Pokémon based on their GPS location. Since its launch the app has skyrocketed in popularity, and has become the fastest growing cellphone game available on iOS and Google Play markets. It has since dropped from the #1 spot but is still widely played and continues to be downloaded regularly.

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15) Each Trainer is given a Pokédex at the start of their journey.

At the start of your Pokémon journey you are given a basic objective, a starter Pokemon, and arguably the most important item is your Pokédex. The Pokedex is a device used to record Pokémon data and tracking your journey to “catch ’em all.” The Pokédex records data like size, location, description, typing, and even down to the cry of each Pokémon. The Pokédex has gone through many changes throughout each generation but its functions have remained relatively the same. Upon completion of the Pokédex the player is given special items or access to secret locations depending on the title.

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16) Certain Pokémon only evolve via items known as “stones.”

We mentioned Pokémon evolution earlier, but unlike most Pokemon that evolve via training and leveling up, there are select Pokemon that are only able to evolve with the help of a hold item known as a “stone.” There are many different stones ranging from “moon stone” to “water stone” and they all have different effects on the Pokemon holding them. One notable Pokemon family that relys on stone evolution is the Eevee tree. The Pokemon Eevee is a normal type base Pokemon, but when given any of the evolutionary stones it will evolve into a different form accordingly. Try giving a few of your own pokemon one of these stones and see what happens!

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17) Pokémon have hidden values assigned to them known as IV’s and EV’s and they determine the growth rate of a Pokémon’s stats.

Pokémon is often categorized as a children’s game and as such is often overlooked by the older competitive gaming community. If you take the time to dig a little deeper however, you will find out that Pokemon has a very in depth system in place that determines a Pokemon’s moveset, stats, and even temperament. Each Pokémon is assigned a set of IV’s, or inherited values, that are passed down from parent Pokemon and determine base stat bonus’ for the Pokémon. EV’s, or effort values, are given to a Pokémon as they level up and determine the growth of a specific stat. For example; if your Pokemon were to knock out 10 Geodudes before leveling up you would receive a +2 in defense, as opposed to a +1 boost.

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18) A Woman by the name of Lisa Courtney holds the world record for the largest Pokémon collection at 17,127 items.

Some trainers have taken the catchphrase “Gotta catch ’em all” to the heart more than others. One such trainer’s name is Lisa Courtney, and she has held the world record for the largest Pokémon collection. Currently her collection has grown in size to over seventeen thousand different items. She continues to collect and grow her collection as games and memorabilia are released, which will make her record quite difficult to beat for any hopefuls.

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19) The fan community for Pokémon have speculated rumors and myths about creatures, characters, or places in each game. Ranging from the ludicrous to probable.

Just like with any popular entertainment series, the Pokemon Franchise has left a lot to the imagination, leading forums and fan groups to speculate rumors and myths about the lore in the series. From a great Pokemon war that devastated most of the land, to a fan made game in circulation known as “Pokemon Black” with a literal ghost Pokemon that takes the life of its opponents instead of knocking them unconscious. Most of these have been disproven or altogether ignored by The Pokemon Company, while some are still open to speculation and discussion.

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20) The Pokémon series has something to offer for gamers of all ages.

While the target audience is definitely more children oriented, the Pokémon franchise as a whole has much much more to offer. At its core it is a game about capturing cute little critters and training to be the very best, but when you pull away the shroud you find so much more. The basic journey of the games is simple, yet challenging enough to keep gamers of all ages entertained. Each game offers post game content that is often larger and more substantial than the plot. Whether you plan on catchin ’em all, beating the regions gym leaders, creating an IV&EV bred super team, or just passing on your childhood favorite to a little trainer of your own, the Pokemon games truly offer something for people of all ages and groups.

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Be sure to use all of these tips when starting your new journey in Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, releasing this November for the Nintendo 3ds & 2ds! Be sure to stop by Matt’s Game Exchange in the meantime for all of your Pokémon needs. From trading cards, games, consoles, and anything else you’ll need in your Pokémon journey, we’ve got you covered at Matt’s Game Exchange.

Remember to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Receive updates on all the latest promotions, specials, and deals!

And don’t forget – we just want you to play games and have fun!

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Blast your way through waves of enemies in Blazing Lazers!

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Hey there readers!  Justin here, back again with another TurboGrafx Tuesday review! If there are any games in particular you would like to see us review please drop a suggestion in the comments! This week we will be looking at one of the first releases for this powerhouse of a machine, Blazing Lazers. Developed by the same team responsible for the Puyo Puyo and Super Bomberman series, this early release was critically acclaimed both during its release and to this day. Hailed for its fast paced gameplay with virtually no slowdown, vibrant pixel perfect sprites and effects, as well as an out of this world soundtrack, this game brings a lot to the table for any gamer.

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Blazing Lazers was initially released for the PC-Engine in July of 1989 under the name “Gunhed”, and translated as “Blazing Lazers” in November of the same year, only months after the launch of the TurboGrafx-16. Blazing Lazers features nine levels for you to blast your way through as a lone pilot, flying a ship known as the “Gunhed Star Fighter.” Throughout the levels you are met with varying enemies, multiple upgrades, and 8 enemy super weapons to take down. Much like other shooter games for the system, the player controls a smaller ship with a rapid fire cannon and a limited supply of cluster bombs. Both power upgrades, and cluster bombs are obtainable throughout each level and reset upon losing a life. When released, Blazing Lazers was said to be the best shooter game next to the highly anticipated port of R-Type on the TurboGrafx, and is still held in similar regard.

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The detailed graphics, paired with the challenging stages, set to an unforgettable soundtrack makes for one power house of a game.Critics praised Blazing Lazers on its detail, with some reviews even going as far as to say that the detailed boss fights were enough to make long time gamers cringe in terror. The soundtrack is also one of the defining features of this TurboGrafx-16; as opposed to the stereotypical fast paced guitar rock, Blazing Lazers features a soundtrack that is unique in its own right. Sounding like a fusion between a classic Mega Man soundtrack, and the score for a long lost Final Fantasy title, the audio setting for this game will be stuck in your head for days to come. With the quality of these songs, that is a good thing, I assure you.

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From start to finish Blazing Lazers serves as a testament to the majesty of the TurboGrafx-16. The levels are all challenging, without becoming frustrating, which is a feat in itself. The detailed enemies make for one of the most visually stunning games on the system, as well as collection of some of the TurboGrafx-16’s best music. While the difficulty seems overbearing at parts, I would say that Blazing Lazers is one of the more approachable titles for not only shooter fans, but TurboGrafx fans alike. Whether you are new to the genre or a long time fan, this game is a must have in anyone’s collection!

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Score: 10/10

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Turbo Review Tuesday! Journey to save the princess in Dragon Spirit!

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It’s a plot device as old as storytelling itself; The princess has been kidnapped by a dragon, you must venture to save her, vanquishing ghouls, monsters, and dragons along the way. In 1987 Namco decided to take that story and tweak it just a bit, the ending result, a vertical fantasy shooter known as Dragon Spirit! While this game was ported from arcade cabinet, to multiple home consoles, this review is going to focus heavily the TurboGrafx port of this incredible game.

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In Dragon Spirit you play a warrior named Amul as he journeys to save princess Alicia after she has been kidnapped by Zawell, a serpent demon that has escaped after a thousand years. He points his sword to the sky and vows to save the princess, in doing so his sword is struck by lightening and he is transformed into a blue dragon. After defeating eight of Zawell’s strongest beasts you are given the opportunity to fight Zawell himself and rescue Alicia for the kingdom.

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Dragon Spirit approaches the vertical shooter genre in a way that not many had thought of at the time, and many still forget to take advantage of. With the “shoot-em-up” genre being over saturated with lone pilots battling in the dark void of space against an alien horde, you are piloting your dragon through rich forests, caverns, and dungeons. You are able to move Amul in 8 different directions, breath fire at oncoming enemies, drop bombs as predators below, upgrade your firepower with over 13 different power ups, and have your dragon grow multiple heads! All of these features combine to make for a breath of fresh air to the genre.

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While this game was ported to other home consoles around the same era, the TurboGrafx port is arguably the best. The 16-bit GPU of the TurboGrafx made it possible for the game to remain relatively unchanged from the arcade version. While the arcade version as one more level and boss to fight before getting to the end, the home console version held its integrity with the stunning graphics, speedy gameplay, and a unique aesthetic that made it stand out among the competition. All in all this game is enjoyable for first time players or gamers wanting to try something new!

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Score:

9/10

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Turbo Review Tuesday! Take a journey down Tiger Road!

Welcome to Turbo Tuesday! We’ll be reviewing different TurboGrafx games, the first being Tiger Road.

tiger-road-title-pictureOriginally released for the arcade in 1987 by Capcom and later ported to the PC Engine and TurboGrafx-16, this action platformer focuses on the story of Oh-Lin after being attacked by the “warriors of the Dragon God.” With his own warriors defeated, pupils kidnaped, and secret scrolls stolen, Oh-Lin journeys to piece his life back together. At the time the game was hailed for its improvements over the arcade version and fast paced gameplay for the time. The original game was so well received that it was ported to the Playstation 2 as part of the Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2 in 2006, along side other Capcom household names like Street Fighter II, Strider, and more.

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Tiger Road consists of five stages that the player must not only navigate but fight their way through. With enemies ranging from enemy ninjas, monsters, and more, the character sprites are lively and rather refreshing for the era. Each level differs from the environment, enemies, and even gameplay, with some sections of levels turning into a 2d scrolling shooter of sorts. As you traverse through the stages and defeat the onslaught of enemies you begin to acquire power ups, new equipment, and clues leading you closer to the Dragon God. After defeating the Boss in each stage the player retrieves one of his lost belongings and continues his journey, much like Mega Man or other notorious action platformers of the 16-bit decade.

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One feature that sets Tiger Road apart from its TurboGrafx competition is the ability to save your progress throughout the game. With the hardware restrictions of the TurboGrafx-16 most games were unable to save natively, rather you need the assistance of a TurboBooster, or TurboGrafx-CD attachment. Tiger Road has a back up save state feature built into the game placing it among the minority of games that natively support save states. Other features that separate Tiger Road from its original arcade release are the updated graphics, faster gameplay, and all in all smoother gameplay.

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All in all Tiger Road is a memorable and affordable title for anyone looking to expand their TurboGrafx experience. The gameplay is responsive and reminiscent of all the other great action platformers of its generation. The graphics of the TurboGrafx-16 make it stand out against its arcade predecessor, and the save state feature is a life saver when it comes to taking a break. If you are looking for a challenging yet enjoyable title, I would recommend this game to gamers new and old alike!

Rating: 8/10

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Introducing Turbo Review Tuesday!

Welcome to Turbo Tuesday! We’ll be reviewing different TurboGrafx games, but first we decided to give you a breakdown of the little-known console.

Back in 1987 an up and coming software company known as Hudson Soft partnered with NEC Home Electronics to create a video game console known as the PC-Engine. Almost 2 years later the United States saw a redesigned, renamed, and all in all revamped release of the same hardware named TurboGrafx-16. In a little over a decade NEC went on to create other consoles, hardware attachment upgrades, as well as pioneered many aspects of the video game industry we all know and love today. The Turbografx-16 saw a lively but brief lifespan in the early console wars, and much like Sega, Atari, and other video game companies of yesteryear, NEC eventually discontinued all hardware and software production for the brand. In this new review series will be taking a look back on the software and hardware that led to this incredible machine’s massive cult following. As our Introduction to the series we will be breaking down the different hardware variations, and compatibility between different game formats on them. If you are developing interest in the NEC family of video game consoles, need a refresher course after finding your childhood console, or just generally curious about this key piece of video game history, we hope this article offers something for everyone!

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Core Consoles and Upgrades:

-TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine
Initially released on October 30th 1987, and August 29th 1989 in the United States, the PC Engine and TurboGrafx-16 are the most well known of all hardware and have the largest library of games in the family of consoles. Both variations of hardware had a 16-bit GPU and an 8-bit CPU making it the first console of the 16-bit generation. The improved 16-bit graphic capabilities of these systems, paired with a CPU that rivaled Nintendo’s, put NEC ahead of the competition in the visual department. Both hardware variations only support RF connection but were later able to connect via AV cables using system attachments. While the PC Engine thrived in its respective market, even outselling the Super Famicom briefly, its stateside counterpart failed to catch on and ultimately contributed to the companies discontinuation of the product line.
Game Compatablilty:
-Region locked; HU Card

-TurboGrafx CD/PC Engine CD-ROM2/PC Engine Super CD-ROM2
In 1990 following the initial release of their base consoles NEC were the first to utilize CD-ROM hardware and CD-ROM discs as a medium for game storage. The attachment launched with a price tag of $399 and did not include any pack in games, making it a hard sale for western audiences. Both CD-ROM attachments require a core console as well as a CD System HU card in order to work properly. Later CD-ROM based games required more RAM than was available within the system and as such NEC released a series of Arcade and CD system cards that provide the necessary upgrade for the games to run. Games that require a Super System or Arcade Card were released as CD-ROM2, Super CD-ROM2, and Arcade CD-ROM2 format and will not play using a standard CD System HU card.
Game Compatibility:
-Region locked; HU Card, Super CD-ROM, TurboGrafx CD.

-TurboExpress/PC Engine GT/PC Engine LT
Continuing on the topic of video game “firsts” brings us to the TurboExpress and PC Engine GT/LT. These systems are portable, self contained adaptations of TurboGrafx-16 and PC Engine consoles containing identical hardware as their at home counterparts. Boasting to be the most advanced handheld of its time, these consoles were compatible with all HU Card games released for their respective region, something that even Sega couldn’t say until 2 years later with their Nomad portable. The most obscure of these portables is the PC Engine LT, which featured a briefcase design, and the ability to connect to the PC Engine CD attachment, as well as the ability to hook other media devices to the on board screen.
Game Compatibility:
-Region locked; HU Card, CD-ROM (with attachment)

-SuperGrafx
Only released in Japan, this variation on the PC Engine featured four times the ammount of RAM within the CPU, and a second video chip providing its own RAM. Only seven games were released to take advantage of the hardware revisions making it less known than many of its console family members. The console however will play all previously released HU Card format games for the PC Engine.
-TurboDuo/PC Engine Duo/Duo R/Duo RX

-PC-FX

-Super System 3.0 Card/Arcade Card Pro

Game formats:
-TurboGrafx
–HU Card/TurboGrafx CD/Super CD-ROM
-PC Engine
–HU Card/SuperGrafx HU Card/CD-ROM2/Super CD-ROM2/Arcade CD-ROM2
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And don’t forget – we just want you to play games and have fun!

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