It has been almost a month now since its’ release, and I have still not bought Pokemon Black & White, despite weekly debate over walking to the local Videogame Shoppe.
I am moderately obsessed with the existence of this game. Here is the long of it: (there is art at the end, promise!)
Girl avatars. To be perfectly honest, one of my favorite gaming activities is filling in my own genderqueer narratives when games throw female love interests and masculinity quips at my automatically male-presenting avatar. (This works particularly well on anything with the words “final” and “fantasy” in it.)
However, my less ironic ten-year-old-inner-self was very excited when Nintendo decided to let players pick between playing as a male or female Pokemon trainer. Last winter, teveling in the nostalgic glory of my Nintendo DS, I asked the Videogame Fairy for Pokemon Platinum so I could enjoy videogame girldom.
1. She is dressed like a teenaged Madeline on a shopping trip
2. Her sprite does the Dainty Anime Girl Run
3. She carries a HANDBAG: the action accessory of choice for ladies who want to ensure they only really have one hand free at all times, and get scoliosis.
The male trainer, unfortunately, looks even more like he fell out of a yacht club, so even my fallback spunky androgyny was out. They did at least throw me the small consolation prize of an effete best friend/rival roughly modeled off of The Little Prince, but overall I was Not Pleased.
Then Pokemon Black and White came out in Japan.
I got the word that the setting is based on NYC and the trainers are HIPSTERS. Immediately flying to google image search, I was overwhelmed with happiness to see a perfectly sturdy-looking girl rocking the hell out of some big hair and cutoffs.
This is the first Action Heroine costume that I can wholeheartedly get behind.
Actually, I think I own this outfit.
I mean…hiking boots, sweatbands, some sun cover for the face (I sincerely hope this means that trucker hats are still in fashion in Japan), a sensible yet distinctly feminine shoulderbag…it’s so reasonable.
And I know there have been grumbles about the short shorts, but man Bermuda shorts do not look good when you have thighs and when it is summer in Brooklyn you don’t even want to think about wearing anything longer than that.
So there is a big part of me that wants to whip out my thirty bucks and take that walk to the Video Game Shoppe and get my Girltrainer fix. But I’m afraid of the Truth. And I think that Truth is that the avatar is just an accessory that doesn’t actually affect gameplay, and the world map is nyc-inspired, not the game itself. In short it’s all just some decor changes to a game I only want to play out of nostalgia for being a kid and wholeheartedly consuming a trend, and, like so many other things, I need to just leave it to the new kids.
But since I hate letting go and LIVE to make meaningless lists, I posit the question: What if Pokemon Black & White was actually based on NYC?
In downtown Manhattan, you only battle assistants people have hired to fight in their place. On a Route in Northern Brooklyn, trainers sometimes fight you, sometimes just don’t really feel like it. There’s a new cycling road, but you can’t get on it right away because protesters are blocking the entrance with SUVs. Every time you put away your bicycle, there’s a 50% chance that it will get stolen. At which point you have to wait for an indeterminate amount of time in a subway stop while fighting off wild Patrats if you don’t want to hoof it across boroughs back to the Bike Shop.
File under: great ideas for unbearably-time-consuming hobby projects; conversation starters for nerds
Bonus: here’s the fanart that kind of started this whole geekout. I made this for the Nerds in Babeland‘s guest appearance on the Late Night JengaJam. A really fun geek talk jam to listen to – now I have an overwhelming urge to get back into the Justice League tv show. Thanks for the plug and very kind words, ladies!
When it comes to Pokemon and Hipsters and Action Ladies, Misty did all that shit first. She not only rocked cutoffs, but suspenders and the side-ponytail. Lightyears ahead of American Apparel.
The Pokemon mangas (I did say I totally consumed the Pokemon trend, right?) were my gateway drug into comics and Misty was extra-awesome in those. 1 part sporty, 1 part fanservicey, and all parts giving Ash hell all the time.