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Our Weekend Game Plans: Seeing Scarlet (and Violet)

By November 19, 2022No Comments4 min read

Welcome to this week’s edition of Our Weekend Game Plans, where the games writers at InBetweenDrafts get together and share what they’re spending the weekend playing! This week, the section editors are having a meeting of their unofficial Nintendo fan club. 

Travis Hymas

Apropos of anything else, it feels extremely weird to have two mainline Pokémon titles in a single year. I realize that a year of video game releases can make it hard to recall, but Pokémon Legends Arceus only came out at the end of this January. Yet, here’s Pokémon Scarlet and Violet to bring the next generation of the franchise. I’m currently working on Violet to review for InBetweenDrafts and folks, this game is rough. Pokémon games are no strangers to glitches and errors, in fact most of the time they end up being fun! This time around, much less so. I’ve not had nearly as bad of an experience as early reviews have been reporting, but it’s inarguable that something is just not right here. 

I’m not about to play armchair developer and I’m not far enough in the game to make a judgment call; that’s what the review is for. But I can’t shake the feeling that even with the welcome changes that Scarlet and Violet bring, the presumed need for this franchise to go full on open world has finally pushed the process of making a Pokémon game to its breaking point. Indirectly related, I would like to ask why in the world they didn’t give any kind of visual and audio indication of shiny Pokémon. I finally encountered one early on in the game and almost walked right past the thing. So bizarre of a choice, especially when Legends Arceus had a visual and an audio queue. 

Evan Griffin

I spent the better part of the last two weeks planning content for the launch of InBetweenDrafts, but I knew first that I would be doing a paired feature to celebrate the 20th anniversary of both Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion. Yikes, it’s hard to believe how old those games are. The work for the Fusion retrospective has long ago been done, but it had been some time since I replayed Metroid Prime with the goal of paying attention to the little things. I did just that on the Metroid Prime Trilogy. Having done some research into interviews and development stories from past staff of Retro Studios and a more cemented understanding of the work that goes into game design, I’ve come to appreciate Prime’s most quirky aspects.

The Chozo Ruins in particular, being the first fully designed part of the game in terms of rooms, enemies, textures and puzzles all stand out as a perfect tone setter once players get down on the planet. The music has a hymnal hum with bird-like chirps of synthesizers to emulate the ghosts of the Chozo creeping about, the dark tunnels abandoned except for ancient monitoring systems and insects worming about between the walls. Prime was a technical showcase for the GameCube and there’s a reason for that because Retro Studio’s design fundamentals are so sharp that they are still effective today even with low resolution. Please go read those pieces for more details!

After a long couple weeks of content planning, I’ve started my week-long visit with my family for the Thanksgiving holiday. Here, it tends to be rather quiet in the first few hours of the day. A lot of grown adults might use this time to sip on coffee and play a crossword puzzle. I’m the wack job that instead opens his Switch and plays the niche little brain teaser, Mario’s Super Picross on the Super Nintendo app on Switch Online. I am fully aware of the fact that I can’t read it, but the puzzles of breaking blocks that line up with number counts vertically and horizontally make for some satisfying solving experiences. Even Warios, which feels like a big troll move with an unlimited timer, no hints, and no penalty when you make a wrong move, never makes me want to pull my hair out.

Featured image via The Pokémon Company

Travis Hymas

Travis Hymas is a freelance writer and self appointed Pokémon historian out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Known to be regularly obessive over pop culture topics and gaming discourse, he is a published Rotten Tomatoes critic and has been featured on sites such as Uppercut and The Young Folks

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