Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pokemon Global Link


Okay, so I know we've been a bit Pokemon heavy content-wise recently but tough. Deal with it.

Today's topic is the Pokemon Global Link. For those of you who aren't Pokemon fans, the latest "proper" DS Pokemon games, Pokemon Black and Pokemon White, allow you to upload a pokemon to the Dream World. Then, via a PC you can go on shallow and limited adventures in the Dream World via the Global Link.

The Dream World itself allows you to catch a bunch of Pokemon through playing mini games with them (fun but not very useful if you have a living dex like myself), grow some berries (sort of useful because there's very few other ways to get them in game) and make a bunch of virtual friends by visiting their houses in the Dream World. There are multiple areas of the Dream World to unlock by visiting it over and over again. On top of this there's a whole sims-esque aspect of upgrading your house and buying furniture with berries.

Also, via the Global Link you can download some content to your game (customisable skins for the bottom screen), participate in global competitions and occasionally there's a pokemon giveaway. So the Dream World is fairly shallow but there is a lot to do and it is far from a facebook game. in my mind all this stuff is free! I would have bought the DS game anyway so it is nice to have all this extra stuff to go with my game even if it does only result in a few cosmetic improvements and items you can't get otherwise. My main problems are:

1) The Non-Japanese get stiffed.
Check out this list and see how many of these promotions never made it to Europe.

2) Nintendo Are Pretty Fucking Cryptic About It.
If I didn't visit serebii all the time more than half of these promotions would have passed me by. Hmmm if only there was some Nintendo network I was connected to all the fucking time that could send me messages about these sometimes time-sensitive promotions. Even worse is that its hard to work out what you should be doing. I didn't even know you could unlock new areas in the Dream World until the Spooky Manor was announced. I then had to look up how you find new areas and guess what the best guide sites were? Everyone but Nintendo themselves.

3) Shameless Promotions
A lot of the time the DLC is accessed by a password. Often this password is hidden on another site somewhere. Today, a Halloween promotion was launched to download a Banette to your game. The details on the Global Link are pretty scant saying that the password is available "now" from some yahoo games page. I've already given the page more hits than I'd like looking for it. Suffice to say I don't think it has been made available yet. To me this is just a shallow attempt at getting the not insubstantial pokemon community to generate hits for other websites.

UPDATE: UK password available now (BANETYahooGames apparently)

All in all I would have thought that a game with quite big following (nearly 2 million people have synced their games with the Global Link) would these things a little more professionally and not rely on the player community to make it easier to know that this shit is happening in the first place and how to do it.

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