Catching Mew in Pokémon GO

Now that we’ve had a little over a week to fully explore research in Pokémon GO, I am pretty happy with the update.  The only thing that has me feeling a little let down is the fact that now that I’ve completed the quest for Mew and there’s no event going on it doesn’t feel like there’s anything to do in the game at present.

I stumbled upon a shiny Murkrow, the April Fool’s joke that they added to the came last week.  I hadn’t tapped on a Murkrow since I was trying to get my gold Delinquent medal.  I’m happy to not have to tap on any Murkrow again moving forward barring any necessary field research assignments.

Niantic also announced a cool Earth Day Cleanup event which I thought sounded like it could be fun.

Upon perusing the North American map of event locations my excitement faded pretty quickly.  I’m all for the premise but I don’t know that I can travel 1200 miles to clean up a beach.

I was able to complete my week of field research which unlocked the first field research reward.

It’s a really great additional that they’re adding legendary Pokémon through the research rewards but the surprise was spoiled by hundreds of people on Twitter who live in time zones ahead of mine.  Still, it’s a great addition to the game.

I completed the more difficult task for the Mew quest and that lead me to the final stage which, quite honestly, was supremely easy.  Catching a Ditto was the only difficult part of the entire quest which I was able to do at the very leisurely pace of about a week.  Honestly, for the final stage catching Pokémon with berries was very easy and did it mostly from my house by just opening the app once or twice and hour.  It was a little tedious but not really that challenging.  I made the single excellent throw on my first throw after the research was assigned and I got the gold Kanto medal about eighteen months ago.

When the quest was complete it was extremely confusing as to what was going on as I didn’t realize I’d be forced to catch Mew in AR mode with no choice of balls or berries.  After a few tosses I picked him up pretty easily.

The whole thing was a little anti-climactic as my Mew ended up having almost the worst IVs possible from a Mew catch.  I think the lowest possible IVs are around 73%.  I would have been pretty happy with at least 80% but since I’m probably not going to end up actually doing anything with this other than holding it as a trophy I guess it doesn’t really matter.

The more exciting news of the day was later that earlier that afternoon I finally got my first ever EX Raid pass.  What’s even more exciting is that it is at a time I was not scheduled to work or previously engaged.  Finally, I will get a shot at attempting to catch Mewtwo, something that most of the people I raid with have already done multiple times.

Overall the Mew Quest was pretty fun but my main gripe would be that this feature should have been available to the game from launch.  I remember how long it took me to evolve my first Gyarados which I powered up to be my first Pokémon over 2000 CP.  I remember how long it seemed to take to hit level 25 and how long it took me to register 100 Kanto region Pokémon in my Pokédex.  All of these things were instantly checked off my lists.  How much more exciting would it have been to have been working towards the greater goal of catching Mew while I was doing all that.  Evolving my fifth Gyarados, which I didn’t need, sitting on 2300 Magikarp candies wasn’t quite as exciting.  Actually I was a little annoyed because I didn’t need it and was hoarding the candies.  Catching my 98th Ditto wasn’t quite as exciting as it was catching my first.  Generally I’m annoyed when I ever see Ditto these days.

It was nice to have things to shoot for though.  I could have easily knocked this quest out in a day or two (you know, if I didn’t have a family or a job) but I took my time with it and it made the game more interesting.  I’m hoping future quests will have some slightly more challenging elements to them.

Even with how quick this quest could be knocked out I saw plenty of players on Twitter tweeting coordinates to Gastly nests so that people could spoof to the location and catch ten ghost Pokémon within minutes.  I can’t even imagine how that could fun for anyone, knocking this quest out in hours rather than enjoying it.  I was disappointed that I was able to catch my ghost Pokémon in one morning of casual play.

In the never-ending onslaught of recent developments in the game has been that there’s rumor of an event starting on April 10, this coming Tuesday.  The only information is that the event will focus on the Pokémon of the Kanto region.  However, recently, shiny sprites for over 100 Pokémon have been detected which means that the quest for shinies may be about to get crazy this week.

This event is likely to be announced tomorrow so we’ll see shortly what it’s all about.  One thing I’m eager for is another double candy event as I have over 200 Bulbasur and Dratini to transfer.

Even with nothing else my week will end with a Mewtwo raid and the Community Day Event.  It’s going to be very exciting to see what other surprise gets thrown into the mix.

 

 

Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” (8-bit Cover Album)

 

Written between 1935 and 1936, Carmina Burana is a scenic cantata based on a book of medieval poetry.  This was a hugely important piece of music to me growing up.  I’d like to say that it wasn’t Ozzy Osbourne using O Fortuna as his entry music while playing live that got me interested in this piece of work, however, I would be lying if I said that.

Later in life I would see this performed live at the Lincoln Center in New York City which would rekindle my interest in this piece of music and allow me to explore the other two works of this musical trilogy: Catulli Carmina and Trionfo di Afrodite.

Working with large orchestral works tends to make the sounds of the NES resemble the sound of organs.  Layering all the tracks over one another is often reminiscent of a work heavy with synths.  I tried to keep these as 8-bit as possible but there’s so much going on with the layering and the dynamics that either I am desensitized to the 8-bit sounds or it loses a little of that NES feel to it.

Click above to listen on YouTube or .  . .

Download “Carmina Burana” (8-bit Cover Album) on Google Play

The Last “Fortnite” in Pokémon GO Reviewed

Now that’s a headline full just brimming with SEO juice.

I can’t say that I remember a week of news like the one we’ve just had in Pokémon GO.  It seems like after nearly two years that Niantic has finally hit their stride with this game.  It’s almost as if it’s finally coming out of beta.  At this time last year I was so bored with the game that I created a second account just to do something different.  I’m not sure why I figured having two accounts would make it more interesting but I really love the game and I wanted to have something to do!

Let’s take a quick moment to review and grade what’s happened in the past couple of weeks.

1.) Shiny Lugia

When we heard that Lugia was coming back for another stint in raids a lot of players (myself included) breathed as sigh of relief.  Finally, I thought, I can take a break from raiding to catch the latest and greatest Legendary.  It was then discovered that there’d be a small chance that Lugia would be shiny which meant that no such rest would be coming.  Luckily for me I caught a shiny on my second attempt and was able to take a much needed raid vacation after that.

I’m not looking forward to subsequent legendary re-releases as I’m sure my lucky will not be quite as good in the future.  I think Niantic has very carefully done this in order to extend the interest in raids and, of course, purchase of raid passes.  I very rarely raid enough to even use a premium raid pass so generally my raids are from my daily raid passes.  Raids are pretty stale at this point and, unfortunately, have gone from being great fun to feeling a bit like a chore.

Still, I’m glad I got my shiny Lugia.

Grade: B

2.)  Eggstravaganza Event

This is a bit of a rehash of last year’s similar event.  The added excitement this year is that the Pokémon Togepi, Magby, and Wynaut have a possibility of hatching as shiny versions.  Additionally all Pokémon are hatching from 2k eggs.  While this is pretty nice and I’ve hatched a few rare tier Pokémon it also means that I’m going through incubators pretty quickly.  There’s an advantage to the player but Niantic is the real winner being able to sell a lot more incubators

Grade: C

3.) Gym Leader Wardrobe Items

It was announced that if you win the gym leader badge you would unlock new apparel for your avatar.   This was pretty underwhelming news that only got worse when it was revealed that you still had to buy the new apparel.  You were merely unlocking the option to buy something in the store.  This didn’t feel like much of a reward.

Grade: D-

4.) March 25th Community Day (Bulbasaur)

The March 25th event was pretty gun, though not quite as exciting as the shiny Dratin event a month earlier.  I can’t tell if that’s because Dratini is a more relevant and rare Pokémon or if it’s because the difference between regular Bulbasaur and shiny Bulbasaur is barely perceptible.  It may be a little of each.

At any rate the improved charge move and 3x XP made the event a lot of fun.  I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop this event moving forward.  By my calculations if they continue to release shiny Pokémon during these community events and do nothing else to release that will carry this gimmick for approximately thirty more years.

Even so, I can’t imagine ever getting excited about the release of a shiny Venonat.

Grade: B

5.) Official Research (Quests) Announcement

This is not only the biggest and best news of the past two weeks but quite possibly since the game’s release.  The fact that this new research feature will allow Mew to show up is exciting but far more than that is just having these ongoing challenges.  The game has desperately been missing this since day one and I feel like this genuinely completes the first version of the game.  They can call it 1.0 now as far as I’m concerned.  If done correctly this is going to be incredible.

This is another boon for rural players as well as there seems to be indication that research will allow you to finally catch Legendary Pokémon without participating in raids.  It’s unclear which ones exactly or if Mewtwo may be included.

As it’s scheduled to be released on Friday I am just hoping it is earlier in the day than the normal 1PM PST release we tend to see.

Grade: A+

6.) April 15th Community Day Announcement (Mareep)

The release of Mareep is pretty exciting for me, being one of my favorite Pokémon.  The only disappointing thing is that, along with Pikachu, it’s the least relevant Community Day release yet.  I’ll be excited to encounter tons in the wild and catch a few shinies, but I’m hoping the special move will allow Ampharos (one of the rarest and hardest to get Pokémon in the game) to be a useful attacker in gym battles.

There was a bit of disappointment in that many people were suspecting Charmander would be the release for next month but I’m pretty psyched about this one.  No doubt, many players who have yet to get an Ampharos will be equally excited.

Grade: B-

The end of March has been incredible and I’m really looking forward to April being a sort of rebirth for the game.  There have been some very frustrating and very boring stretches with this game.  There is no indication that we’ll be bored with the game at all as we enter into spring with the information we now have.

Now, can we please talk about EX Raids?

The Latest Pokémon GO Community Day and Something Mew!

Yesterday’s most recent Pokémon GO Community Day was another hit, at least in my area.  There were hundreds of people that turned out downtown to try to find shiny Bulbasaur.  I will admit that I didn’t hunt the entire time as I got a good number of shinies fairly quickly and the cold temperatures were taking a toll on my fingers.

Community Day has been pretty fun now that we are getting ample warning about when they will occur.  I must admit that I’m looking forward to April’s Community Day as the chances of weather being more favorable in my part of the world is much higher.

Bulbasaur wasn’t quite as exciting as Dratini as it’s not as relevant or rare a Pokémon but it was still a lot of fun.

The main issue was that in the bright sunlight I caught multiple shiny Bulbasaur without even being aware they were shiny.  In the light I couldn’t see the sparkles and the difference between shiny and normal Bulbasaur is almost imperceptible without a frame of reference (the shiny one is on the right).

I had intended to write a simple recap of Community Day before the biggest news in a long time dropped this morning.  Quests are coming to Pokémon GO!  This is something I’ve been wanting for a long, long time and it looks like in a week’s time they will finally be here.  Better yet, this first quest (or research) looks like it will be revealing one of the few holes in my Gen 1 Pokédex, Mew.

After not having seen Professor Oak since the first day I played the game he will apparently be making a return to tell us what we need to do to help him in his research.  It will be nice to see him again rather than repeatedly transferring Venonats to him.

It’s a little unclear exactly how they’ll work but the full details are available here on the official Pokémon GO website.

In a quest described as “A Mythical Discovery” they list 3 quest items:

1.) Spin 5 Pokéstops.

2.) Catch 10 Pokémon.

3.) Transfer 5 Pokémon.

I sincerely hope the quest items to unlock Mew are a bit more challenging than that.  I’m sure this is just an example or as indicated in the pic above perhaps the first level (of eight) that you need to do to get Mew.

There is also another screen showed which displays rewards for doing the specific items listed.

There appears to be some sort of stamp reward but it’s still unclear how this works or how you get them.

This screenshot shows a potential update to the game with the research icon replacing weather which has been moved to the top right corner of the screen.

To me this is the most exciting update to the game since the Buddy System was released, even though that system doesn’t have nearly the impact now that it did upon release.

To me, this is how Mewtwo should have been done.  I don’t care how hard the quest is or how long it takes, I’m so much more excited to play the game working toward a stretch goal than I am doing random raids hoping to win the EX Raid Pass lottery.  Even eventually getting the pass doesn’t mean I’d even be able to attend the raid if I happen to have an obligation that day.

I’m very much looking forward to March 30th to get my first glimpse of what this update looks like and have a new reason to play the game.

Ben Folds Five’s “Whatever and Ever Amen” (8-bit Cover Album)

Ben Folds Five’s 1997 sophomore album, Whatever and Ever Amen, was one of my favorites released that year.  This album presented a new challenge: converting a piano-driven album to NES pulse waves.  Some of the album is rollicking, some of it is soft and understated, but none of it lends itself to the sounds of the NES quite as well as other genres of music.  This album introduced me to Ben Folds Five and made a huge impression on me.  One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces of You is one of my favorite songs by the group.  It’s probably not the track that came out the best of my 8-bit versions from this album but the opening piano still takes me back to the summer of 1997, even if they’re processed by the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Click above to listen on YouTube or .  . .

Download Ben Folds Five’s “Whatever and Ever Amen” (8-bit Cover Album) on Google Play

I Don’t Know How To Play Fortnite

I’d been hearing about Fortnite for some time now.  Given that my time for console gaming is exceptionally limited I’d been largely ignoring it.

That was until it was announced that it was being put out as a mobile app by invite only.  Figuring I’d be very low on the list for an invite I signed up only to receive my invite later that same day.

I’d played a lot of Halo as a multiplayer game in LAN parties then later Halo 2 online.  The age of these games give you an indication of how old my multiplayer shooter experience is.

Fortnite on mobile is a very fun experience.  The controls are much better than I would have thought though I would really like to give this game a shot with a traditional controller.  I know a mouse/keyboard combination is probably even better but I’m a controller guy (i.e. not a serious gamer).

I’ve figured out the basic gist of the game but there’s still a lot I’m in the dark about.  I’m sure a lot of things I’m confused about could easily be settled by watching a tutorial video but what fun would that be?

If there’s a way to customize your character I’m not smart enough to figure it out.  Oddly it seems to just give me a randomly generated character with each new game.

When you’re done in the lobby you are thrown into some sort of strange melee where everyone is jumping around and hitting each other but no one seems to die.  At first I thought this was the game and couldn’t figure out why nothing was happening.

After that you’re transported to a blue bus floating above an island on a balloon.  After a while you’re able to jump out of the bus and skydive to the island below.

Your default weapon is a pick axe which you can use to break apart almost anything and get bits of steel, wood, or presumably other materials.  There is undoubtedly something you can do with these materials but that is beyond me at this point.

You can also find weapons which you can then use to attack other players.  There are names hovering in the air giving you the names of other players.  After a bit I started hunting down these players and emptying all my ammunition into them.  It turns out these are members of your own team.  Luckily you can’t seem to kill them, you just watch as they stand there looking at you wondering why you are so bad at his game.

There’s also some storm that is always imminent.  In one of my games I survived long enough to see the storm in action.  I still don’t know what purpose the storm serves or why it happens but I’m sure it must be fairly significant to game play.

In one game so far I was able to hole up in a mine and actually take down several enemy players who do not have their names displayed and are much harder to spot.

In yet another game I stumbled upon a llama pinata, something that I know is an extremely rare item in the game.  I was excited even though I didn’t know hat 75% of the items did and I knew I’d be dead within a minute anyway.

With all of this being said I’m having a lot of fun playing this game.  I’m thinking I will eventually do some research to answer my questions and, most likely, make me much better at this game.

My teammates will likely appreciate this.

Pink Floyd’s “Animals” (8-bit Cover Album)

Before huge hits like “The Wall” and after “The Dark Side of the Moon” and “Wish You Were Here” there falls the 1977 album “Animals.”  This has always been my favorite Pink Floyd album.  The 17-minute song “Dogs” is my favorite by the band, a blending of Gilmour and Waters’s contributions, mashing up multiple songs and ideas into one.  This was the hardest track to recreate as it contains numerous tempo changes.  This is some of David Gilmour’s finest playing and it is impossible to capture that feeling and style with 8-bit synths.  I ended up having to play drums along to the song then move the drum hits around manually to lock them directly to the beat, recording each fill individually and manipulating it.  At the end of the day I’m happy with the result especially since there were multiple times I was about to give up thinking this entire project was just going to be impossible.

Click above to listen on YouTube or .  . .

Download Pink Floyd’s “Animals” (8-bit Cover Album) on Google Play

The Road to Level 40

The latest Pokémon GO special event has just concluded.  I had carefully calculated my XP gains so that I would reach level 40 late this morning.  Due to a miscalculation in my grinding schedule I hit level 40 late last night instead, unexpectedly after a binge evolution session gained me slightly more XP than I had planned on.

Events continue to be the only time I seriously play the game.  The rest of the time I am merely catching a few Pokémon and spinning a few stops to keep my streaks alive.  If Niantic were a little quicker in implementing quests I may be more apt to fire up the app during regular play.

When Pokémon GO first came out there was a sight with a calculator to estimate when you would reach level 40.  My estimation was mid 2019.  My grinding sessions over the past nearly two years must have really paid off.

There are people who hit level 40 mere months after the game was released.  It has been a long road but it’s pretty satisfying to finally be at he final level.  I am regularly in raid groups with people I see out all the time that are still in the mid 30s so knowing how much they play underscores the achievement of hitting level 40.

After all this time, here are my achievement medals and stats after hitting level 40:

Start Date: 7/9/2016
Total XP: 20010070
Medals
Jogger: 1,698.2 km
Kanto: 147
Collector: 29,678
Scientist: 5,226
Breeder: 1,003
Backpacker: 21,230
Youngster: 310
Pikachu Fan: 436
Johto: 98
Berry Master: 2,030
Gym Leader: 5,566
Hoenn: 103
Fisherman: 97/300
Battle Girl: 950/1000
Ace Trainer: 252/1000
Battle Legend: 108/1000
Unown: 6/10
Champion: 90/100
Schoolkid: 12,797
Black Belt: 291
Bird Keeper: 8,787
Punk Girl: 7,512
Ruin Maniac: 1,327
Hiker: 988
Bug Catcher: 5,488
Hex Maniac: 1,208
Depot Agent: 332
Kindler: 1,328
Swimmer: 5,182
Gardener: 2,737
Rocker: 1,014
Psychic: 2,687
Skier: 1,030
Dragon Tamer: 242
Delinquent: 785
Fairy Tale Girl: 983

I even finally retired my buddy, the Pidgey who had been my companion through all of level 39.  The need for Pidgey candy for grinding is now taking a backseat to finishing off my Pokédex.

I run into a lot of people who take months off then come back.  I guess the key is that I have played the game every day since it was released in July of 2016.  Sometimes it’s for ten minutes.  Today, for example, I have barely played as I take a break from the week long grind to complete level 39.  Other days, like yesterday, I’m opening the app every ten or fifteen minutes to get some valuable XP.

On Monday, only a few weeks before he was about to leave the game, I finally caught my first Rayquaza.  It was a little more difficult than normal given that everyone’s pretty sick of Rauquaza after a week.  Luckily there were some people grinding that were just there for the XP.

On Wednesday, my last full day of level 39, I randomly encountered my first ever Dragonite in the wild.  I nearly got him with my GO plus as I wasn’t really paying attention at the time.  I’ve never used a tracker to hunt down Dragonites and I had thought I’d never run into one.  I remember the odds of this were calculated somewhere around 1:1,000,000 so I was pretty psyched, even though I’ve evolved more than enough for my needs.  On top of running into it he ended up having very good IVs.  Even if he was 32 CP I would have kept him, excited to finally run into a wild one for the first time.

After hoping we’d get a bit of a legendary break it was announced yesterday that Lugia was coming back.  This wasn’t terribly exciting.  I have plenty so I was excited to have a break from all this raiding.  Then came the news today that there will be shiny Lugia.  Whether they are all shiny I am not sure at this point but it looks like  I will not be getting a break after all.

Back to the grind.

Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” (8-bit Cover Album)

 

The Planets was written by Gustav Holst between 1914 and 1916.  There is a piece for each planet (except Earth) that had been discovered at the time.  Pluto had not yet been discovered or reclassified as a dwarf planet.

I discovered this work of music when it was explained to me that it was likely a heavy influence for the soundtrack of Star Wars.  It doesn’t take too long into “Mars, the Bringer of War” to see the merit in this assessment.  It’s a wonderful piece of music and I found myself listening to it quite a bit in my early teens.  It’s based more on astrology than astronomy, hence the order of the tracks.

I found that classical pieces lend themselves really well to the 8-bit format.  In fact, there are so many instruments playing at once (far more than the NES would be able to handle) that it blends together so much you almost lose the 8-bit quality of the music.

Click above to listen on YouTube or .  . .

Download Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” (8-bit Cover Album) on Google Play

Ozzy Osbourne’s “Diary of a Madman” (8-bit Cover Album)

Randy Rhoads made two studio albums with Ozzy Osbourne before his unfortunate death in 1982.  The second of these albums was 1981’s Diary of a Madman.  In my opinion this album always edged out Ozzy’s first solo album, The Blizzard of Ozz, released earlier the same year.  To me the last three tracks of this album were the pinnacle of classic early Ozzy, all made possible by the incredible guitar work of Randy Rhoads.  The album ends in epic fashion with a choir singing along to the syncopated 6/8 rhythm of the guitars, reminiscent of Ozzy’s classic opening theme: O Fortuna.  Ozzy is a ridiculous, silly man as can be learned from simply looking at almost any of his album covers, but put together with the right musical ensemble he is behind some of my favorite early heavy metal titles.

Click above to listen on YouTube or .  . .

Download Ozzy Osbourne’s “Diary of a Madman” (8-bit Cover Album) on Google Play