Pokemon White: gender gap

, | Game diaries

Something happened while I was playing tonight that made me start to think about the tipping point. Or the line of demarcation. Or the point of no return. One of those ominous phrases. What happened was I had an epiphany. Hold on a second. Don’t get excited. For while that term tends to carry with it an air of positivity and excitement, that’s not really going to apply here. I’m not sure this is a term, but I believe what I had tonight could be termed a ‘stupid epiphany’. Is that even a term? Did I just coin that?

I had been planning today to write about moving from the tutorial towns into the big cities of Pokemon White. I’m not going to do that, though, because of my stupid ephiphany. What is this stupid epiphany, you ask?

Sigh. I’m so ashamed to admit this. Deep breath. Oh well.

I was in the middle of a pretty nasty fight with some trainer in a hidden library in the back room of a museum when I realized it. I was trying to decide which Pokemon to send into battle after my electric horse fainted when I suddenly keyed on the gender symbols of my team. I’ve always been aware of them. I’ve never paid them much attention. Until now. My team is five males, and one female.

Team Tepig just became Team Sausage.

After the jump, the trading deadline

I’ve started to groove on using my team. I’m starting to get the hang of it. Unlike the Miami Heat, we’re starting to gel. I’m not saying we’re playoff ready yet, but we are starting to get a sense for how the pieces fit. Who starts. Who comes off the bench. These things are shaking out nicely. We’ve got a couple of weak links. Like any good coach, I won’t name him to the press. That would be demoralizing. But I will say that Patrat better pick up his game or he’s gonna find himself in Cleveland.

That may have been too harsh.

Thing is, in the middle of a heated battle with a gym trainer tonight I finally keyed on the fact that my team is all males and one female. Let me pause a second and say that I have no idea if this makes any difference in the big picture of the game. No idea whatsoever. Which may be an important point, made quite by accident. But let’s just put that to one side for a bit. I have no idea if this makes any difference for gameplay, but just aesthetically I find it objectionable. I’d prefer balance. Truth be told I’d prefer the opposite imbalance to this. When given a choice, I roll up a female character. I play a man all the time, in real life. So rolling up a cool woman drummer in Rock Band makes me happy. That Team Tepig has turned out to be Team Sausage is a real annoyance, both because it means I wasn’t paying attention and because it forces me to confront something that scares me.

What’s the point-of-no-return when building a team in this game?

I’ve been assiduously leveling up my team, both in anticipation of getting to the big city, and in anticipation of going up against real humans. I want balance when I get to these marks. Now I suddenly wonder what will happen if I go to one of my computer boxes and withdraw another Pokemon, or capture a brand new one. Will I have to drop back to greener pastures to grind/level the new one up? What if I want to overhaul my team altogether? Does this mean dropping back and grass-grinding them all up to Tepig’s level?

At what point in the game does this become impossible? Is there such a point? At what point in the game does this become–instead of using the inappropriately ultimatum-flavored word ‘impossible’–simply not worth it?

I don’t know that gender matters in this game. I barely understand that I’ve chosen a fire-type Pokemon. So how am I supposed to trust that my inadvertent creation of Team Sausage will work out? And what exactly is the tipping point? When is it too late to change the make-up of your team? I already feel it’s too late, and I’m not even in the big city yet. This can’t be right!

The overarching lesson here is a coaching lesson. For what really has happened here is that I’ve coached up my starters, but I’ve failed to prepare my bench. I’ve got a solid six, but if one of them fouls out, I’m screwed.

Guess what. I’m screwed.

Stupid epiphany.

Next: Tepig in the city
Click here for the previous Pokemon White game diary.

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