I'm a loyal person, as much in real life as in games. I play with the first characters I get, even if multiple parties are available. I never switch them out. I build rapport with them. I build love for them. It almost becomes a fault or a practice in stubbornness. (I'm also a unbelievably stubborn person.)

For the last week, I have been playing two games exclusively: Pokemon X and Spirit Stones. I'm going to assume you already know what Pokemon is, so I'll describe Spirit Stones a bit: copious amounts of fan service.

Oh yeah, it's a RPG TCG puzzle game too.

Mike actually had this as one of his mobile apps of the week last week, which is why I picked it up. I can stand fan service if there is a reason. I'm not sure there is a reason in Spirit Stones, other than downloads, but it doesn't change the fact that I'm addicted to this game. With most free-to-play games (with in-app purchases), there is a set amount of time you can play before paying becomes an option to continue. I never pay for things in games, so I'm content to wait a half hour or so to recharge energy.


Most times when I put Spirit Stones down this week, I've picked up Pokemon and got to collecting those creatures instead of half naked women on cards. Since I started Pokemon I have been playing with almost the exact same party. I've left one spot open as a revolving door, but the rest of the spots were consistent. There was Fennekin, my starter. There was a Bunnelby, named Boba (after the real life bunny I had), which was the first thing I caught. There was the Pikachu I had been waiting forever to have in a party. There was the Squitle I had also been waiting forever to have. And then there was Zigzagoon, that I mostly kept around because I named him Grey, after a character in a novel I was writing...back when I tried doing that. That was it. That was my team. And I wasn't changing it.

And then I started losing.

It happened at the second gym. My team wasn't even winning the fights on the way to the trainer. My mind logically went to grinding levels, so I did just that. I was still losing. I put a better type against the gym leader in my revolving spot, but it still wasn't enough.


In my frustration, I put the game to the side and loaded Spirit Stones. I had been using the same (or upgraded forms) of the same cards since I started. I wasn't switching them out, even if something may be more powerful.

And then I started losing.

It was Pokemon all over again. I grinded levels. I was still losing. And that's when I noticed the Auto Set button on the party screen. One little button and I would have the best party. I hesitated. In fact, I went back to grinding levels...for hours. After all that time, there was still a boss I was hung up on. Eventually my stubbornness gave way and I pressed the Auto Set button. With my new party, I went back to the boss...and won in no time. It was a revelation. I still loved those old card, but these new ones were amazing.


It made me realize that I could do the same with Pokemon. I would always adore Fenn and Boba, but sometimes they needed to take a back seat. In a game with so many different characters of so many different types, sometimes the ones you love had to be replaced: not in your heart, but in your party. It didn't mean I was being unloyal. It meant I was becoming loyal to more things, to more friends.

Last night I changed my whole Pokemon party.

Today I use them to destroy the enemy!

Now go check out TAYClassic. It's where all the half naked women on cards hang out. Not your thing. Fine. There are Pokemon hanging out in the words there too. Go catch them all!