Thursday, July 2, 2015

Out of the Darkness and Into the Light: My Sexual Journey and Struggles with Pornography


This document is a record of my wrestlings with my sexuality (as a point of clarity, I mean who I am as a sexual being, not my sexual orientation). I am recording it here to bring it out into the light in the hopes that by so doing, it may benefit those who read it. I am tired of worrying about how I appear to others and desire honesty and to be known, as the saying goes, warts and all. I am going to therefore record what I see to be my sexual “journey” or “history,” whatever you want to term it. The term matters little. This is somewhat difficult for me to write and make public, because I have been taught that much of it conflicts with what it means to be a “good little Christian boy.” But hiding my experiences helps no one to learn from them and thus is a disservice. As for the structure of this document, I will first go over my experiences, and then I’ll recount some of the impacts of those experiences.

My History

I want to start this by first addressing the matter of sexual fantasies. I think that I am somewhat unusual--though if the Internet has taught me anything, it is that no one characteristic of someone is entirely unique--in that I do not self-insert. Rather, I construct characters, species, beings that I tell stories about, however brief. This approach of mine is a general one, not purely sexual in nature, and is a part of my psychology. I don’t look for stand-ins for myself. I share this to give some understanding and context as to where I come from. For me, sexual fantasies are not fantasies about me having sex, however much I may look forward to it.
Right, then, the beginning of things. I’m not quite sure how old I was, but I think I was in middle school, when I recall first having sexual fantasies. I remember riding on the bus on the way home, looking out at the snow, and imagining beings that lived in bubbles of perpetual sex. Not terribly exciting, in retrospect. Somewhere around this time, I don’t remember quite when in relation to things, I had what I would view as my first experience with masturbation, using part of one of those plastic lightsaber-type things as an aid. It felt inappropriate somehow, and I think I’ve had premature ejaculation when masturbating ever since, something which actually suits me fine. I don’t want masturbation to be able to be a substitute for proper sexual intercourse.
At any rate, some time passed, and I found myself increasingly curious to know what female genitals actually looked like. I had a vague notion that they looked something like a vertically aligned mouth, but that was it. I must have been around sixteen or seventeen when I decided I wanted to actually know--I do know I wasn’t eighteen yet, as I refused to enter beyond any age-gates. Regardless, the Internet provided the knowledge I sought and more, not all of which I found desirable. Yet, with this initial foray, I found the female body to be beautiful and the vulva to be fascinating, something that is still very true. Relatedly, though as something of an aside, it was during this time that I encountered various concepts of nudism/naturalism; a number of these concepts still stick with me--respect for the human body, acceptance of it, and a healthy body image. However, it wasn’t long before my dad saw me hue-shifting an image and told me, “Not in my house.” I think God may have orchestrated that event to stop me from potentially falling down a hole I might never have recovered from. And thus, my interest was suspended for several years. After all, I had found the knowledge I had wanted.
It wasn’t until I was closer to twenty or so that I particularly began seeking things again, as my memories of the images I’d seen were fading. This happened after I had temporarily moved out of the house while going to college. During this time, things spiraled, and after a while, God woke me up and showed me what I was doing. I had pirated a Japanese “girlfriend sim” program and was lusting after it and other images, not just of nudity but of sexual imagery. I realized that it wasn’t me: it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing or how I wanted to be behaving. This resulted in another cooldown period. I cleaned many things up and moved on.
However, my interest in both anatomy and the artistic aspect of nudity once again drove me to seek a refresher on this knowledge. By grace, I have not had a period again where I have fallen as far as that time in college, as I am not keen to repeat those mistakes. I am still learning things and have had struggles while trying to figure out how to handle my desires, but at this point, I’ve learned that I’m not particularly interested in pornography. You see, I had a night, back in January of 2015, that I spent on an easy-to-find pornography site. I just watched, choosing to engage it critically with my mind rather than in any other way, and I discovered several things from this experience.
So, where am I now? A good question, and I don’t know where things will be with me whenever it is you read this, but I can tell you where I am at the time of writing this (early July in 2015). I still find the vulva to be beautiful, a work of art. I find women to be beautiful, and I think clothing can mar that beauty. However, I have learned about lust and want to avoid it, to admire a woman’s beauty and God’s craftsmanship while seeking to not reduce her to an object.
Some of the discoveries I made along my journey, and consequences of it, are detailed below.

Consequences and Lessons

  • The way we handle nudity in the United States of America (and I imagine much of the world) is downright bonkers. As can be seen in my story, my journey into pornography and like materials started with a desire to dispel my ignorance. The way that we taboo nudity makes it hard to pursue one’s curiosity about the other sex’s physical form in a way that doesn’t lead down this path. Furthermore, this approach to nudity leads to many strange conundrums and paradoxes, such as our attitude towards breastfeeding. It’s something I want to talk about more at some point, but it deserves its own article. The basic end result, though, has led me to become something of a nudist, as well as an opponent of censorship.
  • I have come to realize that things can’t be what they aren’t. That may sound obvious, but images, video, etc., these things can’t be the sort of physically intimate relationship I desire and crave. Nothing will do except the real thing, and trying to force anything to do or be something it is not leaves one dissatisfied. It is like dying of thirst in the desert and chasing mirages. One gets excited over the prospect, “Maybe this one really will be water this time!” And then one gets there and realizes it was nothing but yet more sand, a crushing disappointment.
  • Watching people have sex is really rather boring. The only ways for it to be interesting are for it to be a taboo being broken or to somehow try to be involved in it. This fact is, I think, the leading contributor to the devastating Spiral of Looking-For-More-Shocking-Pornography. As the sought-after shock fades, more shocking material is required, not unlike how drug addicts need to increase their dose to continue receiving the same impact.
  • The heart and soul of sex is intimacy, and pornography often strips that out, leaving it empty and void of true substance.
  • I have gained a greater appreciation for women and find that I care deeply about women in the “adult entertainment” industry as people. I want them to be loved (not fanaticized, fantasized, or obsessed over) and respected, both by themselves and others. Based on stories I’ve heard from ex-porn stars (see, respect--and self-respect--is in short supply for these women. I feel God has given me a heart for them. I don’t know what to do with that, but I hope this article can help in some small way.


I want to close by thanking you for reading this. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to ask. If you want to ask privately, you can email me at king.templar(at) And please, think about some of the stuff I’ve brought up. Make sure you aren’t being duped by mirages. And please, be wary of the dangers of trying to turn anything into something it isn’t. Doing so can be extremely destructive to you and to others. Take care, and if anything you’ve read here has left you feeling convicted, please, don’t ignore that feeling. May God grant healing, courage, and strength to those who so desperately need it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Star Wars Saga

Disclaimer: I haven't given this a thorough proofreading pass, so I apologize for any errors. I'm just going to publish it as-is, though, as I want to get it published, rather than have it languish in "I still need to proofread that" land.

So, I recently got it into my head to re-watch the Star Wars Saga. I now want to share my thoughts. The first major observation I have is that I am quite thoroughly convinced that the original trilogy and the prequal trilogy belong to different continuities. There is no way I can believe that they belong to the same continuity, as the inconsistencies are too great.
I'm going to start by ranking the films, by episode. This is rough, and I'm not 100% on it beyond the first and last items:
1) Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back - Not an uncommon choice, I have heard. Incidentally, if the credits are to go by, the one with the least amount of direct impact by George Lucas. I'll talk more about my opinions about the films later, but wish to give some initial comment here.
2) Episode III: Revenge of the Sith - This is probably quite unusual. It suffers from many of the common problems, but the underlying (and admittedly too subtle) plot is very deep, complex, and interesting. It is a pity it doesn't show through very well.
3) Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, and Episode I: The Phantom Menace - Honestly, I'm not quite sure what order I place these in. I do roughly feel that Episode IV is vying for a tied spot with Episode III. Overall, I feel that all of these films have a lot that is great about them with a lot that drags them down.
4) Episode II: Attack of the Clones - The "romance" kills this film for me. It kills it very, very thoroughly. There are some great moments in here, but they can't overcome the sheer awkwardness of basically any scene featuring both Padme and Anakin.

It now seems to me to be a good time to address the elephant in the room: George Lucas. I think he is a good storysmith, creative, and world builder. I do not think he is a very good director, and his dialog leaves much to be desired. Also, he isn't an editor, I don't think. I do think he gets an unfortunately severe bad rap, and I also think that the films have had a lot of very skilled people doing very good work. It is unfortunate that so much of the skill and ability that went into the creation of the films (particularly the prequal trilogy) are forgotten due to failings on the most important part of films, but it is also understandable.

I feel that where the Star Wars films fail, it is due to questionable shots/scenes, poor pacing, and awkward dialog. I think many of the actors (again, particularly the prequal trilogy) are better than direction and editing choices show.

Also, Jar Jar actually has one very brilliant, excellent scene. It is a pity that every other scene with him has him playing the awkward comic relief where none is needed. His gags are purely for the audience, not for the other characters in the film. That is where he fails. Those sorts of scenes -- ones meant entirely for the audience, not for the plot or the characters (such as Jar Jar stepping in dung or being farted on) -- break the fourth wall. Such things are fine in the right sort of film. Star Wars films are not the right sort of film.

I suppose I don't have much more I want to put here, so I think I'll go over my sort of overall thoughts on each film. Keep in mind that I watched them in numeric order (1-6), having most recently watched Episode VI, so my memories of the earlier films may be a bit foggier.

Episode I: A Phantom Menace

One of the thoughts that struck me upon reflection on this film is that the main character -- as much as this film has one -- is Padme. If you think about it, it starts with the Jedi going to help her, and the plot is primarily moved along by seeing to her wants and needs. This is particularly true in the latter portion of the film, when it is her decision to return to Naboo and go to war against the Trade Federation.

The Pod Racing scene is excessively long, and the introduction of the pilots is unnecessary. They would be perfectly fine if the film was about pod racing. It isn't, though this scene does its best to try to convince us otherwise. We don't really need to see most of the race.

I already commented above about Jar Jar Binks. I understand why he is hated, but I also feel some of that hate is overblown. The character is handled poorly, and isn't given a serious role to fill save the once, and he does well there.

Darth Maul is pretty neat; its a shame that he gets killed off. A sentiment I understand is shared.

Jake Lloyd, poor guy, sounds like he is shouting the majority of his lines. No wonder he has such a hard time emoting. That is a directorial issue, I think.

This has been commented on elsewhere, but why is Anakin taken back to Naboo, instead of being left on Coruscant? I've no idea on this, it makes little sense.

I love the designs for Naboo, and Padme has fantastic outfits.

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

This film is very polarized. Basically, if Anakin is on screen, chances are the dialog will be super awkward and unfortunately off-putting. Otherwise, it is mostly fine. Unfortunately, Anakin appears in much of the film. This is predominately a dialog problem, of course.

Overall, Padme has great outfits again.

Kamino is pretty neat. I don't understand the scene with Yoda and the younglings with Obi-wan asking about the missing planet, but whatever.

Honestly, I don't have much more to say. Anakin and Padme have no real romance, the dialog is mostly awkward, and Obi-wan does interesting stuff. There's a reason the LEGO game jumps pretty much straight to Geonosis.

I like Mace Windu's purple lightsaber.

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

The reasons I like this film so much more than most of the rest of the Star Wars films is due to so much of the underlying subtext. Seeing the interplay and interactions between Anakin, Palpatine, and the Jedi Council is very fascinating. Anakin's defection, and ultimate opposition to the Jedi Order is entirely upon the Jedis' head. Palpatine may plant the ideas, but the Jedi confirm them by their actions. Their lack of trust for Anakin is what ends up turning him against them.

It's very fascinating to see it all play out, but it requires watching the film closely. It helps to be acquainted with the book. The other did whatever the opposite of phoning something in is, and it can help give you some insight into mindset stuff that does show in the film if you know to look for it.

Warning: For Episodes IV, V, and VI, I watched the Special Editions. I will overall avoid commenting on continuity issues, only pointing to areas where I feel it points to a prominent lack of continuity between the Original Trilogy and the Prequel Trilogy, not every possible instance. I will also probably not mention any subtle changes that happened with the special editions.

Episode IV: A New Hope

I was honestly surprised with how poorly I felt this film held up. It feels like it drags, and the Cantina introduction scene -- where all of these aliens are shown off -- feels extremely pointless in this day and age. They no longer have those aliens as a cool thing to show off, so now those shots feel like they are just wasting time.

The first big area that generates a feeling of discontinuity to me with the prequels occurs in the first discussion that Obi-wan has with Luke. The overall feeling I get from the conversation doesn't match up at all with what is presented in the prequels. Speaking of that conversation, I like how the movie uses Luke's lack of knowledge about the Force to tell the viewer about it. That worked well, I think.

On the Han Shot First (TM) thing, the editing there is definitely awkward (though I feel like I remember it being worse the last time I watched the film), and that is my biggest issue with it. The only other thing that bothers me (and it bothers me a LOT) is the entirely unnecessary scene with Han and Jabba in front of the Falcon. Not only is the CGI kinda bad looking, not only is the editing to have Han walk on Jabba's tail, not only is it bad for Jabba (character assassination, especially after that tail step, and I think the Ep. VI intro is better for him), but the scene is entirely redundant with Greedo's scene, which explains all of the same information. Other edits (more ships, for example) I'm fine with.

I should also mention that it bugs me that it takes almost an hour (OK, less without the needless Jabba scene, but still) to get off of Tatooine. Also, the dialog audio quality was all over the place, something that got better with each subsequent film. I shall make no further mention of that particular thing.

Overall, the film isn't bad, but there are quite a few areas that feel like they drag quite a bit. Some of it is due to showing off the stuff they did that was special in 1977, but isn't any longer. I was surprised by how much better I thought the Obi-wan and Vader fight was compared to how I remembered it. Maybe I have more respect for the fight due to more familiarity with the sword styles used. Also, there is a really hilarious line that Obi-wan gets, when he and Luke run across the ruined Jawa transport, about the high precision of Imperial Stormtroopers.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

This was the only film of the saga that managed to suck me in enough that my critic brain didn't turn on during the watching of it. I'm not sure much else needs to be said. The dialog in this episode is probably some of the best in the entire saga, and it feels like a very cohesive film, and the pacing in this film is the best of the six as well, in my opinion. Also, and this is more of a retrospect thing, but the locations in this film feel the most exotic, which I like as well. Not much more to say here, other than to note that it is the film that has the least involvement from Lucas, according to the credits. Take that for what you will.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

OK, so I just watched this, so it might be a little more detailed and a little less cohesive. That said, why on earth does rescuing Han take a full quarter of the film? Not that I dislike those scenes, but they don't feel super connected to the rest of the film. I suppose there is some mild tonal stuff with Luke, but that could easily have been handled in a way that felt more connected. Or, you know, just briefer. Also, I'm fairly confidant I'm not the only one that fines the Twi'lek females more attractive than Leia's slave costume. I do like that they gave the Jabba kill to Leia.

I have no direct problem with the concept of the Ewoks, but frankly, they're like less prepared Gungans, and the scenes with them drag on and on. I do like Luke floating C-3P0 around. I see no reason for us to sit through C-3P0 going over their adventures in a foreign language, though. I do think the rather large rocks that the Ewoks employ would be fairly effective against armor in general, though I know little about the specifics of the supposed quality of Stormtrooper armor. Their preparation is rather startling, though.

Leia talking about her mother totally contradicts with the ending of Episode III.

I like the ending showing celebrations across the galaxy, nevermind how silly such an immediate thing would possibly be. Also, interesting fact: Hayden Christensen had no idea he was being inserted in the ending. It was done entirely without his knowledge.


Overall, I feel that the films are most valuable from a worldbuilding standpoint. The predominate issues have to do with direction, pacing, editing, and dialog. Most of these are related, and can generally be summed up as: George Lucas is very good at certain things, and not as good at other things that he kept doing.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Game Realm: Balance

Balance is an important concept in games. It gets talked about frequently, especially in any game with a competitive element. But what is balance? It turns out that that question can be surprisingly difficult to answer, in part, because it can refer to a lot of things. Conceptually, balance is the equivalence of two measures; that is, an even scale. It can also refer to stability; something that is well balanced won't fall down.

The concept of game balance is generally derived from that first definition; the equivalence of two measures. I call this Balance of Power (BoP) because the two measures are usually the power (strength, effectiveness, efficiency, etc.) of two "things", such as weapons or skills. The problem with determining the evenness of Balance of Power is that everyone has a different scale, and each scale is weighted differently. These scales are built from a person's perspective, and they are influenced by their skill, preferences, and prejudices. Effectively, there is nearly no such thing as an objective balance of power. Put another way, balance of power is almost entirely subjective.

Now, there is one clear instance where balance of power is objective, and that is when the only difference between two objects is one number – for example, a sword that deals 8 damage a hit versus a sword that deals 12 damage a hit. The sword that deals 8 damage is strictly worse than the one that deals 12, and thus, they are imbalanced. Of course, people generally don't complain about this sort of imbalance, because in the genres of games where this occurs, such imbalances are not only expected, but often desirable, as they allow for progression.

This concept leads straight into another definition of balance, and one that I think is far more useful: Balance of Environment (BoE). This balance refers to the environment in which a player plays, and can also be referred to as the balance of emotion or the balance of experience. It is this type of balance that asks the question, "Does this thing, or the relationship between these things, result in a desirable experience/emotional response/environment for the player?"

Too often we, players and game creators alike, get caught up in arguments about the balance of power; too much effort is put into trying to achievement a flat power curve – whatever that even looks like given that everyone has their own idea of its appearance. Far more time needs to go into evaluating that above question. There needs to be a responsiveness to the concerns of the community; though remember, complaints about balance of power are flavored by their perspectives. That said, if something prevents the community from having fun, enjoying, or engaging with the game, then I argue that it is imbalanced from a Balance of Environment perspective.

And so, I leave you, dear reader, with these thoughts: Remember that your concept of balance of power is influenced by your perspective, and seek to find solutions when you answer, “No,” to the question, “Does this thing, or the relationship between these things, result in a desirable experience/emotional response/environment for the player?" Also, remember that the balance of power is part of the balance of environment, and that in order to have a true feeling for what the balance of power most approximately is requires understanding the people who are making claims about its nature.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Game Realm: Introduction

 Welcome to Game Realm, the label I'm giving to game reviews and articles about game design. They'll release on Tuesdays, with one releasing the first Tuesday of the month. If I feel inspired, I'll release articles more frequently.

These articles are all going to be colored by my point of view, so I want to present what that is to give context to what I'll be writing. I also understand that my point of view isn't a be-all-end-all. That said, it is important to understand other people's points of view, because it can help increase our own scope of understanding.

So, what do I look for in games? I'm most concerned about core mechanics, with the things that will occupy the majority of my time or have the greatest impact on my play experience. I'm not always looking for fun, I'm looking for engagement. Something that grips me. I enjoy nice graphics, I love excellent music, a good story is wonderful, but none of those things are the primary focus for me. A game could have all of those in spades, and the combination of them might be enough to compel me to finish it, but they won't likely be able to keep me playing it if the core mechanics aren't engaging enough.

The following games, listed in chronological order, are ones that have had a particularly powerful impact on me:
  • StarCraft: Brood War
  • Guild Wars 1 (all four games, as they are pretty well connected)
  • Dark Souls
While there are many other games I've quite enjoyed, these ones really stand out to me. I should also note that I'm a fan of Magic: The Gathering, and Mark Rosewater's articles have had a strong impact on me. However, I intend for these articles to focus on video games, and my experience with Magic has been mostly playing with the physical cards.

The question presents itself; why those three games? I'm not going to go too indepth here, as, aside from Starcraft, those games deserve their own articles. (I don't currently have much I want to say about the design of Starcraft.)
  • StarCraft: Brood War: The main reason why this game is part of this list is because I got into the modding scene. I had a lot of fun modding it, back when was a website, and I prefer to play with one of my mods than play the standard game. I don't have much to say about why the design compelled me due to the nature of this engagement. While modding is a great way to enjoy a game, it generally has little to do with the original design.
  • Guild Wars 1: This is probably the video game I have sunk the most hours into. The core design of the build system is largely responsible for that, as I had great fun experimenting with and exploring it. While I also enjoyed the social aspects of the game -- back when the community I was in was active -- they were always secondary to this enjoyment of the core build system, as demonstrated by the fact that I kept playing the game long after much of my guild had left.
  • Dark Souls: This game has one of the best combat systems I have ever experienced, and, on top of that, FromSoft made other fantastic design decisions with it. There is also room for experimentation with builds – stats, weapon choice, etcetera. That said, the combat is really what keeps me engaged.

This article has, if successful, given you a glimpse into what to expect, and what sort of gamer I am. I'm looking forward to writing more articles; it's something I've been meaning to do for some time now. I hope that they give you something to think about and ponder. Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Death and Experimentation in Games: Handling player failure

I just got done playing a short bit of Kingdoms of Amular, a game that I haven't really played enough to have a chance to get engrossed in it. I tried opening some sort of warded chest, I failed, and it killed me. That is how I learned how Kingdoms of Amular handles death: Reload the last save. The game autosaves; it autosaved right before the chest killed me, meaning that when I loaded the autosave, it would load it to kill me again.

I write that introductory paragraph, because how games handle death and failure matter. Kingdoms of Amular handles death in a very traditional way, but I think it's a terrible one. Death is not a part of the game, and dying breaks immersion. At least it has autosaves, though perhaps some more care could have been put into ensuring what just happened to me can't happen.

But let's contrast this to Dark Souls. What happens when you die in Dark Souls? You go back to the last bonfire you rested at. Death is a mechanic in that game. It's a mechanic in other games as well, for example, Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 both have ways of handling death via in-game systems.

Death should usually be punishing in games, but it needs to be the right type of punishing. It needs to not pull the player out of the game, and it needs to not feel like time was lost, progress was erased. That is the biggest problem with the "load the last save" method of handling death.

Here is the point I'm getting at: It is important to let the player know that they messed up in a friendly way. Game systems need to be designed to make the player feel comfortable with failure, with trial and error, and with learning via experimentation. I shouldn't feel paranoid that, if I mess up, I might potentially lose hours of play time. That pushes me away from games.

Dark Souls handles death extremely well. It is an important part of the game, and From Software put in great efforts to polish how that system works. The game makes death a natural part of playing it. It makes failure accepted. More games need to follow in this path. I'm not talking about difficulty here, but rather that there ought to be other mechanisms to handle player failure than simply reloading the last save. That's a design cop-out, and in the end, games are much worse for it.

In conclusion, I personally feel that making the player reload the last save is archaic and inelegant, and a poor way of handling player failure in games. There are better ways of going about it. Whenever I have to pull up a load menu involuntarily, the game has failed, not me.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Scenic Route

It all started off fine and dandy. I was playing the role of taxi, taking my sister from Ristorante Luciano back to her dorm at the University of Washington. I planned my route: NE 8th Street to 405, a short jaunt north to 520, across the lake to Montlake, and from there to Pend Oreille.
Like I said, I planned my route. However, I'd never actually driven from 405 to 520 before, but it didn't look particularly complicated. Needless to say, I soon had a sneaking suspicion that I had driven further than the lines in Google Maps indicated I should.
So it was that I ended up turning onto 522. This road is a good bit north of 520. I have no idea what, exactly, happened. I think it was a fault in the signage -- I just didn't see anything that indicated where I should have turned to get onto 520. So there we were, driving along somewhere, but neither of us knew where, exactly, we were.
I should add that I didn't have access to a GPS. However, we did have a map. This is an old fashioned method of finding out where you are. It involves looking at street signs. This is made easier when you can see them. I should also add that it was dark due to being after 9 PM. This made it rather challenging for my sister to figure out exactly where we were. And if you think I was going to examine the map, you're out of your mind.
The one thing we did know was that we were taking the scenic route along the north side of the lake. The good news: We were on course for Seattle, if a bit roundabout. The bad news: We had no idea how to translate from "on a path to Seattle" to "getting to UW."
Fortunately, my horrendously sleep deprived sister was able to plot a course for us. It even took us along Montlake! Except, because we were coming from the completely opposite direction, we missed the turn to Pend Oreille. Oops! So we turned on Pacific, and from there onto Steven's. After a tour through the UW campus, we made it to my sister's dorm! Hurray!
Needless to say, the return trip was far more straightforward.

Here is a graphic example:

The long, north path is, more or less, the route I took. The southern path is basically the one I meant to take. There might be a bit of a difference there...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Issues with Pokemon Design

I really enjoy the Pokemon games; however, there are certain design decisions that really annoy me. Hence, a list. These are in no particular order.

1. HMs. Now, the basic function of an HM (a reusable move teaching machine) is nice. The problem is their requirement. Navigation of the world requires their use. Yes, you can get away with probably having only a flyer in your party, but if you want full maneuverability, you'll want two Pokemon (2/6 of your party, 8/24 move slots) that know nothing but different HM moves. The biggest problem that I have with them, though, is how terrible most of them are. There are two really good ones, Surf and Waterfall; a couple decent ones, Strength, Rock Climb, and Fly; and a bunch of overall pretty mediocre to bad ones, which are the rest. I really wish there was another method of doing this, as I don't really like hauling HM slaves around with me.

2. The "Full party problem." What I'm referring to here is when you encounter an NPC that wishes to give you a Pokemon, and you have a full party. The Pokemon cannot be sent directly to your PC storage for some inexplicable reason, meaning you have to go and drop off something and then trek all of the way back to retrieve whatever Pokemon the NPC was trying to give to you. This is very irritating, but thankfully, it doesn't come up much.

3. TM availability. Simply put, I want every TM purchasable at some end game point. This goes for Masterballs as well.

4. Too many currencies. The most recent games as of this writing, SoulSilver and HeartGold, have at least six currencies: Pokedollars, coins, Battle Points (BP), Athlete Points (whatever the points you get from the Pokeathlon are called), Heart Scales (sure, you can only buy one thing, but it's still money), and Shards (for buying berries). I wouldn't be surprised if I missed some. Seriously, this is ridiculous. The worst ones are the ones that are annoying or challenging to get, but you need for very, very useful items. BP and coins, I'm looking at you.

5. End game content. Once you beat the Elite Four, there really isn't that much to do. There are a lot of things you CAN do, but the fun part (fighting against trainers with Pokemon that are probably a higher level than you) is pretty much gone. The best solution that I can think of is an area that has randomly generated (or a large pool with a selection process) trainers to battle. They should have Pokemon that are a level or two above the average level of your team. This would be pretty awesome, in my opinion. Heck, this could be tied into the story idea that you are the Champion. Why wouldn't other trainers challenge you? You should be able to take on balanced teams as the Champion. This makes sense, and would be awesome.

6. Bloody scheduling. Seriously, too much in the more recent games is time based. Sure, you can manipulate that fairly easily, but why should you have to? If you don't know what I'm talking about, then look at this page for a particularly good example of how ridiculous this can get. And that is just scratching the surface.

7. Event only Pokemon. I want every Pokemon to be CATCHABLE. I don't want to have to rely on some sort of event to be able to get a Pokemon. See: Mew, Celebi, Darkrai, Shaymin, and others.

8. Wild Pokemon levels. This kind of relates to the end game content thing I was talking about. Simply, I want an area where I can find level 80+ wild Pokemon.

9. Rechallenging trainers should be made easier, with better indications of who is wanting to refight you (such as an exclamation point over his or her head), and better directions as to where the trainer is.

There are a few more things that I would like (such as a console game with all of the areas, real-time 3D-fighting-game style battles, and the ability to play an adult instead of a 10 year old), but these nine things are areas that I would really like to see changed.