An image of J.A. Brown.
The J.A. Brown logo.

Meaning scientist. Polymath. Software developer. Game modder. Linguist. Social and political commentator. Free speech crusader. The Man with the MRGA Hat. The Jordan Peterson Guy. Entrepreneur. Make Reality Great Again.

“I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man”
—Thomas Jefferson

Pokémon: the beginning of (almost) everything

My interest in Pokémon is closely connected, obviously, to my interests in games and anime. My best friend and classmate in fourth grade introduced me to it in 1999. I was already into Nintendo games, having gotten a SNES from my parents two years earlier. My friend made Pokémon sound really cool, and I was so fascinated that I nagged my parents to get me a GameBoy with Pokémon Blue until they finally did. But it was the Pokémon anime that really made a deep, indelible impression on me. Pokémon was the first anime I ever watched and the one that has stayed with me the longest. I wrote my own Pokémon fanfiction, and when I was about 11, I even came up with my own, partially Pokémon-based (but also Dragon Ball Z-based) anime and manga series (notable, among other things, for shipping Brock and Misty, rather than Ash and Misty!).

Fangame ideas

F1/Pokémon crossover game map design
World map design from my F1/Pokémon crossover game. It is still based on the map of Europe, but now flipped on its side to make it less recognizable, so that it comes across as more of a fantasy world. Click image to view larger version.
3D Pokémon game design
Design for a 3D Pokémon game (a small house, and a mountain). Click image to view larger version.

Several years before the Nintendo 3DS and the sixth generation of Pokémon main series games came out, I had been fascinated with the idea of a 3D Pokémon game (having seen Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Snap as a kid, and owned Pokémon Colosseum several years later, being deeply impressed by them). One thing I always thought would be really cool is to have a game with all the Pokémon—a much-heard wish in the fandom, but one that the game developers will sadly probably never put in place, for commercial and gameplay reasons more than technical ones. I also came up with an idea for a Formula One–Pokémon crossover game. Several years later, I revisited my idea of a game with all Pokémon and combined it with another idea I had, that of a Pokémon game featuring the same game world as the official ones, but based more closely on its real-world counterpart. This would be larger and have airports, highways, more detailed railways, more elaborate built-up areas, and so on. I’ve designed some maps and graphics for both this and the F1 crossover game (see also the “Auto racing” page).

Kanto and Johto map
Map of part of the Pokémon game world (Kanto and Johto regions) based more closely on the map of real-life Japan. Click image to view larger version.
Pokémon game world prefectures
Rough design for a division of part of the Pokémon game world (Kanto region) into prefectures, to make it more similar to the real world. Click image to view larger version.

Battle system and battle simulator

Pokémon battle simulator Gen Ⅰ matchups
Part of the matchup table for all Gen Ⅰ Pokémon. Click image to view larger version.
Pokémon battle simulator Gen Ⅰ scoresheet
Part of the scoresheet for Gen Ⅰ. There were some conventions; as you can see, for example, I decided to only use fully evolved Pokémon. Click image to view larger version.

Around 2016, following the release of Pokémon Sun and Moon, I became interested in the Pokémon battle system and its development over several generations of games. I started playing around with movesets for some Pokémon, and I wondered “What if we could have an AI simulate a matchup of all Pokémon against each other, to find out which Pokémon is the strongest?”. I wanted to do this for each generation separately, so I created a huge matchup chart for each generation, then I started in Gen Ⅰ with giving movesets to Pokémon (harder than it might seem), and I made a flowchart for the battle procedure. There are several excellent places online where you can find information about the battle system, and I condensed that information into a flowchart.

Pokémon Gen Ⅰ battle procedure flowchart
Flowchart for the battle procedure from the Gen Ⅰ Pokémon games, drawn by me around 2016. It probably contains some errors and/or inaccuracies. Click image to view larger version.

Later, when I started learning how to program in Python, I decided that I wanted to make this into a Python program. Unfortunately I haven’t had the time to work on it yet, but the idea still firmly remains in my mind.

Other Pokémon-related stuff

While I was working on the 3D Pokémon game and also on the F1/Pokémon crossover game, I started getting really interested in designing for old Nintendo hardware, especially the design constraints. I began to realize how much the design of old-generation Pokémon, but also of other game characters, was shaped by the limitations of the technology of the time. I think in many cases, this made them good. So I became interested in demaking the newer Pokémon games, and also in designing for old Nintendo hardware in general, and I started looking up the technical specifications for the NES, SNES, and GameBoy (for example, how many colors you could have on screen, or how many audio tracks you could have). I haven’t really done anything with this yet, just made some pixel art that sometimes relates to Pokémon.
I wrote lyrics in multiple languages for the Malasada Shop theme from Pokémon Sun and Moon, and I made a remix of it which you can find on the “Music” page.

Page last updated: 3 October 2021.