I love Pokemon. Ever since I was nine and saw a little sign in a dilapidated Super K-Mart that read "POKEMON COMING FALL 1998," the series has been a part of my life that I've never been able to truly shed. Not that I'd want to, of course. Wandering around forests, and trying to befriend laser-shooting biological abominations is a Venn diagram that I'm right in the center of. Pikachu could hold my whole family hostage, and I'd still be like, "Well, we need to hear both sides."
However, that doesn't mean that I like every aspect of Pokemon equally. See, some Pokemon games include things like contests and shows that you can put your Pokemon in that I don't really enjoy.
Luckily, they're all fairly minor additions to the game, but I still do whatever I can to ensure that they're over as quickly as possible. How dare you have my monsters put on performances when I could be out there running a slash and burn campaign on every other trainer that might oppose me?
But the latest games Pokemon Sword and Shield have a feature that's a little different, and with the new "Isle of Armor" DLC coming out in a few days, I find myself champing at the bit to return to the modern addition to Pokemon that I like the most: camping. See, if you've never played Sword/Shield, you can, in most areas, pitch a tent, cook your Pokemon pals some curry, play with them, and watch them interact. The past few Pokemon games before it allowed you to pet your 'mons, clean them and feed them candies, but in Sword/Shield, you're basically running a Scout Camp for these things.
This is great because not only do I love actual camping, but some of the best parts of the Pokemon anime were when Ash Ketchum, Brock, Misty, and Pikachu would set up camp and just hang out.
And since I can't replicate that in real life no matter how many times I've told myself that a Game Boy is an "Essential Item" to pack for the Appalachian Trail, this will have to do. And boy does it, ummm, do. I can't get enough of watching my team enjoy my cooking and then either make friends with or act completely indifferent towards each other.
I've spent so much time wondering "Who in the heck is this for?" when Pokemon games ask me to dress my Pokemon up and take them into a theater that I'm glad to have found a sort-of extraneous activity that I can be absolutely obsessed with. Before Sword/Shield, I was playing Red Dead Redemption 2, where campfires were mostly a way for Arthur Morgan to eat, rest and just reflect on being a sad, lonely cowboy. I never knew how much his experience would've been improved if he could throw a ball for a Slowpoke every once in a while.
So when the Isle of Armor DLC drops, I'm going to buy it immediately, and I can't wait to spend maybe 10 hours on the story and 50 hours hoping that my Farfetch'd and my Yamper become best bros.
Daniel is a writer for the internet. Come be his Pika Pal on Twitter.