[Media Meandry] Plan Or Overplan?

I nearly went up against the Elite Four in Pokémon LeafGreen tonight. Sometimes, in life, this is a good thing, going into battle when you’re first viable enough to not be defeated outright. It’s how I wrote Novel 01. Inspired by NaNoWriMo, I could have said no if, after my two-week gestation period, I didn’t think I could viably write a 60,000-word novel somewhere in the Sammohini Arc of “The Story.” Other times, patience can help.

I caught myself overplanning my team early into this session.

I was looking at possible moves to go up against the Elite Four – Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Flamethrower – with which Pokémon could learn them. I didn’t have the finances to teach them everything. I went down a rabbit hole of trying to apply cheat codes to get unlimited money to buy these moves. I was unsuccessful. Deep into this process, after about a half-hour, I remembered myself.

In a sense, I remembered my priorities and my plans.

LeafGreen is a good game that I’ve been enjoying. I won’t write a formal review, but as casually as I can I enjoy Pokémon games for their RPG mechanics, and the options available here are myriad more multitudinous than FF7. There are good to it, because its complexities mean I can always brainstorm what move to do against which opponent. The bad, however, is that you can get sucked into the distractions of overplanning your actions.

This is my life’s koan: “Will this help me write “The Story?”

I say koan because writing “The Story” is a riddle and a thought to meditate with.

My playing LeafGreen wouldn’t have had any major bearing on my writing of “The Story” unless I wanted it to, and now, it has. I’ve picked my main six that I’ll use to go up against the Elite Four. I picked my team based primarily on their battle-heartiness. Could they take a hit? This is a prevailing notion that I continually consider in life. I find that I most give more respect toward people that can take hits in life, however, I find that it’s more likely a subtraction of respect from people that can’t take hits in life.

This is a tricky balance, so let’s take Sammohini/Raichu as an example.

Raichus are fairly sturdy to many different attacks, move quickly, but are weak to Ground. If I have many Ground-based opponents, Sammohini here would be a weak choice. There is some degree of nuance to consider when assessing the reactions of others. That’s why planning character psychologies can be tricky. You can plan the objective things, like where they went to college and their basic traits, but anything beyond that enters a subjective realm where, similarly to this example, what if I’m a Ground-based trainer?

I would think Raichus are weak with that perspective.

Almost all of those Pokémon I benched are good enough, but not great, contenders.

Just as I would respect a Raichu that could go up against Ground-type Pokémon, I respect the character that goes against their proposed psychology. This, and the past few sessions, have involved me having the game open in one part of the screen, while the rest of the screen is me analyzing stats or potential moves. There’s a balance between the planning you do before you play and while you play that is similar to the novel-writing process I mentioned above.

I’m spending more time planning Novel 02 based on what I learned from Novel 01.

This isn’t a lessons learned deep dive, primarily because I hate corporate jargon, and secondarily because this isn’t a learning process as though something went wrong. You can plan as much as you want before you do something, and I believe firmly that you should have some baseline or well-researched understandings depending on what you’re trying to do, but when you actually get in there to write a novel, play a game, fix a car, or program a PVP MUD, you’re probably going to run into things that differ from your plans.

What if you plan to write one scenario but another, better one, pops up?

Do you stay with your original plan, everything else be damned?

Or do you stop writing, playing, fixing, or programming in the direction you were considering to research your options? This session reminded me of what I wanted to avoid. I would rather not have the game open in one screen while I’m researching options for excessive periods of time. That’s the same as writing a few paragraphs then finding out that you had completely forgotten about a certain detail, which would require – fortunately now only – some quick web searches, but which could lead down rabbit hole.

I would say when we go about our tasks, we should limit rabbit hole exploration.

We can do that by prepping ourselves as much as we can, so we’re not finding ourselves in a rabbit hole every few minutes. The occasional one is good because it can lead to unique solutions to unpredicted problems. However, we should plan for as much as we can predict. What I’ll be doing in LeafGreen in my next session is I’ll be looking over the movesets of my six Pokémon.

I have plans on what I can look for, incidentally, shown below:

After that, I’ll head up against the Elite Four.

I’m not doing a Nuzlocke run, so if my party underperforms, I’m not concerned. I already know most online planners assess my team as below average, but that’s fine. My motivation with this team is to defeat the Elite Four then finish everything interesting about LeafGreen.

I’m not interested in building the perfect team.

I’d rather just wrap up LeafGreen with minimal difficulty so I can clear it off my queue then play FF7 next, then maybe FF9, or any of the other hundreds of games I want to play next. My plans, then, should focus on flexibility rather than rigidity.

Actually, my plans should be getting more ideas for “The Story.”

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experience.
Inspirations: I was going to write about a new character I’ve been developing, but then I looked through my gameplay plans and realized that I should instead focus on wrapping up the game, so here we are. I then shifted gears to writing about how you should plan your characters but not overplan them.
Related: Essays building “The Story.” Also, other Sammohini Arc and Media Meandry essays. I looped in Applied Self-Confidence because if you’re a Raichu battling Ground-types, don’t give up!
. . . Pokémon LeafGreen Series:
01 – “Easy Mode Living
02 – “Real Life Grinding
03 – “Had To Play
03.5 – “Fiction Inspiring Fiction
04 – “Videogames Aren’t Ambiguous
04.5 – “Level Up Yourself
05 – “Catching What’s Next
06 – “Recatching Escapist Tendencies
07 – “Inconsequentially Building Characters
08 – “Incidents Build Characters
09 – “Generic Character List
10 – “Meditative, Competitive, Narrative
11 – “Preparation Versus Scenarios
12 – “Testing Out Characters
13 – “Main and Sides
14 – “Plan Or Overplan?
Pictures: I figured I’d share everything, including my strategy to avoid playing too much of LeafGreen all at once. In the Media Library below, what I try to do is align the LeafGreen introductory screenshots. That means I have six other pictures I can use before I can play again. This time I made it kinda easy for myself for uploading five pictures, but I swear that’s because they’re all relevant, and not just because I want to beat this game soon.
Written On: 2020 May 24 [10:26pm to 11:21pm]
Last Edited: 2020 May 24 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]

My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.