Games writer Denis Farr is an insightful, imaginative and very clever person. So when he told me that he was going to play through Pokémon for the first time, and was going to role-play his way through it, I was interested in hearing more. Here, in the first part of a limited series, is Denis's adventure as a drag queen Pokémon trainer.
I haven’t been clean-shaven since May. Tonight I contemplated what I would name myself if I were to don a nerd drag persona. The answer was as simple: Leeloo Dallas MultiDrag. The fact that I could perform the ‘Diva Dance’ seems far too perfect, and as often happens when I name things, in retrospect the the way the pieces all fit astounds me. However, I haven’t been clean-shaven since May, I have no idea when I will finally be settled and not living out of my suitcase, and performing will be a moment or over nine thousand away. Instead, I have loaded up Pokémon: Fire Red, as I still have not really played a game in that series.
I decided on this updated GBA version because it appeared to have features I would appreciate. Oh look, am I a girl or boy Pokémon trainer? Selecting the female avatar, I enter my own name: Denis. Looking at her, she does not seem to exude the diva attitude for which many queens are renowned. That’s okay. My own drag often had a hint of androgyny or tomboyishness; if I was going to play with gender, I was going to play with gender. Plus, I hope to have some fabulous Pokémon.
Oh, I have a rival! Wait, I do? Surely everyone loves the campiness and exuberance drag brings to life (not to mention rainbows, glitter, and unicorns—seriously, Drag U is bursting at the seams with such). Well, I suppose not everyone loves genderbending to as great a degree. To what is this ‘rival’ objecting? Since my goal is to lead an entertaining army of Pokémon in drag, he must be some entertainer who is jealous of my own version of bringing people what they want. Let us name him Rush (Limbaugh). Conservative, stubborn, and constantly seeking to one-up me by proving his superior ability in breeding and recruiting poor Pokésouls to his army. Sounds about right.
The next selection took a bit of scruffy-chin-scratching. Squirtle, Bulbasaur, or Charmander? I’ve had previous experience with these via Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Squirtle is my favorite when maining the Pokémon Trainer, but he seems a bit less than desirable for the air-of-superiority I want. His evolutions also seem to not be the vibe for which I am going. Wartortle? Yeah, no. Military drag is for someone else.
Bulbasaur’s back certainly reminds me of certain queens’ hair-dos, and the evolved version, Venasaur, sounds like a dinosaur just waiting to spring out in high heels and makeup. I can also giggle imagining Ivysaur as loving to cosplay Ivy from the Soul Calibur series. However, I’m not going for the subtle win through poison, so perhaps Bulbasaur isn’t for me.
Ultimately, if you haven’t guessed by now, I chose Charmander. There were both the punny reasons (he’s quite the flamer, that one), as well as my recent falling in with the George R.R. Martin novels. What says fierce like a dragon? What says fierce like a fire-breathing dragon who can fly and scorch enemies from above? Thus began the tale of how Denis in his short shorts and Daenerys, the fire-type dragony Pokémon set forth to ... .
Well, I’m still not certain exactly what this game expects of me yet, but I did guide Daenerys to victory over Rush’s Squirtle. I guess we’ll go to town to grab something for Professor Oak. And he has this Pokédex he wishes me to fill for him? Do I know that many queens? Do I really have to catch them all? I guess we’ll see. Meanwhile, the advice given at the beginning of my journey seems pretty handy.