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Which do you prefer: The Abandoned Ship or Sea Mauville?

Abandoned Ship or Sea Mauville?

  • Abandoned Ship

    Votes: 7 33.3%
  • Sea Mauville

    Votes: 14 66.7%

  • Total voters
A Solidly Ossified Braincase
Oct 18, 2012
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Since we've also got the Battle Frontier poll right now, I thought this would be fitting.

Lately, I've been sort of loosely replaying Emerald, since I haven't actually touched the original Hoenn games in years. To my surprise, I can almost seem to tolerate them more than the Gen 4 games; the lack of a physical/special split is extremely disorientating for me, but the engine seems to run faster (I don't know if it actually does, but it feels like it). But anyway. One of the things I started to think about when I visited it was the Abandoned Ship. It is a very unique location in the series; every game features some kind of abandoned manmade structure that has been left to decay, but in every other instance, these structures have been terrestrial buildings (and Hoenn even has one of those as well; two, if you count the Sky Pillar). No other region has a wrecked cruise liner that Trainers have turned into a secret hangout. It's even set up to entice you and pique your interest from a very early point in the game, by way of being visible in the overworld when Mr. Briney ferries you to Slateport. But we're never told much about the ship, except that it's from an older era, that it used to be called the S.S. Cactus, and that it contains the rare Scanner item.

One of the more curious alterations made in ORAS is the conversion of the Abandoned Ship into the half-sunken oil rig-turned-artificial reef known as Sea Mauville. Some of the reasons for this change are apparent, and make sense. An artificial reef is arguably more appropriate in the context of ORAS's increased environmentalist themes, and it also serves as an homage to and replacement for Navel Rock, in that it is a Hoenn game's way of making Ho-Oh and Lugia available, within a location that on one end pierces the sky, and on the other plunges down into the depths. But it does a lot more than that - as has been often noted, Sea Mauville is given a fairly dark backstory, describing an era in the Hoenn region that was dozens of years ago, during which Sea Mauville was an energy farm that was built with noble intentions, but became corrupted by greedy managers who imposed harmful working conditions on their employees. This backstory is communicated to the audience through scattered, cryptic notes and objects that you can find lying around the facility's interior. But even more than that, Sea Mauville also exists to tie together various other elements in the story. It links Wattson and the Mauville projects to Professor Cozmo (detailing his rather sad childhood and relationship with his father), the Slateport Shipyard crew, as well as the Devon Corporation, who stretch things even further by way of establishing that Sea Mauville itself was inspired by the energy used to power AZ's ultimate weapon. There are a few other Easter eggs - it is implied that the "man with no power" who becomes Mr. Bonding later in the game was an administrator at Sea Mauville, and there is also an encounter with a Spiritomb due to the presence of an Odd Keystone that was donated by the Oreburgh Mine, which is likely a savvy reference to Sea Mauville's position on Route 108.

For somebody like myself who gets very interested in the games' worldbuilding and the history of the regions, Sea Mauville was a unexpected boon of information. And yet... as I am going back and playing Emerald, I feel that the near-wordless presentation of the Abandoned Ship provides a certain kind of worldbuilding of its own. No, it certainly doesn't offer as much expositional meat to chew, but by saying nothing about the Ship and simply letting it exist on its own, it shades it in a fog of mystery and leaves the details of its backstory up to the power of one's own imagination. And I definitely find myself thinking that such an approach has its own kind of appeal.

So which version do you prefer? Sea Mauville with its cryptic tragedy and density of worldbuilding references, or the imminent mystique of the Abandoned Ship? And how do you feel about the change? And whether your prefer Sea Mauville or not, do you wish that ORAS had included some sort of reference to the Abandoned Ship? If so, how would you have featured it or called back to it?

Personally, Sea Mauville just manages to edge out the Abandoned Ship in my opinion, although I really do like the Ship, and especially how we get an early glimpse of it when we're sailing on Mr. Briney's boat. Unfortunately, ORAS do not offer any such peek at Sea Mauville, since sailing with Mr. Briney in those games is presented as a simple fade-to-black on the screen as we're warped to the beach of Slateport.
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Pokémon Master
May 9, 2015
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For my imagination, I prefer the Abandoned Ship, as I find it more appealing for the exact reasons you say. But game wise, I probably prefer Sea Mauville, as it is more meaty in terms of exploration and worldbuilding.

As for potential references, I don´t think the Abandoned Ship requires any in ORAS. Maybe SS Cactus was never even built in the mega timeline?
Fire Chicken
Jun 9, 2012
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Even though I like both of them a lot and spent more time in the Abandon Ship while playing through the game, I have to go with Sea Mauville; it adds more to the whole Mauville mystery, all of ORAS did a great a job with that compared to RSE. While I liked the Ship's story and feel while playing through in its own right, the way Sea Mauville connected Wattson with Devon and Cozmo etc. makes for much better world-building; it's nice how it (alongside the Delta Episode) puts Devon in more of a gray area than before.
Jan 22, 2014
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What a coincidence that you've made this @Esserise ! Earlier today, I defeated Norman in my Omega Ruby play through (my second time going through the game) which enabled the usage of Surf. In my first play through, I never visited Sea Mauville (or any of the neighboring routes for that matter) for some reason, so I decided to take a break from the badge collecting and venture out to sea. Pikachu and Grovyle, now Sceptile, certainly appreciated all the Water type opponents.

Needless to say, I was very impressed with Sea Mauville's graphics and over world presentation. There is something beautifully tragic about the way it is halfway submerged in the ocean, while the locked doors and questionable practices of the previous workers ("Worship and praise the founder"??) is simply mysterious. The fact that it became a natural preserve as well is interesting and an appreciated aspect for me. I'd love to tell you what happens if you offer money for the cause, but unfortunately I didn't donate any money because I'm stingy as Psyduck in-game. Sadly, I realized that it takes cue from the Abandoned Ship in that I need Dive in order to explore completely. So, I'll have to earn a couple more badges until I can come back and fully explore & appreciate it.

This all being said, I think I like Sea Mauville better than the Abandoned Ship (so far). Mainly because Sea Mauville adds to the mythos of the Mauville trademark; the Abandoned Ship was simply that-a ship (previously called the S.S Cacnea Cactus) with no explicit ties to any of the plot. Sure, one could imagine their own backstory for why the ship exists upright in the ocean like it does, but I guess I appreciate the world building of Sea Mauville more. The fact that it resembles the infamous Titanic as well certainly helps.

Once I fully explore S.M., I can offer more of my opinion.
Now with a m̶e̶g̶a̶ Gigantamax
Mar 3, 2013
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You know, I never really thought about Sea Mauville as anything but an updated abandoned ship, but you really point out the key differences. The information in ORAS makes it clear what sea mauville was, and what its purpose now is, where the abandoned ship was very mysterious. I had always thought the abandoned ship was like the titanic or something, a cruise ship that met an ill-fate and now resides there forever. However, given sea mauville's backstory, and the specific word ABANDONED, I think it does imply that the old ship was, or may have been, abandoned for the same reasons that sea mauville was, only without the actual context and documentation in-game, we can't quite make that assumption.

...hm. Interesting to think about. I guess I wouldn't say I prefer either over the other, though, so sorry I can't help with the poll :p
Well-Known Member
May 13, 2014
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Abandoned ship because it inspired an episode with Marshtomp.

Sea Mauville is quite a bad name, and I didn't liked how this "Devon is a Mega Corp because of Infinite Energy" storyline amounted to nothing, but is overall better. It was a nice surprise after the disaster that was the Battle Resort, as it had a very nice puzzle and graphics, as well as a very interesting lore.
Jul 12, 2011
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Sea Mauville is way better. I love the story behind how Devon Corp may or may not be the generous and kind company as it is shown. It would have been amazing if the backstory was expanded.

Plus all those extra nuggets.
Actually Your Boy Guzma
Mar 26, 2016
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Sea Mauville was much better. It had much more to do than the abandoned ship, and it added some nice world-building to ORAS.
Long Lost Member
Apr 21, 2010
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Abandoned Ship purely for nostalgia reasons. Sea Mauville is better gameplay wise though.
Perfect Chronology
Dec 30, 2008
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Preferred Pronouns
Aesthetically, I prefer the Abandoned Ship. The BGM was oddly relaxing for an abandoned, half-sunken ship in the middle of the ocean.
Of course, Sea Mauville was fun for the worldbuilding. You've got companies with questionable pasts, failing marriages, etc. That's darker and more mature than Pokémon's usual fare at the time.
Splashing the Seven Seas
May 27, 2016
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I love every single one of these posts! This is great because I've always held a special place in my heart for the Abandoned Ship, and Sea Mauville took me a little by surprise but left me very satisfied. I honestly really love them both just about equally. I like the layout of the Abandoned Ship and the way you explore through it, and I think was very creative in the use of the Gen 3 engine and graphics to give a half-sunken feel. But as has been mentioned, Sea Mauville just offers a great deal more. It has so many tidbits of lore and mystery, something I always enjoy, as well as access to Spiritomb and Ho-Oh/Lugia which I really appreciate.
In all, this is a hard choice. But I *think* Sea Mauville just *barely* ashes out the Abandoned Ship in my book. But only by a hair.
"What do you mean, my Gengarite is contraband?!"
Jun 10, 2012
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Frankly, neither of them felt very memorable if you ask me. I only visited both of the ships out of this forced obligation to cover the whole map rather than any actual vested interest. I did catch an Adamant Ho-Oh with IVs exactly where I wanted it while at the Sea Mauville but that's really about it.

If only they weren't entirely optional locations in RSE/ORAS. I suppose I'd have been more interested in the comparisons and such then.
Utsukushī sakura o mite
Dec 30, 2015
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Personally, I prefer the Abandoned Ship to Sea Mauville, specifically because of the anime episode focusing on the said site. Thanks to the anime imparting it an eerie aura, I could not help but love it even more than I already did back then in the day. (y)
Oct 29, 2016
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One of the most frustrating changes in ORAS was the Abandoned Ship to Sea Mauville. Imo it was a lot harder to navigate through Sea Mauville and I didn't really like how it became more of a natural habitat than a man-made disturbance. Don't get me wrong, the small easter eggs in there was nice, but I prefered the Abandoned Ship not just because of nostalgia, but also because it was much more simpler and it kinda portrayed it as man-made vs nature, which was a pretty interesting touch for me (though obviously there are other man-made stuff in the world, but this seems like a good example for me).