Natalie Rambles About Pokémon

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Because after 21 years, I’ve got a novella’s worth of stuff to talk about.

Part 0: Obtuse Overview

The trajectory of the Pokémon series has always struck me as rather off in comparison to a lot of multimedia franchises. It began in 1996 with a game developed by a bunch of inexperienced enthusiasts whose lack of technical knowhow had the game teetering on the brink of cancelation for years, only for them to finally release a bug-riddled game on an increasingly irrelevant piece of hardware. While initially its release was a bit muted, it grew into a smash hit over time, selling millions in Japan and giving way to a multimedia juggernaut. One that spanned beyond video games, and into the realm of toys, trading cards, manga, and one of the most enduring and long running TV series of all time. It was all an immense success that undoubtedly exceeded any and all expectations, and one that would eventually be brought around the world starting in 1998.

Due to good marketing and a major push from a myriad of collaborating companies, the series managed to cement itself as just that, a series. One that received major global attention, captured the imagination of an entire generation, and made stupid amounts of money. However, it was unable to retain the public interest for very long, and began fighting for mainstream relevance after the release of the first generation of games. It retained some greater and broader relevance through the release of a full second generation of media depicting new Pokémon and characters, but its popularity took a notable decline, leading many to question what future this seemingly massive series had.

And it was a future of great success, but without the massive media attention spanning each new release. A new Pokémon game was something that could and would sell millions, if not tens of millions, of copies, and its peripheral licensed merchandise continued to be produced, sold, and maintained a cushion for thIt was still a rampant success, particularly with children, continued fans, and lapsed fans who sporadically got back into the series every few years, just nothing to really warrant widespread attention from the cultural zeitgeist. Then Pokémon Go happened.

Yes Pokémon Go, a free smartphone app that allowed people to engage with the series unlike ever before, and went to breed another subset of dedicated fans who have stuck with the game for years, and allowed it to retain a spot as one of the highest grossing mobile games of all time. But its broader relevance was also short lived, only being a major talking point for about 2 weeks, when people began to realize the shortcomings inherent to the game at launch, and grew tired of the process of wandering about and catching Pokémon.

Still, it spoke volumes about the longevity of the series, and how if it was distributed to people in a specific or enticing way, it could be a momentous success. It is a franchise that has proven ever resilient, and has the capacity to boom in unprecedented ways. I mean, nobody expected Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue to blow up like they did, and even after maturing into a 20-year-old series, The Pokémon Company had very conservative expectations for Pokémon Go.

I’m not going to hem and haw about why this is the case, as it boils down to appealing designs, an enticing concept, and being in the right place at the right time to leave a long lingering cultural impact. While common person off the street is probably not as engaged or familiar with Pokémon as they are with assorted Disney properties, including Marvel heroes and Star Wars, they probably know what it is, and probably have some relationship to it. And much of the reason it has persisted is due to that familiarity, its place in the broader cultural zeitgeist.

But I’m not really here to talk about the broader implications of this series or its place in media, as much as I’m here to talk about my personal experience and history with it, as I’m part of the not so small group of people who have been continuously hooked to this series for the vast majority of my life. And what better place to start that story then at the very beginning.

Part 1: Humdrum History

As I previously detailed in Natalie Rambles About Her History with Gaming, I was born in November of 1994, was never a very social child, and as such never attended daycare. Instead, I spent the majority of my days from the ages of 2 to 5 at my paternal grandmother’s house, where I was taught basic reading, writing, and math skills from an early age, played with various toys, watched television, and ate a gratuitous amount of cereal that was probably chock full of high-fructose corn syrup. And also carrots. I really liked carrots when I was little… Anyways, one day when I was 3-years-old, back in late 1998, I happened across a syndicated episode of a show by the name of Pokémon, which depicted a boy and girl travelling throughout the woods throwing technologically advanced balls at strange looking animals, namely a giant cute caterpillar and a huge bird with cool red hair, while being accompanied by some yellow rodent thing that had electric powers because it was yellow, and yellow is the color of electricity..

This was the third episode of the Pokémon anime series, Ash Catches a Pokémon, and it was unlike anything my developing mind had ever seen before, featuring conflict, humor, a large cast of characters, a persistent storyline of sorts, and a plethora of adorable looking creatures. I was quickly enamored with it and began to ask my parents and grandmother for Pokémon paraphernalia for my upcoming birthday and the Christmas of 1998.

This steadily grew into a collection of sorts that would eventually include the likes of VHS tapes, handbooks, trading cards, and toys that provided pictures and information on each and every Pokémon, and through. I had Pokémon curtains, bedsheets, macaroni noodles, comics, clothing, I went all in. I memorized the names and types of every Pokémon, watched whatever episodes I could catch on syndication, as I could not watch TV on Saturday mornings for whatever reason, and I begged my parents to let me see the movies when they hit theaters. Hell, I even managed to get my family to take me to Burger King six or seven times so that I could get the Pokémon Toys they were giving away with kids meals when the first movie hit theaters.

I think the biggest reason this all appealed to me is that I was an autistic child, and Pokémon as a series was, and still is, rife with information to learn about, creatures to understand, and concepts to comprehend. With all the types, monsters, and assorted minutiae, there is a breadth of information to mentally catalog, and as a young child, there was nothing in my immediate vicinity where I could fixate on something so heavily and understand so deeply. Other cartoons I watched at the time were very loose, lacked continuity, and generally focused on antics or gags above all else. Whereas Pokémon had genuine lore and progression, a depth most other shows lacked, and it made me all the more interested in seeing what would happen next. Both with regards to the show, and to the series itself.

This is part of the reason why I find people who fixate on the first generation so heavily, the commonly mocked “genwunners” to be a very perplexing group, as from the day the first episode of the TV show aired, it was clear that there were more than 150 Pokémon in this world, and when the first movie came out in 1999, they revealed another 4. It was clear that more Pokémon existed, they just needed to be discovered and revealed, which is exactly what happened. By 2000 there was a whole new world to explore, another 100 Pokémon to learn about, two entirely new types, and no sign that any of this would stop anytime soon. Which only made me feel all the more invested, and made my desire to learn all the stronger. However, what I could learn was ultimately limited, as I could only enjoy the series through its side ventures, the spin-off media, and not the place where it all started, the video games.

To once again draw from Natalie Rambles About Her History with Gaming, my introduction to video games went pretty terribly. It started in 1998 with Sonic The Hedgehog for Sega Genesis. One of my paternal uncles handed me a controller, I had no idea how video games worked, I ran into lava and died, I ran out of the room, and did not try video games again until the Christmas of 2000, when that same uncle gave me his old Nintendo 64, along with a number of Pokémon games. I forget what games were included initially, but I would up getting every game for the system. From Stadium, to Puzzle League, to Hey You, Pikachu!

I tried playing these games, and did enjoy them, but my limited understanding of games, low tolerance for losing or reaching fail states, and inability to play the thing regularly left me unable to fully enjoy any of these games. I was too timid to try out the single player portions of Stadium and Puzzle League, so I either fought against very low level AI or a second player that I controlled myself. And I could never really play Hey You, Pikachu! on account of my speech impediment. I tried and tried to get this electric mouse to understand me for hours, but we could never communicate well enough to gather the right ingredients for Bulbasaur’s stew before sunset.

These… quite frankly terrible first impressions did not sour me on gaming however, as I found video gaming to be wildly enticing conceptually. Being able to control, manipulate, and change things, being able to make decisions, and being able to interact with a piece of reactive media, it was something that I was really interested in, and enjoyed deeply. But I just could not get into these games as much as I wanted to as they were more multiplayer endeavors, and I was too timid to attempt the single player portions. Dissatisfied, I began to wonder what the ‘real’ Pokémon games were like, and whether or not I would personally enjoy them. So then in 2002 I checked out the Pokémon Trainer’s Survival Guide at my local library, which provided a detailed walkthrough of Pokémon Red, Blue, and Green, complete with full maps, a detailed Pokedex, and lots of other goodies. After going through this, I was convinced that I would like the mainline Pokémon titles, but in order to enjoy them, I would need a little something known as a GameBoy… or rather a GameBoy Advance.

I asked my mother about getting one of these, she said no unless I did an activity she thought would be good for me, Boy Scouts. Yes, Boy Scouts. Recounting your past can be awkward like that when you’re transgender. I did it for however long. A year, half a year, a couple weeks, I don’t know, and I don’t really care to remember. All that I remember is going down to GameStop the night after I finished Scouts and leaving with a brand new black GameBoy Advance, a used copy of Pokémon Ruby, and a used copy of Pokémon Blue. Because I knew Pokémon Blue better, I focused on that game first, renting the strategy guide from the library once more, and because my parents were very generous with me, they not only gave me an updated version of this Sandwich Islands strategy guide, but they also gave me a Bradygames guide for Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.

This allowed me to play through these games comfortably, and in doing so, I just fell in love with the series all over again. It was now an adventure I had an active role in, one that I had agency in, one where I could fully control and change things, and had to circumvent challenges in my way. I had all the tools needed to pave my way, and I steadily did, going through these two games, building teams, fighting gym leaders, and reading my strategy guides to memorize what was going to happen next. It was a feeling that I loved and, accordingly, I began to broaden my horizons, acquired every mainline Pokémon over time, and a litany of guides to help further my understanding of each game, dousing myself in information.

It was information that I loved and adored arguably more than the games themselves. To the point where I easily spent more time reading through these guides, looking at pictures, maps, and graphs in order to formulate how to catch them all in a playthrough. I thought up stories and making lists of the protagonists running parallel journeys and accumulating their own teams to fight against one another, and trying to balance them accordingly. It was all stupid, but simply immersing myself in that infomration and going through it mentally… is a type of fun that I don’t think I can properly articulate to other people, and one that I genuinely cannot expeirence any longer because I’m not longer a 9-year-old.

I guess the ultimate takeaway from all of this is that Pokémon captured my imagination and interest at a very young age. It gave me something to understand and fixate my attention on, something to mentally master and understand. While the mainline games gave me an adventure to pursue, one where I was in control and I was under no pressure or constant threat. Everything was conceivable, nothing would rush me, and I could let my imagination roam freely as I explored these worlds, while being confident that no matter what I encountered, the guides would be there to help me. They were accessible, filled with choices, and even if they were linear to a fault, still felt like adventures. They are the titles that helped me grow comfortable with gaming, helped me learn to love the medium, and… I love them. I love them so much, and they are these special things that can never truly be taken away from me given how formative they were to me.

Part 2: The Internet and Pokémon

After a generous offering of presents from my parents during the Christmas of 2004, my sister and I were taken out to the garage in the cold and snow, with neither of us bothering with a jacket, and we were greeted with two unwrapped boxes, each containing an eMac. We carried these hefty all-in-one computers up to our rooms and our father set them up by noon on our respective desks, which previously were just used for homework and the like, and in turn opened up a whole new world for me. A world that turned me into a dejected degenerate who chooses to spend her life writing stories where super powered child rapists shoves shampoo bottles up their butt and also some dork has sex with his grandpa after he turns into his waifu.

But my degeneracy aside, at least for the moment, the internet granted me access to a glutton of new information to partake in, and most especially a lot of information about Pokémon. I quickly stumbled upon a number of Pokémon fan websites that offered a vast amount of content that I spent days upon days perusing, such as PokeBeach and Psypoke, but they were all moldy potatoes next to, the greatest fansite I have ever seen, and one of my favorite things on the internet. The amount of time, effort, dedication, and content found on this site was mind boggling to me as a child, and it still is even to this day. The lists, the mechanical explanations, the stellar creation that is Pokéarth and most especially the generations of Pokédexes.

Sure, the website looks like it’s two decades old, because it is, but aside from some elements that have been a bit neglected over time, it still works just fine, the information is clearly laid out, and the design if intuitive, if a bit overstuffed with content. For the past 15 years, it has been my go-to place for Pokémon content, one where I spent days immersing myself in its vast quantities of information and checking for news about upcoming games. Admittedly, I do use Bulbapedia for some stuff, if only because of its superior search feature and feature pages, but 80% of the time, it’s Serebii all the way.

However, as any Suburban white mother from 1999 will tell you, while the internet can be an incredible resource, it is a source of dark debaucheries that are most inappropriate for developing minds. Mind you, they were probably talking about the, Slim Shady, pedophiles ‘rocking it’ in IRC, and that Jenna Jamison fireman porno… which might have come out after 1999, but I’m not gonna look that up. For me, the big no-no that I stumbled upon Pokémon-X. No, not Pokémon X, the 2013 game for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. I am talking about the sprite-based webcomic created by Recon Dye, which originally began in 2003, I discovered in late 2005, when I was 11, and it is still continuing via sporadic updates to this day.

Now, this was a very formative piece of media for me, as it served as a private and personal introduction to dirty no-no words, overt sexual themes, censored female frontal nudity, and mid-aughts style irreverent internet humor. Sure, I was exposed to some more ‘adult’ media as my family did regularly watch The Simpsons together, and I was given a couple burned DVDs of Futurama that I watched periodically, but they were nowhere near as extreme as Pokémon-X. Well, I say extreme, but looking back at it, the comic would be rated for ages 13 and up at best. I think the only reason why I felt that it was ‘extreme’ as a child stems from a raunchy banner the comic had when I first started reading it, which depicted the character May, topless with a blurry censor bar covering her chest, saying a censored version of the F-word. It’s a media file that no longer exists on the website, and was not picked up by the WayBackMachine last I checked, but it still exists in my memories.

As a well behaved child, I normally would not have dabbled into something with such a clear-cut warning sign, but I was quickly enamored with the production values seen in the most current page, which depicted sprites lifted from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, a lot of flashy Paintshop Pro effects, and generally a high level of production values. It even used to play music directly ripped from the main games, which gave the comic a more engrossing quality, and one that was sadly lost in an update over the years. Point is, this presentation struck me as something impressive, as I had never encountered a sprite comic before, and found the idea incredibly novel. As such, I spent a few days slowly reading the comic, not really understanding much of its humor, but I wound up utterly loving it, finding the humor to be incredibly novel, fresh, and generally endearing, even if I didn’t get it. I mean, I was 11, I had no idea what “Ma’choking his chicken” meant, but I still chuckled when I read it. Hell, I’m 25 and I still find that kinda funny.

It was a comic I certainly enjoyed, and followed for years, but it was only one of several, such as Pokémon Pebble Version, which is miraculously still being updated regularly, and still looks like a webcomic from 15 years ago. Or Pokémon Granite, which died back in 2012, and I mostly remember it as being an endearing, silly, and slapstick-filled crossover that mixed the Gen 3 games together. These were just some of the webcomics I read, and I used to read dozens back when I was much younger, but the only reason I was particularly interested in webcomics to begin with was because of Pokémon, and the bulk of the ones I did read were Pokémon related. So in a roundabout way, you could attribute Pokémon as the reason I was exposed to a lot of things that went to shape my personality, tastes, sense of humor, and overall fascination with video games, as sprite comic artists loved crossovers something fierce.

And it was also through the internet that I learned about various Pokémon conventions that were happening in the Chicagoland area, where I lived and still live to this day. I attended Pokémon Rocks America in 2005 with my Fillipino friend Gio, which I remember being a fairly fun time, filled with children and their parents/guardians going from assorted activity areas with a large open floor plan. They had loads of this free Lugia card, they were handing out Magikarp toys like crazy for some reason, and there were lines to get tickets to catch Deoxys, Latios, Latias, Lugia, and Ho-Oh in the Generation 3 games.

But I predominantly remember the event for two things. Eating my first and only McDonalds hamburger and getting diarrhea, and participating in a contest where kids had to tell their parents to act like a Pokémon of their choice. My mother and I were somehow selected from a crows, and by acting like a Pikachu, she was able to net me the second place prize, which was a bunch of booster packs and some board game I never bothered playing.

I also went to Pokémon 10th Anniversary Journey Across America in 2006, which was a far less eventful trip. I just stood in line, got over a dozen rare Pokémon, and then left. …Yeah, that really wasn’t much of a convention, come to think of it. Really just a distribution and promotional event more than anything. I still think I spent like 3 hours there for some reason… sorry, I should probably move onto the next point

Part 3: The Worst Generation

So by around 2006, I was using my computer quite a lot, visiting a load of different websites regularly, and found new things to enjoy frequently. But there were two websites that were always on the top of my priority list, and that I checked as soon as I possibly could every morning. The first being the Super Smash Bros. Dojo, where every weekday brought with it the reveal of some minor features pertaining to Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and the second was Serebii where every day could potentially bring news about Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.

I do not think I can adequately describe how excited I was for these games. I knew another generation was going to happen when I was playing through Pokémon Ruby in 2003. I saw Munchlax, the first Generation IV Pokémon, shortly after they were first revealed in May of 2004. I played Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness in 2005, which introduced Bonsly. And throughout 2006 I was inundated with the rest of the new Pokémon belonging to that generation, and I was ecstatic to see the roster expand beyond the 386 that I could recite from memory.

It was then in April of 2007 when I finally got my hands on the game I had been waiting four years for: Pokémon Diamond. With a strategy guide in tow, I spent about four hours playing it the night it came out, the longest I ever played a game in a single day at that point in my life, and I had a blast exploring the new region, seeing the new Pokémon, and watching the new story unfold. Then, about a month later, I finished the game and felt… kind of empty.

I could not fully articulate why or how, but after going through Diamond, I was just disappointed, having not really know what I disliked about the game, but finding it less enduring than it should have been. I now realize that is because Pokémon Diamond and Pearl are the worst mainline entries in the series, with glacially paced battled, an incredibly limited roster of Pokémon, and a lackluster presentation, as seen in a number of environments that repurposed the same tilesets. After spending so many years looking forward to this game, the final product was simply underwhelming. I initially pegged this as being the result of overhyping myself, but as time went on, I became a prim and proper teenager, I experienced a similar sense of disappointment with Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time, and I began to believe that I simply was growing out of Pokémon.

You see, a lot of people growing into their adolescence are fed this horrible narrative about change, that one’s body, brain, personality, and interests will all change, that there is nothing that can be done about it, and that it is only natural for people to stop enjoying the things they liked as a child once they become teenagers. And once they become adults, they stop liking anything, and instead become complacent as a worker and potentially a parent. Because life is just a cold, manipulative, and abhorrent joke, satisfaction is a fairy tale, et certa, et cetera.

Bottom line is that once I started eighth grade in August of 2008, I became pretentious with the idea of being more mature, and felt that I should not be as openly into things like Pokémon, Nintendo, or anything overly cute or cuddly. This lasted for about a year, when I was just this insufferable asshole who would fantasize about school shootings when I was bored, began playing a plethora of mature, serious, and adult games, and adopted a very nihilistic persona towards everything, including my own life and existence, resulting in a lot of self-harm involving my skull and a brick wall..

It was also during this time that I came into contact with two fat and stinky boys a year younger than me, a black kid named Elroy and an Asian kid named Feng. They were really into Pokémon cards, which I still had a plentiful collection of, and over the fall of 2008, I began selling them over $200 worth of Pokémon cards, but in inviting them over to my house in order to instigate these sales, Elroy managed to sneak by me and stole my copy of Pokémon Diamond. It took me a week to notice this, and it took another two weeks before I went after that smelly brat and informed his father of this theft. Elroy gave me my game back, but he wiped my save file, and destroyed the Pokedex I worked so hard to build.

My shiny Jumpluff, the first shiny I ever encountered as a Hoppip in my copy of FireRed? Gone. Every Pokémon I transferred over from Colosseum, XD, and my GBA games? Erased. Every Pokémon I got from event distributions? Dead. This pissed me off to no end, and killed my interest in the series for a solid year. I took a prolonged hiatus from web comics and websites that centered around Pokémon, including Serebii, and was so against checking out Platinum that my friend and I would often joke about how we were going to buy a copy. I was done, angry, and wound up selling my copy of Pokémon Diamond at GameStop in 2010, when a store attendant asked me if I wanted to check out Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. It was then that I remembered how much I loved Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal, that it had been about 5 years since I played any of them, and that, yeah, no, I actually didn’t want to give up on this series, and would like to play an enhanced and remade version of those games. So I said yes, and used my trade-in credit to buy a copy of HeartGold… which reignited my love with the series.

Going through Johto and Kanto again with this fresh new coat of paint, polished gameplay, and a refined rendition of what Pokémon is and was up until that point all made this game somewhat magical to me. It was a title I knew very well, but had been built upon with a lot of little quality of life features, or small details that had an immense impact, such as the following Pokémon who made this journey feel far more lively and personal than it should have. Going from New Bark to Mt. Silver, and wiping the floor with Red for the first time in my life with a team of level 60s? It felt amazing, and everything between that beginning and end were some of the best times I ever had with Pokémon, being a familiar experience through and through, but one that I felt I could appreciate far more now than ever before precisely because I took a break from it. It was throughout 2008 and 2009 that I really began to broaden my horizons with games, learned so much more about the medium, and with that knowledge and distance behind me, I was able to fall in love with this game.

Part 4: The Latter Generations

However, I was apprehensive about how temperamental this love and affection would truly be— and then GameFreak dropped my favorite Pokémon games of all-time, Pokémon Black and White. New region, entirely new roster of Pokémon, style oozing from every pore, a compelling storyline, and an expedient battle system that made the act of playing the game oh-so invigorating. It does not waste your time, surprises and treats were found in every corner, and while undeniably derivative of prior entries, it still felt so incredibly fresh and refined. It was the Pokémon game I was waiting 7 bloody years for, the one that permanently cemented my love for this series, and the one that I loved it so goldarn much that I am actually a bit afraid to replay it, in case I find it to have some sort of crippling flaw that I did not notice until later… which is incidentally why I’m not a big fan of Black 2 and White 2.

For as much research as I did on Pokémon games, learning the natures and movesets and what have you, I never paid much attention to things like Effort Values and Individual Values, which I simply did not understand as a child, as they are hidden parameters and ones that have a fairly minor impact as far as single player is concerned. Oh, and side note: I did not play a Pokémon game online until HeartGold, when I played two battles, one lost and one win, before deciding that I did not like fighting other players, and never attempted online battles with random people ever again. So by the time I was worrying about these things, it was from the perspective of somebody who only plays the single player games… and also somebody who was incredibly irritated at the concept of my dear and precious Pokémon being imperfect, flawed, and not in accordance with some mathematically objective distribution of hidden numbers.

It all soured my playthrough of what otherwise I’m told is a fantastic Pokémon game, and one that I should and replay sometime, but I could recognize how petty my frustrations were, and did not let them impair my continued enjoyment of the series, which was about to make the bold unpresidented leap into 3D! I mean, I first experienced Pokémon in 3D, so it was not a big deal to me, and the actual 3D in the eventual games that were Pokémon X and Y was… pretty underwhelming in all honesty. It was clear while playing these games that the series developer Game Freak was struggling to adapt from their 2D roots, make something that ran well on limited hardware, and was much more impressive than a polygonal rendition of previous titles. I mean, it was impressive seeing these slick and polished models of each and every Pokémon, but many of the environments and character models were a touch more basic than what anyone really imagined when thinking of a 3D Pokémon game.

X and Y also probably have the most underwhelming story and region of the entire series, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t really enjoy the game regardless of that. I mean, with over 300 hours clocked into it, I would struggle to name a game that I played more… other than Fire Emblem Heroes. It was overall a sloppy coat of paint, but it was new and fresh at the time, and the quality of life improvements made me enthralled enough with the series to procure a complete living Pokedex… a feat I was unable to maintain after the release of Marshadow, Zeraora, and Melmeltan a few years later. What can I say? I don’t really want to ask my mother to drive me to a place to get a rare Pokémon that I will never use in any meaningful way, and Pokémon Go is really boring when you have a limited data plan and don’t live near a lot of PokéStops. I tried, and got about a fourth of the way to a Melmeltan, but then I just gave up.

Looking back at X and Y, I really do think this game suffered from being the first entry on new hardware and with a shift to 3D, to the point where I, and a lot of other people, were actively hoping that a third version, a Pokémon Z, would come around and improve things. But nope. Instead we jumped straight from the new generation right to the remake.

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire gets a bad rap for being remakes of some of the most beloved games in the series, and ones that either do not include everything from the original GBA entries, or made changes that many people disliked. Me personally however… I adored my time with Alpha Sapphire. I knew the original game like the back of my hand, so being able to see it recreated in tile-based 3D assets, seeing the updated designs and story, and being able to go through the entire game with the brilliant DexNav feature, it was all a spectacular nostalgia trip. But I will admit that it could have had a few additional features and refinements, such as the Battle Frontier, which was a bit too aggressively teased at the end of the game. I personally never really cared for the facilities or the more competitive side of Pokémon, but some people do, and their butts will never stop being hurt from that… 

Next on the agenda is Pokémon Sun and Moon, which are recent enough that eager readers could check out the review of Pokémon Moon I wrote back in 2016, but I’ll summarize my thoughts with a bit of retrospect for the sake of this post. In short, I had a lot of fun with that game, thought it made some significant improvements that I appreciated, but I was getting really sick of the lacking technical capabilities of the 3DS, to the point where I was wishing I was playing this game on a console or my PC while playing it. This is not a fair criticism of the game itself though, which I see a lot of people gripe about, but I think it did a lot right.

The characters are generally more detailed than they were in previous games, boasting unique animations, expressions, and scenes that make the game feel like more of a memorable journey as it is filled with colorful faces like Lillie, Guzma, Lusamine, and the assorted kahunas who always struck me as more endearing than the typical gym leaders seen throughout this series. While the region of Alola is very detailed and distinct compared to the typical Pokémon region, having a lot of unique structures, landscapes, and benefiting greatly from an organic world map, rather than the tile-based affair in the prior two games.

However, I will admit that the game was a bit slow at times, I understand why the cutscenes irritated a fair number of people, the key new feature, Z-Moves, felt rather gimmicky, and the online system was just… not good. PSS from X, Y, Alpha Sapphire, and Omega Ruby were these very streamlined and intuitive online infrastructures, but Festival Plaza was simply not as usable as it ought to have been. Still, these were all minor concerns that could easily be corrected with an updated sequel, and one that I hoped dearly to see on the upcoming Nintendo Switch as rumors of Pokémon Stars began the day Pokémon Sun and Moon released globally… which is how I amply set myself up for the disappointment that was Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

Now, these games are not bad, they are just slightly upgraded versions of Sun and Moon, which would be fine… but many of the story changes didn’t necessarily enhance the experience, the cool things it does often feel underdeveloped, and I much preferred the Zygarde subquest over the one where you just collect stickers. Going from Moon to Ultra Moon felt like I was replaying a remixed version of the same game where every two good changes were met with a bad one, and 90% of the time, everything was the same as it was before. I just didn’t have a great time with it… which could also be attributed to how I played this game while recovering from intensive facial surgery so… yeah, I was really groggy and irritable, which in turn negatively affected my thoughts on this game.

Finally, there’s Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee, which… I said everything I needed to say in my review, published back in December of 2018, and it’s probably the most mixed I’ve ever felt about a Pokémon game. Every positive is paired with a negative, and while I did ultimately like the game, it just felt compromised from beginning to end.

Part 5.0: The Airing of Grievances

If this post has shown anything thus far, I hope it’s that I do genuinely and deeply love Pokémon as a series, and while I may not love every single entry, it is something that has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I never want to be divorced from it ever again. I have the utmost adoration for Game Freak and all related developers for their ability to create so many defining games of my childhood, and some of my favorite games of the past decade.

From reading through the Pokémon Adventures manga, playing with my Pokémon toys, trading and just looking over the official cards, watching the anime as a kid… at least until Hoenn, when I started getting bored of it, and reading through the guides incessantly. It is special to me, I cherish it, and I never want to be in a world where I’m not, to some extent, looking forward to the next Pokémon game.

But at the same time, holy potatoes, there are things about these games that just irk me to no end. So many petulant peeves that it is hard for me to express my thoughts on any given game without voicing to the void how displeased I am with the way certain minutiae is handled in these games.

Part 5.1: Streamline Evolution Methods

Every generation of Pokémon brings forth new manners and methods in order to evolve Pokémon, and while the vast majority of them evolve through leveling up, many have their own special ways of evolving, and over the years the sheer quantity of these methods has gotten a little out of hand. Knowing certain moves, holding specific items while being traded, leveling up while holding a specific item, being traded for a specific Pokémon, making a set number of Pokémon faint in battle, leveling up in a certain location, holding the system upside down, it’s all so complicated, overbearing, and overall unnecessary. While this can go to make each Pokémon seem unique, it’s incredibly hard for newcomers to parse this information, and it’s a genuine chore to overcome when playing the games.

Between finding the few specific spots that specific items can be found, grinding for rare drops via game specific features like Super Training or PokéPelago, and looking up online resources to even learn of these solutions— there is just so much needless and redundant information to parse through here. There have been some consolidation efforts in Sword and Shield, which retconned the evolution methods for Glaceon, Leafeon, and Vikavolt from specific locations to evolutionary stones. However, they also introduced Runerigus, a Pokémon that evolves from a Galarian Yamask but only when they have taken 49 or more points of damage, and are brought to a specific location in the Galar region. So I guess Game Freak is okay with retconning evolutions when it suits them, or when the gimmick becomes too much of a bother to implement… okay.

Part 5.2: Cross-Generation Evolutions

The Pokémon Company and Game Freak have been dabbling with ways to expand upon Pokémon of prior generations for a while now, building off of popular Pokémon with Mega Evolutions, remixing them with regional variants, and now adding even more new designs with Gigantamax forms. They clearly want to go back and iterate on older Pokémon, but they do not do so with prim and proper no-frills evolutions, and haven’t since 2006 with Pokémon Diamond and Pearl… except for Sylveon.

Overall, I miss seeing older Pokémon come back with new permanent forms they can obtain, pre-evolutions that build upon the Pokémon evolutionary line and make certain Pokémon more available from an earlier point. It was neat seeing baby Pokémon become a thing, even if the Incense system was bafflingly contrived and overall pretty pointless, and I liked how new evolutions spun-off Pokémon in bold new directions like Gallade or Froslass, or simply made them more viable, like Magmortar or Mamoswine.

Part 5.3: Alternate Forms

So we have Mega Evolutions, Regional forms, and now Gigantamax Forms… which are basically just Mega Evolutions but bigger. All of these do what I previously requested and add to existing Pokémon, but it’s always in an ethereal manner, one that is context sensitive, and does not feel as substantial as a new number being granted to them, and a new entry being made in the Pokédex. Plus, they are very sensitive to context, and feel like temporary gimmicks, rather than permanent fixtures. Mega Evolutions are only usable in games that support Mega Evolutions, Regional forms are really only seen in a designated region as far as one can tell, and Gigantamax forms are basically Galar exclusives.

Regional forms I am coming around to, especially after the introduction of Pokémon like Perrserker, Obstagoon, Sirfetch’d, Mr. Rime, Runerigus, and Cursola. These are regional exclusive evolutions only for Pokémon in a certain regional form and… I just worry about the future implications of this behavior, and find the entire prospect of these new forms to be so messy with regards to the longevity of the series, and one’s ability to see these Pokémon going forward.

The main reason why the limitation of the Pokedex in Sword and Shield was met with such ferocity was that many viewed it as a confirmation that some Pokémon will simply be gone going forward. And while I do not worry about Pokémon in general being lost in the process, I can see these forms being effectively erased with time, lacking any representation in future releases. I mean, when could one reasonably expect to see Mega Evolutions again? The eventual remakes of Pokémon X and Y? And if the Pokedex is limited in that game, as the Pokedex will be going forward, does that mean that we won’t see things like Primal Groundon, Primal Kyogre, and Mega Rayquaza until the remakes of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire?

If a Pokémon has an Alolan form, how can you justify that form also being found in another region? If a Pokémon keeps getting regional forms, should there be a consistent and concise way to distinguish between them other than saying Alolan, Galarian, or the like? Can these concepts be mingled together to form things like a Mega Gigantamax Galarian Wheezing or is that strictly off the table? This all strikes me as so messy, confusing, and genuinely worrying. I am not being provided with assurance that these Pokémon forms are future proof, and if they will have as much of a place in future games as proper Pokémon with a number to their name.

Part 5.4: IVs, EVs, and Natures

For almost two decades obsessive Pokémon fans have been devising ways to maximize the power of their Pokémon, and create the perfected rendition of their favorites. You needed to make sure you were breeding them properly, that they have the right natural stat distribution, that they fought the right Pokémon to boost their stats the right way. It was complete nonsense, a massive pain in the rear, and Game Freak has been addressing this situation over the years by allowing players to easily observe and manipulate these three factors. Which I’ll define for you all, because I love definitions.

Individual Values: innate stats that are generated with the Pokémon itself and can be mathematically perfected to 31 for HP, Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed through rigorous breeding and luck. Effort Values: Additive points that are built up as a Pokémon partakes in battles, and affect certain stats that can be pushed to a maximum of 252 per stat, with the hard limit of total Effort Values being 510. Natures: A form of stat redistribution that incurs a boon of 10% to a given stat and a bane of 10% to another.

By manipulating these, you can make Pokémon dramatically more powerful, and Game Freak has made concerted efforts to allow people to freely manipulate these things. You can manipulate EVs through specific items and sub-games, and view them by pressing a button on a Pokémon’s summary page. You can maximize IVs through the use of selective breeding or, failing that, using elusive items known as Bottle Caps, and you may measure the innate values of your Pokémon either on a PC or through the summary page depending on the game. While Natures are designated at birth, have always been plainly presented, are now clearly signified on the summary screen. Previously there was no true way to change them, but then mints were introduced in Sword and Shield, which allow players to correct lesser natures and transform your Gardevoir from an Adamant fighter to more of the Modest type.

These are meant to make Pokémon more distinct from members of the same species, and were never intended to be manipulated as they were when first implemented, but people did it anyways, and Game Freak has been trying to appease these people over the years with more convenient methods of making one’s Pokémon better. Which should be cause for celebration, but… the process of creating the perfect Pokémon kind of sucks. I spent dozens of hours doing this in the past breeding, manipulating, and hoping to get idealized Pokémon to call my own, succeeded to an extent (The IVs weren’t always perfect, but they were all consistently above 20), and I never actually did anything with these Pokémon I spent so much time breeding. I simply wanted to have them because they were objectively better than others, and there was nothing worse than grinding for a rare Pokémon, catching it, and seeing that it has a bad nature and IVs.

By introducing statistical variety into Pokémon, Game Freak ultimately created a classism, where some Pokémon are objectively better than others, and even if you are playing these games on your own, with no greater intentions of getting into the competitive scene, it is important to note that the Pokémon you are using are objectively not as good as they could be. And I despise that feeling so goldarn much.

What is my solution here? Well, I basically want every level 100 Pokémon, or every Pokémon submitted to competitive online battles to be statistically identical with regards to EVs and IVs, with Nature being something that the player can personally manipulate through mints. I say get rid of the total Effort Value cap, allowing players to get 252 in all 6 stats instead of just 2, make IVs steadily increase to their perfect score as a Pokémon levels up, and ditch this concept of Pokémon being these unique creatures. Because while that is a nice sentiment, Pokémon is ultimately a game about numbers and categories above all else. Speaking of which… 

Part 5.5: Moveset Revision

Much of the complexity and appeal of Pokémon as an RPG is its simple yet incredibly deep combat system that is driven by all manner of things between types, abilities, stat distributions, but most especially moves. A series of four commands that are the only things that a Pokémon can do in combat, and throughout one’s journey, the movesets assigned to each Pokémon will change and evolve along with them. I love this idea, but as developers tried to give Pokémon more moveset variety, they kind of forgot to make it convenient and intuitive to customize the moveset of a Pokémon.

Now, the most common methods of gaining new moves are through leveling up, an intuitive mechanic that’s a staple of the RPG genre, or through the use of Technical Machines, which function as equipment from a traditional RPG, and can be used an unlimited number of times. But then you get to Move Tutors, which are like TMs, but you need to pay a fee every time you use them, and often the fee simply does not seem like it’s worth it, and also Egg Moves.

Egg Moves basically require an online guide to get anywhere, and are rarely ever worth the hassle of selectively breeding your select Pokémon with a male of another species who knows a specific move. It’s all so unnecessary, cumbersome, and generally frustrating, and it makes the prospect of learning certain moves such a chore that I have historically ignored all moves not learned by leveling up or through TMs. Oh, but what about remembering moves? That’s its own breed of mess, requiring players to find the Move Reminder, paying them a set fee, and only then are they granted the privilege of relearning forgotten moves.

A lot of this was fixed in Pokémon Sword and Shield, which removed Move Tutors in exchange for single-use TMs, known as Technical Records. I will detail my thoughts on these in my Pokémon Shield review, but generally speaking, I don’t like these things, and wish that they were all TMs, and that the overall TM count was pushed to 200 for this game. However, Sword and Shield also consolidated the Move Deleter, Move Reminder, and Name Rater into a single person, placed him in every Pokémon Center next to the PC, and removed all costs associated with relearning moves. Why that man is even necessary, and why this function is not built into the PC is a good question, but whatever. They fixed a major problem I had with these games, and fixed it well. Thank you Game Freak.

This change alone does a lot to keep my mind goblins at bay, but even though Pokémon moves are far more sensibly learned and managed, I still must ask why the moves themselves are designed the way they are, and why are there so many of them. I tend to view Pokémon moves from a strictly mechanical standpoint, and do not attribute much greater meaning to them beyond that. While it is nice that Hitmonchan can learn assorted punches of varying types, that is less important to me than the fact that he can easily learn fire, ice, and electric type attacks that deal a decent amount of physical damage drawing from their attack stat, and bearing a small chance of inflicting a status condition.

What I’m getting at here is that I want the series to cut and remove moves, focus on the core functions behind the existing moves, fixate on those, and redistribute moves based on what would be useful for every Pokémon. I basically want things like Fire Fang, Fire Punch, Blaze Kick, and Fire Lash to be consolidated into a single move, as they are all physical fire type moves with only minor differences between them ranging from their effects to their damage output. Then I want this new move to be applied to as many Pokémon as possible, assuming it would make some sense for them to use a fire type move. You could easily say that doing so would rob certain Pokémon of signature moves, that it feels inorganic, that it’s boring, that it robs the game of depth, and that it makes the attacks used by Pokémon feel less special. I agree with all of those things… but I really like the idea of resetting the bulk of the movepool so that every type is propped up by attacks with the damage values of 40, 60, 80-90, and 120+, one set for physical, one set for special. This will serve as a new foundation, one that should be made available to as many Pokémon as possible, and then built upon with more inventive, gimmicky, or situational moves.

If this seems like a very bizarre thing to fixate on, that’s because I’m the sort of person who obsesses over the movesets for my team when playing a Pokémon game, as I ideally want a team with a 70+ damage dealing move of every type, and often I view the mechanical worth of a Pokémon based on how many high damage moves of how many types they can learn by leveling up or through TMs. I know this is not necessarily the most optimal, and that I am ignoring a lot of mechanical depth by doing so, but I only care about the single player side of things, and generally want to get combat over with as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Or if that’s too much to ask, then could somebody at Game Freak please address the move type disparity between certain Pokémon? Because it’s kind of messed up that Blastoise can learn Surf, Ice Beam, Dark Pulse, Flash Cannon, Rock Slide, Aura Sphere, Dragon Pulse, Earthquake, Signal Beam, and Zen Headbutt, while Venusaur is left with Energy Ball, Sludge Bomb, Earthquake, and Outrage. I mean, at least give them Zen Headbutt, Crunch, or… something.

Part 5.6: Speed

So, a few weeks ago I checked out the Dragon Quest XI demo on Switch, and I was positively blown away with the speed and efficiency of its combat system, smoothly transitioning from the overworld to the combat screen, and giving the player control within about… 6 seconds. Then last week I played Pokémon Shield and it takes about 9 seconds from encounter to menu. That is a lot better than the speed seen in Pokémon Sun and Moon, where it took about 13 seconds… but I still don’t think that’s quite good enough, and consider the general pace and flow of the combat to be slower than it conceivably could and should be.

I tend to view turn based combat as a great way for players to make decisions and see their results with immediacy, and many of my favorite RPGs of all time are my favorites because of how expedient the combat is, cutting the fatty fluff that is provided through extravagant animations, needless effects, and fanfare that accompanies routine actions. One could say that this is a sign that I simply have no patience, and that I don’t really appreciate a slower paced game, but I say to you, my good straw person, that if you can make something faster and more efficient, then you probably should. Hell, it’s why I don’t even play Pokémon with animations any more, because I know what the moves are, and I don’t want to sit and watch a 10 second cutscene between every input.

I don’t mean to harp on this comparison, mostly because this is a gripe I’ve had for years, but Dragon Quest XI really did everything I ever wanted from a Pokémon game’s combat system. Battles that take place in the overworld, speedy combat, the ability to move around to make things feel more involved while not adding anything to the actual gameplay. And precisely because it is Dragon Quest, the face of the JRPG genre, that I feel there is no good reason for Pokémon not to try something similar. Or hell, just do the Bravely Default thing and let players double the speed of battles. That would actually be easier to implement in all likelihood, and I know the Switch can handle something like that. Sure, the frame rate may need to dip and the resolution might wind up at a trim 540p, but I’ll gladly accept a shoddy presentation for expedient gameplay.

Yet, this gripe does not extend only to the core combat, as there are plenty of little things in Pokémon that just take too goldarn long in my humble opinion. The animations for hatching an egg, the back and forward between the nurse at the Pokémon Center, and the little transitions that really don’t need to be there, but were implemented in the series’ infancy, and never updated to a significant degree. Like the dialogue that appears when a Pokémon learns a new move. It makes sense, but it could be made far more efficient.

Part 5.7: Challenge and Convenience

People have been complaining about how easy Pokémon games are since their inception pretty much, with eager fans regularly looking for challenges, and implementing their own regimented restrictions, such as not grinding, Nuzlocke challenges, no EXP share, no items in battle, limitations on what Pokémon one uses, and so forth. It is a criticism that I do understand, and I would genuinely love to see the games be broken down into tiers of difficulty, as was attempted with Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. However, I will never say that Pokémon games are too easy, simply because of my experience with them, and how they introduced me to gaming.

When I first played through a Pokémon game, I genuinely needed all the help I could get, I had nobody to explain things to me, and I appreciated every tip I was given in-game, as they helped me understand how I was supposed to play the game, and having this information be explained to me so directly was very beneficial. Yet I will agree that tutorialization is a bit of a problem with this series, as are long stretches that don’t hold up brilliantly on repeat playthroughs. Which the series is practically made for given the amount of variety seen in every Pokémon game, but the games are rarely designed around it.

So I appreciate how easy they are considering how much I personally benefited from the relaxed difficulty of earlier games, yet do do agree that there is room for some additional optional challenge. Nothing too crazy there. But I also think the series should just outright introduce auto-heal after every battle.

In Pokémon, there is no cost to healing one’s party, as the Pokémon Center is always free, but the player does need to pay a set cost to use it, getting to a physical location. And after several thousand permutations of this across the span of 15 years and so many games, I am absolutely sick and tired of going to the Center whenever I want to heal my Pokémon. It is boring, redundant, and I don’t want to use healing items when the option to do so without using any items exists, and have historically only really used healing items when I was deep in dungeons or up against the Elite Four, when the convenience encouraged me to indulge in such a wasteful activity.

Actually, convenience is something that the series has really struggled with for a while as the expected quality of life features within games have raised as people have been getting older, competition has become more fierce, and patience has been burned through. There are so many little inconveniences in the series, from finding rare evolution stones, relying on random elements, or needless grinding for post-game items like Bottle Caps, Mints, and what have you, or needlessly expensive items like nutritional supplements. Again, reexamine your game’s design, find any parts that are annoying or wasteful, and either gut them or replace them with something else. Every new installment does this to some extent, but it’s always so gradual that it feels like deliberate teasing at this point.

Part 5.8: Series Evolution

The most prevalent gripe levied towards the Pokémon series is how its foundation and fundamentals are the same as the original entries released back in 1996, and the games are archaic in many ways, with the series having done little to evolve since its inception. While there is some truth to that sentiment, it devalues and ignores the innumerous improvements and changes implemented since Red, Blue, and Green, and always strikes me as a statement uttered with a degree of ignorance or a lack of forethought when not prefaced with additional points of clarification.

The series has been around for 20+ years, but the core gameplay has remained largely the same, and every entry follows a set formula, arguably to a fault. But there is a fairly obvious reason why… or I guess reasons. First off, it was never demanded. People buy the games, they are largely well received, and if something works well, why try fixing it? Secondly, the time frames these games are developed under are… kind of insane when you think about it, and how can you necessarily expect them to reinvent the wheel while so consistently putting out titles?

Over the past decade, the series has been darn-near annualized, only missing releases in 2011 and 2015, and since the release of Pokémon X and Y, it has been a global endeavor, with new titles coming out as reliable holiday season hits. That is assuredly a stressful environment for all parties involved, as their mistakes could theoretically topple the biggest media franchise of all time, and if one is unsure as to what to do, you can always keep doing what you did before, while offering only increments of improvement, trying to please people who want more of the same and those who want innovation. Normally this winds up leaving everybody unpleased, but with Pokémon… people complain, but they still buy, play, and share these games, and that’s what’s truly important.

Now, you could say that does not excuse the games being subpar next to other modern titles, and that they should still strive to be up to modern standards, but rarely do people ever clarify what they mean by this. What are the modern standards of video games? Can you quantify them? Throughout this post, I have tried to clarify what I want out of the series in more definitive terms, and pinpoint the mechanics that I want to see improved. I believe that these changes would create a more enjoyable overall experience, but beyond that? I really don’t know how you would make Pokémon more ‘modern’ beyond improving the quality of life features to a mirror shine, which Game Freak has been pretty bad at in the grand scheme of things.

I mean, sure you could implement better animations, voice acting, and a greater degree of freedom, as some people passionately dislike linearity, but the core gameplay would still be the same at the end of the day, and people would still say the series has barely evolved since its inception, and they probably would keep thinking that. I would say that you cannot evolve something while constantly working on annual iterations, especially as development scales up and it is harder to implement features due to the complexity of the systems seen throughout the game. Would I love to see innovations aplenty in the next Pokémon game? Hell yeah. I can always go back to older ones if I want a more traditional romp. Do I think it is reasonable to expect extreme innovations from the series unless it goes on a prolonged hiatus? Hell nah, dude.

Part 5.9: Reject the Sins of the Third Dimension

As I was observing and pondering the maelstrom of malice that surrounded Pokémon Sword and Shield prior to launch, from whinings about “Dexit”, animations, and environmental details, I began to wonder how Game Freak could have circumvented this situation. Many people echoed that this could be achieved through additional manpower and time, but those suggestions assumes that training costs are insignificant, workers are unlimited, budgets are not an issue, and that there are not billions riding on this game coming out on time. So I got to thinking, if the 3D models are the big issue, and making HD assets is so gosh danged difficult, then why the hell are we even bothering with this despicably disgusting dimension that defiled the likes of my son Typhlosion, my daughter Hippowdon, and my precious non-binary child, Eelektross.

Why not just go back to 2D assets and avoid the hassle? It is way easier to build environments using sprites or tilesets, you could easily carry forward the image files of every Pokémon throughout every generation (at least I can see no reason why it wouldn’t be), and most fans probably would not mind losing the extra dimension considering how many started hating the series after it went fully 3D. Easier development, lower costs, and easy forward compatibility due to the power of PNGs. Just save everything at the right resolution, update information for moves and the like periodically, and maybe rethink how you handle sprites.

I mean, the sprites from the GBA to DS era were great, but if you want to keep roaming Pokémon, and you damn well better, maybe start using the sprites from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, make new ones for the 397 Pokémon that didn’t exist when you put out Explorers of the Sky. Hell, while you’re at it, recycle environmental assets from the GBA and DS games.

Just heed my saintly advice, fix your mechanics to my liking, make a new region and another 70-100 Pokémon every 3 years, and… yeah, you should be good to go. Never bother with this 3D malarky again, put out one title a year, and just keep doing what you can and wait for the dollars to keep coming in. I mean, sure, you will face massive backlash for this technical downgrade, your games will seem antiquated, and Missus Nintendo is bound to want to have a word with you over this SSS-tier woke decision, but it would make ME happy. Pokémon has always been a part of MY life and It should be designed around MY desires. I know better than you or anyone else. For I am the Pokémon Master, the PokeGod, the individual whose mere existence brought Pokémon into this world. If I was not born in 1994, the project would have been canceled, Game Freak would have gone bankrupt, and the word Pokémon would not even exist if I did not predate it. So catering to MY whims is the least you linguistically inept sexual dullards can do.

…Bahahahahahahaha! Oh my goodness, could you even imagine? Nah, I know this suggestion is super stupid, and that Pokémon needs to advance lest it be forever criticized for being dated. I admittedly think that it would be a great cost-saving, and I would love to see this happen, but I am not delusional or foolish enough to actually believe that it will… Outside of fan-games that is.

Anyways, that’s a trim… novella-sized article from me and I’ve run out of things to talk about, so I think I’ll end things here and now. Until next time, seeya.

Image Sources:
Sandwich Island Pokémon Girl (Patreon Request) by ONATaRT 
Poke-Memories: Mudkip and Ralts by ChompWorks
Pokémon-X (assorted excerpts) by Recon Dye
POKE-PARADISE by cartoongirl7
Route 3 by Namie-kun (Original has been deleted)
Shiroganeyama Red by Shippappa 13
Team Aqua Grunt + Quarreling Pokemon by ShenaniganzaHome by kianamai
Pokemon: The first Pokemon battle by Sa-Dui
Mimikyu by Jocelyn Samara
Home by kianamai

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