Pokemon Actually Makes No Sense
I’ll be the first to admit that I have a long and storied relationship to the video game franchise known as Pokémon. In fact, I love it. I realize this seems like a blanket statement that anyone who attended elementary school in the 1990s could claim along with some nostalgia-related social cachet. However, my passion extended (probably) too far beyond those halcyon years. Case in point: When my mom found out that I was sexually active, maybe the third sentence that came out of her mouth was, “How is that even possible? You still play with Pokémon cards.”
Anyway, many years have passed since that statement, and my love for the game has been somewhat mitigated by a few key realizations made about the utter implausibility of said franchise. Although video games operate on a certain level of suspended disbelief, there are approximately five looming logical inconsistencies that take Pokémon and its basic unfeasibility beyond that of any fantastical digital entertainment. (And that’s not even counting the fact that I have now purchased the exact same game 10 different times, which is pretty dumb.) There’s a huge difference between most role playing games and Pokémon: With the former, you are dealing with imaginary settings and injecting yourself behind an avatar that possesses abilities that bend the laws of physics; with the latter, you’re just dealing with plot holes.
1. You Start the Game When You Are 10 Years Old
I’m sure this was empowering to the barely-double-digit demographic the franchise primarily courted, but anyone with a functioning brain should immediately realize that sending mere children off into the woods to battle monsters without so much as a cell phone or a pack of basic supplies is insane. Perhaps there was a never a recorded case of child abduction in the region of Kanto? I’m pretty sure Kanto didn’t have newspapers, so it’s sort of impossible to tell. Still, the mere existence of the “Imposter Professor Oak” card hints at something ominous. Really — even if the real Professor Oak was a stand-up guy who had passed background checks similar to those taken by all real-life education professionals granted mentorship over packs of pre-pubescent children, why were there guys running around pretending to be him? Seems sketch.
My spatial reasoning is still pretty deficient, but when I was 10 years old, I couldn’t find my way out of a brown paper bag. Somehow in Poke-world, parents sent their kids off to summit mountains to explore caves without so much as giving them maps or flashlights. If you were sending off your kid into the great unknown to complete a quest on which their entire self-worth hinged, would you not equip him or her for success? If you were sending them to live outside for months and possibly years at a time, would you not at least give them some Cliff Bars and a glow stick or something? “I know you’ll have to go through at least five caves swarming with nine million Zubats each, but you’ll figure it out, kid.” Way to go, parental neglect.
2. There Are No Amenities for Human Beings in the Entire World
Maybe the aversion these parents have to taking their spawn on pre-quest Wal-Mart runs has something to do with the fact that NO SUCH PLACE EXISTS. While a world without a retail behemoth stand-in is semi-utopian, it’s hard to ignore the fact that there aren’t even hospitals in Pokémon. There are Pokecenters designed for the care and treatment of Pokémon, but no mention of what to do if you yourself were to fall ill. In the game you just “whiteout” and evidently are resuscitated by some mysterious and never-seen benefactor. There are Pokémon nurseries, but no structural equivalent designed for the care of children. I guess that technically makes sense, because all children in Kanto are expected to fend for themselves and go on dangerous quests as soon as they can ride a bike without training wheels.
3. The Number of Species of Pokémon Basically Doubles Every Year
With every installment in the series, approximately 150 new “animal species” emerge and only a few are carried over from the last game. If we consider that a new handheld Pokémon game comes out approximately every year, that’s like waking up one day and suddenly there are only dogs, cats, tigers, lions and one million instantaneously discovered new species of animals. What happened to like, giraffes and elephants? Don’t ask questions.
4. Alakazam’s IQ Is Supposed to be 10,000, yet He Can’t Escape the Captivity Imposed by a 10-Year-Old
Having an IQ of 10,000 isn’t really something I can grasp, but I do assume it would grant one the ability to bend time and space. Apparently Alakazam cannot bend his way out of a Master Ball? Also, it can’t talk but Meowth can? A professor once told me that dogs made him sad because, while cats don’t even try to understand language, dogs will to do that one head tilt thing when you talk to them, tragically recognizing the importance of language despite being unable to respond. I always thought Alakazam sort of resembled a psychic dog? I’m going to go out on a limb and say Alakazam might be the most tragic character in video game history. (I don’t know where I’m going with this.)
5. Everything Is Existentially Depressing
So if everyone goes on this same quest on their 10th birthdays, why am I not running into a million other kids who want to chill? Why don’t these kids just get together and say, “Screw it” and go hang out instead? Do people in Pokemon lack free will? If my parents gave me the boot and told me not to come back until I enslaved every animal species on the planet, I would just go find other kids and play whatever the equivalent of video games is in Kanto. Related note — is every adult in the game with the exception of gym trainers, the Elite Four and Team Rocket a failed poketrainer who never made it? Like, is every ancillary character someone doomed to face reminders of his or her personal failures at every juncture, because the world they inhabit only serves to glorify and serve the quest to become the Very Best That No One Ever Was? What’s the suicide rate in Kanto? Jesus Christ.
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