One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
What kind of Pokémon wanted to join you? – Creepy – Intelligent
The odd thing is, you didn’t see it at first. You mostly remember releasing Bug Pokémon from the cages – Caterpie, Weedle, Ledyba, Spinarak. There were some Pidgey, even a couple of Pikachu, who immediately fled into the underbrush. Not really anything you’re surprised to see; hell, aside from the Pikachu you aren’t even sure what Pokémon there are here that are even worth poaching. What is the business model of a Pokémon poacher, anyway? You make a mental note to ask your prisoners that. The point is, everything you consciously remember seeing is… well, not that you’d ever put it like this, but trash.
But when you glance over your shoulder at Scallion and Nancy, the Pokémon talking to them isn’t any of those. It’s… a four-legged, furry charcoal-grey Pokémon with a pointed face and keen, intelligent, almost sinister eyes. Did it just come out of the forest? No, you’re sure it walked over to them from the stream of Pokémon you were releasing from the cages. You saw it out of the corner of your eye.
What do you do with your prisoners? – Restrain Kevin so you can drag them both to the authorities.
You all take a moment to revel in your victory and high-five each other before doing anything else. You’ve got time; Ned is already pretty securely tied up, and Kevin… well, Kevin’s still moping over his unconscious Zubat. Poor guy seems like he’s having some kind of breakdown. Abner has his Pokémon start spinning more silk, and you help him tie up Kevin and attach some extra leads to Ned’s cocoon so you can drag him along the ground behind you. Meanwhile Stacey and Ellis tend to the injuries the Pokémon have suffered – including Zubat. You aren’t sure about the ethics of confiscating the loyal Pokémon of criminal trainers, and you don’t want to risk Ned’s Pokémon trying to fight you if you let them out, so you get Kevin to recall his Zubat and decide to let the police in Pewter City sort it out once you get there. Neither Kevin nor Ned seem to be in any mood to talk (even if Ned’s mouth weren’t muffled by the silk), and refuse to say anything about their operation. Once you’re sure Kevin’s hands are securely bound, you start moving back in the direction of the clearing where you found them.
How do you deal with the poachers? – Use your Bug Pokémon to create snares and set up an ambush.
If you get into a fight, which Pokémon will you use? – Scallion, the Bulbasaur – Nancy the Negator, the Minun
[AUTHOR TIEBREAK: Nancy can cheer for our other Pokémon from the sidelines, so let’s have Scallion take point.]
You think about the problem for a minute. Yeah, all things considered, Dane has a point; the five of you with all your Pokémon probably could take these clowns with a good battle plan, even if they do turn out to be a bit stronger than you individually. But why risk it? You all have Bug Pokémon that can spin silk (except maybe Ellis? You glance at him questioningly and he confirms that, yes, his Beedrill is still young enough to remember String Shot) – you can use them to create nets and webs, string them up between the trees, then lure the poachers into a trap. With any luck, you won’t even have to fight.
After receiving a mysterious “mission” from some potentially hostile Pokémon, what do you want to do? – Honour the agreement and investigate
…you really don’t know what’s good for you, do you, kiddo?
You’ve always been a curious kid, and there’s no way you can just let this go. A bunch of wild Pokémon, apparently asking you to… eliminate(???) another human in their territory? Who? And why? You don’t see how it can hurt to check it out; you can decide what to do about it once you know what “it” is. Besides, as you point out to persuade Dane, the Ariados could be watching to see if you’ll do as you’ve been told, and they can probably move faster than you through the dense forest. Before you leave, you take several more photos of the dirt-scratch map from a couple of different angles, just to make sure you’ll be able to find your way (and hey, if you have more images to show Professor Oak later, that’s just gravy). You notice that, quite close to the spiderweb symbol marking the Ariados’ nest, the map has another scratchy little glyph resembling a human caught in a web, which you realise is probably the campsite you just left, where most of your stuff is. If you hurry, you can get back before dark.
Surrounded by six huge spider Pokémon, what do you do?
Well, I’ve heard worse ideas. True, most of them were Larry’s, but under the circumstances I guess talking is relatively unlikely to get you all killed.
Abner, Stacey and Dane are standing back-to-back and glaring defiantly at the spider Pokémon surrounding them, with all their own Pokémon at the ready. Dane’s Weedle and Stacey’s Caterpie are clinging to their trainers’ arms, but are poised to fire String Shots; Abner’s Metapod and Kakuna are both on the ground, already using Harden; and Stacey’s Ledyba is zipping around their heads, glaring at each of the fierce-looking Bug Pokémon in turn. Ellis and his Beedrill move to join them, but you catch him by the elbow and hiss a warning. Between the five of you, with all your Pokémon, you have your attackers well and truly outnumbered, but frankly they’re bigger.
This has been paused for far longer than I meant it to be, but starting tomorrow, A Pokémon Trainer Is You! is coming back! If you don’t know/remember what that is (in which case, well, I can’t blame you; I haven’t written anything for it in months) APTIY is an interactive story loosely based on the events of Pokémon: Red and Blue, where the main character’s actions and choices are determined by polls of the audience. It was previously on a weekly update schedule, but in future I’m going to aim for every two weeks, at least for the time being, to avoid taking too much time away from articles. If you haven’t read any of this story before, or just want a refresher on everything that’s happened so far, you can read it all here!
This post contains the entire story so far of my ongoing interactive Pokémon adventure fiction, A Pokémon Trainer Is You!, a reimagining of the story of Pokémon: Red and Blue where my readers choose the main character’s path through the world through polls accompanying each episode (latest episodes can be found here). Read this to get up to speed on what’s currently happening, or refresh your memory of past events!
A Pokémon Trainer Is You!
The day has finally come! Having reached at last the ripe old age of [data not found], you are ready to leave Pallet Town all on your own and quest for glory! A Pokémon trainer is you! Your Pokémon legend is about to unfold! Y’know, unless you get lost in the woods and starve to death. That can happen. I knew a guy once who that happened to. Poor Larry. Rest in peace, man.
How much of the way our experience with “a pokémon trainer is you!” was based on the background we picked for our character? Obviously, there were the story beats with us doing ranger/biologist work besides training.
But I’m assuming that our capacity to find Pokémon that you usually only see in Kanto under special conditions (The Hoenn Radio In Soulsilver) is because our scientist background lets us examine the environment better? And our compassion is the reason we’ve had your first non-misanthrope character. I assume even if we weren’t a big battling fan we’d still know most, if not all, type matchups though? (The games and the anime pretending 10-year olds wouldn’t know that ground is immune to electric is just… the worst worldbuilding I’ve seen.. ever? )
Uh, but tangent aside- I meant to ask you about what you would do with each specialty! “Swords” seemed weird as fuck and I’m confused, but I’m pretty interested in Athlete- would that let us basically be our own HM pokémon?
[Before saying anything else: I do want to bring this back, but things are… well, crazy right now, as I think most people have probably noticed. When I do, it will probably be a two-week schedule rather than every week, because that was taking too much time away from articles.]
[…what is my life]
But yeah, the point of that “choose your background” question was basically to decide what kind of story this was going to be, what aspects of the Pokémon world we were going to focus on. Part of that is just dictating the kinds of details I emphasise and explore in the narration, but the character’s skills also determine some of the options I offer when we have a choice to make. I didn’t have everything planned out, but for every “special skill” I had some idea of a few things that it would let us do to take the story of Pokémon: Red and Blue off the rails, and a few ways that our character would react differently to the events of the story. The point is that the things we do to influence the world in significant ways should mainly come from those “special skills.”
What do you want to do tomorrow? – Explore the deep forest.
Part of you wants to focus on getting to Pewter City so you can get that whole gym challenge thing back on track after your frustrating false start in Viridian City. On the other hand, though… this forest is fascinating to you. People in Viridian City called it a “natural maze” because of the way the vegetation swallows any artificial path that isn’t constantly maintained, leaving a tangled mess of Pokémon migration paths, treefall clearings and hill crests as the only real landmarks. No one alive really knows Viridian Forest, and even your new friends who’ve spent time here before are only truly familiar with a small part of the southern reaches. Still, with your scientific knowledge, their wilderness skills and a bit of luck, you’re confident you can map out a sector of the forest and gain some valuable data about the ecosystem – maybe even find a cool new Pokémon or some kind of, like, lost treasure or whatever. You all pack up your gear and set off northward, most of your Pokémon out of their balls and playing together as you move.
Which Pokémon will battle Ellis’ Beedrill, and how? – Use Scallion the Bulbasaur, and try to think of an unconventional strategy.
A Beedrill is a tough opponent, especially for a Grass Pokémon like Scallion, and unlike the other bug catchers, Ellis seems to have experience to balance your knowledge of Pokémon and battle tactics. You’re going to need to pull some kind of bull$#!t to win this one. You glance around the clearing – tents, leaf litter, a couple of hillocks, tall trees all around…
You glance down at Scallion, catching his eye, and jerk your head at the tree branches. He follows your gaze and looks back at you in confusion. You jerk your head again and make a motion with your hands as if pulling on a rope. Scallion stares, baffled, then something clicks and his eyes widen. He looks at you nervously and tilts his head. You nod vigorously and give him a manic grin.
I gotta tell you, kid, I do not like where this is going.