Open Discussion Topic 3: Return of the Jedi King to the Last Crusade of Azkaban: With a Vengeance

Y’know, we’ve hit the biggest, most important questions already now – whether it would be a good idea to make Pokémon real, and what Pokémon’s core themes are.  Since I’ve so recklessly squandered this format’s potential by clearing up the grandest conceivable questions in the first two instalments (and, in so doing, settled those questions in perpetuity and throughout the universe), I’d like to move on, for the third One of These Things, to something much more detail-oriented.

How do all the “genderless” Pokémon work?

Pokémon that are “genderless”/“gender-unknown” presumably must reproduce, because they don’t all immediately go extinct as species.  Some of them might just be functionally immortal, but I have to imagine that most of them reproduce in some way that (for whatever reason) we just don’t see in the “day-care” environments we have in the games, some way that’s different from whatever the “standard” male/female Pokémon are doing.  For instance, I like to think that Magneton reproduce by fission – that at the end of its life a Magneton will break down into several Magnemite, and there is some chance of either a new Magneton forming from fewer than three Magnemite or an old Magneton breaking down into more than three, such that their population can gradually increase to make up the difference when some of them inevitably explode or get eaten by bears.

What can you come up with?  What’s a “genderless” Pokémon that you think might reproduce in an interesting way?  Or (related) what do you think “gender-unknown” might really mean for some of those species (3+ genders that don’t neatly map to male/female?  Fluid gender?  Truly genderless?)?

[EDIT: I should clarify here I’m using the word “gender” because that’s the games’ word for the property that seems to dictate which Pokémon can successfully breed with each other, which is… eh… let’s just try to overlook the obvious issues there.]

Discussion Roundup: What is Pokémon About?

All right, we had another One of These Things, and an appropriate Arbitrary Duration has passed, so here’s what I think of what people said in response to my dumb question: what is Pokémon “about”?  Part of the point of this one was I didn’t even know, necessarily, exactly how people were going to take the question; there’s several different ways you could reasonably have interpreted what I was asking, so there’s a lot in there, and I’ve almost certainly missed some good angles that came up in the comments.  Still, I’ll do my best to hit most of what we came up with and what I think of it.

Continue reading “Discussion Roundup: What is Pokémon About?”

Open Discussion Topic 2: Electric-Type Boogaloo

welcome to a This
another This
one of the Thing
another one of These Things. Yes. Two weeks ago I asked you all a dumb question and for some reason many of you saw fit to humour me with well-thought-out and reasoned answers to my dumb question, so I see no reason not to abuse this frankly outrageous goodwill by doing it again. Here is my second dumb question:

What do you think Pokémon is “about”?

And, by this, I mean not “it’s about fighting monsters who are your friends” but what it’s “about” in terms of themes and messages. There are a lot of one-word answers I think I could justify for this question: discovery, adventure, childhood, friendship, ambition, nature, hope.  I think probably most people would agree with all of those to some extent, but certainly wouldn’t place the same weight on each of them as I would, and would have their own additions to the list.  We probably also have different thoughts from Pokémon’s creators, and yet more different ideas on what Pokémon should be about. So… yeah, tell me what you think!

Be as broad or as restricted in the scope of your answer as you feel is appropriate: you may think that the themes of the Pokémon TV show (or individual series thereof) are different enough from the themes of the “core” games’ stories that it’s not worth trying to bring them together; you might even be a TCG player or a Masters player or, gods forbid, a Trozei! player who takes some personal meaning from your experiences with those games that has nothing to do with any of the stuff I usually talk about. Or you might be interested in trying to describe some fundamental theme that you think is present across all Pokémon media. I’m interested in the variety of answers that might be out there, is the point.

Discussion Roundup: Should We Make Pokémon Real?

So: should we take the hypothetical offer from the whimsical deity I imagined two weeks ago?

I think the rough consensus of the comment section is a qualified, reluctant “no,” which isn’t terribly surprising.  Even if we make a lot of nice assumptions in our own favour (Pokémon are able to slot relatively cleanly into existing ecosystems without causing a mass extinction; our nerd-knowledge of Pokémon allows us to help smooth the transition; many people can learn fairly quickly to be competent trainers), I think it’s pretty clear that this scenario would be a major global disruption. I also think it’s probably fair to say that my particular style of bull$#!t probably attracts a fairly analytically inclined type of person who would (like me) find it interesting to think about the ways a more “realistic” setting would break down a lot of Pokémon’s utopian assumptions.  It is, at the very least, an obviously risky proposal.  That being the case, it seems only fair that I attempt to argue the case for “yes.”

I’d say there’s roughly two main categories of objections, with some overlap between the two:

  1. Real Pokémon would be dangerously destructive to both humans and the environment.
  2. Real Pokémon would be exploited by humans, for nefarious ends or simply out of greed.

If we want to say yes, I think we have to make the argument that either these things wouldn’t happen (or at least that we’d be able to mitigate them), or that, to the extent they did happen, the benefits (smol frens who are magic) would outweigh them.

Continue reading “Discussion Roundup: Should We Make Pokémon Real?”

Open Discussion Topic


shut up for a second

actually, don’t shut up, that is the opposite thing of the thing I am specifically requesting that you do

do listen though

I answer questions sometimes from readers, which is always a very exciting opportunity for you to be told, by someone who has a website, that your opinions are wrong and you should feel bad, and is to a certain extent a source of #content for me. This is obviously a win-win, and an important part of what allows the poorly designed and nebulously purposed edifice known as Pokémaniacal to continue functioning.

But sometimes I have a question, y’know? And often I have questions whose topics are, frankly, not things I could usefully write an article or other substantial “feature” about, but if I’m not going to answer it, who the hell am I supposed to go to? It’s not like I have any friends among the ranks of other Pokémon #content #creators, well, except I Chews You, and no matter what the question is, they’d just answer “have you tried eating the Pokémon?” or maybe Exp. Share now, but honestly we’re still at the “trying to make them think I’m cool” stage of that relationship, and I guess there’s Pokéjungle, ’cause I’ve written a little bit for them before, but they’re way too big and too busy to bother themselves with my bull$#!t. So I have these dumb questions and no one to take them to, and I says to myself, I says “I have some extremely intelligent and attractive readers, and Hugh. Why don’t I ask them some $#!t sometimes? They’d all be wrong, but a lot of them would be wrong in amusing ways, and it would probably generate #engagement or some $#!t, right?”

So that’s what this is. I’m going to pose a question, you’re going to tell me what you think in the comments. Depending on how many answers we get and how much discussion there is of the answers, I might collect my favourite bits in a follow-up post. If it isn’t a disaster, I’ll do it again; maybe we can make it a “thing,” maybe one day I’ll even think of a useful question. Anyway this is the hypothetical I want to put in front of you today:

A benevolent but somewhat careless deity offers you the opportunity to just make Pokémon real: they’ll be introduced into the real world, all over the planet, in environments that suit the preferences of each species.  Manufacturers around the world will also receive designs for basic Pokéballs (but none of the other futuristic technology of Pokémon’s setting).

Do you take the offer?  Why, or why not?

(As might already be obvious, I’m less interested in whether the answer is “yes” or “no” and more interested in what reasons there might be for picking either side, because I think there are a lot of possible arguments for each, and probably a lot more that I’m not thinking of.)