The Dag asks:

Why do you think Poison-type Pokemon were so commonplace and widespread in Gen I and since then have been relatively scarce since?

Honestly, maybe the fact that it’s true is the reason for the thing itself?  Like, if balance of the number of Pokémon in each type is something that Game Freak cares about at all, then you could fairly look at the 33 first-generation Poison-types and say “okay, we have more than enough of these.”  Per Bulbapedia, Poison is still the 8th most common type out of 18, despite gaining only three new members in generation II, four in III and just two (Skrelp and Dragalge) in VI.

I think Poison is just… a weird thing to even be a type, frankly.  It’s like Flying, in that it’s more something a Pokémon does than something a Pokémon is (except arguably in the case of industrial waste Pokémon like Muk and Weezing), and it’s not hard to imagine its abilities being given fairly freely to Pokémon who aren’t actually members of the type.  And… well, think of other JRPGs.  Poison is always a status effect; off the top of my head I can’t think of any games that have a concept of status effects where poison isn’t one of them.  However, I think I’m justified in saying that it’s very rarely, if ever, a trait of monsters that affects their general strengths and weaknesses.  Having Poison as a type at all is a very weird decision, both conceptually and in terms of mechanical game design, and generation I also slaps it on several Pokémon for whom poison is… arguably not a very strong part of their identity – Bulbasaur, Golbat, Nidoran?  I’m really going out on a limb here, but it’s sort of plausible to me that Game Freak’s designers genuinely didn’t know what to do with the Poison type for quite a while after the first games.

A Particularly Persnickety Probopass asks:

What’s wrong with me?

listen, Probopass, we’ve been over this

you were the dumbest Pokémon of the generation for two generations running, which by all rights shouldn’t even have been possible

you’re a moai, but you’re also a compass, and you have a terrible moustache, and for some reason you have small flying noses, and I won’t say there’s nothing clever or interesting or redeemable in there, but at the end of the day you’re a big red nose with a stone idiot hanging off it

AceTrainerAlvaro asks:

Pokedex entries are psuedo-scientific at best but locomotion is a sorely abused biological concept in a lot of Pokémon designs. Other than Garchomp flying around at “jet plane” speeds*, what are some the most egregious examples in your opinion? For me, the two other worst offenders are A) Escavalier, which somehow “fl[ies] around at high speed” – I like to pretend it actually hovers on rapidly flapping insect wings, too fast for human eyes to see – and B) the Diving Pokémon Lugia – I cannot explain how a benthic organism can use those same large flippers to break the surface and move its body through the air using anything other than “psychic force propulsion”.

*in my mind, Garchomp has a modified swim bladder that has evolved allowing it to float in the lighter-than-water fluid that is air, but I still can’t imagine how Garchomp achieves lift to propel itself through the air.

Escavalier always really bothered me too, just because of how slow the damn thing actually is in the game; you see the same kind of thing with Donphan, Vikavolt, probably some others (EDIT: however, see here on what “speed” and other stats actually mean).  Honestly, I don’t even care that it doesn’t have wings, because I can totally imagine it just, like, levitating on magnetism or something – although of course the bastard thing doesn’t learn Magnet Rise either.  Speaking of Magnet Rise, though, Jim the Editor found a fantastic one, which is that Electrode can apparently become so bloated with electricity that it floats and drifts along on the wind.

All that said, though, off the top of my head I can’t think of anything that tops Garchomp being able to fly – and I will note here that it can’t actually learn Fly, which would have been a very easy move to give it in a practical sense, and not a serious game balance threat.  That’s actually what bugs me here, the lack of consistency, that Garchomp in the game doesn’t do anything that makes it seem like it should be able to fly.  ‘cause, like… the physics of flight clearly don’t work for a whole lot of Pokémon; I don’t really believe Charizard could fly with wings that size, and Dragonite sure as hell couldn’t.  But Charizard’s clearly a traditional European dragon, and they’re supposed to fly whether the physics works or not, and Dragonite’s all mystical and sacred and stuff.  Likewise, I’m not bothered by just about anything Lugia does because Lugia clearly is extremely magic.  There’s realism, and there’s verisimilitude, y’know?

N asks:

What would a pokémon based in New Zealand be like?

Well, New Zealand has a lot of unique native birds, and I’d love to see Pokémon based on some of them.  Kiwi are the obvious choice, because they’re adorable and weird and iconic, but I think you could also do something fun with kea (mountain parrots that dismantle people’s cars for fun), moa (extinct giant emu-things), kākāpō (flightless nocturnal parrots with a booming mating call that can be heard several kilometres away) or pūkeko (wading swamp birds with beautiful blue and black plumage and red beaks that adapt easily to living near humans).  We’d need something for pāua, which are a kind of abalone with an iridescent shell that’s used a lot in Māori art.  I’d love a regional form of Shelmet with rainbow armour, that kept its armour instead of losing it to Karrablast and evolved into a warrior with a taiaha or mere.  There should probably be some kind of bat Pokémon, because bats are New Zealand’s only native mammals, but I don’t know exactly what to do with it beyond that.  And we’d need a giant wētā – they’re these huge bugs, like spiky crickets the size of your hand (if you choose to search for images of them, don’t be scared; they look terrifying but they’re completely harmless).  You maybe don’t even need to do much with that one; just make it a huge, tanky pure Bug-type.

Jim the Editor had this idea that I absolutely love, which was to have a Solrock regional form based on the legend of Maui slowing down the sun (aside: I love that the existence of the movie Moana means we can talk about Maui and Americans will more or less know who that is), possibly also building in some kind of reference to the ozone hole, which has always been a particularly acute problem for New Zealand.  Maybe they normally live in the sky but have been driven closer to the ground by air pollution and are terrorising land Pokémon.  I think there’s a lot of cool possibilities.

At the risk of sounding like a wet blanket, though, I do want to repeat some stuff I’ve said before about designing Pokémon regions, namely that I would not be super comfortable about Game Freak doing this stuff without hiring some Māori artists and designers as consultants.  I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to take material from indigenous cultures to inspire new media, but money from that commodification should flow back to those communities and they should have a voice in how it’s done.  It would be… really personally unpleasant for me if this were something I had to get mad at Pokémon about.

Ace Trainer Fox asks:

How would you feel if game freak made a region based on Mexico or Spain, it has many of the same points as India for a candidate, a rich cultural history, interesting landscapes, heck, you could even have some really cool regional forms, like a water grass type maractus based on cacti that store water, or a chatot evolution based on a macaw, or even a fairy type happy phantump & trevenant based around a pokemon themed festival similar to the day of the dead. Sorry, I went off on a but of a tangeant there, but something like that would be rather interesting, just some food for thought.

Yeah!

Uh

I don’t know; I feel like I should have something to add to this but… um… well, yeah, there’s all kinds of cool things you could do with a Mexican region.  I’m a history and archaeology guy so obviously the first thing that occurs to me is that it would be cool to have some Aztec-, Toltec- and Olmec-inspired stuff; maybe a Nosepass regional form (or a totally new Pokémon) using the Olmec heads from La Venta, or an Aztec “jaguar warrior” Pokémon, or a legendary “feathered serpent” (or even just a resplendent quetzal Pokémon).  Modern Mexico would have a lot of cool natural and cultural inspirations for Pokémon too.

The Great Pyramid-Palace of Myanak asks:

Now that it’s a few generations later, are there any new(ish) Pokemon who would potentially displace those in your Top Ten Worst Ever series?

Y’know, I honestly don’t think so?  For one thing, I don’t think that I would write that list today in any case. Even aside from that, though, part of the criteria for that list was I had to have major issues with both the design and the Pokémon’s in-game traits, and there’s just very few designs in generations VI-VIII that I think are genuine duds.  Dedenne might be the only one since I wrote that list, and I sort of gave the Pikachu clones a single spot together, so adding Dedenne wouldn’t actually make any difference.  Greedent and Thievul are pretty dull, I suppose, and I haven’t really seen any evidence that either of them can do much; they’d be worth consideration. Of course, they’ll be getting reviews in their own time, so I suppose if they turn out to be redeemable we’ll find out then.

Tapu Wooloo asks:

Now that regional variants are a thing, can you revisit your article on Beautifly and Dustox and say what more you would do with them?

ugggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh

so the thing about Beautifly and Dustox

is that there’s no reason for them to exist

and I know I try not to say things like this anymore, and I try to be nice about Pokémon that are a bit dull or pointless, and I’m just a more chill and friendly persona now and try to keep my violent rage against the entire universe buried under a few thousand layers of self-loathing and cream cheese icing, and I don’t even think that article is good anymore, we’ve simply moved on, Tapu Wooloo, but my god, WHY ARE Beautifly and Dustox?  What, actually, is the point?

I mean, really, there’s an argument that Beautifly and Dustox are already just Hoennese forms of Butterfree and Venomoth.

I don’t even know what you’d do with them that justifies using them and not any other butterfly or moth Pokémon.  Vivillon is kinda the obviously more interesting butterfly Pokémon to work with as a regional variant because it has them already; they just weren’t called that at the time; you could retcon all its existing forms by giving them more significant cosmetic and mechanical differences and suddenly you have a whole bunch of regional variants, most of them for regions we haven’t even visited yet!  I guess there must be something that makes use of Wurmple’s split evolution, right?  Something sun/moon-themed might have been good, because Beautifly and Dustox have a day/night duality to them and Dustox is based on a luna moth, but we kinda missed the perfect opportunity for that with Alola (and you’d have to be careful not to step on Volcarona’s toes, because Beautifly 100% does not survive that comparison).  The most interesting thing about Beautifly is it can stab you with its face and drink your blood, so I guess I would like to work more with that, but how you would actually go about it depends on the region you were building, I guess.  You could flip the day/night thing on its head and have, like, a vampire Beautifly with a black and red colour scheme, then make Dustox into something vaguely day- or sun-themed, maybe imitating the colours of a monarch butterfly… that works better mechanically too, because Dustox is already support-oriented and wouldn’t be so obviously trying to compete with Volcarona.  Needs more than that, of course, but it’s a start.

I know this is not a particularly satisfying answer, but this question has seriously been in my inbox for weeks, and the sincere answer is honestly “nothing, why would there be anything?” so… y’know, I’m trying, is the point.

Ace Trainer Fox asks:

What pokemon do you want to get future regional forms? If you need a basis, for a region based on say, greece?

This is a tricky question to answer, because yeah, it really does kinda depend on the region.  To my mind, the best thing about regional forms is that they illustrate the region’s identity and culture, or the way Pokémon have adapted to the particular challenges of living there.  There are no Pokémon that I think should get regional forms, because that’s the opposite of how I think about the question.  But then again, despite being an archaeologist who works in Greece, I’ve also never been enthusiastic about the idea of a Pokémon region based on Greece, either; I just think there are other choices that would be more interesting.  When people ask, I usually say that I’d like a region based on India.  There are a few obvious choices for regional variants there that could incorporate references to Indian history and culture into their designs, although I don’t have any specific ideas for how to do that off the top of my head: Arbok, because cobras are Indian.  Copperajah, because elephants are Indian.  Medicham, because Buddhism started in India.  Raikou, because tigers are Indian (and we may as well drag Suicune and Entei into it).  Machamp, because divine beings in Indian art are so often human-shaped with extra pairs of arms.  Miltank, because cows are symbolically important in Hinduism.  Do something with Claydol that uses motifs from the Bronze Age Indus Valley civilisation.  You get the idea.

What is a Dag? asks:

What things/animals would like to see as inspiration for Pokemon in future installments?

Well, here’s a bunch of ideas on this theme that I’ve spat out over the years:

https://pokemaniacal.com/2019/07/12/james-crooks-patreon-cultist-asks/#more-5917
https://pokemaniacal.com/2019/06/09/jeffthelinguist-asks-8/#more-5744
https://pokemaniacal.com/2019/05/13/not-me-asks-2/
https://pokemaniacal.com/2019/02/15/mr-f-asks/
https://pokemaniacal.com/2018/05/15/anonymous-asks-5/
https://pokemaniacal.com/2017/12/31/if-you-had-to-make-a-generic-normal-type-rodent/
https://pokemaniacal.com/2015/06/20/what-would-be-your-ideal-worm-cocoon-some-kind/
https://pokemaniacal.com/2014/03/09/i-see-you-liked-my-pitohui-pokemon-thanks-which/
https://pokemaniacal.com/2012/11/12/if-the-creature-design-department-at-pokemon/

But you asked, so I suppose I should come up with a couple of other things that could be used as starting points…

  • Horned lizards can squirt blood from their eyes, which… well, I dunno if that does you any actual good but it’s pretty metal.
  • Climbing perch are fish that can walk and supposedly even climb trees, and by god, there has to be something you can do with that.
  • Naked mole rats are blind, cold-blooded, hairless rodents that live like ants, in massive hives with queens, and are mysteriously immune to both pain and cancer; and frankly that might, if anything, be too weird to make a Pokémon out of.
  • Therizinosaurus is a massive, terrifying dinosaur with vicious scythe claws, a close-ish cousin of “raptors” like Dromaeosaurus and Deinonychus, that apparently decided at some point in its evolution “fµ¢£ this super-predator shit; I’m going veggie.”

Any of those would be fun, I reckon.