What are your thoughts on Pokémon evolution as a biological process instead of as a gameplay feature?
Larry has no shortage of his own thoughts so I’m gonna break this up.
Most evolutionary lines are very clearly meant to be not only progressions of power, but also of physical maturity and aging. There are outright “baby pokémon”, but it’s not like those are children and the rest are all adults. Most first stages in three stage lines, and some in two stage lines, are made to look and act like children, small and playful.
Right, but at the same time, most unevolved Pokémon are viable on their own, which is interesting. Pidgey can survive and reproduce without evolving into Pidgeotto; you can have a whole community of Pidgey without a single Pidgeotto and they’ll probably manage. With the exception of “baby” Pokémon, who can’t lay eggs (presumably because the designers saw them as “too young” to reproduce – it’s weird that Gold and Silver didn’t extend this restriction to a few other pre-existing Pokémon, like Caterpie), an unevolved Pokémon is a “complete” organism. So I think in a lot of cases it’s not just maturity as such but maybe a social and/or hierarchical thing. More evolved Pokémon might need more space and more food or other resources, so maybe it’s advantageous to the whole community if only a small number of them evolve.
Continue reading “Larry asks:”
Have you had the chance to take a look at the recently leaked Space World ’97 demo of Pokemon Gold and Silver? I would love to hear what you think about each of the scrapped and heavily altered Pokemon designs. If you haven’t seen them yet, you can find them here: https://tcrf.net/Proto:Pok%C3%A9mon_Gold_and_Silver
Wellll, I saw it, and I kinda went back and forth on whether to say anything about it, and eventually just sort of waffled until it felt like the moment had passed, but here we are, so…
The synopsis for people who haven’t seen any of this yet is as follows: The Cutting Room Floor, a community that studies material from video game development that was cut from commercial release, recently got hold of a very early beta version of Gold and Silver. This version of the game was available to play at Nintendo’s Space World trade show in November 1997 – almost exactly two years before the games were actually released in Japan. Only a tiny part of the game was actually accessible in the demo without debug commands, but all the Pokémon and maps of most of the region (though nothing that tells us much about the story) are in the code if you know where to look, and the effects of those two years of development are pretty evident. It features a region apparently based on the whole of Japan (with Kanto being reduced to a single city – Pallet Town is intact, Pokémon Tower stands in the northeast, and we have the most important buildings from Saffron City and Celadon City, but the rest is almost unrecognisable; the Kanto Gym sits in the location roughly corresponding to the Indigo Plateau), Gold and Silver’s day/night mechanics and Pokégear with radio and cell phone functions, as well as 100 Pokémon that were not in generation I. Not all of these are the same as the 100 Pokémon that we actually got in the final commercial release of generation II. Some were already known from concept art that has leaked over the years, such as the scrapped Fire and Water starter Pokémon, or the early version of Girafarig’s design, but several are completely new to us. Continue reading “Joe Cool asks:”
Some Pokemon like Eevee have evolutions that act like an actual evolution, some creature adapting to certain living conditions. However, most Pokemon don’t actually evolve, they just grow up; hence baby Pokemon. Bulbasaur isn’t adapting to a new environment or anything it’s just getting older, thus the bud on its back blooms and its body grows. Does this bother you at all, or do you not mind it?
Well, Pokémon evolution is sufficiently different to real-world evolution anyway that details like whether it’s ‘adaptation’ or not kind of go over my head. Darwinian evolution has no effect on individuals. Organisms cannot ‘evolve’ within their own lifetimes. Only populations can evolve. What Pokémon are doing – dramatic change within the lifetime of a single creature – is really metamorphosis; it makes more sense to compare Bulbasaur to, say, what a cicada or dragonfly does. Evolution is a bit of a silly thing to call it, I suppose, but I think I’ve been desensitised to it over the sixteen years I’ve been playing Pokémon.