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.
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?
Occasionally, once in a few generations, Game Freak will take the time to go back to the older Pokémon’s Pokédex entries and take the time to update and add new information to them, rather than recycle the same facts. My question is, do you think that it is worthwhile? How much effort do you think it takes to add new facts to an older Pokémon? Would that time have been better spent on refining the newer things? Or are the new Pokédex entries really not that important and noticeable?
I like it a
lot, mostly because one or two Pokédex entries aren’t really enough to cover
all the angles on what might make a Pokémon interesting or fully develop the concept. The fact that Pokédex completion, as of
generation VII, is now decoupled from any one save file (Pokébank can now
display all possible Pokédex information of all the Pokémon you’ve captured on
any of the games you own) I think helps to put all of this stuff
front-and-centre a bit more, and emphasise the accumulation of information
across multiple generations. A lot of
this stuff really helps to fill out the world and give us a sense of its
ecology and culture – especially in Sun and Moon, where many old Pokémon (even
those without Alolan forms) have Pokédex entries that describe how they live in
Alola or relate to Alolan Pokémon, in keeping with generation VII’s greater
focus on world-building and developing the character of the region itself. I’ve been thinking about doing a sort of
“Pokédex appreciation” series – trawling the Pokédex for interesting bits of
trivia we’ve learned about Pokémon over the years, because frankly I do
regularly learn new things about old Pokémon that surprise and delight me. Would that appeal to anyone?
Could you kiiiiindly use the Alolan forms as an excuse to write your usual reviews for some of the older Pokémon? So, like, you could write about Rattata/Raticate or Cubone/Marowak and use that to talk about both the Kantonian and Alolan forms! It would give you a great excuse to wildly speculate about Pokémon ecology and evolution (in the real-life sense) 😉
Without getting too much into future plans – I am going to be doing something with older Pokémon after I finish talking about generation VII, but it’s not going to be in the same style as my usual reviews. There will probably also be a general article about the Alolan forms as a group, sort of like what I did for mega evolution in generation VI, and I’ll do my best to talk about the most interesting ones there.
I’m so happy you’re writing up your Moon playthrough!! Your posts already made me laugh out loud a few times and, as always, you make make thorough observations & bring up interesting points. Side note, did you notice Rotom call Ilima a dreamboat? Anyway, I wanted to let you know that different forms of the same species get their own dex entries in Sun and Moon. I strongly suggest looking at them all at some point! Several shed a new light on some of the pre-existing Pokémon forms.
I did notice, and he is. And that’s good to know; I’ll look out for it. I think maybe when this playthrough is over I want to do a sort of Alola Pokédex appreciation post, because some of this stuff is gold (and possibly dethrones the original Ruby and Sapphire in my personal rankings for best-written Pokédex).
Without spoiling anything from Sun and Moon, I will advise you as much as possible to check the new Pokedex entries for old Pokemon found in Alola. The new entries have a LOT of personality, much more so than the old games.
If you had the chance, would you rearrange the National Dex? And how? I’m also talking the possibility of merging spiecies like the Nidorans or Illumise/Volbeat, that kind of stuff.
Well… yes and no? By which I mean the National Pokédex doesn’t remotely resemble how I would structure the Pokédex if I were starting from scratch (I think I would arrange Pokémon by habitat, similarly to what you can do with the Fire Red and Leaf Green Pokédex, or perhaps by egg group), but seeing as we have the damn thing as a known and established entity, I don’t think that getting rid of it or changing it would serve any particular purpose.
What do you think the in-universe justification for the national pokedex is? like why is kanto first, then johto, and so on. Is it because Oak created the pokedexes?
I think maybe the better question is “why is there an order at all?”
They’re not physical books; they don’t need to be printed, so there’s no need for the entries to actually exist in any sort of canonical order. The user can just ask for one specific entry, or for a list of entries arranged alphabetically, or by type, or by geographical distribution, or whatever. In-universe there is no obvious reason why, for instance, the Pidgey line should come immediately after the Weedle line. And then, of course, the one clear ordering principle – the fact that evolutionary families go together – is then violated apparently at random (again, from an in-universe perspective) by Pokémon like Pichu or Kingdra.
Now safely back in Pallet Town, Ash has to start preparing for the Pokémon League tournament – and in order to do that, he has to visit Professor Oak to find out when and where the tournament actually takes place (evidently, the answer is: in exactly two months, at exactly the same place as every year – the Indigo Plateau). It apparently never occurred to him before now to look this stuff up. When he arrives at the lab with Misty and Brock, Oak is apparently more excited to see Togepi than to see him, but nonetheless welcomes the gang into his sitting room, where they find out that – as always – Gary is two steps ahead of Ash. They are almost immediately at each other’s throats, but Professor Oak protests that it would be a shame for there to be a feud between Pallet Town’s two “top trainers” – to the indignant disbelief of both. Ash and Gary snipe each other for a while as the Professor examines their Pokédexes, and then it’s time for a tour of his facilities.
Why does Gamefreak continue to make their Pokedex entries so blatantly at odds with the actual game? Is it some kind of weird in joke with them?
Do they? I mean. I’m sure they do, but is there any trend to it? Does it happen more or less from one generation to the next? You’re going to need to be a bit more specific if you want some wild speculation on Game Freak’s inner motives.
Once we finally get around to wrapping up the rivals series, though, I do have another project in mind that might shed some light on this. So… watch this space, I guess.