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.

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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.)