4 Creepy Ways 'Pokemon' Changed Since You Stopped Playing

Even if you've never played a Pokemon game in your life, you're probably familiar with the basic premise. You travel around the world to capture and battle fictional creatures, all of which love fighting and never suffer any harm when they get clawed in the face or blasted by fire because that would be sad. It's about as wholesome and innocent as a series about magical cock fights can get.

But the first Pokemon game came out over 15 years ago, and if you've long stopped paying attention, you'll be surprised by the bizarre things that have happened to the series. All those innocent kids who grew up with Pokemon aren't so innocent anymore, and that's why ...

#4. Players Became Obsessed With Math


When you're a kid, playing Pokemon is easy: You pick the Pokemon that look rad and make them attack the other guy until someone wins. When you have a gigantic armored turtle armed with highly pressurized water cannons, it's not hard to determine your battle tactics.

The Pokemon Company
"What if I didn't use my massive cannons? Wait, no, that's stupid."

Sure, there was some strategy, but as long as you didn't, say, send a walking flower to fight a creature that's literally made of fire, you could hold your own against most foes.

But then fans grew up and got serious about winning. They collectively said, "Hey, this game where monsters battle monsters is fun, but how can I add spreadsheets to it and get this MOTHERFUCKING PARTY STARTED FOR REAL!?"

Like many games, Pokemon has a lot of math going on in the background -- there are hidden statistics and calculations that determine how strong your critters are, sort of like how supercomputers secretly control the elaborate simulation that is our existence. Dedicated gamers have gone through the looking glass and figured out the inner secrets of Pokemon. For example, here's how "individual values," one of several hidden statistics, are calculated:


For those of you who don't feel like digging out your TI-89s to follow along, here's a practical application comparing two Pokemon:


What, that doesn't make sense to you either? Well, don't look at me for an explanation -- I've played the majority of Pokemon games, but this still just looks like a calculator got diarrhea to me. The only context I can provide is that a Marill is this:

The Pokemon Company
Intensive research is clearly needed here.

Intuition tells me that Marill B has an advantage over Marill A, but that's based solely on the shaky assumption that something called "thick fat" isn't as powerful as something called "huge power."

I'm not going to bore you with the nitty-gritty details of Pokemon math, because reading about it actually makes you less physically attractive, but it boils down to this: All Pokemon of the same type will have slightly different attributes. That means some will be naturally stronger than others and some will have (not to get technical here) a certain "fatness" about the "thick area." You can therefore make sure your Pokemon is the best of its kind if you're willing to read long essays on the subject, invest many tedious hours in the game, and reduce your knowledge of sunlight to a hazy memory of what it once was.

Gamers who want to be the very best (like no one ever was) have to catch or breed the same Pokemon over and over again until they get the characteristics they want, while releasing the inferior specimens into the wild to ultimately live richer and more fulfilling lives than the gamer ever would.

#3. It Secretly Got Dark

The Pokemon Company

Everyone, I'd like you to meet Drifloon:

The Pokemon Company
"Drifloon" is the Japanese word for "Heart Feet and Ghost Poop Toupee."

Cute, right? These guys just float around, enjoy the open skies, and, uh, try to kidnap children.

Yup, Drifloons are all attempted, and apparently sometimes successful, child snatchers. According to the official in-game descriptions, they try to pull away children who grab them, and any kid who mistakes Drifloons for balloons "could wind up missing." Suddenly the game where you make lightning squirrels murder fire dogs doesn't sound so innocent, does it?

Every single Pokemon has bits of backstory to help explain why there are psychic creatures with IQs of 5,000 and slugs that could melt your face off just roaming the wilderness. Most of these descriptions are sensible, and often they're even quite cute. And then you've got wild balloons looking to raise a generation of Lindbergh babies.

I'm just getting started. The developers have been sneaking in more and more of these creepy little stories. Here's a little fellow named Banette:

The Pokemon Company
If it doesn't look disturbing enough for you, check out the erotic fan-art version.

A Banette is a doll that comes to life when its owner discards it. Upset about being neglected, it stalks the child who abandoned it like a twisted Japanese Toy Story. It casts curses on its enemies by using its own body as a voodoo doll (which suggests it doesn't quite know how voodoo works, but whatever). While most Pokemon are flesh and blood, this one is literally powered by the force of its own hateful grudge. Its only purpose in life is revenge. And it lives in garbage bins and dark alleys, so once a balloon lures a child there, it has the perfect spot to do the deed. Damn, being a kid in this world is rough.

So, how do you get worse than child-murdering Pokemon? Well, just like in many a terrible plot twist, the real monster is you. Say hello to Yamask:

The Pokemon Company
No, it's not scary because it has a massive prehensile penis. That's just a coincidence.

The story behind these poor bastards is that they're ancient spirits risen from the grave. The mask they carry resembles the human face they had long ago, and "Sometimes they look at it and cry." Sometimes they look at it and cry.

You're capturing the souls of dead people and forcing them to battle for you, all while they remember their long gone loved ones in between bouts of sobbing. You've trapped them in an existential nightmare. To them, you're the devil. But hey, at least they'll have child murderers to keep them company.

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Mark Hill

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