Video games have allowed us to explore all kinds of crazy alternate realities. World Of Warcraft showed us a fantastic land of elves and other elves. Fallout allowed us to explore a post-apocalyptic world full of people who are incredibly easy to impress. But so far, only Pokemon has accurately recreated the experience of being taken for a ride in a big ol' scam.
No, I'm not talking about the trading card game. You deck jockeys have your own demons to face. I'm talking about the series of games for handheld platforms. For those unfamiliar with Pokelore, each game pretends to tell the same simple story. The player character, an ambitious and naive child, is taken in by a kindly professor (most famously Professor Oak), who teaches them how to capture Pokemon and catalog them in the "Pokedex," a kind of Hitchhiker's Guide for grass-dwelling kill-monsters. Thus equipped, you set out on your quest to "catch them" ... er, sorry ... "'em all," hoping in your quest to become the very best, like no one ever was.
The Pokemon Company International
"Now you get your ass in this ball so I can be awesome!"
At least, that's the scam. The truth of what's happening is that you're just some convenient patsy. Professor Oak, or whatever equivalent the game offers, is a con artist, tricking you into doing the dirty work so his spritely, pixelated hands can stay pristine. Professor Oak (or fucking whoever) really works for Silph Co., a power company, and they've been harvesting Pokemon for their cruelty engines -- huge, infernal generators which power the world, at the small price of consuming the helpless lives of every beast you capture.
The first thing Oak tells you at the beginning of the game is that he doesn't remember whether you're a boy or a girl. The second thing he says is that he doesn't remember your name.
"Question 2: Prove it."
The common interpretation here is that Oak is just a forgetful old man, but what if there was more to it than that? What if the truth is that Oak has dozens of kids just like you lined up to take a slot in his scheme?
The next thing Oak does is give you a Pokedex, asking you to fill it up by examining Pokemon. And that right there is the key. Every time you catch a Pokemon, the Pokedex fills up with Pokenformation about it, including anecdotes it couldn't possibly have gleaned from a quick analysis.
"Enjoys Metallica, but thinks Justice was their last good album."
It's far more likely that the Pokedex was already full when Oak (or whoever) gave it to you. It already knew everything about every Pokemon. All this machine does is provide you with an incentive to capture tons and tons and tons of Pokemon and send them back to Oak.
Non-players may not know this, but you can only carry six Pokemon at a time. But you can, whenever you want, email the Pokemon to Oak. As in, you literally email them, because Pokemon can be converted to energy and sent through underground power lines.
And the porn industry was changed forever.
Now, why does Oak want your Pokemon? I'll get to that. First, we need to discuss the fact that ...
As you travel from town to town in your quest to kick ass at animal combat-slavery, you might notice that there is only one "Pokemon" logo, and every shop uses it.
You'll even see that logo on your clothes.
According to Pokemon lore, there are multiple companies and individual entrepreneurs all working in the Pokemon fighting industry. Silph Co. is the biggest, but then there's Professor Oak, a self-funded researcher, and Kurt, who builds his own Pokeballs in a garage, and so on. But they all use the same logo. They all use the same products.
In the real world, no industry shares a single logo between competing companies. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo don't use a universal "video game" logo. Acura and Lexus haven't agreed on one "car" logo. Coke and Pepsi are vehement that their versions of heavily-dyed carbonated syrup are nothing alike. And yet all these Pokecompanies not only advertise themselves the same way, but offer literally identical services? If they were really separate companies, they'd be trying to stand apart in their marketing.
The stripper bar is the one with two of those symbols side by side.
But they don't. Because the truth is that they are all working together. They are all one big company. And they're all working to take advantage of you, the patsy. Why? Because ...
In the first generation of Pokemon games, you can explore a completely abandoned power plant. It's almost as if some other source of power came into vogue and it had to be quickly shut down.
In later games, you find other, working power plants. Like the Mauville Power Plant, which is implied to be hydroelectric, though you never see for sure where its power comes from. But it's a newer place, and it's run by Wattson -- who just so happens to be a Pokemon gym leader.
"Hahaha! Hey buddy, fuck you twice!"
So here's what this all means:
The world was facing an energy crisis, when suddenly someone figured out how to harvest life force and matter into pure energy. Then Silph Co., which was at the time a failing power company, came up with a plan. They created the Pokeball, which can capture and store wild animals. Then they created a network of "Pokemon Centers," where Pokemon could be emailed around via underground cables for easy transfer. Then they hired people like Professor Oak to travel from town to town, encouraging kids to use these Pokeballs to capture wild animals for them. It's a worldwide eradication of animals in order to keep the lights on in the human world, and ...
You might ask, "Why the secrecy?" Well, Pokemon are, for the most part, absolutely adorable, and what Silph Co. is doing to them is horrifying. They're torturing cute and cuddly animals every day in gigantic machines. That's some Nazi-esque shit right there, so they keep it quiet. If the average citizen in the Pokemon universe found out that's what's going on, there would be a worldwide revolt.
The Pokemon Company International
Luckily, they'd all be children, so they'd be easy to beat down.
So to cover up their moral void of a plan, they created the culture of Pokemon "trainers," Pokemon "capturing," and Pokemon "Battles." They told the kids that being a better trainer means owning more Pokemon so that they could get as many Pokemon-per-kid as possible. And it doesn't hurt that they're profiting off the sale of Pokeballs as well. They taught the kids to train the Pokemon to make them stronger, because stronger Pokemon can, it's fair to assume, be harvested for more energy. Then they told the kids to keep their Pokemon with Professor Oak (or whoever got them into it in the first place).
Eventually, those kids grow up. They get other interests aside from Pokemon, like having sex or watching Veep. They forget about all the animals they captured. Those animals sit in their balls, hibernating, until ... what? They're burned up? Maybe. We know they can become energy (remember the email thing?), and maybe that energy can be burned out. But if that's not the case, then the alternative is far worse. It's also possible that these Pokemon generators can only work if the Pokemon they are harvesting are enslaved. That they are forced to work, exert themselves, and be "healed" over and over again, until the moment the bliss of death finally comes. The truth is that from the moment you email them to Professor Oak, they begin busting their Pokeasses, 24 hours a day, in utter agony, for the rest of their natural lives. All to keep your consumer electronics buzzing.
The Pokemon Company International
You sick bastard.
And worst of all, you're the reason it happening. You, the trainer, unwittingly betrayed them. Because of you, the last raspy gasp of life from your most trusted Bulbasaur was spent only so that you could enjoy Julia Louis-Dreyfus's shenanigans while trying to fuck the cutie from your Econ class. Its blood-filled vomit represents your failed "Netflix and chill" night. Turns out this game about forcing animals to fight each other for your amusement was actually way darker than some Michael Vick dog fighting bullshit.
Learn the math behind Pokemon in 4 Creepy Ways 'Pokemon' Changed Since You Stopped Playing, and check out why Pokemon will destroy us all in 4 Reasons Pokemon Is the Scariest Alien Invasion Story Ever.
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