Pokemon, red in tooth and claw.

05Jan11

One of the games I’ve always wanted to see made was a Pokemon hunting game.

Such a game could never be made, of course. Nintendo would never allow you to kill a Pokemon for sport-in fact, they wouldn’t let you kill a Pokemon for any reason. And there are all sorts of reasons why the idea wouldn’t work internally. For one thing, there’s the fact that you’d constantly be competing with 10 year old kids who want to capture the creatures themselves. But there’s also the fact that most Pokemon biology makes no sense.

Remember, these are creatures designed around the idea of fighting them in gladiatorial combat. There is no clear way for most of them to survive, reproduce, or even exist outside of this context. Why did a rodent evolve the ability to shoot lightning? That is a terrible survival strategy. Pikachu, as a species, should have died off before that branch of rats could have established itself. Even if you ignore that, it then raises the question of just how dangerous high grass would be in the world of Pokemon. Ignoring the issue of overly aggressive Pokemon constantly attacking people, how easy would be to stumble into two wild Pokemon fighting, and being killed by it? Far too easy.

And yet, that’s why I love the idea of a Pokemon hunting game. (That and the sheer inappropriateness of it.) Why do you need to make a clean shot on a Pokemon? Because if you just graze him, that Charmander is going to set you on fire. Yes, real wild animals are dangerous to be around, but no one tries to take down a buck in one shot because it can freeze them solid with a glance. It wouldn’t be a shooting gallery style hunting game-you’d need to be able to run, dodge, and take cover. If you don’t take out Pikachu with a head shot, it’ll try to electrocute you. And you couldn’t limit yourself to just regular firearms. Because when you’re trying to take down a goddamn Abominable Snowman Pokemon, a few RPGs might be what saves your life.

Of course, it’s more interesting as an idea than an actual game. But it always comes up when I think about the ways that Pokemon doesn’t make sense.

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