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Deconstructing the first-generation Pokemon universe

Discussion in 'Congregation of the Masses' started by Kikuichimonji, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. Kikuichimonji

    Kikuichimonji

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    Sorry if Congregation is the wrong place to post this, but all of the Pokemon forums are strictly gameplay discussion oriented. I contemplated posting this in Firebot but I'd actually appreciate semi-serious responses and wouldn't mind some discussion.

    An explanation of the term "deconstruction," for those who are unfamiliar with it. Inspiration comes from this post (although the following isn't necessarily built upon the universe that it describes).

    Origin of the main characters:

    Professor Oak made multiple attempts at bioengineering a human clone. The first successful attempt used a 650 nanometer laser, which produced a subject that, while biologically human, lacked human emotion. Professor Oak made a second attempt using a 475 nanometer laser. This produced a more refined, more "human" subject who could easily be mistaken for a perfectly ordinary and rambunctious young boy. The first subject was implanted in a surrogate mother living in the town of Pallet, while the second subject matured entirely in Oak's laboratory. The subjects were named "Red" and "Blue" after the colors of the lasers used in their creation. Postpartum, the surrogate requested to raise subject Red has her own child. Professor Oak chose to raise subject "Blue" as his own grandson.

    How Pokeballs work:

    A Pokeball functions by taking a creature and converting 90% of its mass into energy. The remaining 10% remains actual matter, but is compacted so that it can fit into a tiny ball. Pokeballs make Pokemon much lighter, enabling humans to carry them, but the weight of the Pokeball is still proportional to the weight of the Pokemon inside. This is why many young trainers like Youngsters and Lasses have lightweight Pokemon like Rattata and Jigglypuff, while heavy Pokemon like Graveler and Onix are always carried by a large and muscular Hikers. Of course, the weight of those balls adds up, so most people are only capable of carrying three or four Pokeballs at a time, if that many. Gym leaders, being in a static location, don't have to carry their Pokemon, hence they can usually get away with using up to five. Red and Blue, being genetically engineered superhumans, have the strength to carry up to six Pokeballs at a time.

    How a Pokemon battle works:

    Typically, trainers will withdraw their Pokemon from a fight before the Pokemon actually faints. Pokemon who have fainted will die if they do not receive medical treatment in a Pokemon center with a reasonable amount of time. Storing the Pokemon in a Pokeball puts them into stasis and allows the trainer to prolong this period indefinitely. Being that fainting is highly stressful for Pokemon, most trainers choose to withdraw their Pokemon before it reaches this point. When wild Pokemon are forced to battle until they faint, they have no means of being revitalized, meaning that they will die. Because Red is a soulless monster, he accepts no surrender and always assaults opposing Pokemon until they have fainted.

    With regard to Pokemon Centers:

    Another reason people try to avoid fighting with their Pokemon until they faint is that Pokemon Center visits are not cheap. In fact, many Pokemon trainers go their entire life without ever visiting a Pokemon Center (similar to how plenty of people live most of their lives without ever visiting a hospital). However, Professor Oak has contacted Pokemon Centers across the nation. Using either his influence as a researcher or a vast fortune, he is able to arrange for Red and Blue to receive unlimited Pokemon Center visits. Red abuses this to no end.

    What is the Pokemon League?

    The Kanto region is controlled by four elite emperors, otherwise known as the Elite Four. Kanto is governed under what is essentially a feudal system, with local rulers residing in "Gyms," surrounded by loyal followers/apprentices. The Elite Four is aware of the possibility of a trainer raising Pokemon even more powerful than their own. To prevent such an individual from attempting to stage a violent revolution, the Elite Four has extended a generous offer: anyone who is able to beat them is allowed to join their ranks. Many trainers dream of becoming rulers of the world, but few possess the skill needed to make it even past the first few gyms.

    The Epilogue:

    After conquering the Elite Four, Red became its leader. However, lacking understanding of things like human emotion, he was horribly unfit for the role. Red became known as a despot, inspiring the hatred of all of Kanto. Under his leadership, the skills of the Elite Four atrophied. Red was blind to the rumblings of rebellion throughout Kanto, but was not blind to the fact that his skills as a trainer were growing dull. To rectify this, he planned a hiatus during which he could train alone on Mount Silver.

    At the time that the Elite Four's skills were atrophying, the Kanto gym leaders continued to gain strength. Eventually, Red was the only member of the Elite Four who was stronger than any of the Kanto gym leaders, and when Red left for Mount Silver, the Kanto Gym leaders staged a rebellion. Lorelei and Agatha were either killed or fled into hiding. Bruno, being among the more benevolent rulers of the Elite Four, was allowed to stay. The Kanto gym leaders were not able to defeat Lance's powerful dragons, but after seeing Agatha and Lorelei disappear/get killed, Lance admitted that he had no desire to see the current system continue. The Kanto gym leaders allowed Lance to stay as league champion, and stationed one of their own, Koga, on the new Elite Four. (Koga's daughter, Jasmine, replaced him in the Fuchsia City gym.) Red, meanwhile, continued his training atop Mount Silver. He remained in total isolation until three years later, when he received his first human visitor: a young boy named Gold.


    The above is something that's been bouncing around in my head for awhile, but today is the first time I bothered to type it all out. It's still just a collection of ideas that I may add to, but I had considered writing a fic based on the universe described here. I'm not sure if authoring such a narrative would be time well-spent. I think the idea of a Pokemon deconstruction is interesting (Devil Survivor is one of my favorite video games in large part because that's precisely what it is), but I'm not sure how well this would translate into narrative form. If I did begin composing this as a piece of fiction, there are a lot of questions that I'd have to answer before I began writing. Is a fic something people would be interested in reading? If so, I'd be willing to give it a shot, but if not, I won't bother.

    If anything I've described sounds glaringly wrong, feel free to tell me bluntly. Also, discussion of topic unaddressed in this post is welcome as well.
  2. MetalGearSamus

    MetalGearSamus

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    Well, I like this idea. Although what about Blue's role? How did he become Gym leader? Etc.

    As for a fic, I actually like this type of format, kind of like a status report on what happened, as if you're a government official or something. (Although that might make them relatively short...which isn't a bad thing in and of itself.) Also, I'd expand it to include every game so far, and it would be neat to see what other origin stories you could come up with for Gold/Silver, etc. (they can't all be from laz0rs).

    Also, I'd like to see a back story for the Elite Four (heck, one for this entire deconstructed universe would be amazing), and how they came to be where they are now, exactly. That is, unless you intended this topic to be a sort of brainstorming session, in which case I'd be happy to partake. :P
  3. Fatecrashers

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    Oh wow I can't believe Team Rocket is not mentioned in this, if the Elite Four was that troubled I wonder what the deal with Team Rocket is.

    What is Team Rocket?

    Having obtained the prestigious position of Gym Leader of Viridian City, the ambitious Giovanni soon grew tired of waiting in one static location for weakling trainers and their pathetic challenges. Giovanni soon realised that with the influence he has now as a Gym Leader it would be a cinch to build up a massive following who would be willing to do his bidding, especially when power and money was promised. With the manpower secured, monetary gain was obviously next on Giovanni's list of priorities. Operations were soon set up in Celadon's Game Corner where a never-ending flux of gamblers provided Team Rocket with valuable funds, this enabled the recruitment of additional members, which in turn made other malfeasant plans involving rare Pokemon in locations such as Mt Moon and Lavender Tower feasible. With the eventual hi-jacking of Saffron City and Silph Co. it seemed that Giovanni had the whole of Kanto eating out of his hands, that is until Red took it upon himself to deliver a massive dose vigilante justice that resulted in the collapse of Team Rocket Kanto and the disbanding of Viridian Gym. The Gym would not be re-established until disgraced Champion Blue took over, meanwhile Team Rocket Johto remains oblivious to the collapse of the main branch.
  4. Kikuichimonji

    Kikuichimonji

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    This actually isn't a bad idea, although there are some ideas that I'd like to narrate in detail that I'm not sure that this kind of format would permit. From the very start, I've thought that a journal entry by Professor Oak would be the perfect "introduction." Maybe a series of journal entries by different people in the Pokemon universe would be a good way to do this? Hearing the story of Red and Blue told by NPCs would really be interesting in large part because it would allow for an incredible amount of perspective on the world and give as much (or as little) detail as necessary.

    Right now I'm just working with the first two generations of Pokemon as source material. (Yellow version doesn't count because it's basically just a video game adaptation of the anime.) The story that I'd write would probably be limited to first gen (and the events shortly after) in large part because it's the most interesting world, in my opinion. There are a lot of reasons why, but I think that first gen is more "sci-fi" than the rest, with Mewtwo as the game's "legendary," whereas third and fourth gen have the whole mythology thing going on, which I don't find as interesting.

    Although I don't intend to chronicle the events of second gen (yet), I include the events of second gen in my own definition of canon (that is, the universe that I adhere to) because Johto and Kanto are geographically connected, and second gen just loves giving continuity nods to the first gen. Third and fourth gen, on the other hand, might as well take place in separate universes, which is fine by me since I'm not really interested in them at this point. The only thing linking later gens to the first gen of Pokemon is the existence of characters like Bill and Oak, who make brief appearances in third and fourth gen, respectively. However, because their roles are relatively minor, I'm willing to say that the Bill in third gen is a different person who just happens to have the same name, a la Cid of Final Fantasy fame. This is an explanation that won't satisfy everyone, but I'm willing to accept it for two reasons: one, I'm not as interested in third/fourth gen, and two, it makes things much easier, logistically.

    Trying to create a universe that remains consistent with canon becomes increasingly more difficult when you add more games to the mix, and who's to say that fifth gen won't retcon everything away anyway? This alone makes me tempted to call each game a separate universe unless there are heavy tie-ins from previous games, like allowing you to visit regions from other games. (So far, second gen is the only one to do this.) There's another thing to consider: the reader. There are a lot of people who might be interested in this sort of thing but didn't follow Pokemon past second (or even first) gen, and I wouldn't want to alienate them. Compartmentalizing each region as a separate universe minimizes the amount of knowledge the reader needs to fully appreciate everything.

    This also reflects on me, to some extent. I don't even remember most of the events/facts from fourth gen because I only played through Diamond once, and I'm not really that eager to do more playthroughs to do additional fact-hunting. However, you are welcome to pick apart fourth gen, if you so desire.

    If you have ideas that you'd like to toss onto the table, you are more than welcome to do so.

    There are a number of issues I'd face when fictionalizing them. Most of them are unanswered questions that can be answered with a little bit of thought (the whole "Pokemon league" thing was something I was kind of drawing a blank on until this morning), although others are logistical issues.

    Questions, some of which remain unaswered:

    • I'm pretty sure I already know how I want to tackle the issue of Mewtwo: Professor Oak worked on the Mewtwo development team, and the research from that project eventually led to the creation of Red and Blue. Obviously there's a lot of backstory potential here, including the question of how they located Mew's DNA.
    • Daisy, Blue's sister, clearly warrants explanation. Who is she? Is she related to Professor Oak or Blue in any way? Possible answers: Daisy was the source of the DNA that Oak used in his experiments, Daisy was the result of one of his earlier experiments, Daisy was the daughter of a researcher who died when working on the Mewtwo project...
    • How does the Pokemon storage system work? The idea that Pokemon can be stored in a computer system and transported around the world through data cables kind of contradicts the idea that Pokemon in Pokeballs are stored only as 90% energy. Possible explanation: it is possible to convert Pokemon entirely into data that can be stored electronically and retrieved later, but the compression process is too slow to be used on the field. Pokeballs use a simpler compression method, making it possible for Pokemon to pop in and out of them at the blink of an eye.
    • For the entire game, it seems like Blue is one step ahead of Red. Blue is the first of the two to visit Bill, he beats Red to Lavander, and he reaches the Elite Four first. I think that he also beats Red to each of the Gyms. (His name, if I recall correctly, is always posted on the "list of winners at this gym" that Red sees whenever he walks into a Gym.) This brings up many questions, such as: how did Blue manage to get to Fuchsia before Red if he didn't have the Pokeflute? Moreover, how did he get all of the HMs he needed to do things like Surf to Cinnabar? This is a tricky one, and an issue I'm tempted to just ignore like the game does. However, doing so would make it difficult to narrate the story mainly from Blue's perspective, which would have been one of the more interesting ways to tell the story in my opinion.
    • It seems to be common etiquette that in any Pokemon battle between two trainers, the loser forfeits 50% of the money they are carrying. I had originally wanted to play this one by having Red mug trainers after he defeated all of their Pokemon, but it seems to be standard procedure in all directions, as Red loses 50% of his money whenever he loses a battle, and there's also a trainer (a Cue Ball on the biker's path west of Celadon) who says something like "Be ready to fork over cash when you lose!" Still, I'd really like to spin this in a way that makes Red seem like a coldhearted wretch, or at least demonstrate in some way that his journey is not all sunshine and rainbows.
    • How do Pokemon gain experience and "level up?" Ooh, this is a fun one. One idea I had is that Red's Pokemon gain strength by killing wild Pokemon and then consuming them (not necessarily by eating, though that is a possibility). Pokemon's mass can be converted to energy to be stored in a Pokeball, so it's not unreasonable to assume that Pokemon might have some means of absorbing energy from other Pokemon. This added energy can make them stronger, and lead to mutations. Sometimes, these mutations are relatively small: for example, Bulbasaur might sprout vines, allowing it to use the move Vine Whip. Other times, the mutation is more drastic, causing a Pokemon to mutate into an entirely new form (evolve).
    • Although "leveling up" is the usual way for Pokemon to evolve or learn new skills, there are also artificial stimulants that can be used to enhance a Pokemon's combat abilities. You can call them "performance enhancing drugs" if you like, but "Technical Machine" also works. Evolution stones are just high concentrations of chemicals that cause certain Pokemon to mutate.
    • Team Rocket. Fatecrashers covered this one pretty well.
  5. earthpeople

    earthpeople

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    I also am a fan of this format, and I like what you've posted so far. I would love to read more. It may be hard though, but the rest of the community should be able to help a bit, such as Fatecrashers has done there.
  6. Fizz

    Fizz

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    Geodude, which you label a heavy pokémon, weighs 44 pounds. If after going into a pokéball a pokémon weighs 10% of what it would otherwise, this means that a heavy pokémon weighs 4.4 pounds inside a pokéball. In my view it shouldn't take a superhuman to be able to carry around 26.4 pounds, and apparently this is on the high end.
  7. Kikuichimonji

    Kikuichimonji

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    Good point. Geodude was actually a pretty bad example of a heavy Pokemon, actually, though it does evolve into the heftier Graveler, who weighs in at 231.5 lbs.

    The 10% mass 90% energy were actually just placeholder figures that I threw in and never bothered to verify the viability of. After looking at a few more figures, I think that maybe 20% mass 80% energy might make more sense, though of course this can be tweaked to satisfaction. Part of the reason for my bad estimate is that Pokemon weights and sizes are totally different from what I imagined them to be based on the anime's (apparently very incorrect) representation. Example: Charizard and Blastoise are barely more than 5 feet tall, and about the same height as a normal person. I'd always mentally pictured them as being much larger. Snorlax is only about 1000 lbs, compared to a typical sedan which might weigh around 3500 lbs.

    I just discovered that Bulbapedia has a list of Pokemon by weight, which is tremendously helpful. Out of all of the Pokemon that trainers are seen with regularly, Onix is the heaviest, weighing in at 463 lbs. The only other first-gen Pokemon that weigh more than Onix are Gyarados (518.1 lbs), Golem (661.4 lbs), and Snorlax (1041.1 lbs). I love the fact that Snorlax is our heaviest, because Red is the only trainer that ever gets to use it, which just reinforces the idea of him being a genetically engineered superhuman. I also wonder if Golem and Gyarados are seen anywhere in-game. I know that Blue uses a Gyarados (or can, depending on which starter he picked), which also fits well into the rules of our universe.
  8. FlareBlitz

    FlareBlitz This was never a story that would have a happy end
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    Energy still has weight, so a Pokemon containing Geodude would still weight 44lbs.
    The reason most forms of energy don't weigh anything in the real world is because it takes a massive amount of energy entering or leaving a system in order to influence that system's overall weight (due to the constant c squared being so massive). However, if a Pokeball would convert a Pokemon to energy in a perfectly efficient mechanism, it would still weigh the same.

    Incidentally, this brings us to the primary problem with the description of how Pokeballs work: converting mass to energy releases a TON of energy. I realize we're dealing with a fictional universe here, but converting a Pokemon like Geodude into energy would release power such that it would dwarf nuclear weapons. It stretches credulity a bit to think that such power could be stored in an unassuming plastic ball, and that's not even to say that if such technology existed, literally everything becomes a possible weapon of mass destruction...

    So I think a better way to approach how Pokeballs behave would be through the use of parallel dimensions.

    Pokeballs act somewhat like wormholes. This makes sense when you think about it...when you catch a Pokemon, it results in the Pokemon being sent into a separate reality altogether. The process is not instantaneous, however, and the Pokemon can find its way back to the real world before the wormhole closes. Higher quality Pokeballs have more efficient wormholes (they open and close faster, resulting in few escape opportunities) and the more powerful Pokemon are more likely to escape due to their better reflexes and higher levels of endurance. Incapacitating a Pokemon with Status problems distracts it and makes it less likely to escape. Certain types of Pokeballs are wormholes into different types of realities; the Luxury Ball is very comfortable for Pokemon, the Dive Ball opens to a reality that appeals to Water-types, etc.

    This mechanism could also be used to describe the Pokemon Storage system.
  9. cim

    cim happiness is such hard work
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    So if I understand correctly "deconstruction" is making up the most implausible explanations possible for how things work in a fictional universe in an attempt to mock the fact that they are not necessarily possible as written? I don't get it.
  10. FlareBlitz

    FlareBlitz This was never a story that would have a happy end
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    It's a difficult concept to really explain; the best way to understand it is to look at well done examples. There are quite a few good examples in the TV Tropes page linked, but my favorite example would be the movie Pleasantville. The movie basically presents a society as portrayed in a 50s sitcom and chips away at the underlying foundation until we realize that many of the norms and values taken at face value are really rather insidious.

    I think the best Pokemon-related example would be this:

    Show Hide
    "In the original Pokémon Red/Blue, when you encounter your rival in Lavender Town he asks whether or not you know what it's like to have one of your Pokémon die. At this point in the game, he no longer has his Raticate that he used in previous battles.Your rival battle before this took place aboard the S.S. Anne. Your rival's Raticate sustained serious injuries from the battle...but, because crowding and confusion on the luxury liner, he was unable to make it to a Pokémon Center in time and the Raticate passed away. The real reason your rival is in Lavender Town to begin with is to lay his deceased friend to rest.Despite all of this, your rival never outwardly tells you that you're responsible for the death of his Pokémon. He hides his grief and instead channels that energy into the motivation he needed to continue his quest to become Indigo League Champion. The death of his Raticate effectively destroys your rival's impish, childhood innocence. Although he tells himself that he doesn't hold you responsible, he subconsciously holds a great deal of resentment towards you which further fuels his ambitions.Tearfully swearing upon his Raticate's grave to not fail in what he set out to do, he trains hard in hopes of becoming better than you...defeating you...and to eventually make it to the Pokémon League. Mere moments after he became Indigo League champion, he was defeated...by you. Although he fulfilled his promise to his fallen Pokémon, it was only for a painfully brief instant.In the end, your rival is scolded by his grandfather while you receive the professor's praise. During the course of the game, you steal your rival's innocence, crush his dreams, and ultimately snatch away the love of his own grandfather. Oh, and by the way, your rival doesn't have any parents. He's an orphan."
  11. gvmgvm40

    gvmgvm40

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    Minor nitpick:

    Feudal.
  12. cantab

    cantab

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    On the contrary, I'd say that in GSC Red's party, containing a Pikachu and all three starters, points to Yellow being the canonical 1st Gen game.
  13. DM

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    I'm pretty sure at least one opposing trainer uses a Golem, but I'd have to check a walkthrough. As for Gyarados, you can fish for them with the Super Rod, they become quite common.
  14. moussaka

    moussaka

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    I really love this idea and what you've come up with so far, and I really look forward to reading as it continues! However, the problem with the levelling-up process you've described is that for this to work pretty much all of the better trainers would have to be heartless bastards, if the only way their Pokemon can get stronger and evolve is by consuming other Pokemon...which I feel just wouldn't be the case. Perhaps a better system would be that for Pokemon, battling other Pokemon is really like training: it strengthens their muscles (or mental agility in Psychic Pokemon or whatever) just like training our bodies makes us stronger. Perhaps a certain level of physical/mental strength triggers a genetic mutation which causes evolution?

    Also, I like the Pokeball wormhole idea :D
  15. Kikuichimonji

    Kikuichimonji

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    In GSC, Blue's party matches his party from RB, not Yellow. GSC Blue uses Pidgeot, Rhydon, Alakazam, Gyarados, Exeggutor, and Arcanine, which is exactly the same party that Blue used in RB, apart from his starter replacing one of the Pokemon in the lineup (Venusaur replaces Exeggutor, Blastoise replaces Gyarados, Charizard replaces Arcanine).

    If you're basing assumptions solely off of party composition in GSC, Red is one argument in favor of Yellow, and Blue is one argument in favor of RB. I'd say that Blue's party makes a stronger argument, however, based on the fact that Red, being the presumed player character from RBY, doesn't really have a canonical party.

    Other arguments: GSC Red stores his Pikachu in a Pokeball, which definitely does not fit the profile of Yellow's main character. Also, his name is "Red." Just sayin'.
    I thought about this, and the whole idea of Red's Pokemon eating wild Pokemon to gain strength doesn't make so much sense in retrospect when you consider that in-game, you get 50% more experience for killing trainer's Pokemon, so you have to presume that the primary means of obtaining experience is something that he could reasonably perform on a trainer's Pokemon. (I doubt most trainers would allow their Pokemon to be eaten!)

    One approach to the issue of experience is this: First off, for the sake of argument, let us presume that Pokemon are the result of mutation, as described by the post I linked to at the start of the OP, and that radiation poisoning is in some way contagious. (Real radiation doesn't work this way, but maybe it's some kind of virus that came about as the result of radiation poisoning or something. The details aren't important now, other than that we establish that "radiation," or something like it, is contagious.) Radiation, in large doses, was enough to convert an ordinary rat into a rat capable of summoning electricity at will. Radiation in small doses would result in minor mutations (let us presume for the sake of argument that all mutations are "good" in the sense that they lead to Pokemon becoming stronger, learning new abilities, or evolving into new species). What sources of radiation could a trainer expose his Pokemon to in order to enhance their abilities? Well, other Pokemon, for one. Most Pokemon have developed a semi-passive resistance to this radiation, so simply hanging around with other Pokemon will not cause a Pokemon to experience beneficial exposure. A Pokemon battle, however, triggers an adrenaline release, and one of the side effects of this is that the Pokemon's immune response is weakened. Hence, being in a Pokemon battle causes a Pokemon to suffer exposure to radiation, causing more mutations. If a Pokemon faints in battle, the energy gained from exposure to radiation is used in the recovery process. Hence, the winner in battle becomes stronger, while the loser does not. Facing a tough opponent would obviously be more stressful, resulting in a stronger adrenaline release, resulting in further weakening of the immune system. Hence, battling stronger Pokemon causes Pokemon to grow more rapidly. Conversely, a super-strong Charizard will face very little stress when fighting a weakling Rattata, resulting in a growth so small it is barely noticeable.

    I like this explanation because it goes perfectly hand in hand with the game mechanic of "experience points" (growth) being a function of the strength of the Pokemon you are fighting against. Also, battling against a trainer would probably be a higher-stress situation for Pokemon, meaning that trainer battles would yield more growth than battles with wild Pokemon (also mirroring what we can observe in-game). However, I don't necessarily want to go with the theory that "Kanto is actually a futuristic Japan where radiation/viral infections have turned all of the animals into Pokemon." I'm sure there are angles to approach this from that don't assume that Pokemon are mutated animals; I just drew on that example because it seemed like the easiest way to explain the idea.
  16. Kikuichimonji

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    You're totally right about energy still having mass. The more I think about it, the more it seems like the wormhole explanation is the only reasonable way to tackle this issue. It also solves a lot of other problems that arise when trying to explain the Pokemon storage system, like whether storing Pokemon as a "blueprint" in the computer system would make duplication possible. (Let's just assume that all glitches, including those that enable duplication, are non-canonical.)

    Another thing to think about regarding alternate dimensions: the passage of time. Let's assume for the moment that the alternate Pokeball dimension is an area that is inherently healthy for Pokemon. Any Pokemon in a Pokeball will gradually have its strength restored, and if a Pokemon spends enough time in its Pokeball, all wounds will eventually be healed. This is the method that most users use for "healing" their Pokemon, because it is free, albeit slow. However, there is a way around this: Pokemon Centers have devices that can accelerate the passage of time in the alternate "Pokeball dimension." The Pokemon will experience the passage of a week's time, allowing it to fully recover. From the trainer's perspective, it looks like the Nurse is just loading the Pokeballs into a machine that flashes for a few minutes, and afterward the Pokemon are fully healed. This explains how Red and Blue are able to make their way around the world so much more quickly than other trainers: by taking advantage of Pokemon Centers (which are too expensive for most trainers), they are able to expedite their Pokemon's recovery, increasing the amount of battling that they can do within a certain time frame.
  17. cantab

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    Except that Pokemon Centres are free. It doesn't take money from your own funds, and I think there are NPCs that explicitly mention it is free - and in a manner that doesn't suggest an "It's only free for Red because he's got a Pokedex" scenario.
  18. Kikuichimonji

    Kikuichimonji

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    I mentioned Pokemon Centers in the OP (theorizing that Oak is paying for all of Red and Blue's Pokemon Center visits) and I'm still satisfied with the explanation that Pokemon Centers are not free. If Pokemon Center visits are free for all trainers, it raises a big question: who funds them? Socialized medicine doesn't seem like a plausible explanation, given the apparent lack of taxation in the Pokemon universe. If anything, the Pokemon league would want to hike up the cost of Pokemon Centers, creating a larger barrier to entry for the Pokemon league challenge.

    Regarding the NPC thing, I searched the game's script for the word "free" and didn't find any mention of Pokemon Centers. In GSC, it is mentioned that the PC storage service is free. I didn't find anything mentioning that Pokemon Center's services were free in either first or second gen. That's doesn't preclude the possibility of what you're saying possibly being correct, but if it is stated, it isn't with the word "free."
  19. lati0s

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    from an NPC in the pokemon center in viridian city
  20. cantab

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    There could be plenty of economic activity incurring taxation that you don't see. Every time you buy something in a Poke Mart, some of the cost could be VAT. There could be corporation tax on the Poke Marts and Silph Co. There could be income tax for those in waged/salaried jobs.

    And remember the player character is a ten-year-old kid. I'd bet there are plenty of real ten-year-old kids who know little or nothing about taxation.

    Another possibility is that Pokemon Centres are run by volunteers. It's clearly not a difficult process to heal a Pokemon. There could be energy requirements, but there's no evidence of massive power sources or electrical equipment so I'd say there's a limit to that. The equipment could be expensive, but you never see it broken down so it's probably pretty reliable.

    Incidentally, regarding
    That's just completely and utterly wrong. NPCs in 1st Gen almost never switch and Trainer battles cannot be resigned from.
    So a major part of your thinking for why Pokemon Centres aren't free is based on something that's the exact opposite of the games.

    This assumes Gym Leaders and the Elite Four don't want to battle. This goes against Agatha's view at least, "Pokémon are for fighting!" And without challengers, how would the Elite 4 get stronger?
    And the whole E4 and Gym Leaders are the government thing is without basis. I think it far more reasonable that they are what they seem to be - the best players in the world's most popular sport, Pokemon Battling.

    As for what the government is - well the only thing you ever see are police, so it could be a minarchism/night watchman state. Or the ten-year-old kid factor could explain the apparent lack of government.
  21. FlareBlitz

    FlareBlitz This was never a story that would have a happy end
    is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Past SPL Winner

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    I also think that Pokemon centers are probably an example of socialized medicine. As for where the government gets the money...we know that it's possible to instantaneously transfer a percentage of your money to another account (i.e. what you do in GSC if you ask your mom to hold some of your money) so it's possible that every time you receive winnings from other trainers it is the after-tax amount.

    This brings us to the system of government itself. We know that there is local law enforcement, but probably not much in the way of an actual military. We know there are social services, if we assume Pokecenters are examples of socialized medicine, and we know that the government is responsible for basic infrastructure like roads (no tolls like there would be on private roads) and probably also for the financial support of education institutions, like museums and Pokemon schools (all of which are free if I recall). However, there are still private business (Silph Co, the Magnet Train people, etc), so it's not a totally socialist state.
  22. -Eddie-

    -Eddie-

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    From Bulbapedia: http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Golem_(Pokémon)
  23. cantab

    cantab

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    IIRC the Pewter Museum has an entry fee, and while you can walk in to visit the Pokemon school you might have to pay to study there.

    Some of the routes aren't what you'd call well-maintained, being impossible to pass without walking through tall grass. But then the more "central" routes - specifically, those linking Saffron to its neighbours, and the coastal and cycling roads to Fuschia, can be taken avoiding the grass.
  24. FlareBlitz

    FlareBlitz This was never a story that would have a happy end
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    Hmm, the Pewter museum didn't have an entry fee in GSC or HGSS. I don't remember if it did in RBY.

    Yeah I think maybe it operates on a federal system like our government, with the individual cities being responsible for the roads around them. Possibly why smaller, less wealthy cities like Pallet Town have routes overgrown with grass and larger cities like Saffron and Fuschia have better, cleaner roads...and also signs of industrial pollution (MUK!)
  25. Kikuichimonji

    Kikuichimonji

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    The PokeGear and its components are never mentioned anywhere in first-gen Pokemon, so I'm inclined to believe that the tech was developed somewhere in the gap between first and second gen.
    I don't think the age of RB's player character is ever specified.
    One of the sources I drew inspiration from when writing the OP was Devil Survivor, which questioned how a world where people ran around with monsters capable of lethal force would actually work. If a trainer with a fire breathing dragon at his command began extorting money from people, who would oppose them? Pokemon represent real and manifest power that trainers can exert over other people, so it would stand to reason that the trainers with the strongest Pokemon could rule the world, and kill any who might oppose them.

    Of course, this was an idea formulated with a lot of faulty assumptions in mind; I'd always envisioned Charizard as being this big when in reality his height roughly that of an adult human. That's doesn't preclude the possibility of Pokemon of this size being capable of lethal force, but it does make it a less-obvious conclusion.

    I never pictured the roads of first-gen Pokemon being anything more than hard beat dirt paths or minimalist boardwalks. As far as I know, there aren't any road vehicles to speak of in Kanto, and it seems like pretty much everyone walks everywhere. Even if it is a government project of some kind, it certainly can't be a very high-maintenance one.

    Schools are an interesting point. In all of first gen, only two trainers make references to school, and both of them are Super Nerds. It's worth noting that Super Nerds in general tend to carry more cash than other juvenile trainers, suggesting the possibility that education might be limited to the privileged and wealthy. I realize that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but consider this: while references to school in first gen are minimal, whereas in second gen there is a class called "schoolboy." ("Schoolboy" is a new trainer class; it doesn't replace "youngster.") Based on this, it doesn't seem unreasonable to conclude that public schools popped up somewhere in the time between first and second gen.

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