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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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    I just thought of an answer to the question of "where does our alleged government get its money from" that allows for the possibility of a world free from taxation. If we presume that the Gym leaders are municipal rulers, then it seems reasonable to assume that any money won from trainers who challenged the Gym and failed could be used as a source of income for the municipality. It would make sense for the Gym leaders to fund things like free Pokemon Center visits, since making health care for Pokemon free encourages more trainer activity, leading to more Gym challenges, and in turn more revenue. Things like roads could be seen as means to the same end, especially roads connecting two highly-populated cities like Celadon and Saffron.

    Also, one other thing: it seems likely that all entrances to Saffron City are toll booths. The guards don't allow the player character to pass until you bribe them with some drinks. It's not stated that they're toll booths, but I think it's a reasonable inference, even though the guard's stated reason for not allowing you to pass before you bribe him is that "the road's closed."
  2. cantab

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    I think such a world could be Mutually Assured Destruction on a personal level. Most people have Pokemon, and a criminal trainer can't necessarily know before they attack their victim what Pokemon their victim has - as Team Rocket find out the hard way when they attack the player character. This is similar to the argument that civilian gun ownership reduces crime (though I don't think that's been conclusivelI think such a world could be Mutually Assured Destruction on a personal level. Most people have Pokemon, and a criminal trainer can't necessarily know before they attack their victim what Pokemon their victim has - as Team Rocket find out the hard way when they attack the player character.

    And bear in mind someone there IS someone who has strong Pokemon and seeks to gain power - Giovanni. If the player character hadn't stopped Giovanni he quite possibly would have ruled Kanto.

    He could have passed the route before the Snorlax showed up. Or he could have simply done what RPG player characters never do and climbed past it.
    On Surf, I'm unsure. HMs are implied to be rare but not unique. Blue couldn't have got his from the Safari Zone before Red, because the guy in the secret house said Red was first. But he could have got it the same way afterwards if it was a recurring giveaway by the Safari Zone, which is implies.

    Another issue with the games

    That pretty strongly implies that if anyone lacks normal emotion, it's Blue, not Red. (We see this much more strongly in later games, Silver and Cyrus springing to mind).

    EDIT: The Saffron guard thing I always assumed to be that Team Rocket had persuaded/tricked/ordered the guards not let anyone through.
  3. Swaggersaurus

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    pretty sure it is implied in the game manual, if not specified, that the player has just turned 10

    edit: close enough!

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  4. vonFiedler

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    How do you imply ten years old? I know the anime says that, but I was certain that the implication was that Ash was "entering adulthood", which I thought to be puberty or 13. Which makes sense, it's a pretty good milestone if trainers are gonna be young at all.
  5. moussaka

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    Nah I seem to remember that in the anime it says he's 10...maybe...
  6. cantab

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    Alright, so he might not be ten. The precise age doesn't matter. The point is that the player character is young enough to reasonably not know about stuff like economics and politics.
  7. min min

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    Also, ever wonder why Blue is lacking his starter, while Red is the proud owner of three starters in GSC? I think Blue, being a generally nicer guy in GSC, leveled up his pokemon epicly and decided to train more and better pokemon, donating his starter to Red for the hell of it. Professor Oak also could have given him the last starter as a sign of goodwill, or like a reward for completing the Pokedex or something.

    And the GSC Elite 4 have Karen and Will; where did they come from? My guess is that like the manga, they were from Team Rocket and they became good like Blaine/Sabrina/Lt. Surge.

    Agatha was old, cranky and probably had high blood pressure with her attitute. Old people with high blood pressure make for a heart attack in three years.

    Lorelei... I don't know, but Glacia in RSE says that she came from Kanto becasue she preferred Hoenn' weather or something.

    Just my 2 cents.
  8. Obsessed

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    Wikipedia, Serebii, and Bulbapedia list 10 as his debut age. I'm pretty confident it was established in the anime somewhere in the first season.


    The manga has nothing to do with the ingame world. The games never hints at any of the gym leaders being evil except Giovanni. Why is Koga more likely to be evil than say.... Erica? How does joining the E4 signify his change of heart?
  9. Swaggersaurus

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    the anime doesn't matter, it isn't canon

    the picture i took of the pokemon red/blue manual, however, does

    red is 11 at the start of rb, this is stated and cannot be disputed
  10. cantab

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    I'm not 100% sure the manual is canon. I mean didn't it mess up the RBY type chart? Although that is suspected to be that the mistake was in fact in the game (Psychic being immune not weak to Ghost).
  11. Swaggersaurus

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    the manual is definitely canon

    mistakes are mistakes; this process requires you to accept what is given to you in plain english and allows you to fill in the gaps otherwise, you can't just ignore what is clearly stated]

    edit: i am also disinclined to buy into red being a clone without emotions. fine, have the genetically engineered surrogate mother package, but numerous npcs make reference to the love and care red supposedly shows to his pokemon. red also described as curious and excited in the manual's introduction. curious is difficult to pin down to emotion, so let's disregard that, but i think it is reasonable to suppose that

    ex·cit·ed   [ik-sahy-tid]
    –adjective
    1.
    stirred emotionally; agitated: An excited crowd awaited the arrival of the famed rock group.


    is a more or less accurate definition

    red possesses emotions

    if you want to thread a yarn beneath all that where they are all wrong and it is a cover up, that covers in-game content at least, but then i think you get into the more ridiculous side of deconstructing things like this as opposed to the interesting side - post 26, post 27 for instance
  12. XxJohny2haixX

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    I like how this reads, it has a very "adult" hue to everything.
  13. Chateau

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    If the Pokemon Centers aren't cheap, then how do your rivals, especially Silver, use them so many times in the games? You could argue that Prof. Oak is paying for Blue, Rowan for Barry, and since you don't battle Wally often you could argue his family payed for visits, but how does Silver get more money than the average trainer? Enough to pay for at least seven visits to the Pokemon Center, not to mention optional battles post-E4.
  14. Mentlegen

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    I like to think that the Pokemon universe is the perfect example of a communistic society (with the exception of Pokemarts, so maybe the economy is more of a mixed economy, but everyone pretty much seems to be equal in status) where there is absolutely no government, only township type organizations. The necessities are free, which includes education (you can just waltz into the poke-schools and learn whatever you want)/health care.


    There seems to be a large amount of entertainment in the Pokemon universe. You have the gamecorner, radio/TV, cruises, and of course pokemon. Pokemon serves as a sport, much like football in America, where each town has their own representative, the Gym leader, who acts like the home-team in that (s)he is someone for people to root for, as well as the best trainer in the area (it seems like many of the NPCs in towns like the gym leader they live near).

    Those are my two cents, anyway.

    edit: As for the whole Red/Blue thing, there's no evidence that a human fabrication type technology exists, and I feel like if we're going to just create a backstory it should at least have some sort of backing with evidence from the game. Not to mention pokemon seem to reciprocate emotion, the evidence being Silver's pokemon not being strong "because they are treated poorly" and yet Red's pokemon love him, which leads me to believe that Red treats his pokemon very well.

    Pokemon have utility in the world, such as the machoke/machamps who move stuff in the Goldenrod Department store basement, and not every trainer is on a quest to beat the elite four, which could explain why trainers tend to only have a couple pokemon that are similar in type. Youngsters and the like only have pokemon that are easy to obtain because they aren't going to go out in the wild grass and search for rare pokemon, and they're probably going to look for pokemon they like rather than the strongest pokemon (most little kids I know tend to be rather vain and impatient) whereas hikers get geodudes/machops because they are in the caves that they spelunk and because machops and geodudes are probably useful when you need some muscle to belay you or move boulders.
  15. Berserker

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  16. Arcticblast

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    I think the Red explanation can be solved by basically saying that Red is generally stoic in public.

    He shows no outward emotions (aside from confusion with the Copycat girl, but that isn't really emotion) but expresses love towards his Pokemon.

    But what of wild Pokemon fighting? Would they just kill each other/force the others to back off (to defend territory)? entries for Furret make references to eating Rattata, and Pidgeot's to Magikarp, etc. Some young animals, such as lion cubs, play-fight. How would this work with Pokemon? Many animals in the natural world also fight to increase their chances of mating, such as mountain goats. Would Pokemon not do the same?
  17. Obsessed

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    That link is pure gold. Stop the regulation of Pokeitems! A free Pokemarket can have no regulations!
  18. Game Freak201

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    For all you people talking about such things such as Red and Blue's personality or how the government works in-game, you're all forgetting that this fic is likely to fall under AU. This basically means that the author doesn't have to strictly follow cannon; though, I do believe that a good portion of it should be followed. With this in mind, it is feasible to make Red a stoic asshole while making Blue the tragic loser. I especially like the part where the death of Raticate matured Blue from his former childish, arrogant viewpoint of the world.

    I really like the idea and am interested in how it might shape up.
  19. Kikuichimonji

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    Many posts ago, I had started to write something along these lines, but deleted it because I thought I would come across as trite. However, Game Freak201's post here contains all of the sentiments that I had contemplated voicing, and it's something that I would like to comment on. The OP of this thread was basically a collection of fic ideas, and I still see it from that perspective. The goal is not to create a universe that is "correct" as much as it is to create a universe that is "entertaining." That being said, "correct" (in the sense of "abiding by canon") and "entertaining" often coincide, but this isn't always the case.

    First off, let's establish one thing: if we are trying to build a universe that makes sense, deviations from canon are inevitable, because the Pokemon universe doesn't make sense. For an example, turn to the breeding mechanic. Whenever two Pokemon of different species breed, the offspring inherit the species of the mother. How is it, then, that Tauros (which are only male) are not extinct? If we strictly abide by canon, the only way that Tauros could reproduce and create Tauros offspring is to breed wtih Ditto, which are not found in the same area as Tauros. A plausible alternative explanation is that Tauros and Miltank (which reside in the same general area in GSC) mate and produce Miltank and Tauros offspring in relatively equal quantities. This violates canon (the rules of the Pokemon universe dictate that in Miltank/Tauros breeding, the offspring would always be Miltank), but it does make more sense than presuming that the Tauros are mating with Dittos to avoid becoming extinct.

    The main reason to abide by canon is that it helps to make the result more recognizable. One of the things that makes posts like this and this cool is that they revisit an idea that is familiar to us and attack it from a different angle. Reading these would not be as enjoyable without a familiarity with Pokemon's background.

    With this in mind, one thing becomes apparent: what most people perceive as being Pokemon canon is more important than what is technically canon. The game manual says Red is 11 years old, but I'm guessing at least 90% of Pokemon players believe him to be 10 years old. (This is still a rather trivial issue; I was just using it as an example.) A non-trivial example: There are a very few lines that suggest Red has emotion; a few words from the game's manual, and a few lines at the end of the game. However, for the remainder of the game (which consumes more than 99% of the player's time), Red is a stone-faced silent protagonist.* Moreover, consider this: how many players actually read the game manual and remember its contents? I'm guessing that less than 1% of the people who played Pokemon remember anything from the game manual.

    In addition to considering recognizability, there is another important thing to keep in mind: the rule of cool. When introducing ideas that are not addressed in canon, the rule of cool (or the "entertainment factor") is a very important consideration. When you stray outside of the scope of the source material, you lose the element of recognizability. In other words, any non-canon element that is added must be sufficiently cool for the audience to tolerate its presence. There are many ideas that, while not contrary to canon, are less desirable in a work of fiction, because they do not sufficiently "cool." This is my primary justification for the idea of Red and Blue being bioengineered superhumans. It is one way of addressing the issue of their rather unusual names, but more importantly, it's cool. (At least, in my opinion.)

    At this point, there arises an entirely different argument altogether: what constitutes "cool." Unfortunately, this is a subjective measure, and it's the reason I was reluctant to bring this up. This isn't an argument that I'd like to get into, because there's little that could convince me that a peaceful communistic society where Pokemon battling is a sport could possibly be cooler than a setting where those in authority hold power because they have command over creatures capable of lethal force.

    Regardless, I'd like to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread so far. I don't mean to silence discussion of topics that I personally find uninteresting, but I did want to make my own intentions clear.

    A few minor nitpicks (which are not central to the points made above, but that I still wanted to address):

    * In fact, there are several lines that reinforce the notion of Red being a literal silent protagonist. In some other games with "silent protagonists," there are parts where it is implied that the protagonist is talking even when his lines aren't "spoken." For example, another character's dialog might be something along the lines of "What's your name? Oh, your name is Link?" Based on this, it can be inferred that the protagonist introduced himself in a manner non-explicit to the viewer. However, Pokemon does the exact opposite on the S.S. Anne, when a waiter says: "Bonjour! I am le waiter on this ship! I will be happy to serve you anything you please! ... Ah! Le strong silent type!"

    There's no evidence of human fabrication type technology, but it's not unreasonable to believe that the same technology that allowed scientists to construct Mewtwo from Mew's DNA might also be used to construct Blue from Daisy's DNA. (Example.)

    Keep in mind that Silver was able to steal a Pokemon from a research lab. It's not unreasonable to believe that he might also steal money; he certainly has no ethical compunctions about stealing. Another possible explanation: most trainers abide by the etiquette that the loser pays half of the money they are carrying. Silver, being the ruthless monster that he is, could conceivably demand that losing trainers forfeit all of their money (and valuables). If a guy with a giant bipedal alligator demands that you give him your wallet after defeating your only means of personal defense, who would refuse?

    Lastly, a few questions that came to mind that could be interesting launching points for discussion:
    • The world of Pokemon is absolutely littered with random items. Even areas that are relatively far off the beaten path (like the Seafoam Islands and Unknown Dungeon) have items. In fact, the less-trafficked locations oftentimes have a higher density of items than high-traffic areas. Why is this? One idea: when a trainer walks into a dungeon like the Cerulean Cave or Seafoam Islands, the Pokemon there are savage, having had little exposure to humans. When/if all of his Pokemon faint, the feral Pokemon kill and feast upon the defenseless trainer. Eventually, their remains decay, leaving only a collection of items behind. These items become strewn about, somehow.
    • After a Pokeball has been used to attempt a capture, it can never be used again, regardless of whether the attempt was successful or not. If the attempt was successful, the Pokeball becomes permanently "assigned" to that Pokemon. If the attempt was unsuccessful, the Pokeball becomes useless junk. What's the science behind that?
    • Humans seem to be the only animal in the Pokemon universe that cannot be captured by Pokeballs. Why is this? One explanation is that it's not impossible to catch humans in a Pokeball; it's just very improbable (something absurdly low like a 1 in 10^100 chance). The more highly evolved a species is, the more difficult it is to capture. This, primitive species like Caterpie and Pidgey are easy to catch, while the likes of Zapdos and Mewtwo are harder to catch, with humans being the most highly evolved species (and this nearly impossible to catch.)
    • Why are trainers limited to carrying six Pokemon at a time? I originally theorized that this was a practical limitation due to the weight, but I'm more inclined to adopt FlareBlitz's wormhole idea. The question remains: what is it that prevents unscrupulous trainers (like most of Team Rocket) from carrying a huge number of Pokemon?
    • Lastly, one fact to throw on the table (I don't think it needs to be phrased as a question to inspire discussion): in the Pewter museum, there is an NPC who says "July 20, 1969! The 1st lunar landing! I bought a color TV to watch it!"
  20. cookie

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    pokeballs have a single-use energy supply that facilitates the process of capturing
  21. cantab

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    • Alternatives:
    1) People often keep items in balls, presumably to prevent them from being split in their bags. If dropped, these balls easily roll about and can end up in caverns.
    2) Pokemon pick up and carry dropped items then discard them in less accessible places.
    I always assumed they were simply physically broken since the Pokemon gets out by force.

    I previously made a post justifying the view that Pokemon are in fact subspecies of one biological species. This is mainly based on the fact that all the egg groups "link up", meaning every Pokemon that can breed can be descended from and be the ancestor of any other breedable Pokemon within a handful of generations. With legendaries I suggested it's not that they can't breed, but that they won't.

    I also went into some detail about how Pokemon genetics. But I posted it in the first Black & White thread, which has been deleted, and I cannot find it in either Google's cache or the Wayback machine.

    • Because nobody's making belts that hold more than six Pokeballs.
  22. Arcticblast

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    As for the human-Pokeball thing, a radiation theory was brought up earlier in the thread. If the intended target does not exert (wrong word?) said radiation, the Pokeball cannot catch it.

    However, the subspecies thing is a bit too far-fetched. Unless you go back MILLIONS of generations, there is little to no genetic similarity between Meowth and Charmander. Frankly, another reasonable explanation is beyond me, though.
  23. umbarsc

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    I'd have to verify, but I believe that when Red visits the Copycat in Saffron, she says something along the lines of, "Hi! My name's Red!" "Why are you copying me?", the implication being that Red was saying those things but the player doesn't see.
  24. cantab

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    The games don't tell us anything about the genetic similarity of Pokemon, only their morphology. In the real world dogs exhibit highly varied morphology within a species - OK it's still a lot less than Pokemon, but it's also a lot more than other real species.

    And the fact is that in-game Meowth can be the grandfather of Charmander, with the father being any of several Pokemon (basically any Pokemon with Ground/Dragon or Ground/Monster egg groups). One definition of a biological species is a group of animals that can interbreed to produce fertile offspring. All breedable Pokemon are one species under that definition. (Actually, with the egg groups Pokemon have a lot in common with "ring species" - A can mate with B, B with C, but C not with A.)

    You can split hairs about the definition of species. But I'd still expect all Pokemon to be in the same genus at least. There's very few animal cases of fertile interbreeding between two organisms in different genera or higher.

    On the genetic level, the idea is of extreme asymmetry in what is inherited from the mother as from the father. The mother gives morphology, surely the majority of the genes, while the father gives only a few minor things like learned moves. In terms of chromosomes, my suspicion is that instead of (unfertilised) egg and sperm containing counterpart chromosomes, they contain different ones. Pokemon could well be haploid (one copy of each chromosome), with the egg containing the biggest share of chromosomes and the sperm containing very few. This also fits in with the Poke Balls not catching humans thing. Humans are diploid, so if Poke Ball operation in some way depends on genetics of the species being captured then that indicates a possible reason for their not working on people. This is further bolstered by the existence of the Moon Ball, which is better on Pokemon that evolve by a Moon Stone - surely the ball is responding to a genetic difference in the Pokemon, not a morphological one or a difference in the capturing environment like some of the other specialised balls might.
  25. earthpeople

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    -Regarding items found in caves and far off places; these aren't really places where you go for a stroll. If you go out there and the situation turns bad, you're probably stressing to get out of there, not worrying if items fall out of your bag. Maybe you just throw it on the ground so it doesn't weigh you down. Then like Cantab mentioned, wild pokemon look through your stuff and move them around.

    -About carrying a max of 6 pokemon; perhaps when you buy/use pokeballs, you have to register them using your trainer ID with some sort of system. The system will allow you to carry up to six at a time and if you catch another pokemon while you have six in your party, the system will force it to storage. When you deposit a pokemon, the system knows you only have 5 left and allows you to carry an additional one, whether you withdraw one from storage or go out and catch one. On a somewhat similar note, maybe this same system is what allows you to trade pokemon.

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