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Before the release of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, I actually made a decision to “catch them all” – and now I hate myself

When I was eight years old, I introduced myself Pokemon to the playground. I had just watched the first episodes of the anime on SM:TV Live and forced my friends to participate in imaginary Pokémon battles. I had forgotten many of the Pokemon names, so battles were mismatched like Onix vs Rockadock (which I later found out is called Geodude).

In December, the playground was filled with trading cards, toys and play fights. On Christmas morning I unpacked a copy of Pokémon Blue and confiscated my brother’s Game Boy to stare into a green abyss for days, only stopping to change batteries.

Find out why Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is a convergence of Legends Arceus and the classic games.

Looking back, it was an incredible moment when Pokémon appeared almost out of nowhere and took over the land. Then, as quickly as it came, the enthusiasm faded. I remember being still there in 2001 when Silver and Gold was released. But from generation 3 I could care less about it.

But when COVID 2020 hit, I suddenly had time with a sad potato immune system. As I isolated myself, I caught up with a franchise I’d only dipped a toe into since the early 2000s. A year later, I had finally completed the Pokédex in Pokémon Blue. It only took 21 years to catch 151 Pokémon, despite the fact that there were just under 900 little Blighters roaming by then.

Well Covid really hit me a few weeks ago and turned me into a coughing, hacking mess. I tried to find something for my confused mind to play with and only the monotony of Pokémon Shield broke my viral obliteration. Finding a way to dump Hop down a well has been exhausting enough to clear the haze caused by Covid.

Will co-op play make catching them that little bit easier? Probably not.

As my Pokédex filled up organically and the news about Scarlet and Violet started to dip in earnest, an idea struck me. “What if,” I asked delirious, “I really did Catch them all?”

After all, the modern games in the series have access to so many Pokémon, and between Shield, an abandoned save on Legends: Arceus, and 151 Pokémon in Blue, I’ve probably had the most of them.

Right? Right?

Before you claim I’ve made bad life choices, remember I was curled up in bed, running a fever, and coughing like I’d smoked 40 cigarettes a day my entire life. Where is there a better position to gain rigid clarity and plan major projects? However, let it be known that I have made questionable decisions in the past.

Regardless, driven by COVID-induced arrogance, I launched into the project. I might only have had a meaningful familiarity with the games from back when Pokémon were animals *checks notes* sentient cups of tea, but I had the willpower and tenacity to succeed. Also, I was really, really sick. So you can’t judge me.

If I was going to catch them all, I needed a way to track my progress. So I signed up for Pokémon Home and set aside some boxes for my living Pokédex. That means I had to catch every Pokemon. All of them. No excuses.

Did I mention that I have terrible judgment?

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Luckily, Sword and Shield are dumb, broken games when it comes to harvesting Pokemon.

With a big push into Shield, after catching 200 Buizel in Legends: Arceus (none of which were deemed tough enough) and the 151 from Blue, my home immediately filled with over 700 committed pets.

Call me sad — and please do, I deserve it at this point — but as I watched those crates fill up, I began to look forward to carefully rearranging my Pokémon into some semblance of order.

But that was a job for later, when I could pore over boxes like a baggy, caffeinated, nutty Professor Oak with stimulants stashed in his lab coat pocket. For now I went back to Shield and with my trusty level 90 Urshifu (I still only use animals, it’s a bit too Beauty and the Beast to fight with a living candle or a garbage bag) and cut a bloody path through Galar’s Pokémon.

Some may have been more difficult than others. For example, collecting starters usually requires multiple reboots. But now people are giving them away in Surprise Trades or rigged Dynamax encounters. Sword and shield are very broken. Veterans can guess the website responsible for the surprise trade in 20+ Shiny Snorlax.

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The mon, the myth, the legend.

A major obstacle to Baby Geoffrey’s attempts at collecting Pokémon has been trade developments; Used to be a hassle with wires and swapping back and forth just so your souped-up blue man-thing could grow extra arms. Now that the internet allows us to trade with minimal effort (well, minimal effort for Nintendo, anyway), Game Freak has new ways to torment us.

“Please, sir,” says the studio in its best Oliver Twist voice. “Walk under an arch while a Pokémon has taken more than 49 hit points of damage.”

Doubts began to creep in.

When COVID finally got bored of asking my pathetic immune system why it’s beating itself, I finally moved to Pokémon Home. I built my list starting with Gen 1, leaving gaps for all the Pokemon I was missing.

It was boring but I’ve done my own taxes before so it’s a monotony I’m used to. It’s also a fitting comparison given the basic mistakes I made (according to my accountant). It’s a foreshadowing, folks.

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I can’t wait to add the Giant Enemy Crab to my collection.

There’s no way Nintendo would make Home’s organization unintuitive and nightmarish. Not like you have to pick up every Pokemon and move them through your crates. If you’re lucky, you can string a few together and migrate them en masse, but it mostly involves pressing X, Y, down, “sort by National Dex number” and manually wrestling each Pokemon. Like a farm hand or a battery builder.

It was boring, but once I got the hang of it, it became almost therapeutic. A relaxing grind of moving animals against their will around a computer.

Until I left no more room for Hisuian Arcanine.

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Where everything started to fall apart.

You might say I was stupid to include regional shapes – and you’d be right. Maybe it wouldn’t matter if Nintendo/Game Freak allowed us to put spaces in our boxes. But the developers didn’t do that, did they?

It wasn’t until Pokemon #59 that a catastrophic bug manifested itself.

I was obliged. Honest. Even devoted. I wanted a real Pokédex. But there’s only a limited number of times you can pull off weird twists while forcing a piece of fruit into a dollop of sentient cream before you start wondering what to do with your life. There’s only so many times you can flip a squid upside down for minutes before you catch a glimpse of yourself on the Switch screen and frown. Just so many ways to Google “how does this Pokémon even evolve” before answers like “rub mud on it under a fool’s moon” make you cry.

This spot—so early in the Pokédex—has haunted me.

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Have you ever been judged by a pair of fictional dogs? you have now

A tiny mistake shattered my ambition to be a Pokemon Master in a second. If I hadn’t, this Pokédex might have taught me some valuable lessons – it might have changed my life.

But I made that mistake and the only thing it taught me was that I hate myself.

No, that is not true; I have learned that my commitment is weak at best. I’ve learned that I can’t reliably count over three. I’ve learned that there are too many Pokemon.

Pokemon everywhere. In Shield, my phone was a Pokemon, the computer was a Pokemon, that apple was a dragon Pokemon was a problem. It was like that weird collective moment we had when we didn’t know what cake was and wasn’t.

A bug turned Pokémon from a fun game for kids into an existential crisis where Pokémon is one song away from being Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared.

So my record stays at 712 out of 904 – it will stay there.

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Can the Spanish Pokemon lure me back? no

But it’s not all bad. This ill-conceived project caused me to replay and reevaluate Pokémon Shield, caused me to return to Legends: Arceus, and caused me to admit that Let’s Go’s controls are devil.

It may have been a disappointing ending, but I enjoyed playing the games. Am I allowed to say that as a gamer I had fun? Or does that make me a Nintendo shill cuck or something?

Despite the marketing line and little chorus we’ve all had in our heads since the ’90s, I end up wondering if we should even catch them all? Maybe in 1999, when we were all fresh and bored, it was doable — even fun! But now that goal just feels unreachable.

Perhaps the true Pokémon journey is—and always will be—the hordes of intelligent animals we enslave along the way?

https://www.vg247.com/pokemon-scarlet-and-violet-release-catch-em-all-now-i-hate-myself Before the release of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, I actually made a decision to “catch them all” – and now I hate myself

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