I Can’t Believe How Much Of An Idiot Pokemon Player I Used To Be
By Cian Maher
Published 7 hours ago
I used to play Pokemon like such a massive idiot.
Back when I was an idiot toddler, I spent what I have always remembered to be around an hour making my way through Mt. Moon for the first time. Now that I think about it for more than three seconds, though, I reckon I’m misremembering that out of some sort of dutiful pride. I didn’t even know Flash existed, for god’s sake – I probably spent weeks bumping into walls and catching way too many Zubat before finally arriving at the weird route west of Cerulean City.
People regularly complain that modern Pokemon games have become too easy, which I’ve always disagreed with pretty strongly. I love Pokemon and still play it all the time, but it’s a series designed for kids – it doesn’t make sense for it to be harder than Bloodborne. The fact I had to write that sentence makes me lose faith in humanity a bit, but sure listen – sometimes we need to say ostensibly stupid things so that people can recognize how stupid they are.
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It wasn’t just Flash and Mt. Moon. I only ever used my starter, taught it all of the good TMs without giving other ‘mons so much as a look, ditched amazing moves like Toxic and Leech Seed for the likes of Thunder and Blizzard – despite how rubbish their accuracy is – and so on. I mean, I don’t think I bought an Antidote until I was about 15 years old. It’s like that scene in Fresh Meat where the bulb breaks and Jack Whitehall says “We just don’t use that room anymore.” Squirtle’s been poisoned? No stress, we just won’t use Squirtle anymore. For what it’s worth, I’m 25 years old and my bathroom light has been broken since August 2020, so it’s not as if I’ve learned my lesson.
I had a complete misunderstanding of HMs, spent all my money on Ultra Balls, and thought trainer battles were a nuisance, which obviously meant I repeatedly lost to every single gym leader multiple times until I racked up enough experience from those specific battles to take them down. Clearly, I had no respect for four-year-old Cian’s time, patience, or happiness – the more I think about it, the more I understand why Pokemon games have better signposting and more forgiving main scenarios nowadays.
The fact of the matter is that Pokemon games didn’t become easier because today’s kids are less smart – they’re more approachable because we were all a bunch of clowns. Anyone I know who has played these games made at least most of the same mistakes as I did, meaning that, really, we’re all enormous morons. If we’d gone to trainer school, we’d have been parked in the corner with a big wizard hat that says “DUNCE” on the front of it.
I think that plays into why people get so annoyed about modern Pokemon games being less hard. You might think they’re easy peasy, lemon squeezy, but the older ones were difficult difficult, lemon difficult – at least for the kids who were playing them at the time. Sure, we all fell in love with the series to the extent that we still play it today, but that was during the age of the handheld device. Kids nowadays play games on their phones – they want a PS5 or Xbox Series X to play Fortnite and Minecraft with their buds from school. Even if they have a Switch, digital purchases saturate the market to an extreme degree. If you were a parent with no interest in games, would you fork over 60 quid for Pokemon Sword, which will last 20 or 30 hours, or spend a third of that amount for the non-exhaustive Minecraft? There’s only one of those answers that’s correct, by the way, no matter how hard you try to argue the other point.
I reckon we’re still going off the same stubbornness that pushed us through Red & Blue or Gold & Silver over two decades ago. It’s that whole thing where rich people will be like, “You have to earn your way up the ladder by being an intern who gets me coffee and works 14 hours a day!” Why would you want anyone else to go through that? Sure, you might have had to, but wishing for others to experience the same sense of exhaustion, dread, and misery as you is sadistic. I’m not saying giving out about Pokemon games is sadistic, mind – that’s just an analogy. It is moronic though, for you to want other people to not benefit from quality-of-life updates you probably would have loved as a kid.
The reason Pokemon games are more forgiving now is literally because we made it so unnecessarily hard for ourselves for no reason. Honestly, we were so stupid that Game Freak needed to introduce better and easier systems so future generations don’t behave as idiotically as we did. Yeah, we were kids, but it’s funny looking back now at how much time we spent inefficiently and unwittingly brute forcing our way through a bunch of ostensibly easy games. Pokemon didn’t get easier because today’s kids are stupid – it got easier because we were.
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About The Author
(883 Articles Published)
Cian Maher is the Lead Features Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.
From Cian Maher