After being glued to Pokémon Go for longer than is healthy this month, I’ve come to an important realisation; their world is a really screwed-up place. Its monsters are adorable and you’ll get the warm-and-fuzzies because of their unconditional love, but hunting them down made me cotton onto something I’d not thought about as a child. Pokémon would be insanely dangerous if they were real.
This stuck with me more than the criticisms you’ve probably heard before (making them fight is morally squiffy at best, for instance). Take one on and it’ll do its damnedest to beat you up. A few seem to be dodging your Pokéballs, but others look like they’re trying to tear your eyeballs out. My first catch – a Bulbasaur – attempted to flog me before I’d even worked out how to throw anything. Despite being all kinds of cute, these buggers don’t half have a temper.
It’s not just fangs and claws that’re the problem, though. Many of them possess the ability to set everything on fire at the drop of a hat. We’ve got enough trouble with forests and homes burning down as it is without adding dragons whose tails are mini sparklers. The games make a point of Pokémon working alongside humanity, yet they’re still animals who can summon flames, tidal waves or lightning from thin air. I’d imagine those living free and untrained in the wild can be… problematic.
I mean, what would bugs the size of Caterpie do to a field of crops? That’s to say nothing of those who create landslides or are big enough to chow down on anything up to and including a small elephant. They’re followed by Pokémon who are made of toxic sludge, poisonous gas and more (which isn’t tremendously helpful when you consider global warming). As this Dorkly article demonstrates, the dev-team behind these games may have gotten carried away with their monsters’ bios; some literally burn hotter than the sun.
I wonder if that’s why everyone’s so keen to catch them all. Disaster and accidental death must follow closely behind animals with powers this absurd. They’re an ecological nightmare. You can imagine the headlines – ‘some b*****d Pokémon created a snowstorm and accidentally wiped out Manhattan. Sorry’.
Capturing, training and keeping them under control suddenly makes more sense. Is this the reason for Pokémon’s child trainers being sent out the moment they hit a certain age? I’d hope so, because otherwise their carers have truly dreadful parental skills. It’s not unlike conscription, with everyone doing their part to keep lethal wildlife in check. Maybe there was a tipping point that made this an absolute necessity.
It still isn’t fair to set them up in cock-fights against one another, but at least that’s kinder than culling the lot of them. Being deadly doesn’t make them any less sweet.
Which reminds me. What on earth does Professor Willow do with all the Pokémon you transfer to him? I mean, seriously. Are they released? Stored on a supercomputer? Put in the zoo? Cooked in pies? I haven’t the foggiest idea. Considering the above, perhaps it’s better not to ask.