I love a good list of stats. Right now we’re in that magical time of year between the Spotify Wrapped and Letterboxd Year in Review, sometimes known colloquially as quismois. Tracking stats has always fascinated me, the more niche they are the better, and so it’s fitting that my Pokemon journey ends with one. After all the trials and tribulations, all the downpours and sunrises, I made it. Stats are my reward.
As many of you know, for most of the year I have been replaying Pokemon Blue in an attempt to understand why Kanto was such a magical place for me. In an attempt to see it with fresh eyes, I played the game as a tourist, trying to appreciate each town as a setting rather than a battleground. However, as I reached the Elite Four, my approach changed. For the past few weeks, I have been taking a deeper look at each battle. My basic findings? Lorelei is great, Agatha and Bruno are bland, Lance is a fraud, and Gary/Blue/Whoever is phenomenal. Now, it’s all over. You can catch up on the story so far here if you’ve missed any weeks. Maybe all of them!
The journey is not quite over yet. There’s still the post game and the question of Mewtwo, I know that. But it’s important to stop and smell the Roselias. You never save it all for the last dance. Hey, Mewtwo could rip my arms from their sockets and insert them into my throat telekinetically to choke me to death while I bleed out. Gotta dance while you can.
Rewards in Pokemon have never been great. When you catch every Pokemon, the ultimate goal a trainer can achieve, you get a piece of paper that says so, and nothing else. Of course, that makes it no different from higher education, but then some would argue the rewards for higher education aren’t great either. These days you get a Shiny Charm too, which makes Pokemon look different but adds zero intrinsic value, so that only underlines my point. But for becoming the Pokemon Champion, the reward is a slideshow. I can think of no greater honour.
People who love lists and stats tend to also love slideshows, and I am right in the middle of that Venn diagram. The only disappointment is that it doesn’t go into more depth. The presentation, called the Hall of Fame, shows you the six Pokemon you beat the Elite Four with and their final levels, immortalising their, and your, achievements forever. It’s fascinating to think what more could be done to the Hall of Fame with a little Spotify Wrapped razzle dazzle.
Who won the most battles for me across the game? Who dealt the most damage? Who won against the highest level disparity? Who wiped out the most trainers single-handed? Who tagged in to save the day the most? Who won me the most Gym badges? Which moves did I use most on each Elite Four member? Which Gym Leader am I most like? How many times did I stream Taylor Swift’s Anti-Hero? Okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the point.
More and more, I’m finding myself looking at games and considering what the end goal is. Not just ‘finish the game’ but what the purpose is for me to keep going. Do I care about the characters and their fate, or the eventual outcome of the plot? Is the gameplay consistently rewarding and evolving? With Pokemon, it’s a slideshow. That’s enough.
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