Sometimes, catching 'em all just isn't enough. As Pokémon fans know, any time you encounter a Pokémon in the wild, there is a very small chance that monster will appear in a special colour. Known as "shinies", these Pokémon are so rare, many fans have never actually captured one at all. To wit, in the sixth generation of Pokémon there is only a 1 in 4096 chance of finding a shiny.
Unsurprisingly, some Pokémon players have become "shiny hunters" whose sole goal is to capture as many shiny Pokémon as possible. Robert Meehan is one such player, though he holds the distinction of being a shiny hunter who has completed an entire "living Pokedex" of shiny Pokémon, all acquired without any trading whatsoever, or cheating of any kind. That is to say, Meehan has the rarest and most valuable Pokémon collection possible.
Rather than capturing a shiny Pokémon and then evolving it into something else, each and every shiny in the collection is a unique Pokémon, captured separately from each other. It's a painstaking process, but it is one that Meehan believes adds more legitimacy to his collection, as he did not cut any corners to acquire it.
The journey began around two and a half years ago, when Meehan and a friend started collecting shiny Pokémon together. Soon, they started competing against each other to see who could capture the most shiny Pokémon, but eventually Meehan realised that he had enough shiny Pokémon to warrant finishing the Pokedex in its entirety.
Finishing the challenge wasn't easy. Sometimes, Meehan would encounter a coveted shiny, only to fumble its capture.
"The worst part is always losing a shiny," Meehan said. "It's going to happen if you're a shiny hunter, and I've lost my fair share.
"My first loss was a Smeargle - it only knows the move Sketch, and has a relatively low catch rate. So I threw a PokeBall at it, and lo and behold it breaks out right away. [It used] Sketch, but I didn't use a move for it to Sketch so that failed, and Sketch only has 1PP, so the darn thing started Struggling. I couldn't catch it and it fainted from Struggling."
Some losses stung particularly bad. For those that don't know, a lot of shiny hunting is very rote: one of the most popular methods requires players to reset just before an encounter happens, over and over, in the hopes that this time the Pokemon will appear as a shiny. In the middle of the process, which often takes thousands upon thousands of resets, it's easy to get into the habit of resetting well past when you actually need to.
"The worst losses are in the old games, where the odds [of finding a shiny] are 1/8192," Meehan said. "I soft reset over a Shiny Rayquaza, and it took me forever to find another. When I finally found a second one the damn thing wouldn't get caught and ended up Struggling to death. Finally caught it on the third try, but it's so heartbreaking to have this super long hunt and just have it blow up in your face."
Funnily enough, it's those very same disappointing experiences that make finally finding a shiny so exhilarating for Meehan.
"The endorphin rush you get is just insane," Meehan said. "I finally found a Shiny Moltres after 28,000 soft resets and boy I was stoked when it finally showed up.
"Even in the Generation 6 games where the odds are better it can take a while. It took me like 3 weeks and 3300 eggs for a Shiny Totodile, and this is with Masuda Method + Shiny Charm - where the odds are 1/512! So some bad luck there but it's so rewarding when you finally get it."