Magikarp may be one of the weakest monsters in Pokemon GO, but he still managed to briefly control one of the most sought-after gyms in the entire US: The White House. It’s amazing.
Yes, it’s named after Donald Trump. This is the world we live in now.
As you may already know, it has become a trend within Pokemon GO to defeat gyms, only to crown them with Magikarp defenders for shits and giggles. “Karping” has become so popular, that it was only a matter of time before someone did it to the White House, which has been one of the most hotly contested gyms in the entire country.
While The Donald only lasted two minutes at the White House, his owner, Joshua Shull, says that some people rallied to try to keep the Magikarp positioned by elevating the level of the gym. “The fish was actually somehow supported briefly by his party,” Shull said. Alas, it was not enough.
Magikarp didn’t get dethroned for being useless in battle, however. Any Pokemon whatsoever is defeated quickly at a high-profile gym like the White House.
“Just standing there for 15 minutes I think I saw [the White House] change teams at least 10-15 times,” Shull said. “There’s always a huge crowd of tourists in front of the place normally; now just half of them are fighting for the gym.”
Shull estimates that, at any given time, half the people outside the White House now are there for the gym.
“There were so many people fighting for the White House that I actually had to take it down multiple times before the server gave me a chance to inaugurate The Donald,” Shull said.
Why go through all this trouble? Why would anyone trek out to the White House, and fight a bunch of strangers repeatedly, just to make a joke with a digital fish?
Shull sent me this…
…which is a meme that has practically become a calling card for Team Valor.
“Whenever someone takes down a gym, they’re answering the question of ‘what’s the point’,” Shull said. “To some, it’s just to have their little creature up on the pedestal, five minutes of fame. To me, since gyms are almost impossible to hold and barely give you any kind of exp, I wanted something more than that.
“Sure I can take down and put my strongest 2000 CP Pokemon in the White House, so what, that’s already been done — and the Pokemon would be knocked off the gym in seconds anyway. I wanted to do something unique, something memorable, something that would maybe both communicate something valuable while being humorous. Thus, The Donald.”
Beyond the pursuit glory, Shull says that it is difficult to take gym ownership seriously when the battling mechanics for Pokemon GO are so flawed.
“The battle system is massively skewed towards offence,” Shull said. “Defensive Pokemon only attack every 1.5 seconds, never dodge and always use their special ability at specific times. To make it even better for offence, there are three to four (obtainable) Pokemon in this game that are absolutely broken; they straight up attack faster, do more damage, have better defence and actually destroy their supposed counters in a direct one-on-one fight.
“Even Pokemon with [high] CP and type advantage do less damage and die faster [than less powerful monsters],” Shull said. “It’s dumb. As an example: I have a 1300 CP Jolteon, and regularly put him up against many lower-CP Vaporeons. Ol’ Jolty will lose every time unless I do some masterful dodging, since his DPS is so low, and the ‘super effective’ bonus is a mere 1.2x instead of 2x like the games.
“This among so much else in the games’ future needs a balance change if the game is to survive, let alone mean something to the more competitive community growing now.”
RIP The Donald. You are gone now, but for a moment, you made America splash again.