My Adult Cynicism Is Ruining Pokemon Sun And Moon

My Adult Cynicism Is Ruining Pokemon Sun And Moon

I love Pokemon. I grew up on the games and anime. I learnt the Pokerap. I owned the soundtrack to the first movie and I spent real dollars on Pokemon GO.

But as I started playing through Pokemon Sun this week, I noticed that the childhood whimsy was being overshadowed by something dark and more sinister — adult cynicism.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the game. I just can’t approach it with the same child-like innocence and joy of yesteryear.

Part of it is undoubtedly the by-product of becoming a world weary trainer. The idea of running through both Sun and Moon on a quest to catch hundreds and hundreds of em’ all is exhausting. To use an outdated reference from the great Roger Murtaugh: “I’m getting too old for this shit.”

Do I really want to spend what will inevitably be hundreds of hours grinding in the long grass for Pokemon that are lazy reinventions or seem to be inspired by a particularly bad acid trip at Burning Man? Maybe I should have gotten out back when Trubbish, an actual piece of garbage, came into being.

Aside from being a jaded monster, there are a couple of other things that I’m allowing myself to be distracted by.

It Can Be A Bit Dirty

Firstly, why is the professor tooling around in a lab coat and no shirt whilst hanging around young girls? I get that it’s the tropics and all, but some professionalism wouldn’t go astray.

He’s pretty fine, as far as video game gentleman go though. Professor Sycamore is out and Kukui is in.

Secondly, good lord some of the translations. Here are a few lines from a TV commercial:

“Fair suck of the sav! That’s a bewdy … This is the best thing I’ve ever had in my mouth!”

“Oh my gosh, it’s so sour! My lips want to clamp as tightly shut as the mouth of any Budew.”

Just, what?

It’s God Damn Dark

Image: Bulbagarden

Project Pokemon (which is currently claiming to have been attacked by malicious users), leaked the Sun and Moon Pokédex entries ahead of release. Some of the entries are reminiscent of a horror title, as opposed to a kid’s game. Although disturbing Pokedex entries are nothing new, they’re really taking it to the next level this time around.

Here are just a couple of examples:

Frosslass: “When it finds humans or Pokemon it likes, it freezes them and takes them to its chilly den, where they become decorations.”

Mimikyu (also known as the one that wears a terrifying makeshift Pikachu costume): “Its actual appearance is unknown. A scholar who saw what was under its rag was overwhelmed with terror and died from the shock.”

Primeape: “It has been known to become so angry that it dies as a result. Its face looks peaceful in death, however.”

Bewear: “This Pokemon has a habit of hugging its companions. Many Trainers have left this world after their spines were squashed by its hug.”

Glalie: “Legend says that a boulder on an icy mountain absorbed the distress and regrets of a stranded mountaineer, giving rise to Glalie.”

Marowak: “The bones it possesses were once its mother’s.”

Palossand: “Buried beneath the castle are masses of dried up bones from those whose vitality it has drained.” Yeah, this terrifying thing uses mind controls on adults so they build it a sandcastle which it uses to trap and absorb the lifeforce of small Pokemon.

And let’s not forget that a bunch of Pokemon, including my beloved Psyduck, are in constant pain due to their powers. WTF is wrong with you, Nintendo?

It’s Kinda Shady

Image: Pokemon Wiki

Like with previous titles, the world we find ourselves in seems to be built upon subjugation and exploitation of small animals. This is perhaps more apparent than ever as Alola is reminiscent of the tax haven that is the Cayman islands.

The whole place is run by the big Kahuna, Hala, who couldn’t look more like a mob boss on the lamb. And everyone is flushed with cash, including the small children. I was able to roll a character named Preschooler Oliver for $120. Another, Youngster Kevin, yelled “Let’s go, kneecaps!” before we started a battle. They’re all made-men waiting to happen.

It’s also incredibly suspect just how pushy everyone is about my becoming a Trainer, especially after a certain incident that marks me as special at the beginning of the game. Why do I have have a job at my age — I’m just a child!

Hala has taken a particular interest in me and I’m concerned about becoming a cog in a sinister, rare Pokemon farming ring.

And what about my Mum. There’s no explanation thus far as to why we packed up and moved to Alola. What are you running from, Mum?

What games have you ruined with your adulthood?


  • I’m not too old for Pokemon (I’m not old at all). But I did kinda gave up during Ruby because it did feel like the same game all over again. I did complete the League, I caught Rayquaza. But when I started to move on to other Legendary Pokemon I just kinda went meh. I put off Pokemon until X and Y came out, with enough changes to reinvigorate my joy, but I still haven’t even finished the League. I think I’ve only earned like, 6 badges.

  • I’ve always viewed the amount of [currency units] you get for winning to be indicative that their currency system is closer to the JPY than the AUD. Ie. You win 120 [units], which is equivalent to about $1.50, so you basically win their lunch money. Which still makes you a mean person…

      • The money is equivalent to yen. The best example of this is that the base fare of a taxi ride in X and Y is exactly the same as it is in Tokyo. Heck, if you play the Japanese versions they use the yen sign.

  • @os42

    Also, if you try and capture a Pokemon during a trainer battle the game tells you off for being an attempted thief. A child’s money is fair game though…

    • Well, lunch money is transient – they’d get more every day. But a lot of these kids only have (and have only ever had) one pokemon – one best friend.

      Spoilered cos… well, turns out the ramifications of the above on Team Rocket’s actions are a little dark.
      Stealing their pokemon would be infinitely worse to them – it’s why Team Rocket (well, the competent ones, at least) are painted as villains. We’re the bully that steals their lunch money, but TR will kidnap your best friend and sell them into slavery… or worse (case in point: slowpoke tails). For all its cliche and whimsy, Pokemon can get pretty damn dark at times when you remember that a lot of them are sentient beings.

      • honestly, this is why I’ll always see Team Rocket as the best villains of the pokemon games. They don’t want some over-the-top destroy the world/dry all the water/flood the world/recreate the world/kill everyone. They just want money.

  • The whole “it gets dark” section is the best bit of the entire thing. Fairytales need that dark side 😛

    • Meeee-owth, that’s right – traditional fairy tales are all gruesome, and I never met any kid who didn’t like Roald Dahl for the same reason.

      I was in my late teens when I started playing Pokemon Blue; for me the adult cynicism was always there and it’s never stopped me. I keep going back – for all the problems of the Pokemon world, it’s nowhere near as bad as the world we live in, so the escapism is enjoyable… Whoops there I go being cynical again!

  • No attention is paid to your player character here.

    ‘All of Leigh’s Pokemon fainted!’

    ‘Leigh lost to Hiker!’

    ‘Leigh paid out money to the winner!’

    ‘Leigh blacked out!’

    Let’s unpack that. Not only are all my animal friends battered and broken, I’ve had to pay up. I then LOSE CONSCIOUSNESS and wake up in what sometimes is a location very far away from where I was.

    I’m pretty sure that’s the plot of Wolf Creek.

  • The reason given at the start of the game is your mum loves the Alolan Pokemon. Also I find that Australianish lingo less pervy than our Yank counterparts.

  • Nothing about capturing a wild animal with magical powers and then forcing it to battle other animals? Once I accepted that, none of the other stuff seemed that horrible.

  • I never really got into Pokemon, although I’ve briefly played a couple of titles.

    However, there have been a few RPGs over recent years that emulate the collect/breed/evolve mechanics used by Pokemon, and I’m finding it pretty tiresome, so it may be just as well.

    I gave up on Ni no Kuni (a game I otherwise enjoyed) because I found the monster collecting and levelling increasingly tiresome. Ditto World of Final Fantasy.

  • I agree. sun and moon just hasn’t done it for me like in the past. the darker dex entries- darn right creepy sometimes, they complete scrapping of EX for GX, the placement of stuff on the cards after 20 years suddenly changes, the re design of ash in the anime looks more like he has digressed and he looks more like a 6 to 8 year old(in my opinion) rather than a 10 to12 year old like he is suppose to be. Then add in the whole game play has changed- don’t get me wrong i like the games i just miss the nostalgia of the gyms)- scrapping gyms. Its like the franchise has been taken over and totally changed and other than there being ash on a journey in the pokemon world its like its being made by a totally different company. The majority of us who play and love pokemon are those that grew up with it and well I’m crossing my fingers that things revert back to how they were for the next generation. yes i bought moon and yes i may still buy some pokemon cards and compete at my local TCG center but S&M just hasn’t done it for me the way it use to in past or even like X&Y did. Add in that they didnt ass solrock and lunatone to the alolan dex- i mean for crying out loud they didn’t add the sun and moon pokemon to sun and moon. Of all the pokemon there are everyone reckoned thy would at least be in the game if not mascots for the game. they really missed out on having solrock exclusive to sun and lunatone exclusive to moon. Lastly what the heck happened to us getting a dolphin pokemon. overall im not as happy with the sun and moon generation as i was expecting to be just a few months before.

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