Pokémon Fans, I Need Y'all To Shut Up About Dexit

I’m not new to this Pokémon shit. When I was a knuckleheaded young master, high off Black Radberry Now & Laters and bedevilled by the vicious thrill of the Safari Zone, I decided that I would catch them all.

Years before Katamari Damacy would turn my capitalistic greed on its head, over a decade before Pokémon Black and White paused to say, “Hmm, maybe it is not right to capture hundreds of wild animals and force them into brutal combat with the raw power of the elements they wield,” a 7-year-old me decided I would capture all 150 unique species of pocket monsters in Pokémon Blue. That the vast majority of them would languish in the digital limbo of Bill’s Pokémon box did not deter me. This to say: I came to Pokémon Sword and Shield battle-worn.

In Blue, I caught every Pokémon I could in the wild, save for the ones that only appeared in Pokémon Red. It was an ordeal. In the days where Pokémon’s user interface was at its barest, trudging through caves and gallivanting about in tall grass managed to bore even my young, Pokémon-obsessed mind. Still I pressed on, driven by one part determination and 10 parts the motivational speech my mum gave me: “I’m not buying you another goddamn game, we just got you that one, stop acting spoiled.”

An artist’s interpretation of my mother’s face when I asked for not one but two games (Screenshot: Nintendo)

Having failed to convince my parents that I needed two nearly identical games, I would have to find another way to catch Ekans, Oddish, Mankey, Scyther, and Electabuzz. Luckily, my friend had Pokémon Red—that part was easy. What caused issues were the Pokémon you got from NPCs that couldn’t be caught in the wild. The first complication: You get one Eevee per playthrough, which you could then evolve into a Flareon, a Vaporeon, or a Jolteon. Both my friend and I loved Jolteon. We each wanted our own. I wasn’t particularly thrilled to evolve my Eevee into a Vaporeon or a Flareon, but I was the foolhardy one who wanted to fill my Pokédex. I took the Flareon. Another hurdle: You can only get either a Hitmonlee or a Hitmonchan from the washed-up master of the fighting dojo in Saffron City. (I ultimately went for Hitmonchan because it looked less goofy to me.) After carrying some transactions out on a frosted purple Link Cable, I finally caught them all, even a Mew that my friend got with a Gameshark. And I had fun, goddammit.

Well, no I didn’t. But the diploma I got was cool, I guess.

Over the two decades following Red and Blue, I’ve played every generation of Pokémon game as soon as it came out, including the remakes and direct sequels. I’ve enjoyed a lot of them; some of them have bored me. Each time, I give my Pokémon teams themed nicknames. The Bad Bitch Squad has arrived at your trial, led by a diva Primarina who is not about the bullshit. Club 96 is here, and Lola the Scorbunny is here to put a lucky rabbit’s foot up that arse. I get really attached to my Pokémon, is what I’m telling you.

Not so attached, though, that I’d ignore the thousands and thousands of hours people have poured into creating a fresh experience in an entirely new world. Once Game Freak announced that certain Pokémon wouldn’t be transferable to Sword and Shield, people lost their shit and called the absence of those Pokémon “Dexit,” ha ha ha. Like an American tourist demanding a frappuccino in an Italian cafe, this subset of Pokémon fans is hellbent on bringing what they want to bring into new regions, labour and culture be damned.

Pokémon Sword and Shield got review bombed when they came out, as tends to happen with games that release with controversy. There have been death threats. Some are comparing Game Freak to Bethesda. There is an ongoing series of “culled Pokémon family” illustrations that one fan has been posting once a day “until Dexit is reversed.” Some of you are writing brain teasers about Sword and Shield’s game design. A lot of you are patting yourselves on the back for your continued efforts in creating problems where there aren’t any. Not everyone who’s sad about Dexit is being so melodramatic—some people are actually making pretty impressive mods, which I support, and some people have gone out of their way to praise Game Freak in light of silly-arse hashtags like #GameFreakLied. But some of y’all are out here losing your marbles.

Sure, you can catch an electric corgi in Sword and Shield, but why do that when you can complain? I realise some of y’all are real attached to this data you’ve been carrying forward year-to-year since childhood, but my dusty old Charizard is tired. He can rest instead of being brought to yet another country to be pummelled by Bubble Beams and Rock Slides for the sake of winning a ribbon and some clout.

Y’all need therapy. (Image: jamiedrummond, Reddit)

Do you know what you can catch in Pokémon Sword and Shield’s Wild Area? A fucking Jolteon. Gita caught one that was just roaming around in a thunderstorm. You know what else you can catch in—I cannot stress this enough—the wild? A goddamn Hitmonlee. I saw a whole little herd of them running around when one decided he wanted that smoke, which I provided. From the start, you can catch its baby Pokémon, Tyrogue, another ’mon you could only get from an NPC in its original game. You can then, by yourself, evolve it into as many Hitmonchan or Hitmontop or Hitmonlee as you want, or just not evolve it because it’s cute and you can catch a bunch and fill your Pokédex without worrying about all that shit.

This game is a love letter to longtime fans.

Before I won a single gym badge, I saw a Rhydon before I even saw a Rhyhorn. In the original games, you would only see these Pokémon on Victory Road. On my team I had a Galarian Farfetch’d, which I evolved into a Sirfetch’d. There’s a wild Lucario you can catch, who roars to the heavens and then Naruto runs at you. There’s a Hitmontop doing capoeira. The animations are adorable and done with care—which has made it all the more frustrating for me to see fans criticise them and stubbornly conjecture about how little time these models took Game Freak to make, with the same amount of credibility as my uncle who both works at Nintendo and definitely exists. I could go on.

Team Yell, a funnily appropriate instance of rabid fans making things annoying for other fans. Shout out to Marnie’s jacket, though. I get dressed to Portishead sometimes, too.

The Pokémon Let’s Go games brilliantly wielded the appeal of being able to catch Pokémon that were so rare in previous games that they’d only appear in your Pokédex as “Area Unknown,” meaning they were available only via NPCs or special events. Catching a wild Charizard or Bulbasaur in Let’s Go felt surreal. Pokémon Sword and Shield ramp that up by extending that across generations, giving new life to old Pokémon. The result is a Pokémon game that’s more satisfying than the games have felt in years. The number of new Galarian forms for old ’mons is a cherry on top, even if Galarian Meowth’s evolution, Perrserker, looks like it would try to colonise my country and give me smallpox.

My Perrserker about to fuck up a police officer continuing the series’ storied history of Pokémon-backed police brutality.

Pokémon Sword and Shield is bursting with design choices that appeal to exactly the type of fan who is most likely to complain about Dexit—the longtime players, the players who grew up following the Pokémon-as-friends philosophy to the letter. There are so many things done specifically for diehard fans that seeing the loud and rude contingent of people losing their shit has made me want to Comet Punch a wall.

I don’t mind critiques of the game as a whole. There are things to genuinely and reasonably not like about this game! Here are a few off the top of my head:

  • Sandaconda looks like a fleshlight. The fact that it is called Sandaconda does not help its case.

  • You can’t turn your character model around with the right stick when using Casual controls. If I can shop online with one hand in real life, I expect to be able to shop one-handed in my Pokémon game. I need us to get with the times.

  • That new Meowth form? Idk, man. Idfk.

Man, look. I understand the passion behind these games. A lot of us grew up with them, became gamers because of them. But that’s all the more reason to critique them respectfully and reasonably. There’s no reason for all the death threats and direct attacks and histrionics. To the fans who feel terrible leaving their Poké-babies in the past, I have good news to share from this random woman outside the Pokémon Centre.

Those old Pokémon will be fine, probably.

Comments

    Counter argument - F**k you buddy, I want to play with my goddamned Nidoking

    Did you write an entire article just to say "Just Consume Product and Then Get Excited for Next Products"

    Pokemon Sword + Shield is the Fallout 4 of Pokemon games, what people wanted was the best of previous games combined in to one but instead large amounts of features are just gone in service of a slightly (Very slightly) shinier coat of paint.

    People like you are the reason they get away with rushing out lazy sequels that take one step forwards and two steps back. Pokemon is the most valuable franchise on earth and we should be at the point where we can expect to get a new game that improves on its predecessor, not a game that can fill a billboard with whats missing from previous versions.

    How dare people get upset when they're being taken advantage by a corporation who is giving them less product for a higher price.

    If people want to complain, let them. In the case of the sub-reddit I think they literally added a venting tag to help filter out negative comments about the new games.

    Also, I’m not 100% sure about this but didn’t they say that only Pokemon you could catch in Galar be used in the new games but now the other Kanto starters were added. Might be they are re-thinking their position. Food for thought

    Three responses so far and three entitled whiners. Way to prove the article right.

    You were taken advantage of? Lied to? When they clearly stated the omissions months ago. It's not like it was a hidden surprise. You have received a normal, full games worth of content. Don't like it, fine. Want to criticize it? Also fine, it's a product. But keep your whining to a mature, adult level if you could. Not a big ask.

      But keep your whining to a mature, adult level if you could. Not a big ask.

      Lol, remember what site you are on.

      You were taken advantage of? Lied to?
      The whole #GameFreakLied thing started because datamining proved the Pokemon models were re-used from the 3DS titles despite being told from the start that they were totally original and the reason for dexit. So yeah, we were lied to.

        True, but they still announced that Pokemon xx to xx were not in the game prior to release. And there is a difference between have same models and animating them in Sword / Shield for the new movements and actions they complete. It's not a simple switch swipe.

        Was it great that company allowed the carry-over in previous games? Yes. But they didn't have to. New games generally new everything. Few other games have carry over. Not bringing your old CoD unlocks to the new CoD are you? It is unreasonable to expect the carry over would continue forever as the 'Dex is ever growing.

          they still announced that Pokemon xx to xx were not in the game prior to release.
          No they didn't, to this day they haven't made any announcement on what Pokemon are/aren't available in-game. The only announcement they made was on E3 Treehouse (in English) that "some" wouldn't be included and leakers/dataminers found the actual details.
          And there is a difference between have same models and animating them in Sword / Shield
          For new moves, yes but for the most part the animations are re-used too. Even Hop is re-using animations from Hau...

          New games generally new everything. Few other games have carry over. Not bringing your old CoD unlocks to the new CoD are you?
          I don't play CoD so can't really speak to that comparison but generally I do expect new game, new everything like you said, especially when on a new console generation. In this case we got new game, old everything (except the Pokemon that got cut).

          I said it in the other article bit honestly I'm enjoying Sword for what it is but I still have yet to see anything that makes it feel like a Switch game rather than a 3DS game that was lazily ported to the Switch....

            I said it in the other article bit honestly I'm enjoying Sword for what it is but I still have yet to see anything that makes it feel like a Switch game rather than a 3DS game that was lazily ported to the Switch....

            That's fair. This is my first Pokemon game (aside from Go). While my wife and I are enjoying it, I am a little surprised at some of the odd and clunky interface and gameplay choices. It could have been pushed more on the Switch, I agree.

              This is my first Pokemon game (aside from Go)

              You have no vested interest in this franchise if the only other pokemon game you played was GO. You cannot fathom where the anger comes from, you basically jumped on the Go bandwagon and went hey this pokemon thing is a pretty interesting let me thrown my money at the new iterations. So you can't complain that other people are complaining.
              Personally Pokemon got boring after the 3rd iteration onwards, always the same formula just with different pokemon to play with. The only good thing was being able to bring in older pokemon you grew attached to and use them

              Dexit was just the last straw for some people. For some, they noticed a decline in end game content over the generations starting at X/Y. Sw/Sh has almost no end game (just Battle Tower) and optional content. Less than Pokemon Crystal, now that I think about it.

      When they clearly stated the omissions months ago
      No they didn't. They gave a vague announcement that some things weren't going to be there and the actual extent of the omissions were only discovered via leaks. The Japanese fanbase was basically told nothing pre-release, only finding out about it via translations of western news.
      Also people are saying they were lied to because they were. Gamefreak publicly justified the cuts with the reasoning that they needed to in order to accommodate re-doing their models and animations. disregarding that the animations are frequently laughable for a game of this level, the models of pre-existing Pokemon were proven to be identical to the ones they had been using previously on the 3DS games.
      People would be less annoyed if Gamefreak had clearly announced the cuts, maybe actually outline what pokemon wouldn't be in the game, and then said nothing. Instead they said as little as possible while also making a flimsy excuse that fell apart under the most minor scrutiny.

      Are you able to quote the part of my comment above that was "Entitled Whining" and how better I could phrase my complaints about the game?

      Or is it just someone bad mouthing a game you enjoyed that bothers you?

    to be fair this is the appropriate place to push back if they feel the article is calling them out.

    I will complain about my poor Psyduck as much as possible, thank you.

    Or Psy-Fi? WiDuck? PsyFi? Poor bugger has a better signal than my laptop in the office. Maybe I should bring him to work, since Game Freak aren't going to give him a job.

    It's so sad to see so many people missing out on a really fun experience because the developers didn't make the exact experience they wanted (which is a problem that's rampant in all pop culture right now, I don't love the specific language used in it, but Scorsese's NYT article on Marvel movies really hits an important note about products primarily designed to be liked by the broadest audience saps them of any artistic intent).

    I'm still stuck in the first open area because it's such a fun change up from every other Pokemon game I've played beforehand. It's a kids game doing what kids games do best, giving me that feeling I had when was a kid.

      It is pretty awesome and I feel that it is a rare pokemon game I will finish myself (instead of letting my son take over the save file) - the little changes really add up to streamline the exploring and grinding and catching so it's much smoother and faster. If only we could turn the music off!

      And if only all these entitled folks would turn their attention to worthy causes - are we not entitled to clean air, clear water, free healthcare, lack of discrimination. When it comes to private corporations we aren't entitled to anything - but if they make a product we don't want, we have the right not to buy it. This isn't an Apple style patch that makes prior software unplayable - it is a new standalone product that you can choose to buy, whine about, or move on...

        I don't want to even approach the entitlement debate (I don't have the strength), I just think it sucks that people can only get into the mindset of "these things were taken from me, it's a shoddy product" instead of "I will judge this experience on its own merits and see what fun is to be had". It's a wierd transformation from brand loyalty to brand ownership "I've been with Pokemon since gen 1, so if they don't construct the games in the exact way I want them to, then they will be objectively bad".

        You can turn the music off but you need to get an item from an NPC in Motostoke.

      That was so deep Adele was rolling in it

      You must be some sort enlightened, intelligent person us plebs can only aspire to becoming

    I find it annoying that having legitimage criticism of something is disragarded as toxic in this day and age. Are there people being toxic about it, yes absolutely, but that is not everyone and it doesn't make claims less valid. Lets use what has happened here in a different industry and still think if people shouldn't be complaining.

    You've been going to a nice restaraunt for years, you order your favorite meal everytime ( a steak for example). Sometimes it's not quite as good as other times, sometimes better, but you always enjoy it.

    The restaraunt announces that they are doing some menu changes in the future and due to fancy new seasonings they are using they may be a slight reduction in the size of the steaks they provide since the quality will be much higher.

    You go to the restaraunt after the changes and order your steak, and when it finally arrives you see it has shrunk almost half the size and the new seasonings is just a little extra salt and pepper. And to top it off, this one costs more than any others you have purchased in the past.

    Now shut up and eat your meal!!

    Personally I like how mad people get on these comments section and write full essays on articles that the "writer" intentionally makes a controversial stance just to get people to click and get rowdy.
    "Modern Journalism 101"

    I'm not offended by this thing, therefore no one else is allowed to be

    Totally sound logic and not at all (mod edit *snip*).

      It’s the twin sibling of “I’m offended by this thing, therefore everyone else must be.”

      I hear what folks are saying, and can really respect that. I’m in the boat where I haven’t managed to finish a PokeMon game, although Yellow was the furthest I got. When I tried the 3DS remix of Ruby from a features / systems perspective it felt incredibly daunting so I’m enjoying the more casual feel of this one.

      Everyone else can duke it out, I’ll just have fun and mourn the fact I didn’t get it super cheap from JB Hifi.

        I'm not of that crowd. Sure I'm greatly disappointed with the game quality. But im still okay with others liking it. I'm not okay thought with some who like it using their enjoyment to shut down others who don't. Like the person who wrote this article.

          The article is about respectfulness, I'm Guessing you didn't get the memo

            I'm guessing you didn't read my comments.

            Try reading your own name now.

    Why doesn't Natalie shut up? We got a shitty product and even if cutting the national dex wasn't a totally insane thing to do the "reasons" the cuts were made were lies. We got reused models, reused animations, PS2 textures and to top it off we also get almost 150 cut moves and less than half the amount of pokemon allowed to be in the game. Want to get all your pokemon in game? You gotta pay for pokemon home FOREVER or lose them!

    Yeah I totally want to set a match to my up to and including gen 6 living dex and what I've done so far in sun and moon. This article should be taken down.

    More important than Dexit is the removal of the GTS. Not only can you no longer catch them all, you can't even reliably trade for the ones that are in the game. As long as the GTS or an equivalent system is missing from the games then I won't buy them. Y- comm is 10 steps backwards for no real reason.

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