You Teach Me, And I’ll Eat You
This week, we kicked off a new Special Topics In Gameology miniseries that’ll be looking at commerce in video games. For the first installment, Patrick Lee took a deep dive into Pokémon to see what the presence of those fantastical critters has done to shape the economy and way of life in their world. The speculation and mind-blowing realizations continued down in the comments. For instance, LotionChowder recalled early games in the series mentioning the existence of normal animals from our world living alongside Pokémon, a trend that faded as the games went on. Unexpected Dave theorized about this change:
The terrifying implication of all this is that any “normal” animals have gone extinct in the years since Gen 1. All those regular cows and dogs couldn’t compete against predators that can shoot lasers. Of course, it’s highly likely that humans had a major hand in eradicating normal animals from the Pokéverse. We bred Pokémon too aggressively, and they eliminated other species.
As Patrick pointed out, without those real-world analogs, the meat eaters of the Pokéworld undoubtedly turn toward pocket monsters for their protein. Lack of Name asked everyone the obvious question, which Pokémon is probably the most tasty?:
A couple of months ago, I had a conversation with a couple of people about which Pokémon would be best to cook and eat. We agreed that steaming a Bulbasaur with its own plant would probably be delicious.
Farfetch’d, a duck that just so happens to carry around a leek (an image pulled from a Japanese saying), was quickly suggested. For what it’s worth, it seems the people of Pokéworld agree, as multiple Pokédex entries make reference to the species’ dwindling numbers. Pokémon Crystal goes so far as to say, “In order to prevent their extinction, more people have made an effort to breed these Pokémon.” Forgetting the species’ plight for a second, Liebkartoffel tried to imagine what it must have taken to come up with a name as strange as Farfetch’d:
“So, what’ve we got here? A duck who carries around a leek.”
“It’s literally a duck with a leek.”
“Let’s call it…I don’t know, Farfetched. That’s kind of a pun.”
“How is that a pun? I mean, if it were like a dog Pokémon, that’d—”
“—Listen, do we really want to expend the effort on a fucking duck with a leek? Do we really want to be having this conversation?”
“Fine, let’s just, I don’t know, stick an apostrophe in there? Make it look like we tried?”
“How does that—you know what? I don’t care. I don’t care. Moving on. Here we have a…crab.”
Isn’t Magikarp a carp? Carp meat is typically avoided. It’s not inedible, but it’s not exactly good, either, being greyish, mushy, and—most prevalent to commercial concerns—quite bony. So aquaculture is something else Magikarp is useless for, I guess.
Well, you wouldn’t be much better off going for Goldeen or Seaking, because goldfish meat ain’t all that great either. Gyarados meat, on the other hand, is probably delicious, but I imagine Gyarados fishing expeditions are of the Moby Dick variety.
And disgusting as the activity might be, Austin’s image of “Gyrados whaling” is undeniably rad:
It would be whaling but with lightning bolts instead of harpoons, which is all sorts of badass. I mean, I’m assuming you use lightning bolts. Having a Pikachu shoot lightning over the starboard side of a whaler at a Gyarados is a pretty cool image.
Less rad is the alternative idea of Gyrados farming, as presented by Liebkartoffel. Things took an even sadder turn when Waffle_Iron brought us a vision of the tortured musings of a Torkoal that has been doomed to suffer again and again at the hands of the nameless trainers attempting to evolve Magikarps at one of these Gyrados farms:
“It was around week four that my mind broke free of the pain, and I found myself. Life is tough for a Torkoal on a Magikarp farm. The constant battles, all of which you are destined to lose, will wear you down. Leave you empty.
Certainly, the trainers did their duty and brought me to the tender mercies of Nurse Joy after each fight, but my stay in her care was always brief, and she, much as the others, never truly cared for my plight. She knew me only by my slave name, Torkoal 37.
Her station had been relocated to amidst a great field of battle, the chaos of endless melee clamoring around me. It was my existence to lose fight after fight to water-type Pokémon.
The trainers would cast out their Magikarp, and as their first move of the battle, trade in a fire type or a water type. A single water-type move, and I would again find myself unconscious.
During my periods of blackout, I would be traded and healed, again and again. I had no permanent trainer and, truth be told, would have accepted the command of no one who would perpetrate this continual hell upon me.
I have never won a battle, I have never seen a water type lose a battle, and I have never been awake to see the evolution of the Gryados my perpetual abuse and humiliation make possible.”
I’m sad now.
Well, that’s it for this week, Gamelogiganders. Thanks for reading and commenting. We’ll see you all next week.