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Would You Like to Give Your Pokemon a Nickname?

    To me, Nicknaming every Pokemon is important: I put a lot of time and energy into training them, I feel happy when they level up, and happier when they evolve.They’re not just a pieces of data, they’re my little digital pets, and I name each and every one to reflect that.


    It takes time and energy to raise a pokemon: Especially one caught at a low level. I catch a team near the beginning and then grind until they can mow down anything, catching only ones I like. This team travels with me my entire journey, becoming familiar and personally important to me. The way I take on gyms is rather over-the-top, I dig through serebii to find dirt on the gym leader’s pokemon, then I set myself a goal. I’m going to get my entire team to this level. Usual I say five above the leader’s strongest, rounded to a multiple of five. And after hours of running in circles in tall grass, beating up everything that comes my way, I cream the gym. This approach gets boring after a while, it takes a long time, and is rather monotonous, and after a while of watching my little buddies beat things up, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think of my pokemon as individuals.


  The default name isn’t a name: It’s the name of the species. If you’re capturing this living creature, and bringing it on your backpacking trip, you should probably call it by something other than the name of its species. Would you name your dog “Labrador”? And you’re making it beat things up along the way, the least you can do is make it an individual, if you don’t, you’re not treating pokemon with love like the NPCs so love to remind you to do.
Image result for pokemon pokedex


    The care I put into choosing a name reflects what this creature means to me: like if I catch a rattata or something to use as a dummy pokemon, then its name will be along the lines of “Bob”. On the other hand, when I catch a pokemon to add to my team, or that I think is cute or awesome, I’ll take time out of my day to think of a good, fitting name.

    I’ll inevitably gain an attachment to the pokemon I fight with: Like Betty the Linoone. I originally caught her just because none of my main pokemon could use surf, and I knew I’d need to cross a bunch of water from that point on. Then I began preparing to face the flying type gym, and realized my entire team was at a type disadvantage. I set out to train a new team for this gym, taking Betty with me as not only an HM pokemon, but also as my strongest. As I’ve been training this new group, I become more attached to each one, Betty included. Although I would never have predicted that she would come to mean anything to me, Betty does hold significance to me.


    I also have complaints about the way the games treat pokemon: The game likes to assert that pokemon are friends, and we need to love and respect them, and treat them with kindness, then turns around and does nothing to that effect. No NPCs ever nickname their pokemon, the only time you see an NPC’s Pokemon with a nickname is in NPC trades. It would be kinda interesting to see what kinds of nicknames NPC pokemon got. Would they be clever? Would there be puns? I hope there would be. Would they be as generic as their trainers’ names? Who knows, NPCs don’t name their pokemon! There has to be some way they could display both the nickname and species of a pokemon at once. Maybe instead of showing the species name, there could be a way to open the pokedex in battle, have it bring up the pokemon you’re facing automatically, and you wouldn’t need to have the species name on screen at all. Come to think of it, that’s the anime’s fix for not having an excuse to put holographic name cards above the heads of pokemon when in battle.

Image result for pokemon picnicker fanart
    They also knowingly confine pokemon to a digital space literally named the “storage system”, like they’re inanimate tools, obviously considering these “friends” to be nothing more than assets. It would be much more fun for everyone if they did something more like the anime did, and send them somewhere visitable in the overworld, like the professor's lab. It would be fun to be able to go interact with my pokemon in the overworld. 

    I’m starting to think the anime has the answers to all the ethical problems of the games. Then there’s the fact that the whole idea bears disturbing resemblance to bloodsports, but that’s another whole can of worms that’s not so easily fixed. The dialogue is peppered with reminders that pokemon are friends, but the infrastructure of the world and actions of its inhabitants contradict this. So yeah, I think naming pokemon is important: considering all the time and energy you’ll spend training, and the bond you’ll form (as cheesy as it sounds), I hope “Yes” sounds like the right answer the next time you’re asked “would you like to give your pokemon a nickname?”
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