Saharan Shipwreck: In Pokemon XD, Shadow Lugia lifts an ocean liner straight out of the sea in the opening cutscene. As the story progresses, you get hints that something went wrong, and later discover that S. Lugia wigged out at some point in transit and dropped the liner into the desert.
Save Scumming: You can do this with any one-time-only Mon, allowing you to get an ideal nature, or even a Shiny. Let's see if your patience holds out.
Schmuck Bait: As cool as the Fire-type starting Pokemon may look, generally speaking they're the worst ones to start off with, and more often than not picking them will result in you getting absolutely slaughtered as soon as you run into that game's Wake-Up Call Boss.
There is also the Magikarp salesman in the R/B/Y games (and the remakes.) For $500, he'll sell you the most useless Pokemon in the game... unless you think that getting the trope namer for Magikarp Power well before you can fish it up normally is worth the extra $300.
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire have you chasing down Latias and Latios depending on the version. When it comes to Pokémon Emerald, however, you're allowed to pick which one it is; you see it on TV, and your mom asks what color it was. The color you pick confirms which one you'll be after, and neither will actually be present in your game until the moment you answer this question.
Scissors Cuts Rock: In general gameplay, you can override type advantages by simply being much stronger than all opponents. Even the Elite Four can be defeated by a single starter if it's at level 100. There's also the common tactic of giving a Pokémon moves that can trump its type weaknesses (say, a Psychic-type Reuniclus beating a Dark-type opponent with the Fighting-type Focus Blast).
The ability Tinted Lens, which increases the power of ineffective attacks back up to the power of a neutral hit, can lead to this.
Literally, as the Rock-type is weak to Steel.
The Generation VI move Freeze Dry is an Ice-type move that is super-effective against Water-type pokemon, which other Ice-type moves would normally be less effective against.
Second Person Attack: Done in a lot of the 3D games, because battle animations weren't built for two Pokémon to ever hit each other or even be on the same side of the arena. Battle Revolution is the first game in the Stadium series to have some moves avert this trope.
Secret Character: At least one every generation. However, Mew, the original Secret Character, was apparently so secret that not even Nintendo knew at first that it was programmed into the original Red and Green Versions.
Self-Imposed Challenge: The "Nuzlocke" challenge, which quickly gained popularity. There are many variations that can further add to the difficulty, but the most basic rules are that (1) the player can only catch the first Pokémon encountered in each area/route (whether you have to suffer catching duplicates is something dependent on your variation), (2) Pokémon that faint must be released or permanently boxed (they're "dead"), and (3) all Pokémon caught must be given nicknames (the only purpose this serves is to make it hurt more when they die).
With the VI Generation's Wonder Trade, a new Self-Imposed Challenge has arisen: Wonderlocke, where you must 1) catch 6 Pokemon, 2) immediately trade them off on Wonder Trade, and 3) use only the six new Pokemon you've received for the rest of the game.
Sequel Difficulty Spike: Due to the amount of Pokémon and the ways of finding/evolving them going up every game, along with the various sidequests and challenges.
Serpent of Immortality: The game has "Shed Skin", an ability that can cure status ailments that are inflicted to it. This ability is the main ability of Seviper.
The move Shell Smash is inspired by this trope. All of the user's defensive stats drop by one, but their offensive stats (including speed) increase by 2.
The ability Weak Armor represents this similarly. Every time a Pokemon is hit with a physical attack, its defense drops a stage, but its Speed increases one. Its Japanese name Broken Armor makes it even more apparant.
If you trade a Shelmet for a certain other Pokemon, when the trade is concluded the other Pokemon will have his shell-helmet and Shelmet will evolve into Accelgor, who has insane speed but lower defensive stats.
Sliding Scale of Continuity: The games mix level 2 (Status Quo Is God) with level 0 (Non-Linear Installments). There is continuity in the world, with references to events from previous games and some recurring characters, but every new game starts with you being a new rookie trainer in a new region fighting a new evil team, and knowing where the recurring characters came from is more a bonus than anything else.
Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: During battle, whenever one Pokémon strikes another Pokémon with a damage-dealing offensive move, one of three sound effects will play, depending on whether the move used was "not very effective" (dealt 1/2 or 1/4 the normal amount of damage)note An Ice-type move used against a Spheal, Sealeo or Walrein with the Thick Fat ability (halves all damage from Fire and Ice attacks) will deal 1/8th the normal amount of damage. The "not very effective..." sound effect still plays, however, dealt normal damage, or was "super effective" (dealt two times to four times the normal amount of damage)note A Fire-type move used against a Paras or Parasect with the Dry Skin ability (Water-type moves restore 25% of the Pokémon's Hit Points, at the expense of Fire-type moves dealing 25% more damage) will deal five times the normal amount of damage. In this scenario, the "super effective" sound effect is still played..
Travel to the Union Rooms in Diamond and Pearl also spins you.
Using Escape Ropes to get out of caves or the Teleport or Dig attacks outside of battle makes the character spin quickly.
Spin-Off: Along with the ones listed at the top of the page and their sequels, there is Pokémon Trozei, Pinball, Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire, Dash, Box: Ruby and Sapphire, and Puzzle League/Challenge.
Spiteful A.I.: There are a few moves in the games that allow the AI to qualify as this. Selfdestruct and Explosion both deal massive damage at the expense of the user fainting; Destiny Bond makes sure that if the user faints, so does the opponent; Perish Song adds a counter to everyone out in battle that makes sure that everyone faints in 3 turns. Often when fighting a trainer, their last mon will use one of those moves. The Aftermath ability chips off 1/4 of the opponent's HP if the user faints by means of an attack that makes contact.
Starting from Gen 3, Double-Battle oriented moves. These are moves that are either completely useless (Helping Hand) or subpar (Tail Whip) in single battles, but they range from useful to plain broken in these battles. When you have to deal with the one-in-fifty Double Battle throughout the storyline, you can expect your opponent to not only have an arsenal of these moves, but also having been hand picked to complement each other and whoop your ass. Gen 5 made it way worse with Triple Battles, where the hax potential of a couple hand picked moves (which your opponent WILL have) goes through the roof in them.
Stock Femur Bone: Cubone and Marowak carry one with them at all times. There's also the hold item Thick Club that doubles their Attack.
Stock RPG Spells: Obviously covers a lot of the Elemental Powers, and has Status Buffs and Standard Status Effects. Compared to other RPGs, though, curative moves are very rare, making Pokémon with the move Wishnote On the turn after use, heals the Pokémon currently in the spot of the user by half the user's HP the only way to heal many Pokémon's HP in PvP, where use items like Hyper Potions aren't allowed.
Two of the most popular are Skarmory (against physical attacks) and Blissey (against special attacks, with the additional bonus of having the highest possible base HP in the game), often used together for the lockdown Skarmbliss strategy. The other extremely popular walls now include Forretress, Ferrothorn, and Reuniclus for their excellent defensive stats and typings. This is also, arguably, parodied with Shuckle, which combines absurd stats in both defenses with an immunity to One-Hit KO moves, but has horrifically abysmal attack stats. (Strangely, it also has pitiful hit points, so it can be taken out in two or three shots of Seismic Toss or Night Shade, if your opponent uses them.)
You can also adapt several others for this role, with the moves Cosmic Power or Stockpile.
Beyond them, Lugia and Cresselia qualify. They have titanic defensive stats and middling offenses... the catch is, the former is banned and the latter isn't used very often because of her unreliable recovery.
Wobbuffet, also banned in competitive play, has the third highest base HP in the game (over 500 at max level), but literally can't attack. It has no offensive moves, only counter-attacks. (Which are, admittedly, pretty powerful.)
Strictly Formula: For the first four generations, at least. Battle through one or two gyms, encounter the evil team, dismantle their first plot, battle through a few more gyms, encounter the evil team again, dismantle their second plot and battle their leader, battle through the seventh gym, the evil team begins their endgame, defeat their leader (in 3 and 4, battle the legendary they hoped to control after this), battle the eighth gym, beat the Elite 4 and Champion. And then maybe encounter some stragglers from the evil team after.
Generation 5 subverted this, in that the evil team's endgame really took place as the Champion's Battle (and after).
Switch Out Move: The moves Whirlwind, Roar, Dragon Tail, and Circle Throw (all of which have decreased priority), and the Red Card item forces the opponent to switch out. The moves Baton Pass, U-Turn, and Volt Change, and the item Escape Button allow the user/holder to switch out.
Teach Him Anger: When the player allows a Pokemon to learn Rage or Frustration.
Teaser Equipment: Inverted in all the main series Pokémon games. Even if you have the money to do so, shops refuse to sell you the higher level PokéBalls and healing items until you've advanced the plot and obtained sufficient Gym badges.
Technicolor Fire: Sacred Fire and Blue Flare, as well as many Dragon-type attacks, especially from the fourth gen onwards.
Technicolor Toxin: The poison type element is purple, and many poisonous attacks and/or poison type Pokémon are violet in color.
Tempting Fate: Gardenia in Generation IV states that she hopes that there is and will not be a Grass/Ghost type Pokemon. Come Generation VI, when 4 Pokemon have this type, more specifically Phantump, Trevenant, Pumpkaboo, and Gourgeist
Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Played much more realistically than usual (i.e. different marking, horn sizes). Of course, there are also female Wobbuffet, who wear bright red lipstick.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: The developers knew before the first game was even completed that players would attempt to beat the game by using a high leveled Pokemon they obtained in a trade and not bother with raising their own Pokemon to beat the challenges legit, so the concept of gym badges that allow control over unruly Pokemon was conceived.
The Medic: Any Pokémon with the move Wish can potentially be this, though the effectiveness varies based on the user's HP stat. In addition, the moves Aromatherapy and Heal Bell cure the entire party of status ailments, and the move Heal Pulse lets the user heal any pokemon but itself (which is useless in single battles, where the only other target is the opponent).
Celebi is the most well known for being able to do it (and it takes the player character on a trip through time during an event in Heart Gold and Soul Silver).
The ability to trade between the first two generations is achieved by the "Time Capsule".
Similarly, if a Pokémon that originated in Generation III is brought to Generation IV through Pal Park and then to Generation V through Poké Transfer, it will be noted as having arrived "after a long travel through time".
Dialga is the master of time, but no actual Time Travel is ever brought into play with it outside of the twelfth movie.
Many Pokémon will do this as they evolve. (Tiny red lizard into giant fire-breathing dragon, friendly-looking alligator into a giant hulking leviathan, small turtle into a monstrous tortoise with an entire forest on its back, etc.)
Probably the most famous example is Magikarp. Magikarp goes from an Joke Characteridiotic fish to a giant leviathan, and there's plenty of other examples, like Horsea being a tiny, cutesy seahorse, and its final form Kingdra being a watery dragon seahorse with the ability to create whirlpools by yawning. And Starly, Diamond and Pearl's Com Mons early bird, finally evolves into one of the strongest birds of prey in the entire series.
Ditto did this when it got its own unique Ability in Black and White, as did many others with the introduction of "Hidden Abilities".
The Fighting-type. In Gen 1, it was not only weak to Psychics, but their terrible Special stats guaranteed that any Psychic (or any half-decent Special Attacker for that matter) will easily OHKO them. Fighting type moves were neither strong nor accurate. In Gen 2, the Special stat split gave them decent Special Defense and an advantage over the two types introduced to Nerf Psychics. Later generations would give them better Fighting-type moves, and Gen 4's Physical-Special split expanded their movepools to make them one of the most powerful attacking types in the game.
Too Awesome to Use: PP Ups, Max Ethers, Elixirs, Max Elixirs, Rare Candies, and Max Revives are hardly used by most players due to how rare the items are and are never sold in shops. The burden of the trope is slightly reduced if a Pokémon has the ability to scavenge items on the field and may scoop up rare items such as those.
The Master Ball is also never used on any Pokémon except for legendary Pokémon or ones that are difficult to catch. Most people in Gen I used the Master Ball on Mewtwo, but by Gen II and later, the series started to add multiple legendary Pokémon.
It's possible to get more by winning the Pokémon Lottery. This requires presenting a Pokémon with the exact 5-digit trainer ID that's announced by the lottery attendant. Black and White added a man who gives you a second Master Ball if you trade with 50 different trainers (good luck with that, though it's not too difficult if you utilize the GTS). Black 2 and White 2 have the Join Avenue Raffle, a shop you can add to your avenue that has the Master Ball as a grand prize; you can also get one in the post game by beating Colress aboard the Plasma Frigate on Route 18.
Tornado Move: Multiple moves are depicted as this, including Gust, Twister, and Whirlwind. These moves do double damage to Pokémon that are on their first turn of Fly/Bounce.
Unique Items: Certain Pokemon (the most well known of them being Mew, Mewtwo and the fossils) don't appear in the wild and you only have one shot at obtaining them during a scripted event. Some items like the Master Ball are only given to you once (save the Gen V games, which have two Master Balls each).
Averted, and for a good reason. Pokémon games have insane amounts of content which to achieve 100% completion requires not only months of gameplay, but also trading with other people and, if you want some legendaries, going to one-time events. Now imagine if all the results of work were Lost Forever because of one single misstep. As such, Game Freak goes to insane lengths to ensure the player can never lock themselves into a corner.
For example, this is why you can't release Pokémon or delete HM moves on the field: ending up without Surf could strand you on an island if there was no PC, making you a prisoner of your own poor swimming ability.
Played straight if you end up with certain glitch Pokémon, most of which will freeze the game and at least one of which will cause your save file to corrupt upon catching it and attempting to access the storage system. Contrary to popular belief, however, MissingNo. will not do this; only a good amount of the REAL glitch Pokémon will.
Played equally straight with Glitch City if entered carelessly. If you make it there without bringing any Pokémon that know Fly/Teleport (Or at least the HM/TM respectively and Pokémon who can learn said moves), your only exit is to reset the power. Oh, and if you actually saved your progress there without any of the above... well, say goodbye to your childhood progress.
Updated Re-release: Every pair of Pokémon games that isn't a Video Game Remake has had at least one, with the exceptions of Pokémon Black and White. (In Japan, Red and Green had two; first Blue improved the graphics and sound, then Yellow improved the graphics further and introduced elements from the anime series.)
One fan theory suggests that somewhere during the first generation's development, the sprite designs for Butterfree and Venomoth were accidentally switched due to a bug; Butterfree has a striking resemblance to Venomoth's pre-evolution Venonat. It's speculated that instead of correcting the mistake in later releases, the developers might've decided to just Throw It In.
"Okay, go to the mansion at night on the third Friday of the month with all three starters and a Raichu in your party, touch the statue one hundred times, and then go into the garden and run around clockwise another one hundred times. The lady in front of the door at the end of the right hallway will leave and when you go inside the room, Oak will give you a ball containing MewThree!" The funniest thing about this is that the Nugget Bridge area Mew Glitchactually works!
The Mew truck rumour.
Hell, if there's any series that has a wealth of rumors about things in the games, it's Pokémon. There were rumors that proliferated way back when about being able to find Togepi (introduced in the anime long before the second generation Pokémon were officially announced) and "Pikablu" (aka Marill) in the original games. And yes, millions of rumors of ways to find Mew. One particularly amusing one was that if you defeat the Elite Four 100 times, Professor Oak will tell you that he's sick of inducting you into the Hall of Fame every other Wednesday and give you free roam of the room. Take a guess what you would apparently find in the room. Hint:It rhymes with "stew", is almost as pink as Kirby, and has incredible learning potential.
'M, one of the glitch Pokémon, was supposed to evolved into a Level 1 Kangaskhan that know Sky Attack in Red/Blue. It's true. (The Sky Attack is there because 'M starts with it.)
Almost every player had some variation of "Hold B while trying to capture a Pokémon to raise your success rate."
This tends to be more along the lines of D&D players' "Don't touch my dice!" superstitions. Not many really believe it works, but do it anyway as something resembling tradition.
An example of an ascended urban legend is Leafeon. Leafeon was a common rumor back during the late 90s because the Leaf Stone was the only one of the elemental stones (not including the Moon Stone) that didn't evolve Eevee. So naturally, rumors flew about the mythical "Leafeon". It took three more generations, but they finally put it in. Though, ironically, it doesn't evolve via Leaf Stone, but rather by leveling Eevee up in a particular forest near a particular rock.
From Ruby, Saphire, and Emerald, we get this little joy: Go to the space center in Mossdeep. Once they've sent out 100 rockets (with one rocket going up a week) they will allow you to go to the moon where you can capture Jirachi/Deoxys/tons of Metagross/something! In reality, the only thing that happens around that time is the Berry glitch in unpatched copies of Ruby and Saphire.
Victor Gains Loser's Powers: After beating a Gym Leader you're given the TM of one of the moves their Pokémon had. The EV system also fits this perfectly - when your Pokemon beats another, it gains points in its Effort Value(s) in one or more stats, generally the highest stat of the vanquished opponent.
Video Game Caring Potential: Some Pokémon can only evolve by being especially happy with you. Also, the move Return is stronger the more your Pokémon likes you.
Generation VI has expanded on this feature greatly with the introduction of Pokemon-Amie. This allows you to pet your Pokemon, feed them Poke-Puffs, and play mini-games with them. Doing so increases their affection toward you, which actually provides benefits in battle. That Power of Friendship thing the series has been espousing since day 1? They've turned it into a full-fledged mechanic. Pokemon with high affection will have cosmetic effects during battle, such as causing the Pokemon to turn and look at you when you send it out, and changing the battle text. Maxing out their affection will cause them to land critical hits more often, dodge attacks more often, shrug off status effects so that you, the player, won't worry, and survive with 1HP after being hit with an attack that would otherwise KO them, because they love you that damn much. In addition, if such a pokemon has their health reduced to nearly 0 under any other conditions, the text mentions that they look like they are about to cry. Just try to let your beloved partner faint after all of this has happened.
Like Return, the move Frustration gets stronger the less your Pokémon likes you.
Getting the best possible stats on a Pokémon without resorting to cheating/hacking or drawn out Save Scumming involves abandoning a lot of newborns when they don't have the base stats you want.
Video Game Remake: FireRed and LeafGreen for the Game Boy Advance are remakes of Red and Green/Blue for the Game Boy, and HeartGold and SoulSilver for the Nintendo DS are remakes of Gold and Silver for the Game Boy Color.
Wakeup Call Boss: The first Gym Leaders in the first, third, and fourth generations use Rock Pokémon, which have a type advantage against Fire-type starters. This began with Brockfor players who started with Charmander. The second generation instead starts with Falkner, who uses Flying Pokémon, which would have this trait for players who chose the Grass-type Chikorita.
Definitely Whitney. Whitney is always a WUC Boss because her Miltank has Milk Drink, Defense Curl, Rollout, and Attract. Defense Curl results in a 50% defense boost and doubles Rollout's power which continues to increase after each successive use. After 3 or 4, it can OHKO your entire team. And Attract makes it so that if your Pokemon is the opposite gender, 50% of the time it won't even attack. (Theoretically, anyways- which, of course, means that the probability is effectively greater than 80.)
Made even worse in the remakes, where Miltank has the ability Scrappy, which allows it to damage Ghost-types. Considering that this was the easiest way to beat her in the original G/S/C, your only hope now is an over-leveled Fighting-type.
Generation V does this for everyone, as the Gym Leader changes based on your starting Pokémon. Assuming people who ask you what Pokémon you started with can't be lied to to avert this.
Actually subverted; you can get one of the elemental monkeys strong to whichever Gym Leader you end up with in the Dreamyard.
In Emerald, it actually says "The water is dyed a deep blue..." As though it's the contractual obligation of all the water-dwelling 'mons to ensure that water is properly blue, so they actually scatter dye all over the place.
There's an ability that gives a 50% power boost to any move with base power below 60. To invoke the thought of this trope, it's called Technician.
If you decide to use more than 3 Pokémon on an in-game team prior to Generation 5's experience gain overhaul, you will likely have them all lower level than most Trainer's Pokémon if you don't grind, forcing you to exploit elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, which you can do easily thanks to your team's variety.
For a specific Pokémon example, Smeargle, who has all-around poor base stats, but through its move Sketch, can permanently learn any move in the entire game bar two, Chatter and Struggle. And it has that Technician ability, too.
Whale Egg: AllPokémon hatch from Eggs, even the mammalian, human-shaped, and mechanical ones( not to mention the Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action). Even Arceus, hailed in Sinnoh legend to be the creator of all Pokémon, was born from an egg that emerged within nothingness/a swirling vortex of chaos.
Mewtwo is an exception. In the Pokémon games, documents within the Cinnabar Pokémon Mansion state that Mew gave birth to Mewtwo, while the Pokémonanime implies that Mewtwo is a unique Pokémon, being cloned on a New Island laboratory from a fossilized eyebrow of Mew.
This gets a little ridiculous in later installments when double battles can be triggered by two NPCs catching the player character's eye at the same time. This is often enforced by having two trainers standing on opposite sides of the road staring at each other...but not battling until the player character walks between them.
What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Averted; where else can you befriend trash bags* Trubbish and Garbodor, snakes* the Ekans, Dunsparce, Seviper, and Snivy lines, ghosts* too many to count,mantises* the Scyther line, bees* Beedrill and the Combee line, spiders* the Spinarak and Joltik lines, lizards* too many to count, salamanders* the Charmander line, bats* the Zubat, Woobat and Noivern lines, coelacanths* Relicanth, jellyfish* the Tentacool and Frillish lines, bag worms* the Pineco and Burmy lines, sharks* Sharpedo, mudfish* the Mudkip line, kappa* the Lotad line, cacti* the Cacnea line and Maractus, psychic mirrors* the Bronzor line, barghests* Absol, eels* Huntail, Gorebyss, and the Tynamo line, antlions* Trapinch, anomalocaris◊* the Anorith line, scorpions* the Gligar and Skorupi lines, crabs* the Krabby and Corphish lines, skunks* the Stunky line, piranhas* Carvanha and Basculin, toads* the Poliwag, Croagunk, and Tympole lines, sea slugs* the Shellos line, hellhounds* the Houndour line, crocodilians* the Totodile and Sandile lines, weasels* the Sneasel and Mienfoo lines, venus flytraps* Weepinbell, Victreebel and Carnivine, pistol shrimps* :Clauncher,cephlopods* the Remoraid and Inkay lines,masses of vines* the Tangela line, giant moving stomachs* the Gulpin line, lumps of sludge* the Grimer line, levitating sea mines* the Koffing line, crows* the Murkrow line, rhinoceroses* the Rhyhorn line, magnets* the Magnemite line, exploding spheres* the Voltorb line, and living iron and mineral* too many to count?
However, the fourth gen's Amity Square plays it straight, only allowing certain Pokémon designated "cute" to walk with their Trainers inside. A nearby Trainer lampshades it, calling "discrimination."
Wingdinglish: Unown in Generations II and IV and the Braille in Generation III. The Abbyssal Ruins in Gen V has this written on parts of the walls. Good luck figuring out what the hell it means.* It's a one-for-one substitution cypher, if you're interested, so you can solve it if you can puzzle out a word or two.
Yank the Dog's Chain: In the games, when you are close to defeating an opponent's pokemon, he or she will pull out some potion that will restore the health of the Pokemon.
Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Generation III had four "Formes" for Deoxys, and Platinum introduces Giratina's "Altered Forme" and "Origin Forme", and Shaymin's "Land Forme" and "Sky Forme". The Pokédex still uses "forms" for its tab for viewing alternate forms, as well as for individual entries for most Pokémon, such as Unown's 28 forms (each labeled "one form" in the Pokédex, as opposed to "one forme").
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Most of the player characters in the games have fairly normal black or brown... except Kris, the female player character from Crystal, who has dark blue hair. However, Lyra, her replacement from HeartGold and SoulSilver, is brown-haired.
All of the Team Galactic members except for Mars and Jupiter have blue hair.
Youkai: The basis for several different Pokemon species.