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The Artifact / Pokémon

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  • "Gotta catch 'em all!" was the catchphrase of the franchise, up until the Generation III games on the Game Boy Advance. There were multiple reasons the phrase was pulled; Gen III games were incompatible with the first two generations, not all Gen III Pokémon were even available in the original releases, and it only served as additional ammo for One Game for the Price of Two criticism. Plus, while getting 151 or even 251 Pokémon isn't too much of a stretch, especially when you can build your collection off previous games, Generation III's overhaul meant having to start from scratch to get 386 Pokémon spread out across seven games and two consoles, with several being unobtainable if you couldn't attend real-life events that only get run one time. The slogan returned to use in marketing by Gen VI, albeit not to its former prominence, as the games themselves had by then placed far greater emphasis on story than Pokémon collection. By Pokémon Sword and Shield, less than half the existent Pokémon were actually implemented, so it's literally impossible to collect them all even with hacking.
  • Regions being referred to as "regions" made sense when the series was based on different Japanese provinces, suggesting that the regions are a part of a bigger country, implied by Johto directly bordering and continuing from the route numbers of Kanto. But after Pokémon Colosseum and especially Pokémon Black and White introduced regions not based on a Japanese province (respectively the Arizona-based Orre and New York-based Unova - particularly, transferring Pokémon from Orre to the Hoenn games has them listed as coming from "a distant land"), it became clear that not all "regions" were in the same country. And ever since the introduction of the Kalos region (based on France) in Pokémon X and Y, regions have become more akin to countries (and are referred to as such, at least in the English translations).
    • Similarly, the name of the National Dex made sense in the first four generations when the regions were based on Japanese provinces and were implied to be part of the same nation. But from the fifth generation onward, they've been based on random places from all over the world, and were implied to match the locations of their real world counterparts, making them most certainly not part of the same nation.
  • The name of the Earth Badge in the Kanto Pokémon games. It was called that because the one who gave it out (Giovanni, in Red/Blue/Yellow and FireRed/LeafGreen) used Ground-type Pokémon. But by Gold/Silver/Crystal and HeartGold/SoulSilver, he had been replaced by Blue, who uses a more diverse, multi-type team. This was averted in the Japanese versions, in which the badge is called Green Badge and actually becomes more fitting, since Blue is named Green there.

Gameplay Mechanics

  • It's traditional for there to be a series of checkpoints just before Victory Road, the last dungeon that has to be traversed before reaching the Elite Four, with each consecutively checking for all eight badges that will make you eligible for the Pokémon League. In the original games, your trek through the region essentially was a big circle, with the entrance gate to Victory Road being just outside the second town, which had the final Gym. As such, the checkpoints existed to emphasize that you really shouldn't be there yet. In contrast, the next four generations not only had Victory Road be reasonably far from your starting point, but you couldn't even reach the gate until after you have eight badges anyway; there's usually some obstacle that requires the game's final Hidden Machine move, which is activated by the final gym badge, making the checks a mere formality.note  Averted from Pokémon X and Y onwards. X and Y have the gate to Victory Road after the first major city, Pokémon Sun and Moon has its equivalent (Mount Lanakila) under construction for most of the game and doesn't bother with a checknote , and Pokémon Sword and Shield doesn't have one at all.
  • Hidden Machine moves being impossible to forget (at least without consulting a Move Deleter NPC from Gen II on) is a Scrappy Mechanic that persisted because in Generation I and II, it was possible to leave an HM in your PC, making it theoretically possible to render the game Unintentionally Unwinnable if you forgot an HM move and found yourself trapped in an area that required said move. In Generation III, the expansion of your bag meant that you'd always have the needed HMs on hand and could relearn a move if necessary, rendering the issue moot; however, you can still only delete HM moves with the help of a Move Deleter.note  This naturally stopped being an issue when HMs stopped being a mechanic in Gen VII, with the field move functions now being found on Ride Pokémon, who can be summoned anytime, anywhere as needed, and are granted to you as part of the plot, leaving your party Pokémon to just fight. As a matter of fact, former field moves can't even be used the way they were in previous games since the game does not provide the option, not even non-HM moves like Sweet Scent. While some of the better HM attacks were converted to standard TMs (a fact lampshaded by several NPCs), most weren't, leaving Kartana (an Ultra Beast) in the amusing position of being the only thing able to learn Cut.
    • Along these lines, the reason why HMs and TMs were originally distinguished is that TMs were only learnable once and then discarded, and could also be sold, both because of limited bag space. Selling TMs you didn't use was often a good way of making extra cash quickly. This persisted until Gen V, where they were changed to have unlimited use and couldn't be sold anymore, meaning the sole difference now was that HMs were required outside of battle to get past certain obstacles in the game.note  Sword and Shield would introduce a new limited use item in Technical Records (TRs), with the additional advantage being that if you erase the move in any normal fashion, it can be relearned by that same Pokémon through the Move Reminder.
  • In Gold and Silver, one of the 10 phone numbers you can have at a time is Bill's, who tells you how many spaces are left in your current Pokémon storage box and will also call to alert you when your current box is full. This is useful because you had to manually change boxes in the first two generations or else you couldn't capture another Pokémon. However, starting in Gen III, this was performed automatically, making registering Bill's number in the Gen IV remakes largely pointless (he instead tells you the number of spaces left in all of your boxes in total). It's downplayed, however, since you can register all the numbers you want in the remakes, so he's not hampering you, either.
    • Another relic from the original storage system were the "Deposit" and "Withdraw" modes, which were respectively the only ways to move Pokémon from your party to a box or vice versa. After the system's overhaul in Ruby and Sapphire, the "Move" option fulfilled both of their roles by letting players drag and drop Pokémon between their party and storage, all without having to switch between two separate menus to do it. Yet even as late as X and Y, "Deposit" and "Withdraw" were listed above "Move" whenever you used the PC. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were the first games to address this; if the player speaks to Lanette, she'll offer to rearrange things so that "Move" is at the top. Sun and Moon followed it up by cutting the redundant options entirely, streamlining the whole process.
  • Lampshaded in Indigo Plateau in HeartGold and SoulSilver. In the original games, there was a nice Old Man who would have his Abra teleport you home. Since you couldn't fly between Kanto and Johto in those games, your only other way back until beating the Elite Four was slowly walking back. In the remakes, you can now use Fly to return to Johto from not only the Pokémon League, but also the reception gate building where the Old Man is located. As such, the remakes have the Old Man there to offer his services... only to note that because of Fly, most trainers turn him down. In fact, the game doesn't even let you take him up on his offer, not offering a Yes/No choice after he's finished talking.
  • Dive Balls, introduced in Ruby and Sapphire, originally worked better on underwater Pokémon, but the Hoenn games are the only installments wherein you can dive underwater to encounter Pokémon. They were changed to also work better on wild Pokémon found while fishing or surfing. Amusingly, the attempts to make the Dive Ball remain relevant ended up passing this status onto the Lure Ball in the G/S/C remakes, which applied the same multiplier bonus, but only does so while fishing; meaning it also had to be changed, getting an even better multiplier bonus of x5 in Gen VI.
  • The physical/special split did this to a number of Pokémon movesets. Prior to Gen IV, entire types were either physical (Normal, Fighting, Flying, Ground, Rock, Bug, Ghost, Poison, and Steel) or special (Water, Grass, Fire, Ice, Electric, Psychic, Dragon, and Dark). Thanks to the split, you now had Pokémon with moves that would have been amazing on them back in the day, but that they were now unable to truly capitalize on. While a fair number of Pokémon got some moveset changes to account for this, others didn't; for example, Aerodactyl and Gyarados both learn Hyper Beam via level-up. Prior to the split, it was a powerful physical attack on two fantastic physical attackers. After the split, it is now a powerful special attack inexplicably learned by two Pokémon that have barely passable special attack stats.note 
  • The Move Deleter NPC became this in Gen VII. The only reason you ever needed the Move Deleter mechanic (outside of certain gimmicky movesets that require a reduced number of moves) was to get rid of a Pokémon's HM moves, but since Sun and Moon removed HMs in favor of Ride Pokémon, it made the Move Deleter completely obsolete. Despite that, a Move Deleter still exists within Hau'oli City's Pokémon Center, even though you'll never require his services.
    • Alleviated somewhat in Gen VIII (Pokémon Sword and Shield), where an individual named Jack offers the services of the Move Deleter alongside those of the Move Reminder and the Name Rater simultaneously.
  • Pokémon being born at level 5 was always an oddity, considering that you can find wild Pokémon at lower levels, but it was necessary due to a bug in early generations — due to the way experience groups work, Pokémon in the Medium Slow group suffer from an experience underflow glitch if they're level 1. Even if Gen II had fixed the bug, it's possible to trade Pokémon back to Gen I, so trading a Medium Slow level 1 Pokémon would have activated it. So due to backwards compatibility, the only feasible solution was making it impossible to get any Pokémon at that level. However, Gen III dropped backwards compatibility and fixed the bug, yet it kept newborn Pokémon at level 5. It wouldn't be until Gen IV that Pokémon would be born at level 1 at last.


  • The Pokémon cries from each past generation become this. Gaming technology has come a long way since even the Game Boy Color, and each Pokémon from Gens I and II still sound just like their original 8-bit counterparts. Some of the Spin-Off games, such as Pokémon Stadium, redid the old cries in better audio quality, but this wasn't fully carried over to the main series until Pokémon X and Y. Also, while a few Pokémon are meant to engage in Pokémon Speak like in the anime, limitations of the Game Boy system (they had to go through Development Hell to get Pikachu's voice in Yellow) prevented this, and afterwards it simply became a logistics issue.note  As of Pokémon Sword and Shield, the only Pokémon to use Pokémon Speak are Pikachu (from X and Y onwards), Eevee (from Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! onwards), and a Kantonian Meowth (in Sword and Shield, and only when Gigantamaxing). Other Pokémon that lack this are the Pokémon card game (obviously), Pokémon Adventures, Pokkén Tournament, and some of the Truer to the Text anime specials (such as Pokémon Generations and Pokémon: Twilight Wings).
  • Nidoran is the only Pokémon whose male and female versions are considered separate species, but given the same name (aside from the gender marker). In Gen I, the gender trait did not exist, and thus the male and female Nidoran were classified as different creatures altogether, with their own bios and everything. With the introduction of genders and breeding in Gen II, male and female Pokémon of the same species have since been classified together as part of the same family even if they have different appearances as a result of sexual dimorphism (such as Jellicent) or divergent/stone-based evolution (Burmy having Wormadam and Mothim as an example of the former, Kirlia having Gardevoir and Gallade as an example of the latternote ); the divergent evolutions are still considered separate Pokémon, however. But Nidoran♂ and Nidoran♀ remain completely differentiated, mainly because combining them would screw up the number count. And though they actually have different names and were introduced after breeding was introduced, Volbeat and Illumise are in the exact same boat.
  • In Gen I, it's mentioned in the Pokémon Mansion journals that Mewtwo was born directly from Mew like a mammal, as opposed to hatching from an egg. It's mainly a case of Early Installment Weirdness, as this was prior to Gen II introducing breeding as a mechanic and establishing eggs to be the sole reproductive method for Pokémon. However, the FireRed/LeafGreen remakes don't change the journals to accommodate the shift. It would finally be amended in Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, with the entry changed to simply say they "obtained a new Pokémon from Mew."
  • The way some old Pokémon evolve, for better or for worse, can come off odd given the weird gimmicks that latter Pokémon make use of in order to evolve. For example, Gen IV's Mantyke can only evolve if a Remoraid is in the party (matching the lore of the creature), yet a similar situation isn't required to obtain Gen I's Slowbro, despite it being well-known in the lore that Slowpokes evolve only when a Shellder bites their tail.
    • The Marill line's evolution into Azumarill is a bit of an odd case due to the introduction of Azurill in the following generation. Because of the way the evolution line is set up, you're very likely to not have this Pokémon as a Marill for all that long when it's on your team. This is because Azurill evolves through full happiness to become a Marill, and happiness evolutions will usually occur at a high level during normal gameplay if you didn't use other mechanics or items that would give quick friendship boosts. Once Azurill finally evolves into Marill, what do you need to get Azumarill? Turns out it's just a single level-up due to Marill evolving at the fairly early level of 18. This is a leftover from Gen II when Marill was the beginning of the line and got to evolve at a low level.
  • Stunfisk, a Ground/Electric Pokémon, can have the Limber ability, which protects it from paralysis. This was introduced before Electric types were buffed to be immune to all sources of paralysis, making the ability completely useless most of the time.note 
  • A similar oddity hits Rotom-Fan. In its first appearance, it was a Ghost-Electric type with the Levitate ability, which was shared among all Rotom forms then. In the fifth generation, Rotom forms were instead given an appropriate type—which meant that Rotom-Fan became Flying-type. However, it still kept the Levitate ability, which serves to give it certain properties of a Flying-type, even though it's already a Flying-type and has those properties, meaning its ability is redundant to the point of uselessness.note 
  • Unown has terrible stats all around, with its only halfway passable stats being in Attack and Special Attack. But it only knows one move, Hidden Power, which is a Special move, meaning that its Attack stat serves no purpose at all. It's a relic of the days before the physical/special split, meaning that Hidden Power being a physical or special move varying depending on its typing. If an Unown had, say, Hidden Power Rock or Ground, that Attack stat would have actually meant something. After the split occurred in Gen IV though, this was lost, so Unown now has a stat that it can never use for anything barring Struggle. That being said, Unown are incredibly weak anyway and exist purely to be collected as an option side-quest.
  • In early games, creature names were limited to ten letters, leading to a couple of kludges. The most notable of them were Victreebel and Feraligatr, whose names should really be spelled "Victreebell"note  and "Feraligator". The letter limit was raised in Gen VI, and some Pokémon names from later generations do exceed the old ten-letter limit (such as "Crabominable"), but these names remain forever short a letter. Note that these Pokémon could have been named "Victrybell" or "Victribell" and "Fraligator" or "Feraligata" respectively, but these names clearly never came up in the creative process.
    • Sunyshore City from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl will forever be short an "n" due to the same problem.
  • Hydreigon's original design was planned to make it into essentially a living tank. Over time, these designs were revised, and by the end, the "tank" aesthetic was basically gone. However, Zweilous and Hydreigon still have odd patterns on their stomachs that were once meant to be tank treads, but no longer have any clear function.
  • The introduction of the Fairy-type in Gen VI retconned several Pokémon to gain the Fairy typing by either making it the secondary-type, or just outright changing a Pokémon's typing to Fairy. Some of the type changes were for those that were originally classified as Normal-type, such as the Cleffa, Snubbull and Togepi lines, who are now classified as pure Fairy, or Togepi becoming part Flying upon evolving. However, the Normal moves they usually learned from level-up ended up staying the same. Thus, what you're left with are three non Normal-type Pokémon lines still uncharacteristically being able to learn a plethora of different Normal moves.
  • There's a very minor one related to Umbreon back in Gen II where its Pokédex entry in Pokémon Gold mentions how it protects itself by spraying poisonous sweat from its pores, which is odd when you consider that nothing about Umbreon has to do with poison. This is a leftover from the Gen II beta where Umbreon was originally shown off as a Poison-type, but was eventually changed to being a Dark-type.


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