Returning to Pokémon: Better to Faint With Honour

In my mind, there are few competitions nobler and more respectable than a Pokémon Battle.Pokémon Blue demonstrated to me that even the wildest creature can conduct themselves with fairness and restraint in each encounter. No words are uttered between combatants, yet each knows there place and fights with the upmost honour.

This is the third time I’ve written about my slightly awkward transition from Pokémon Blue toPokémon Y. Last week I grumbled about how in my day we got by with only five Poké Balls and didn’t need all these fancy versions. Since then I have become a little more open minded; after reading your comments and recommendations I went and bought a batch of “Quick Balls” and haven’t looked back. Thanks to your responses I’m slightly less of an old gamer when playing Pokémon.

This week I wish to talk about a more troubling change in the layout of Pokémon. Whilst I can understand why these games add new features and change the old, for me the new Battle Modes represent a loss of honour amongst Pokémon.

Even at an early age I found the politeness, civility and general ‘gentlemanliness’ of Pokémon Battles wonderfully quaint. As a trainer you set off out into the world looking to catch some critters. Of course, no animal will just let you catch it. You’re going to have to weaken your opponent first. This is where the Pokémon first show their honourable nature.


Rather than pouncing and eviscerating the trainer on sight, the creature presents itself, ready for combat, allowing the trainer to choose his opponent. There is a pause to allow the trainer to choose the first move for their Pokémon, and only then does the fight begin. Both sides take it in turns to strike each other. If a combatant faints, the victor ends the fight. Should the trainer’s Pokémon fall, the wild one will always allow their opponent to leave in peace. On the other hand, should the wild Pokémon faint, both the trainer and their pets leave the fallen one alone, because it would dishonourable to capture an unconscious Pokémon.

The same is true when battling another trainer. A trainer will release one of their allies at a time, and when one has fainted the battle will pause until another Pokémon can be released. Furthermore, if a trainer wishes to use an item in battle, they are permitted to use it (regardless of how fast the opposing monster is) and their Pokémon will then forfeit their move for that turn out of respect. When all Pokémon on one team are KO’ed, they give payment, often with a few words of praise for their opposition.

This is the order of battle I came to enjoy from Pokémon Blue. I appreciated the honour amongst monsters and trainers alike. How troubled I was to see that this level of dignity and formality has become diluted over the generations. I saw a great deal of evidence in Pokémon Y that suggests that battle etiquette is slowly being warped for the sake of ‘enjoyment’.


Firstly, there are the new “Battle Modes”. Gone are the days where a Battle was fought between two opponents. Now there are “Double” and “Multi Battles” which see two trainers teaming up against you, or between two pairs of fighters. Worse still, “Triple” and “Rotation Battles” see trainers throwing half their Pokémon into the battle ground. In this scenario, a Pokémon can be attacked two or three times before they have been permitted to make their move. This outlandish behaviour is far from what I expect of these proud beasts and stands in mockery of the old ways. The ensuing skirmish is akin to a gladiatorial arena than an honourable Pokémon Battle.

I am also distressed by the fact that Pokémon in Generation VI are allowed to carry concealed weapons. In Generation I, a Pokémon would rely on their abilities and their own training. At present, a trainer can instruct their pets to hold all sorts of tools and weapons. From magic stones that boost their strengths, to berries that allow the Pokémon to heal themselves, to special armour that rebounds the attackers damage. That last item type is particularly galling; to me this shows the audacity of someone who brings a knife into a boxing match.


Most displeasing of all the new features is the “Horde Battle”. I will not forget the moment when I stepped out of Lumiose City for the first time on my adventure and ran into five Pokémon at once. I looked to the group and wondered which one would be my firstopponent. How horrified I was when I realised that they meant to attack me all at once! Whilst I was bound to the same rules, these low level whelps had broken the rules to try and get the best of me. Since then, each time I have fought against a Pokémon Horde, I have considered it my duty to teach these young pups not to violate the rules of engagement while I’m around. Young Whippersnappers…

Final Thoughts

One of the nice things about these recent Pokémon-based grumblings of mine is that most readers realise I’m exaggerating for effect. Of course the statements above are half-jest. I find the changes between Generation I and VI challenging but enjoy them nonetheless. I’m a particular fan of the new “Sky Battles”, and would personally like to see more Battle Modes of that ilk. More skirmishes based on Pokémon types would make for more challenge and promote the training of a wider range of monsters.

Thank You For Reading

For more posts about being a ‘grown-up’ gamer can be found right here!

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Author: Rufus Scott

I am a long term Gamer, a full-time History Teacher and a part-time geek. I enjoy writing about the positive aspects of gaming, especially when it comes to education. My posts are sometimes nostalgic, occasionally irrelevant, largely meant to provoke further discussion. I'll sometimes punctuate these whimsical ramblings with a random comment on gaming and/or teaching.

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