Hear me moan,
Pokémon is celebrating its 20th birthday this year which makes me feel old. I’m only 26 but Pokémon has always been a part of my videogaming life. I’m not sure if it was a Christmas present or a birthday one, but I still remember Pokémon Red coming through my letterbox. Needless to say my parents were pissed off that it wouldn’t be a surprise but the joke was still on me – having to wait months to play it, knowing it was hidden somewhere in your house, was torturous!
To this day I consider Pokémon Red to be one of my all-time favourites but unfortunately the franchise hasn’t wowed me since. I picked up Pokémon X and was thoroughly disappointed – not because the game was bad but because Pokémon hasn’t grown up with me. Through the eyes of an adult I kept spotting things that wouldn’t bother a child.
I’ve always asked myself, “What do I want from a mature Pokémon game?” and I’ve always wanted to write a document detailing everything I would change, from the gameplay to the lore. This isn’t going to be that document, but a condensed slice of it instead.
The 18 Pokémon Types
The 18 Pokémon Types are as follows: Normal, Grass, Fire, Water, Fighting, Flying, Poison, Ground, Rock, Bug, Ghost, Electric, Psychic, Ice, Dragon, Dark, Steel and Fairy.
At a first glance there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with that list of types but the longer I stare at it the more inconsistencies I see.
Elemental & Habitual Types
I’ve always seen logic in listing Pokémon by their elemental characteristics or their habitats; in fact most of the handheld games start off with you having to decide between a Grass, Water or Fire type Pokémon, so even the games drum it into you how much sense this makes.
The Verb Types
But why is Fighting a type? By definition all Pokémon are Fighting type – that’s literally the purpose of the game! And the more I thought about that the more I realised Flying doesn’t make sense either. By that logic shouldn’t there be Walking and Swimming types too? It’s not as if Flying Pokémon are permanently suspended in the air. These are Pokémon who are being categorised by something they can do as opposed to what their elemental characteristics are, or where they live.
The Species Types
Bug and Dragon have never sat right with me either. These are two Pokémon types that tell you what the Pokémon is. Granted, one of them is a mythical beast, but the other just alludes to the Pokémon resembling an insect. Pikachu resembles a mouse and Growlithe resembles a dog but there are no Rodent or Canine type Pokémon. Perhaps bugs and dragons have more symbolism in Japan than they do in the West, so perhaps being specifically given their own type makes sense – in my mind though, not so much.
The Undecided Types
There are a handful of types I don’t quite know what to do with. I used to think Water and Ice were too similar but when you think about it the Ice type is more of a polar opposite to Fire because both of those types manipulate temperature. Ground and Rock could be grouped together, but then all Pokémon that live underground won’t necessarily be rock-based lifeforms so you might as well keep them separated.
The Psychic type is more or less telling us a skill that Pokémon has but is being psychic something that can be learned or taught? I would actually cross Psychic type off the list and roll it into a brand new type – I’ll come back to this later.
The WTF Types
I’ve never agreed with Dark type as it suggests there are Pokémon that are inherently evil. The worst addition to the franchise has been Fairy type too. Seriously, what the fuck? I don’t have much of an argument against this one, other than if there is a Fairy type why isn’t there an Imp, Angel or Demon type? It strays too far into fantasy folklore for my approval.
The Living Vs Dead Types
This goes against most of what I’ve argued for so far but I’ve decided that the Ghost type should stay. However, what defines the Ghost type Pokémon needs to be overhauled completely. My solution is simple: If all living Pokémon are Normal type then all deceased Pokémon must be Ghost type. Unfortunately this would mean scrapping Ghastly, Gengar, etc. from the roster as every Ghost Pokémon would simply be a spirit version of whichever Pokémon happens to be dead.
The New Types
I would eliminate some of these types and reorganise them under new ones. For example, I would combine Fairy and Psychic under the Celestial type. Celestial Pokémon are literally aliens; Pokémon on Earth that are from other planets.
I would also create the Synthetic type. These would be the man-made Pokémon like Mewtwo. All Pokémon that aren’t Normal (from the wild) or Celestial (from other planets) would be categorised as Synthetic (from the laboratory).
The Lee Laments Revised List of Pokémon Types
Every Pokémon would be one of the following Base Types: Normal, Celestial, Synthetic, Ghost (when deceased)
Then every Pokémon would have an Elemental/Habitual Type: Grass, Fire, Water, Ground, Rock, Steel, Electric, Poison, Ice.
I’m aware my re-evaluation of the Pokémon types is subject to harsh criticism and I would very much like to know what you all think. Do you agree? If not, what changes would you make? Have I missed a point worth exploring? Are there more types to be created?
Want to retaliate? Post a comment. I lament once a week but you can follow me on Twitter @LeeLaments where I moan every day. Also listen to the Out of the Xfire Podcast to witness me make harsh judgements about PlayStation.