I’m stumbling nudie magazines and Walkmans deep into “out of touch old man” territory by saying this, but I’m gonna do it anyway: the reveal for the three new Generation VIII Pokemon starters of recently announced Pokemon Sword and Shield didn’t do anything for me.
Yeah, Scorbunny the Fire rabbit, Grookey the Grass chimp, and Sobble, the gape-mouthed Water-lizard are adorable as newborn Pichus, resemble the Power Puff Girls and I shall watch their evolutionary process with great interest — but haven’t we done this before? More than a few times, in fact?
Sure, you’re adorable. But so are my friends’ real life babies — and I get sick of seeing them on Facebook every day too.
This being the whole Fire > Grass > Water starting Pokemon triangle; this being a chibi-eyed chimpanzee as a starting Pokemon; this being the Pokemon bildungsroman experience, wherein we embark from our idyllic small town home with hopes of becoming a Pokemon Master for the umpteenth time, receive one of the aforementioned Fire, Grass or Water starting Pokemon from a professor with a tree-based surname, fill out our Pokedex, maybe save up enough Pokebucks to ride around on a bike or skateboard or buy Pokesteroids and then soundly defeat Gym Leaders who pigeonhole themselves to one type of Pokemon — well, scratch that last one — those are always going to be crucial elements of a full-fledged Pokemon game.
But as Raymond Chandler said in The Long Goodbye:
“Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl’s clothes off.”
Only replace alcohol with Pokemon. And “after that you take the girl’s clothes off” with “beat the Elite 4 and Master Ball a Legendary along the way.”
In other words, we’re firmly entrenched in “routine” territory now. If the third time is routine, what should we consider the eighth time? We’ve been served the same Fire/Grass/Water first kiss sandwich eight times now from the unenthused, hairnet-wearing, chain-smoking lunch lady that is Game Freak and now we’re expected to just take it again in Pokemon Sword and Shield like we haven’t been eating the same thing day in, day out for the past twenty-one-years? Should that still be the case as we’re making the big leap to the Switch?
Do we really need to mollycoddle the twenty people left in the world’s population playing Pokemon for the first time, praying when they pick up Pokemon Sword or Shield that their innate knowledge of “Fire burns Grass” somehow translates into them not bringing a Grookey into battle with a Scorbunny? If a person playing Pokemon for the first time can intuit the preceding (or Water extinguishes Fire), then surely a Psychic-type tossing around a muscle-bound Fighting Pokemon with mystical mind-powers isn’t without their realm of comprehension either. And what’s so hard to understand about a Flying-type being able to peck a Fighter to death from above? (Have you ever tried punching a bird in the face? It’s pretty damn difficult, so I’ve heard.)
Leaked: Starting Pokemon from Generation XI. u/ill_be_frank_wit_you
I’m not asking for GameFreak to reinvent the genre here. But isn’t it due time we got a different triangle of starting Pokemon? AiPT! Editor-in-Chief Russ Whiting touched upon this very same sentiment in an article back in 2013 and wouldn’t you know it, it’s 2019 and we’re still having this very same discussion.
As was touched upon in that piece, there are three more perfect rock/paper/scissor-esque Pokemon type triangles currently in the game:
Fighting > Rock > Flying
Grass > Ground > Poison
Fire > Steel > Rock
Fighting > Dark > Psychic is another intriguing type triangle (though not as rock/paper/scissor-ish as the ones above, as Dark is immune to Psychic), but it’s already been partially done in Generation VI with Chesnaught, Greninja and Delphox.
So let’s go with Fighting/Rock/Flying. Here are a few images of what could potentially be starters for each type:
I’ve always wanted to see a bad-ass Stegosaur/Anklyosaur Pokemon (I know Jangmo-o started out looking like one, but its evolutions deviated from the motif). How about a Rock-starter type that evolves into this?
Or this, minus the initial Electric-typing?
“Are you not entertained?!”
We need a griffin Pokemon starter. Game Freak, pls.
Source: Dark and Windie Fakemon
I’m sure I’ll grow to love Scorbunny, Grookey, Sobble and their eventual evolutions, just as I have the lion’s share of Pokemon starters. But let’s give a different starter triangle a try, just once, shall we? I promise after the sullied, spurious, bastardized feelings go away — it’ll be just as solid a Pokemon game as those from the eight generations that preceded it. In fact, it might just be the impetus for a whole slew of interesting tweaks to the standard Poke-formula that we never knew we wanted.
If not, I can explain to my child one day when we’re playing Pokemon Generation XXIX why we never, ever deviate from the standard Fire > Grass > Water starter triangle. “There were riots in the streets because it just didn’t feel like Pokemon, my son. It almost cost your father his life. But that’s a story for another time. Now which Pokemon are you gonna pick from Professor Eastern White Pine, lil’ buddy? Flamey? Squirtle Jr. or Mariguana?”
Do you want to see different Pokemon starter types or would that be sacrilege? If so, which starting Pokemon triangle do you think would be best? Let us know in the comments.