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Artist Creates Alarmingly Accurate Starter Pokémon for Each State

Captain Pikachu gives a thumbs-up (The Pokemon Company)

The TikTok algorithm remains undefeated as it recently showed me the most Alyssa thing ever. Blending my life consumed by pop culture and living in Texas, I found starter Pokémon for Texas. Artist Pen Paladin created a grass, water, and fire-type Pokémon representing the cultural, geographical, and political elements of the state. And they’re perfect!

@pen_paladin Replying to @pokemon_hockey what if Texas had starter Pokemon? #texas #dallas #houston #pokemonart #fakemon #poketok #newpokemon #statestarters #greenscreen ♬ Born To Be A Winner – Pokemon

Across TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, they have continued this trend. Based on the comments and what I know of many of these states, it appears they put similar time, effort, and thoughtfulness into the starters representing other states. So far, Pen Paladin has created three starter fakemon for 21 states of the 50 states. In addition to Texas, these include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Georgia, California, Louisana, Indiana, Colorado, Michigan, Maryland, Minnesota, Tennessee, Connecticut, Utah, Iowa, Missouri, and New Jersey. Here are some of my favorites!

@pen_paladin What if Louisianna had Pokemon starters?? #pokemontheories #pokemonart #newpokemon #neworleans #50nifty ♬ Born To Be A Winner – Pokemon
@pen_paladin What if they made a Arizona based Pokémon region?? #arizona #50statestarters #tucsonarizona #universityofarizona #sundevils #pheonixaz #pokemonart #fakemon ♬ Born To Be A Winner – Pokemon
@pen_paladin Replying to @o1manynames what if New Jersey had starter Pokemon?? #newjersey #pokemontiktok #starterpokemon #statestarters #jerseyshore #fakemon #pokemonart #greenscreen ♬ original sound – Pen Paladin

What are fakemon—or fakémon?

On March 25, Pen Paladin took a break from this series. However, that hiatus (from the series and not from making unique Pokémon) doesn’t stop anyone from seeing more. Since the early days of the internet, people have created new types of Pokémon and shared them online. They even have a name: fakemon or fakémon. These are non-canonical, fan-made creatures by fans of the franchise. Some of the first ones online were created by MS Paint or Photoshop and mimicked the style of the original pixelated Japanese game. Fakemon can be spliced versions of existing Pokémon, or wholly original.

The fan-made Pokémon game Pokémon Infinity features 79 non-canonical creatures. The increased popularity of these little monsters prompted online generators featuring hundreds of artworks. While there are a lot of options, my favorite is from Alex Onsanger. In addition to making this sprite-based generator, he broke down exactly how he made it. If you wanted a custom fakemon, you could make it yourself or commission an artist to make one. In addition to visual-specific platforms like Deviant Art, Instagram, and now TikTok, enthusiasts continue to share fakemon on places like the twelve-year-old subreddit r/fakemon.

The monsters crafted for one particular state or region alone aren’t even new, though these are uniquely Paladin’s idea. Just last year, Bromojumbo made a bunch, and they were shared by Brandon of PragMagik. Many people love working within these prompts.

Bromojumbo took it one step further by evolving some of these Pokémon. Honestly, these artists’ creations, to begin with, are fantastic. To heed the begging of people in the comments by evolving these pocket monsters is next-level fanservice,especially considering it is perfectly normal for some Pokémon not to evolve once or even twice.

@bromojumbo Sorry it took a while folks! Life hit me hard after moving, got real sick and was slammed with work. Anywho, who’s your favorite? #fakemon #pokemon #AerieREAL #pokemontiktok #fakemonart #art #artist #drawing #macysownyourstyle #fyp ♬ Marnie Battle Theme – GlitchxCity

(featured image: The Pokémon Company)

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(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. Starting as an Online Editor for her college paper in October 2017, Alyssa began writing for the first time within two months of working in the newsroom. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3. Still trying to beat Saxon Farm on RCT 3 (so I can 100% the game.)