Ash and Pika cuddling

Nintendo, When Do I Get To Be Lazy With My Pokemon?

Lazy trainer rights!

The latest trailer for Pokemon Scarlet & Violet featured heavy emphasis on the player’s ability to choose freely between branching paths that they can return to at any time. These paths include treasure hunting, putting down turf wars against your fellow students, searching for mythical Pokemon, and, of course, going down Victory Road.

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The key phrase was highlighted towards the end of the trailer: “Go where you want, and do what it is you really wanna do the most!”

And that’s all well and good, I’m just as hyped as the next guy, and I can respect that they’re trying to open-world-ify the franchise for longevity’s sake. I’m excited to explore Paldea at my own pace, with my good man Quaxly.

But, ultimately, my first thought upon reading that phrase was: What if what I really wanna do, is nothing. Think about it. Every single mainline Pokemon game has revolved around the phrenetic, streamlined process of accomplishing a “big” thing. From becoming a regional champion to completing your pokedex, our “lives” as Pokemon trainers have largely been a nonstop grind.

And maybe, Pokemon, just maybe … some of us don’t want to run around entire continents with our little buddies and wreak havoc. Maybe all we wanna do is chill out. Have a cuddle. Take a nap.

There’s so much creativity within the world of Pokemon, and I feel like there’s a lot of untapped potential within the “lore” behind each individual Pokemon. I get that deviating from the gameplay norm could raise some fears about a loss in sales, but damn, if Nintendo’s rich ass can’t afford to experiment, then nobody can.

For instance, in the Poketoon series, you never really see trainers gearing up to battle. Often, you just see them hanging out with their Pokemon and leading their domestic lives together. This one in particular stands out to me, where a little girl visits her grandparents whose home runs entirely on Poke-power:

Like, first of all, adorbs. Second of all, WHY CAN’T I DO THIS?????

Nintendo, I implore you, not all of us are Hustleboss Girlqueens! Some of us don’t have grand aspirations of violence and douleur, and some of us just wanna hang out and do recreational, domestic things! I envy the NPCs we pass by who live interesting, varied lives with their Pokemon; must be nice to have a choice, NINTENDO.

I mean, I can imagine it so clearly: a cozy game like The Sims, or Stardew Valley, where you hunker down somewhere and are able to make your own path, with the help of Pokemon you befriend and invite to live with you. I already know what kind of life I’d lead: an antisocial writer who has Zorua pretend to be me while answering the door, with Absol somewhere on the roof to tell me when I’m about to get overcharged on utilities. When I feel like playing guitar, I hunker down with my buddy Toxtricity and jam around. And when I need a cuddle, I get Jolteon on the couch and hunker down. (Why Jolteon instead of Eevee, you may ask? Because Jolteon has been my favorite Pokemon since the N64 days, when I’d rock the block on Pokemon Stadium with Jolteon alone.)

So hey, Nintendo? You’re doing a great job, this new Pokemon looks very cool and exciting, and I’m stoked to give it a try. But hear me out: maybe a deviation from the hectic norm, and towards the chill-ass alternatives, might just prove to be a more fruitful investment than you might think.

Cozy game lovers of the site, let me know your thoughts in the comments, and what sort of downtime you would like to envision in a Pokemon game. Spit some ideas!

(Featured Image: Nintendo)


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Author
Madeline Carpou
Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).