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Can we fix Pokémon Events?


Ah, yes, Pokémon. The franchise that is today much as it was when I was just a lad. Weaken monster. Capture monster. Enslave monster. Become champion of monster enslavement and warfare. Truly, a franchise made just for the children. No, Pokémon as a franchise isn't exactly known for innovation or new features by many.

For whatever reason, The Pokémon Company and GameFreak, much as they have improved the games and added so much to them over the years, still suffer from what I like to call "Nintendo's Special Snowflake Sequel Syndrome." If you're a fan of Mario Kart: Double Dash, you know what I mean without my needing to elaborate. While many features have come and gone, one thing has withstood the test of time, and probably will last until the end of time at that.

Event Pokémon.

Sometimes you have to go to a video game retailer, where you can pick up a code or download it in store. Other times, you can download it directly to your game via the internet. In the past, you might have needed to use the fabled eReader, use a Japan exclusive cell phone addition, or any of many other ridiculous ways to get these special critters.

What has remained constant about all of these things is that these special Pokémon can usually only be obtained through these special, often limited time only events. Now, Destructoid's resident Pokémon Professor, Chris Carter, has professed numerous times his dissatisfaction with how event Pokémon events tend to favor the newer games over the old, if I could, I'd like to highlight how this issue is part of a larger problem, and then go on to offer a potential solution for it.

Let's look at the events we've gotten thus far for the most recent generation in the US:

Click here if this is impossible to view in your browser.

At a glance, this might look like a surprisingly nice amount of things to just be given away. Sure, out of the three Pokémon that can only be obtained through event, we only got the first one in X and Y at the end of last year, but this is still a pretty nice selection... Right...?

Well... First, before I start comparing to other regions, let's look at how you actually get some of these.

  1. Torchic: This one was easy enough. You take your new X and Y and download him, and you had months to do so. Most regions had this option, and it was even announced beforehand! This event in particular gave me a real surge of hope for how events would be handled going forward.
  2. Garchomp/Scizor: For whatever reason, Wal-Mart had some codes with their X and Y games that gave you Garchomp or Scizor (not even with their Mega Stones) depending on your version. A little weird since these weren't even version exclusive, but again, this was early on in this generation, so why not?
  3. Celebi: This one wasn't too bad. People were worried about the Pokémon Bank as a concept, and while I'm iffy about it even now for a few reasons, this Pokémon could be obtained during your free trial, so it wasn't too bad.
  4. Shiny Mamoswine: Nice, but if you couldn't get to this real life Pokémon tournament, irrelevant to the majority of players. We'll mark it with an X here.
  5. Pokéball Vivillon: For Vivillon collectors, good times! For everyone else, it was still an easy one to get since it was over Wi-Fi, though the brief window to download could have been longer.
  6. Pretty Vivillon: Same as above, though at least this one had about a month for you to download. Again, while it might not have been the coolest thing in the world, it showed progress compared to previous generations.
  7. Pinsir/Heracross with Mega Stone: These were another swell pair. Two fairly decent Pokémon coming with decent moves and their version exclusive Mega Stones to the opposite versions? Over Wi-Fi? And they were available for a month? Times really have changed!
  8. Aegislash: ... unless you can't make it to these tournaments. Another X.
  9. Gengar: While seemingly random, this was apparently a tie-in to the TCG, which I only found out just now. Still, so long as you could get to a store where they had codes, this one wasn't too hard to get.
  10. Pumpkaboo: A Halloween Wi-Fi event lasting all October long! Things are going strong for the Pokémon team with these events!
  11. Diancie: Despite how it's listed on the picture (I have no sense of how Serebii.net lists these things, I swear, no idea), this was actually the last X and Y only event, and its primary use was to be transferred to the upcoming remakes.
  12. Shiny Beldum: And then comes the abrupt switch once Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire release. For a limited time, you could download this guy in only the new games. Sure, one could argue that Mega Metagross doesn't exist in X and Y, so they couldn't include these in those games, and likewise, these were promoting the new games, so they had to keep this away, but at the same time... Ever heard of updates?
  13. Latios/Latias: These guys are on here based on the fact that you get the Eon Ticket through Street Pass or other forms of distribution. There isn't actually a special Latios/Latias you can be given yet, so these two slots don't actually mean anything! Count this one as an X too.
  14. Hidden Ability Unova Starters: These guys are actually still available, so that's pretty cool, despite the whole skipping X and Y thing. Just grab the serial codes and get yours today!
  15. Hidden Ability Tyrunt: This bad boy was given away to anyone who participated in an online tournament a certain amount of times once the tournament. This gets an X because I'm bitter and didn't find out about it until the day after registration and now I'll never have one, but also because they really gotta promote that kind of thing more! When previous tournament prizes were stuff like currency and berries, you have to make some noise when you start giving Pokémon away!
  16. Hidden Ability Johto Starters: Provided you've got a Pokémon Bank account active, you can get the three of these even now in any of the four current Pokémon games! If you don't, though, it's $5, and there's no longer a free trial, so that gets an X too.
  18. Pacirisu: Not only is this one restricted to a real life event, it's also restricted to Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. X!
  19. Dragonite: ... But then out of nowhere, we get a fairly easy to obtain Dragonite. Sure, it's just Dragonite, but so long as you can get to a store with a code, this isn't too bad compared to some of the ones that had come prior to this. Exclusive to Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, yes, but it could be worse.
  20. Diancie: I can kind of forgive this not being for X and Y since they already got one of these, but at the same time... I really like this thing, and X and Y getting this event would mean I would have five of them, so... yeah, that sucks. Not the worst thing in the world, but since this is an actual event only thing, an exception would have been nice.
  21. Shiny Rayquaza: Whoa! A Wi-Fi event again? About time! And is this the first time we've gotten a Shiny Rayquaza in the US, or have I just missed the last ones? Either way, I'll take it.
  22. Hidden Ability Sharpedo: Oh look, a really cool Sharpedo with its Mega Stone, an awesome moveset, and... it's exclusive to a real life event? X!

All in all, this still may not look terrible to some of you even so. Out of about 30 or so Pokémon, I only gave about a third the X of not counting as "fair," so that's not too bad... Right?

Well, my friends, this is only the first phase of analyzing Pokémon events. Let us continue!

It's time to go to Japan.

Real quick for me, look at our list of events there. In the span of a year, most players would have been able to get, at the very least, the Torchic, the two Vivillons, the Celebi, either the Pinsir or Heracross (unless they had both games), and the Pumpkaboo. Naturally, there's the Gengar too if they dared go to a GameStop. That's not a bad haul.

In Japan, you would have been able to get the Torchic, just like the rest of us... but they got some other goodies in the meantime.

If you had a birthday during this period and were able to make it to a Pokémon Center, you could also download one special birthday Pokémon of a special set of birthday Pokémon, consisting of all of the Eevee evolutions, Eevee itself, and Pikachu. If you could get to Tokyo Bay's Pokémon Center at any point during a two month period, you could also download a special Inkay that knows a move exclusive to only that Inkay. That Wal-Mart Garchomp was given away as a code in magazines, and a Gengar and/or Scizor was given away at Toys'R'Us stores and Pokémon Centers during the Christmas season.

Continuing the trend of real life fun, another Inkay like the Tokyo Pay Pokémon Center one appeared at Pokémon Centers across Japan after Christmas for a month, just in case you couldn't get to that specific one. You could also win a special Wobuffet from the Pokémon Tretta arcade game for a limited period of two months, and did I mention Japan also had that Pokémon Bank Celebi?

Seems pretty even, doesn't it? Well, what if I tell you that we haven't even hit 2014 yet, and as far as the West is concerned, at this point we just have the Torchic and the two Wal-Mart giveaways?

But wait, there's more

Just for the hell of it, Pokémon Centers reran those Christmas Scizor and Gengars because it was kind of a dick move to do it only during the week of Christmas, so this time, they did them through the entire month of February, giving people plenty of time to come to one of the multiple locations in Japan. In March, if you picked up a copy of CoroCoro Magazine (or perhaps subscribed to it?), you could get a Charizard with the Mega Stone opposite to the one exclusive to your version.

If you preordered a ticket to the Diancie movie any time from mid-April to the end of September, you'd get a code for a Darkrai. Meanwhile, Pokémon Centers once again started giving out goodies in the form of a Mega Evolution event featuring Gyarados, Scizor, Kangaskhan, Gengar, Tyranitar, and Mawhile. This wasn't a situation where you could only get one, either, they made it so that you could get all of these bad boys.

Then, to celebrate a member of the Japanese World Cup team who voiced a character in the upcoming movie, on June 15th, multiple stores gave away a special Pikachu that was the same level (22) as the player's jersey number, which is one of the coolest events I've heard of happening anywhere, personally.

Japan sure did let that World Cup fever into some strange places though...

After that, it was business as usual! If you went to the Diancie movie, you could download it via local wireless. That might sound like a pain, but local wireless means you might have not needed to actually see the movie, and did I mention this movie was in theaters for three months and had two pre-release screenings in July where you could also download the little rock fairy? Pokémon is serious business in Japan, wow.

It's only at this point, once we're through all of these events, that we finally hit that Pretty Vivillon Wi-Fi event, which is about when we're 1/4 through of our current events, and was also the 7th or so we got. Japan, meanwhile, is nearing, like... 20 or so at this point? Wow.

I could go on, but I think the point has been made. I will say that Japan doesn't escape the push for Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire exclusive events (the tournament rewards that require using those games can only give the rewards to those games, obviously), but unlike our events, it still makes sure to have some of their events include the older games too. In fact, almost all of 2015's events include X and Y, and this year has already seen about 20 events for Japan already.

At this point, I'd take the time to point out European countries also have gotten some pretty nifty events at times too, even ones that Japan hasn't gotten, but as I said, the point has been made. While it does deserve pointing out that many of these events involved going somewhere in real life, it likewise deserves pointing out that these multiple-location events were taking place over an extended period of time in a country smaller than California.

Basically, the "larger problem" is that Japan keeps all the good stuff to itself. Did I really need to take so much time pointing that out? Could I have done it in an easier way? Probably not and probably, respectively, so let's move on.

Is it... Is it over...?

How can we solve this problem? It's clear that the US, and the West in general, just isn't getting the same kind of love when it comes to these events, but what can we do about it? Most of the Japanese ones are being given away at the local stores, and we can't match that. It wouldn't be feasible.

If only there was a higher power... A web that stretched worldwide that they could use to distribute them... Or some kind of outside service that people subscribed to, that they were required to use to participate in tournaments already...! Or maybe a bank of some kind that occasionally offered special event creatures in return for using their services!

Oh, if only things like those existed, maybe then there would be a way for us to match Japan's awesome might of being a smaller country with a lot of stores dedicated to a single franchise!

"Dude, just get on with it."
"Can I get off with it instead?"

It is with all of this taken into consideration, particularly the fact that other regions have their own occasional exclusive event, not to mention that Japan has had tons, that I have come up with this:


In hindsight, I probably should have gotten right to this part.


 ... and so on. I could probably do this all day, or give each of these a ton of nonsensical details, but you guys get the general gist of this. In the end, there's no excuse for GameFreak/Nintendo of America/The Pokémon Company/whoever to not at least try to do something like this for countries not Japan. It's not like we're not all very aware that Japan is getting a ton of events we aren't, and we all certainly know about those yearly Jirachis they get.

Isn't it about time they share the love a little?

... what the- This is not what I meant and you all know it!

Anyway, now that I'm done pointing out the obvious in as roundabout and unnecessary lengthy a way as possible, let's make this fun!

Since my proposed solution is that every region should have region specific events alongside the ones everyone gets, but I'm only covering the US (and barely at that), I want you guys to tell me what your ideas for events are! If you made it down this far, you earned the right to share your goofy ideas with the community, so share away!

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About OverlordZettaone of us since 10:34 AM on 07.16.2014

Hey there! You seem to have taken a wrong turn, friend. Front page is thattaway, and Zetta is currently on vacation, in a manner of speaking.

But hey! If you actually do mean to be here for some reason, then hello! Although I am not really here at the moment, when I am active, I go by Zetta around these parts, I am an enthusiast of all things Kamen Rider as well as most things Vita, as well as all sorts of other nonsensical nonsense. Good times!

When I'm not busy writing annoyingly long comments, you can find me here, writing annoyingly long blogs. I dream of the day everyone on the internet can get along and be friends, like an annoying anime protagonist...'s even more annoying love interest, and in the meanwhile, am dreaming of putting my wordliness to good use in something creative someday, lest my existence be completely wasted.

My console of choice is the Vita, my favorite Kamen Rider changes with the tide, and I really have no idea how to end this at this point.

Time for a pose!

- Pokemon X and Alpha Sapphire
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni

- TRianThology
- Danganronpa 3
- Persona 5
- Pokemon Moon

- Soul Sacrifice 2
- Persona 3 Platinum
- Mega Man ZX 3
- Devil Survivor 3
- Zettai Hero Project 2
- Kamen Rider Warriors
... and of course...