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Pokémon is basically Westworld: A fan theory

Contributed by
Jun 4, 2018, 2:15 PM EDT

Pokémon fan theories are everywhere. When you've amassed the number of games that the Pokémon series has and been around for over 20 years, fan theories are pretty much a natural byproduct of your existence. That said, I normally don't really buy into them, even if I wrote them.

However, over the last few weeks, I've been playing around with a new theory: What if Pokémon isn't real? Now, I know that they're tragically not real in real life. I weep about that fact every day. But what if they don't really exist in the world of the main Pokémon series, either? What if the entire Pokémon world is a simulation, designed specifically for you and your character, and is not the living world that we're led to believe it is?

What if it's less of a "Pokémon world" and more like Westworld, in which you go into what's basically a highly advanced theme park, something constructed to fit your particular journey and no one else's. It would certainly explain why every other character in the Pokémon games seems to follow a set pattern of helping or fighting you, and why you're the only character that can move freely. All of the people just stand still forever after you've defeated or interacted with them. They don't die, they don't sleep, they don't eat, and unless they're Youngster Joey, calling you on the phone to chat about his phenomenal Rattata (yet again), they don't matter anymore in the grand scheme of the world after you've passed them by.

This theory would also explain why there's barely any history involved with you, the player, specifically. You have (or, rather, your character has) lived in the Pokémon world your whole life, and yet the game opens by telling you what Pokémon are.

The game has to teach you everything, even though you've supposedly "existed" inside of it for 10 years. Shouldn't you know that it isn't safe to go into the long grass without a Pokémon companion? But since you've never had one, does that mean you've never been anywhere outside of the, jeez, three buildings in your hometown?

But that's how most games start, right? They give you information along the way. If they suspected you knew everything, games would be a hellscape of difficulty curves and GAME OVER screens. But what most games don't have is an area in which you can meet the people that created your character. In the Red Version and Blue Version games (released in 1996), this area is in the Celadon Condominiums. In the condominiums, you meet the various programmers of the Pokémon games, people that tell you outright "I wrote the story!" and "I'm the graphic artist! I drew you!"


This is probably just Pokémon's weird attempt at breaking the fourth wall, something that I didn't really appreciate when I was 9 years old and something that I alternate between being amused by and baffled by now.

"Ha ha, funny. You drew me. That's neat. Wait, my reality is a lie?"

Unless this team of programmers decided that it would be really funny to screw with the mind of the new elementary schooler in town, this is a group of grown men saying that what you're playing isn't real. There is a story set out for you that you have no control over, a story that is already pre-written. A theme park.

These guys are the architects of the Pokémon world, a world so complex that they gave it its own religion. At various points in the series, you meet characters that describe the history of Pokémon and the legendary Pokémon that created the world such as Palkia, Dialga, and Giratina. They speak about these Pokémon with either reverence or fear, which leads me to believe that the game developers either programmed them to speak that way, or they created a religion and some powerful "legendary" monsters to keep their simulated humans in check. You won't step too far out of line if you fear that Groudon is gonna destroy your town.


However, if the religion were created to control the population, that means some of the villainous teams are simulation characters that have indeed stepped out of line. I'm just spitballing and turning this fan theory into an uncontrollable fireball of "Well, MAYBE," but that would explain why you have some villainous organizations like Team Rocket that want very standard things like "more money and Pokémon." These are stock villains for you to defeat, created by the Pokémon world developers. But those teams that want to accomplish more existential goals like Team Plasma (which wants to separate trainers from Pokémon) and Team Galactic (which wants to start a new universe) are actual disruptions in the simulation.

And yet, all of their actions are centered around Pokémon stuff (rather than, arguably, more effective tactics like building weapons or storming the locations of their creators) because Pokémon are all that they're programmed to know about.

And if the fictional world that this Pokémon simulation takes place in is so obsessed with these creatures that it would build a Pokémon simulation for people to experience, it explains why you can find kids in the games playing on various game systems, and why there's a Nintendo console in your room every time. Marketing, baby. It reminds you to buy a 3DS or a Switch in the gift shop on your way out of the Pokémon simulation once you're finished.

But what about the Pokémon? Even though there are chances they'll show up in a particular area, you're often never quite sure what you're going to get when you step into that tall grass. So maybe that's why they oddly have to remind you to not go into the tall grass in the beginning. "Please, don't go in there before you get a Pokémon of your own. This Pokémon simulation is not responsible for any injuries you may suffer while participating." They need you to have your own Pokémon to defend you because if you get attacked by a cyborg Pidgey on your first day there, you might sue.

Is this fan theory perfect? Hell no. If you have more to add to it or any problems with it, please tell me on Twitter or in the comments. However, thank you for listening to my mad rant about Pokémon conspiracies. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to write a three-page essay on how Professor Oak is actually an older version of Luigi.