The year is 1999, and at the tender age of eight years old, I was among the most respected kids in my latchkey.  It wasn’t because I was athletic or social, (few could match my horrendous lack of running ability), rather my fame came from being the only kid to actually complete my pokedex, and my superb ability in the world of Pokemon battling.  Trust me when I say I’m not that conceited, as when Pokemon’s popularity was over so was mine; this is just one of the fonder memories I have of my past.  Nearly eleven years have passed since that time, and a few weeks ago these same feelings of nostalgia came over me once again as I pushed aside my graduation robes to discover a somewhat dusty bin containing my old collection of Pokemon games.  Since I have way too much free time nowadays, I decided it could be fun to try and reclaim my old title, so I went to Walmart and picked up Platinum version to begin my quest. After quickly beating the game, I hopped online to research my planned team... little did I know the hellish monotony that awaited me.

Those of you whom are familiar with the world of competitive Pokemon battling already know the repetitive nature of training a worthy team, but allow me the opportunity to catch everyone else up to speed. In the days of my youth, hardcore pokemon battling simply consisted of catching a Pokemon and getting it to level 100; not the easiest task, but definitely doable. (Especially using the old Missigno rare candy trick.) Nowadays my old level 100 pokemon might as well be a freshly caught Magikarp, thanks to the introduction of IVs and EVs.

EVs (Effort Values) are obtained every time your Pokemon defeats an opponent in battle.  There is an EV for every stat (HP, Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed), and each opposing Pokemon gives you a certain type. (For example, defeating a Bidoof will always give your Pokemon one HP EV.) Every Pokemon gets 508 EVs total, and 4 EVs will boost a stat by 1 one point. Also, each stat can only have 252 EVs max; it’s up to you to decide where to place EVs, but be careful, as once all 508 EVs are utilized the process is irreversable without a rare berry.  Unfortunately, the only way to make sure that you’ve properly distributed your EVs before power training your Pokemon to level 100 is to keep a tally on a sheet of paper... fun times.

As if EV training wasn’t enough of a pain, IVs are on an entirely different level.  IVs exist in all stats, and are a random number between 0 and 31. They are all pre-determined as soon as a Pokemon is created, even before it hatches from its egg.  Up to three IV stats can be inherited from parent Pokemon, so in order to get a battle ready member on your team you have to decide what stats are the most important, and breed until at least those three stats are at 31.  Better yet, IVs are just as invisible as EVs, so the only way to determine their value is to use a rather complex formula. (Look it up on a different website if you’re interested, I really don’t feel like writing it down.)  Anyway, to recap, to raise a Pokemon fit for competitive battling you have to breed a species until it has at least three perfect IV stats, then carefully train it to distribute its 508 EVs appropriately, and then finally raise it to level 100. Saying that Pokemon training is a little bit more complicated today than in 1999 is a severe understatement.

After completing my research, I admit that I quickly gave up the idea of reclaiming the glory of my youth.  If you consider that one must go through the process above six times to create a fully functional competitive battling team, you would realize that it would take weeks, perhaps even months to finish. Even I have more of a social life than someone who would spend that much time playing Pokemon, and even if I didn’t there are so many other gaming experiences I would miss out on through competitive Pokemon battling.  Granted, there are “battle simulators” available online for those who want to battle others without spending countless hours Pokemon training, but   the thrill just isn’t the same for me. I’m not trying to offend any die-hard Pokemon fans with this article, I just wanted to bring to light some of the changes in the series since it’s glory days, and explain why I’m finally hanging up my trainers hat for the last time. Considering that many of the “new” generation of Pokemon trainers are kids who weren’t even alive in 1999, I suppose the games are no longer meant to appeal to me anyway; it’s just a shame to let go of something that basically defined my generation’s childhood.