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Gotta Meme 'em All: PokéGods

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  • Monday, February 11, 2015

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This column has been written by ShinyLinoone. It expresses the views of the columnist, not necessarily those of Bulbagarden networks.
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The question that Pokémon fans ask more than anything is "What's next?". When a new pair of games is announced, we speculate as to what new features the game will have, what new species of Pokémon we will be able to catch, and what new characters we will meet on our new journeys, and even come up with our own ideas. After it has been released, and we have exhausted every new species, every secret, every nook and cranny that it has to offer, we then ask what Game Freak will come up with next. It is just our nature. Back in the earliest days of the fandom, however, this speculation was taken to a completely different level in the form of PokéGods.

PokéGods were fan-made concepts for Pokémon spread online in the height of Generation I. Some of them were based on real Pokémon, whereas some were completely made-up. Many of them were made just for fun, but a lot of people claimed that they were real, and contrived elaborate instructions on how to obtain them as to fool others into doing it.

Encountering Mew in the wild is only possible through the Mew glitch

Mew is considered to be the Pokémon that started the PokéGods craze. Early in Generation I, Mew was elusive and few people knew how to obtain it, so many took to the internet to find out how to get their hands on the elusive Pokémon. Many rumors spread that there were hidden methods to obtain Mew in the games. The most popular ones were that one would have to defeat the Elite Four an absurdly high number of times, or that it was hidden under the truck in Vermilion Harbor and one would be able to fight Mew by using Strength on it.

These rumors about Mew led to rumors about PokéGods, other elusive Pokémon hidden in the game data. It was common knowledge that the game had 150 Pokémon, starting at Bulbasaur and ending at Mewtwo, but Mew caused players to question if they really had caught 'em all. If there is one elusive Pokémon hidden in the game, why would there not be more? Players began to wonder if there was a whole smorgasbord of Pokémon in the games' data, completely undiscovered. The popular glitch Pokémon Missingno. also fuels this belief because it lead players to believe that there were going to be other Pokémon in the game that were taken out, which turned out years later to be true; 39 Pokémon were pulled out of the coding for Pokémon Red and Green Versions.

Generation II Pokémon appearing in the anime before the release of the Generation II games also inspired the idea of PokéGods. Misty obtained a Togepi in Kanto and continued to carry it around for the rest of the original series; the first movie and its accompanying short debuted Marill, Snubbull, and Donphan; and Ash saw Ho-Oh in the first episode, although it wasn't named at the time. These appearances, as well as the anime taking some creative liberties (Crystal Onix, Pink Butterfree, Venustoise) gave fans the idea that there are more Pokémon than previously thought.

People soon began to take the rumors to a new level and come up with their own ideas for Pokémon, PokéGods. The name branches from the fact that many of these creations were mysterious and godlike, and possessed powers surpassing Mewtwo, who was regarded to be the strongest Pokémon in the games. These new rumors took advantage of the lack of knowledge that the fandom had of the games at this time and used it to describe elusive Pokémon that can only be caught in inaccessible areas on the map. One would often have to beat the Elite Four a given number of times or evolve their unevolvable Pokémon through some previously unknown means. The people that spread these rumors often succeeded in fooling so many people by saying that they or one of their family members worked at Nintendo.

There are such things as pokegods. To get them beat the Elite Four 30 times without talking to anyone in between the nurse in the pokecentre at Indigo Platue or what ever it is, and the riv . On the thirtith times Professer Oak will say "I'm getting tired of this" and he will let you walk around the hall of fame which leads to a new city where people will swap pokegods.
  -- Copypasta that explains one of the first and most popular rumors  

Some people even made modified versions of the games to produce fake Pokédex entries.

Notable PokéGods

Doomsay.png
Doomsday.png
Evolved form of Doomsay.
Mewthree PokeGod.png
Supposed evolved form of Mewtwo.
Tyranticus.png
Flareth.png
Supposed evolution of Flareon
Diminox.png
Supposed evolution of Onix.
Hellraiser.png
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A website named Pokémon Factory was founded for the purpose of creating an entire new section of the Pokédex with PokéGods. It was created more for artistic purposes than for spreading rumors. It went on to create expanded Pokédexes for Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh as well.

Pikablu.png

The announcement of sequels to the Generation I core series titles breathed new life into the PokéGods fandom as new games meant that more species of Pokémon would be added. This lead to speculation as to what Pokémon are to be expected in the new games, and as official artwork was released, the hype increased.

The most notable PokéGod that arose from the months predating Gold and Silver is Pikablu. Official artwork of several new Pokémon was released in Japan and found its way to the English-speaking fandom, one of which being a blue, rodent-like Pokémon that bore a strong resemblance to Pikachu. Because of this, the fandom named it Pikablu (as they did with later Pokémon too). It was speculated to be an evolution to Pikachu that gained the Water or Ice type upon evolving. It eventually became so popular that the fandom considered it to be not an evolution of Pikachu but an unevolved, pure Water- or Ice-type Pokémon that served as a counterpart to Pikachu. The rumor eventually faded, with the Pokémon revealed to be Marill.

After the release of Gold and Silver, PokéGods lost relevance because more reliable sources began to form and with the release of a new set of games people got a better idea of what to expect from Game Freak in the future. As the internet grew, it became more difficult to trick people. Regardless, people do still create their own ideas for Pokémon.

Closing

This was the fourth article of Gotta Meme 'em All, a column whose purpose is to provide in-depth explanations on the origins and spread of various Pokémon memes. If you have any suggestions as to what future articles should feature, as well as any general questions, comments, and criticism, the author can be contacted here.

References


Gotta Meme 'em All
By ShinyLinoone
SmugleafMudkip and MarshtompVietnamese Crystal
PokéGods7.8/10 Too Much WaterTwitch Plays PokémonPokémon Bank Delay
Youngster Joey and Youngster BenDitto