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Gotta Meme 'em All: A Tale of Two Youngsters

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  • Wednesday, April 8, 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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  • [url=//bulbanews.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Gotta_Meme_%27em_All:_A_Tale_of_Two_Youngsters] Gotta Meme 'em All: A Tale of Two Youngsters[/url]
  • <a href="//bulbanews.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Gotta_Meme_%27em_All:_A_Tale_of_Two_Youngsters"> Gotta Meme 'em All: A Tale of Two Youngsters</a>

What do you think of when you hear the word "Youngster"? Well, you probably think of a little boy wearing a cap and a t-shirt who uses underleveled Pokémon found in the earliest routes of the game. Nothing special, right? If so, how come not one but two members of this Trainer Class were the cause of two of the most prevalent memes in the Pokémon fandom? Today we will be discussing the similarities between two of the most influential Youngsters you will ever meet: Joey and Ben.

Youngster Joey

Youngster Joey is an NPC from Pokémon Gold and Silver Versions, Pokémon Crystal Version, and Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver Versions. Encountered in the earlier stages of the game, Joey is the first Pokémon Trainer the player character battles, serving as a tutorial of sorts for the player. The only Pokémon he fights with is a Level 4 Rattata.

After the battle, Joey asks to register the player in his Pokégear. If the player does choose to do so, he will receive calls from Joey at random intervals in the game, just like any NPC who the player registers. What Joey says is randomly selected from a list in the game's coding, but most of the calls he makes are him talking about his Rattata, even after the player rematches him and it has evolved into a Raticate. He often brags about his only Pokémon's strength, or talks about the strong bond they share, and asks the player to rematch him.

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The battle of ages
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Oh yeah, I saw a wild <Pokémon>! I thought about going for it, but I decided to work with my one-and-only right to the extreme end.
  -- Youngster Joey, Pokémon Crystal  
How are your Pokémon doing? My Rattata's raring to go, just like always. It's the only one I have. I'm going to become a great trainer with it!
  -- Youngster Joey, Pokémon Crystal  
Remember my super cool Rattata? My Rattata is different from regular Rattata. It’s like my Rattata is in the top percentage of all Rattata.
  -- Youngster Joey, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver  

Although Joey did not attract significant attention in the Pokémon fandom initially, the announcement of Gold and Silver remakes in 2010 caused fans to look back at the Generation II titles. Talk of Youngster Joey began to appear on the internet in March of that year, with the earliest known use being on a Neoseeker thread complaining about how irritating NPCs are.

The humor found in Youngster Joey is mostly due to his constant praise of his Rattata and refusal to use any other Pokémon since Rattata is one of the first Pokémon that can be encountered in Johto, and therefore one of the weakest. Also, the fact that Joey can call at inopportune times such as major plot points in the game to discuss something as relatively trivial as his Rattata also contributes to the Youngster's comedy value. Joey's claim that his Rattata is in the "top percentage of Rattata" has become one of the most popular quotes when referencing him.

Since talk of Joey and his rodent companion began back in 2010, it became a staple in the fandom. Various fanart of the duo has been created, serious and silly, and people have even gone so far as to write songs about the not-so dynamic duo. Multiple fan pages on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook, among other social media websites, have been created, and to this day fans still joke about the boy whose best friend is a Rattata.

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Fan card by shinyscyther (original)
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Poor Joey.
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Of all time.

Comic by Drambrarcer (original)

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Youngster Ben

Youngster Ben is a trainer locatated on Kanto Route 3 in Pokémon Red and Blue Versions and Pokémon Yellow Version, as well as Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen Versions. He did not have a name in Generation I, being referred to only as a Youngster, and was given the name in the Generation III remakes. Unlike Youngster Joey, Ben is only fought once and is just a normal trainer on Route 3, but he has become an icon in the Pokémon franchise because of what he says before he battles the player character.

Hi! I like shorts! They're comfy and easy to wear!
  -- Youngster Ben  

This one line from an NPC even less significant than Youngster Joey became very popular in the Pokémon fandom due to the sheer absurdity of it. It is not something that one would say to leave a good first impression. Although for some it became mimetic because of how it is the perfect example of why NPCs are an irritating bother, others are inspired by him for saying what he wants to say, for proudly declaring his love for the liberating male apparel. (In the opinion of this columnist, who wears shorts 365 days a year, they are rather comfortable.) But no matter how one looks at it, this quote gained immense popularity in the Pokémon community, popularity it still has today, along with Youngster Joey.

So popular has Youngster Ben become that he has been referenced directly twice later on in the Pokémon core series titles:

Youngster Ben's iconic quip is not only referenced in the Pokémon video games; it appears that he had an effect on the developers of the Japan-and-Europe-exclusive adventure game Last Window: The Secret of Cape West for the Nintendo DS. In this game, the protagonist Kyle Hyde will say "I like suits. They're comfy and easy to wear." when examining his wardrobe. To be referenced in a video game by a different developer is a testament to the prevalence of this meme.

I Like Shorts.png
Last Window Suit.jpg
Reference in Last Window
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Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori


So, what do these two Youngsters have in common? Both of them are remembered for their quotes, Youngster Joey's being that his Rattata is in the top percentage of Rattata, and Ben's being that he likes shorts due to their comfort and easiness to wear. The fact that both became memes shows that the average Pokémon player likes to fixate on the bizarre and zany qualities of the Pokémon World, no matter how small they are. NPCs in the game often say nothing of relevance due to their existence for no reason other than to help the player gain experience most of the time. Although Joey is also remembered for his constant annoying calls about his Rattata, they wouldn't be as memorable if his calls were about anything relvant or significant. Joey and Ben are only two examples of a multitude of trainers who are guilty of their irrelevant quips, but they certainly are two of the biggest.

Closing

This was the eighth 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.

As always, keep it dank up there!

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