The RPG; it puts the gamer into an interesting world to say the least. We are presumed to play the role of a hero, but is this always the case? The RPG world is one of limited laws to be sure, and is one in which our hero becomes associated with less than admirable actions or behaviour. In many cases, these actions are of an otherwise criminal nature, yet suspiciously no one in the game seems to mind.

Pokemon (Red/Blue) is certainly no exception to the above stated paradox, and were the hero thrust into a world with well-defined laws and social norms such as our own, he would spend the rest of his life in jail or as an outcast to be sure. Below is a compilation of 10 of the less than admirable actions the protagonist takes in Pokemon Red/Blue.

Besides our hero, the world of Pokemon is called "home" by a wide variety of people. However--for some incomprehensible reason--the protagonist of this game has taken that sense of community to an intangible extreme. In nearly any town in the game, the gamer will notice a number of residents conversing with one another. What is fascinating however, is how comfortable the protagonist feels in joining the conversations uninvited.

That's right--2 or more NPCs will be having their own private conversation with one another, and the Pokemon protagonist thinks nothing of eavesdropping. Many times walking up to the NPCs in question and pressing the action button will enable your character to listen in on the conversation at hand. But what part of that behaviour is acceptable? Does the word "privacy" mean nothing to this guy? I have heard of being neighborly, but this is a little out of hand! The NPCs never seem to mind, but one thing is for sure: eavesdropping in this way will have a considerably different reaction if one tries it on the subway of a major city.

Contrary to the inconsiderate eavesdropping explained above, our "hero" commonly does exactly the opposite: NOT talking to anyone! At points the protagonist is not that chatty of a fellow, which realistically would create a very high degree of awkwardness between the 2 characters in question.

Our hero's anti-social behaviour manifests in a number of ways. One way is by standing face-to-face with an NPC without saying or doing anything. Didn't his Mother ever teach him that it is not polite to stare? But then again, considering the fact that NPCs will commonly turn away from you once primary interaction has been concluded, who can blame our hero for not being sociable?

Another peculiar situation is when entering the residence of another. To most, the act of simply walking into another person's house uninvited and unannounced would warrant at least some degree of explanation. However, this is not necessarily the case. The protagonist will often walk in and out of whatever building he deems suitable at the time without so much as a word. Umm...maybe the person whose house you just broke into would like to know a few things? Like who you are, or why you are there perhaps? I mean, even a simple, "Oh, hello!" would be a step in the right direction. I guess he will not be staying to chat over a cup of tea...

Litter is an entity which makes the planet less beautiful, and the very action poses a wide range of environmental hazards. None of these threats however, seem to affect the Pokemon protagonist. Upon inspection of our hero's item inventory, he eventually finds something he no longer needs. So what should be done with it? Hold onto it until the appropriate receptacle can be found through which it can be properly discarded? Put it into storage until so many have been amassed that a garage sale can be held?

NOPE! The protagonist just selects the "Toss" option within the menu, and just like that, he throws it away. Right on the ground, as if some magical garbage fairy will come along and clean it up. Not only that, but Pokemon live off the land upon which the protagonist so callously dumps his unwanted possessions. Did you know that each year over 100,000 Pidgey's die due to choking on discarded hero possessions?

Not so much a crime as it is a bad habit (I assume that Celadon City has legalized gambling), a favourite hobby of the Pokemon protagonist is playing the slots at the Celadon City Game Corner.

Oh what fun gambling on the slots actually is. At least that's what all those slot jockeys within the game corner keep telling our hero. They share their tips, secrets and indeed their love and fascination for the slots at every opportunity. And I guess they should know how to strike it rich; after all, they are always in the game corner gambling...day and night...all day every day...in the exact same spot as if not having moved for years...waiting for the "big day" when they finally strike it rich...huh...

The protagonist also meets counterparts to these gambling advocates in the game corner who warn about the dangers of gambling. "Be careful" they say, "winning is not as easy as it seems". However, the protagonist ignores these warnings and puts all of which he has earned on the line for his chance to strike it rich!

One thing is always left to question however: isn't the protagonist like, 14-years-old? At the most? For what reason would that man give a 14-year-old a coin case? Why would all these slot jockeys teach a 14-year-old about the "joys" of feeding a slot machine your money? And why, OH WHY would the Celadon Game Corner allow a 14-YEAR-OLD to gamble at their establishment?

Nobody likes level grinding, including the Pokemon protagonist. It is a slow, painful process, and a challenge that rewards with a decent amount of experience is hard to find indeed. But maybe there is an easier way; a short-cut if you will.

Yep, our hero has found that short-cut. An item that--when used on a Pokemon--will instantly make it gain a level, making it stronger, faster and better. This item's name is the "rare candy", or at least that is what they call it on the street. Upon entering a gym battle or the Pokemon League, are Pokemon not subject to mandatory drug tests? An item that instantly gains 1 level certainly sounds like a performance-enhancer to me. Maybe after beating the game, our hero's record should have an asterisk beside his name.

No question the rare candy is disallowed; why else would no PokeMart sell it, forcing the protagonist to find them along his travels--or better yet, use the well-known infinite glitch? But hey, if caught, just pull the old Mark McGwire trick and say they were used for health purposes.

There is a reason that home security exists in the real world today: to keep the Pokemon protagonist OUT of our houses! Yet obviously home invasion is not a top priority for the governments or residents of the Pokemon universe.

The hero of this game is free to simply go in and out of whoever's house, and whatever building he chooses. Is this sounding strange to anyone else? In many cases the hero will walk into a private residence (even when people are home), look around without so much as a word, then leave. I mean, an unlocked door is NOT an open-ended invitation for anyone and his family to walk right in and get comfortable! Even when one talks to the home-owner, the NPC in question does not even seem startled by the occurrence. At least when Steve Urkel did this, it infuriated the Winslow's.

So Pokemon protagonist, thank your lucky stars that none of these houses have a guard dog!

It is one thing to defend oneself from an attack, but the Pokemon protagonist does not just answer trouble that comes his way, he actually goes out of his way to find trouble. Even think about the point of the game; going from city to city to fight the strongest gym leaders.

As our hero strolls down the established pathways to the next town, he sees patches of grass on either side in which all the cute little Pokemon play. While an ordinary person might stop to admire these playful creatures or simply continue on his/her way, the protagonist of this games actually stops to intentionally inflict harm! He could just as easily walk along the path, but no...no, he has to stomp through the grass in search of his next victim. And what does he do when he finds this victim? He engages it in combat using his own--usually stronger--Pokemon.

What did that wild Pokemon ever do to him? It was simply playing in the grass, minding its own innocent business when all of the sudden, the protagonist emerges from the shadows with the intent to inflict serious injury. Not even to catch the Pokemon in question, but rather to knock it out! For what purpose would a "hero" take such an action one might ask? To gain more experience points...shameful.

If this is how our hero acts on a regular basis, I would hate to see him during hunting season...

#3: Theft

One of the more notorious of the numerous crimes the Pokemon protagonist commits is theft. The act of taking a belonging of someone else is understood to be absolutely unacceptable...except in the world of Pokemon it would seem.

There is certainly a plethora of examples to which one could point, but certainly the best one is the acquisition of the Eevee in Celadon City. Our hero must first enter the Celadon Mansion (remember our section on Breaking and Entering?) and from the backdoor no less. After climbing a few flights of stairs, the protagonist enters a room with a Pokeball sitting on the table. Walk up to this Pokeball and press the action button, and the game will announce that the super rare Eevee has been acquired.

Did this protagonist ever stop to think that maybe that Eevee is not his? After all, it was sitting on a table inside a room contained within a privately owned residence--a residence he had to enter through the backdoor as not to be seen. That Eevee belongs to another trainer, and he just took it right off the table! Maybe the owner just left it there for a minute while he/she went to the bathroom. But to be sure, that is going to be one sad and upset trainer whenever he/she returns to find a missing Eevee. I guess the protagonist is one person who will not be answering the "missing Eevee" posters that will inevitably circulate through every town.

Among the extensive list of infractions acted upon by the Pokemon protagonist includes animal cruelty--or Pokemon cruelty as it were.

The Pokemon Red/Blue experience takes our hero to Fuchsia City, a town that's most distinguishing feature is the famed Safari Zone located in the north. Oh what fun the Safari Zone truly is. A participant will pay an initial entrance fee in exchange for 30 Safari Balls with which he/she may use in an attempt to catch a number of rare and elusive Pokemon.

Now, I can understand throwing Safari Balls at the target Pokemon. I can even understand the option in the menu to throw some bait, as to make the capture a bit easier. But what I can't understand is the option to throw a rock. Really? A rock? For what purpose exactly would one throw a rock at a Pokemon? Especially one that is trying to be lured closer for capture. Seriously, who throws a rock at a Pokemon? That is just unnecessarily cruel! The protagonist paid his money to be given an opportunity to catch these Pokemon, not pull his best Roger Clemens impression by hurling a rock into the Pokemon's unsuspecting face!

I mean, throwing a rock? This protagonist is just sick! Move over Michael Vick, there is a new animal abuser in town!

After visiting Misty's gym in Cerulean City, the Pokemon protagonist continues his travels southward and encounters the Pokemon Daycare babysitter in an isolated house. This man has a simple proposal: if the hero chooses, he may leave a Pokemon in the babysitter's care. The babysitter agrees to look after said Pokemon during the protagonist's travels, and when our hero is ready for his Pokemon to be returned, he will pay a fee to the babysitter. In exchange, the Pokemon left with the babysitter will gain a particular amount of experience points during the protagonist's absence.

It sounds like a pretty reasonable deal, right? WRONG! Let's evaluate this arrangement, shall we? This babysitter is someone the protagonist has just met, and does not know very well. That makes him a stranger. Moreover, this babysitter's identity and motivations for looking after Pokemon seem a little dubious, especially considering that his house is in an isolated spot. I mean, this guy is not even a functioning member of society!

The Pokemon protagonist has no idea who this babysitter is, nor does he truly understand the sitter's interest in looking after Pokemon. However--even as such--our hero takes no hesitation in entrusting the babysitter with his Pokemon. Maybe the sitter wants to cook the Pokemon for dinner, and the whole daycare business is an elaborate scam to get his next meal. We just don't know.

Then again, what can we expect from a "hero" who leaves his unwanted Pokemon in storage boxes on Bill's PC forever with no intention of using them or setting them free? Clearly if this were done in the real world, child services would be all over the protagonist for child negligence, but it is just another day in the life of our hero.

Often times in an RPG like Pokemon, we find ourselves on a quest of valor in search of glory. The protagonist of the Red/Blue versions of the game may seem like a hero on the surface, but don't be fooled by his ability to fight evil, and his enthusiasm to help NPCs essential to the plot. Along the way, this same "hero" proves that he can be an inconsiderate, malicious bully who will take any action--even criminal if necessary--to achieve his overall goals.

We must demand better behaviour from our Pokemon protagonists, and strive to dismiss from our own world those objectionable qualities found all too often in the Pokemon world. And remember kids: please don't try any of these discussed actions at home!

List by Hanzaemon_ (05/27/2010)

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