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Dogasu's Backpack | Features | The Grand List of Pokémon Video Game Clichés

The release of the Pocket Monsters video games was a big event for the world of video games.  Pokemon Red, Green, and Blue basically revived the dying handheld video game market, and without Pokemon we most likely wouldn't have most of the handheld goodies that we have today.  As more of the games were released, improvements were made, but it always feels like we've been there, done that before...

This list was inspired by The Grand List of Console Role Playing Game Clichés.  If you would like to contribute anything to the list, please e-mail me and they will most likely be posted.  Please note that any submission made to the list may be reworded/corrected/otherwise tampered with by me before being posted.

Explanatory Opening Rule
Despite the fact that the protagonist lives in a world surrounded by pokémon and has seen them used to perform the tasks of everyday life, the professor will always find it necessary to explain to him what they are.

Big Fish in a Small Pond
No matter how prestigious the leading authority on pokémon is, he will almost always live in the smallest, most uninteresting town in the game.

Law of Convenience
That same professor will also happen to be the protagonist's neighbor, making it almost too easy for him to start his pokémon journey.

Fashion Statement (Scientists)
Every single scientist you meet, with the exception of maybe the leading researcher, will be wearing glasses.  Stereotype much?

What's the Assistant For?
Every professor has an assistant, yet this assistant doesn't seem to serve any purpose whatsoever.

Hey, it's comfortable AND convenient
The main character will always wear a cap of some kind.

Fashion Statement (Protagonist)
No matter where you go, the protagonist will be the only person wearing his respective clothing, while all the lasses, lads, beauties, etc. all share the same uniform.

Mute Protagonist Rule
While pokémon have a limited vocabulary consisting of their name, the protagonist's vocabulary is just as limited in that he can only say "yes" or "no" throughout the course of the entire game.

You don't have to yell! (submitted by Duke)
For some reason, all the proper nouns in the game are in all caps, so a typical sentence is as such: "The GYM LEADER, known as BROCK, has powerful ROCK-type POKÉMON, such as ONIX and GEODUDE, that know ROCK SLIDE and MAGNITUDE. They are especially strong against ELECTRIC-type, FIRE-type, and FLYING-type POKÉMON. Be sure to bring POTIONs and REVIVEs." Even the pre-selected names the games give you are in all caps.

Well, how else is he supposed to pass the first nine years of his life?
The main character's bedroom will always have a TV in it with Nintendo's latest system hooked up.

Go ahead honey, explore the world.  I'll just stay here and fold socks all day.
Your mom, no matter how dynamic a life YOU lead, is content to let her ten year old face off against the world alone while she stays home and goes through her everyday routine.

Disgruntled Rival Rule
You will always have a rival, but you're never told why he's your rival in the first place.  You'll go through the entire region with this guy who's pissed off at you and you never find out what you did to him to make him so upset.

Actually, maybe this is the reason why...
The Professor can never remember his own grandchild's name.

Early Bird gets the pokemon
You will always arrive at the professor's lab to pick out your starter pokemon before your rival does, no matter how long you spend talking to people in town.

The Elementary Three
The starting pokémon will always be  made up of one grass-type, one fire-type, and one water-type.  Also, there will always be exactly three to choose from.

Scissors Beats Paper, Paper Beats Rock, and Bulldozer Beats all Three
Your rival ALWAYS picks the Pokemon that's strong against the one you picked.

Go Bulldozer! (submitted by Duke)
The first two Gym Leaders will almost always be smooth sailing for one of the Starter Pokémon, neutral for another Starter Pokémon, and very, very hard for the other Starter Pokémon to get through.

Lance is unimpressed by your Charizard (submitted by Duke)
However, by the end of the game, the Starter that breezed through the first two Gyms will be almost useless against the major bosses, while the Starter that had the most difficult time in the first two Gyms will be highly effective.

First Captures rule
The first Pokemon you catch will be, in no particular order, 1) a furry Normal type 2) a Bug type 3) a small Flying type, none of which are particularly useful against the first gym leader.

But once he gets started...
Despite the fact that he's late at the beginning of the game, your Rival makes it to EVERY gym before you do.

Rival's hot air
Your rival will gloat about how great a Pokemon catcher and trainer he is, but won't have a full party of six Pokemon until near end of the game.

Overpopulation Rule
Every region has the annoying normal-type pokemon (usually based on a household pest) who shows up in every area, dishes out the least experience, and messes up the odds of encountering a much better pokemon.

Hey, at least they're polite
Pokémon never ever leave tall grass or water.

Something Fishy’s afoot…
No matter what your location is - a dark cave, a field of tall grass, a desert - your fish pokémon will always be able to battle on land.

Something Footy's afish... (submitted by Aaron Hall)
Your pokemon will be able to use Dive on land and Dig underwater.

Mesmerized by Magikarp
Running away from a wild Magikarp, even if it only knows Splash, is never a sure thing.

If you want this baby, you're going to have to WORK for it! (submitted by PAK Man)
In every new generation, there are almost always evolutions or pre-evolutions to previously released Pokemon. However, the only way you can obtain them is by doing something extremely elaborate that has nothing to do with the previous game.

Confusion Rule
When your pokémon is confused, it will always “hurt itself in its confusion,” but when your opponent's pokémon is confused, every attempted attack succeeds flawlessly.

Sleep Corollary to the Confusion Rule
When your pokémon tries to use Sing or Hypnosis, it will always miss. But when your opponent's pokémon uses Sing or Hypnosis, every attempt succeeds flawlessly. 

It's Better to Give Than to Recieve
There are always a handful of people who are willing to give away tons of freebies, ranging from Potions to rare (and probably expensive) TMs and HMs, really expensive bicycles and perfectly good fishing rods to the first random person who comes along and humors them in a little small talk (which always happens to be your character, no matter how many other people are standing around in that same area before you got there).

HM-Acquiring Rule
You will always recieve the big five HMs (Cut, Fly, Strength, Surf, and Flash), in a specific order. Cut, Flash, Strength, Surf, Fly. And you usually recieve Cut in the town with your first Gym Badge.

Bad Tour Guides
After you leave your hometown to start you pokemon journey, the first town will always always ALWAYS have someone who'd be more then happy to give you a tour of the town, even though it's more often than not the smallest town in the game. 

Someone's getting cheated…
Letting your six pokémon rest until they are completely healed is free.  Buying a Super Potion to heal some of the hit points of one of your pokémon costs about a hundred bucks.

Your Pokemon heal when you go to sleep. And you can only sleep when 1) you talk to your mom or 2) find a bed inside a large building controlled by Team Rocket/Aqua/Magma/Galactic/Plasma, which doesn't seem to mind you using their facilities.

“Trading Spaces” doesn't exist in the Pokémon World
Every Pokémon Center and shop in the world will look exactly the same on the inside, making it impossible to tell any of them apart.  Shops are the same way.

Must be Restricted Buildings
There are always a whole bunch of buildings with no entrances or paths leading up to them, making you wonder what purpose they could possibly serve.

I'd like to thank all the little people I stepped on to get this far...
There's also always a corporate tower, whose president you must always save or do a favor for, who always gives you something in return. 

Invisible Pokemon Rule 1
It is always blocking your way to SOMETHING important. 

Invisible Pokemon Rule 2
The scope that makes it visible is always manufactured by the major company of the region. 

Law of Monopoly
There is only ever ONE company which manufactures EVERYTHING, except local specialties and herbs. Plus, it ain't illegal. 

Worthless Money
Everything useful costs hundreds, and you start off with 3000. 

Every shingle one is the same
All houses in a given town have color-coordinated roofs.

First Gym is Never First
The first Gym you encounter will never be accessible until you've defeated at least four of the other Gym leaders. I guess new trainers shouldn't get too excited when they see their first big, shiny Gym building...

Hey, Champ in the Making!! (submitted by Deayon Bargor)
There's always this creepy guy inside the gyms who's there to give you advice about the Gym Leader by telling you what types are best against the Gym Leader's pokemon.

Is that a PokéBall in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
If the Gym Leader is a female, the guy who gives you advice will be perving on the ladies inside when he's not giving you advice.

"You mean the Frontier Brain is a girl!?" (submitted by Chris 0)
No matter what region you are in there will always be more male Gym Leaders than there are female.

Afraid of the dark (submitted by Chris 0)
No gym will ever specialize in dark-type pokemon.

So What Did You Do Yesterday?
Unless the gym was previously closed or you meet the gym leader before, they always seem to be happy to sit in their gym and work up a nice taunt to the aspiring young trainer who whoops them easily.

Excuse me while I faint
If the protagonist loses a battle, he passes out. If anyone else loses, they just stand there and don't go to heal their Pokemon.

I don't have just one Level 60 Dragonite...I have about a million of them (submitted by mitchell kaufman)
No matter how many times you beat a trainer, their pokemon will never ever gain any experience.

Run Forest Run
There is exactly one forest in the game, and that forest will be located right before you get to the city containing the game's first accessible Pokémon Gym.

Terrifying Towers
Every region will have several towers, and at least one of these towers will contain spirits or ghosts.

Run by the people, for the people
None of the towns or cities you'll encounter has any form of government or police force, but Team Rocket is seen as criminals for "breaking the law."

Maybe they're too busy eating doughnuts? (submitted by Anthony Jake La)
What little police are around are really slack, none moreseo than the police in Sinnou.  There is a small building where Team Galaxy temporarily hangs out, yet nobody seems to want to report criminal activity that’s coming from inside.  Their headquarters is in an even more obvious building and yet people ignore the suspicious people running around the city.

Money-Wasters' Town
In all of the big, big cities, there will be both a casino and a department store.

I'll see your 50, and raise you a lollipop!
Also, in the newer games, the man who guides you will never even MENTION to you what a casino looks like, what you can do inside it, and what games there are. Because we ALL know that the TEN year old kid just starting his pokemon journey is the MASTER of gambling. 

That Name is Perfect!
Every once in a while, you will stumble upon a trainer who wants to trade his/her pokémon for one of your own. It's very kind of them, but when you get the pokémon, they will always have a really bizarre nickname that you can't change, no matter how much you want to.

Lazy trader
There will be at least one person who wants to trade his rare Pokmon for one that can be easily caught just outside the town that person's in.

Do as I say, not as I do!
The protagonist will disapprove of Team Rocket's plans to use pokémon for profit and gain, yet has no objection to buying a Porygon or a Dratini from a casino.

Wow, they must be strong
The fact that a Tentacool can carry a ten-year old boy around using its "Surf" technique with the same ease that a Wailord can is never questioned.

Don't forget to wave
The water is almost always calm and the weather conditions just right for you to go surfing on. 

You will inevitably face a stretch of "road" that is nothing but water. On this road you will face numerous swimmers who don't mind being stuck in the middle of the ocean treading water. You, however, can't swim a stroke, relying solely on your Pokemon to carry you -- even after they've fainted.

Get off my property!  (submitted by Duke)
In battle, pokémon only have about a three foot radius to move in and never move any farther away.  Even physical attacks like Tackle and Body Slam never actually connect and are instead implied by seeing the pokemon's reaction after the fact.

Trainers want some attention too
Trainers will initiate battles by saying just about anything they feel like.  A seemingly harmless comment about the weather or the comfort and convenience of wearing shorts is most likely an invitation to battle, so be careful.

Invincible Trainers (submitted by XD375)
It seems people are unaffected by a Pokémon's attack. Explosion, for example, hits all the Pokémon on the field, yet the trainers remain unharmed. Even the Surf attack, which you actually see a wave going over the trainer in the console games, doesn't seem to make them wet or anything

The Tactical Espionage Action rule
No matter how hard you try, you will always end up in the sights of a trainer and thus will have to fight him or her (even if they are spinning on the spot).

And round and round and round and round
And on that note, why on heck are those trainers spinning on the spot?

Law of Lass' Personal Security
A Lass will invariably be worried about the protagonist touching her. This will lead to a battle involving disgustingly cute pokémon such as Igglybuff, Cleffa and their evolutions.

Dumb Fisher Rule
No matter how hard you try, you always have to battle a fisher who always fights with his five low-level Magikarp.

In rod we trust
Fishing Rods cannot be bought, but instead must be obtained from wizened old fisherman (who will not tell you where THEY bought it).

Must use batteries or something...
A solar beam can be created inside of a cave.

What's this "Property of Bruce Wayne" sign about?  (submitted by Duke)
Every cave in every country is infested with Zubat and Golbat, both of whom always know Confuse Ray and are always successful with it. You can't take five steps in any random cave without running into a bat Pokémon who, thanks to their high speed, manages to confuse your Pokémon right off the (pun intended) bat.

$100 HM's > $5 Flashlights (submitted by Duke)
The protagonist never thinks of bringing a flashlight or two with them. Instead, they have to use their Pokémon's "Flash" ability.

Eat your carrots! (submitted by William)
No matter how pitch black a cavern may be, you will always find trainers just standing around, ready to fight.

I don't care weather you like it or not...
Except for some rain, hail, or extreme sunlight (which are cause by Pokémon), there are no other weather conditions, like windy, chilly, or cloudy.

Miracle Gro rule
You will Cut the same sapling blocking the road more than once, usually one minute after the last time you Cut it.

Pikachu!  Flash your opponent!  (submitted by Duke)
HMs, with the exception of Surf, are almost always useful out on the field, but complete crap inside the battle arena.

No wonder he just walks everywhere...
Bicycles and other forms of personal transportation are always ridiculously expensive.

And suddenly YOU'RE the slow one...
No matter how fast you get there, the cruise ship will be sold out of tickets.

Road not traveled?
You have to use all sorts of Pokémon and HMs just to get from town to town. What about the normal folk?  How do they go from town to town?

Limited Transportation Rule
For some reason, a pokémon who uses Fly can only drop you off at the front of a Pokémon Center.

Super-Limited Transportation Rule
The mass transit system, whether it's a boat or a train, will always connect just two cities to each other. 

Sleepy ferry
When you ride the ferry, it will never stop at its destination until you sleep in your bed. You could walk around for days talking to people or battling, or go to sleep as soon as you get on, and when you wake up, you are instantly there.

Big Fat Pokemon Rule
There will only be one remaining specimen of the area's biggest pokémon, and he will always be blocking the road to the next town.

Truly Legendary?

You never hear about any popular towns or people until about 15 minutes before you reach the place or meet the person. Surely you would be able to research the Internet or look in a book to see who the Elite Four/Five are and what their pokémon are, or to see just how to get to a certain town.

Legendary Pokemon Rule 1
Every legendary pokémon is always hidden away in some cave that would be easily accessible if only the adjacent city would take the time to build a bridge.

Legendary Pokémon Rule 2
The more difficult it is to capture a legendary pokémon, the more you'll be told that you can't use it in any official tournaments.  But hey, you can still brag, right?

Legendary Pokémon Rule 3
The super rare Legendary Pokémon can all be found in your tiny little part of the country instead of spread out across the world.

Elite Five Rule
Despite being called the Elite Four, the final challenge of the game always involves fighting five trainers consecutively. 

Hey, I remember you!
You will have always met the fifth member of the Elite Four (or The Champion as they like to call him) previously in the game, and most of the time he or she will have been the person who helped you beat the villains of the game

Pokemon League Deja vu
No matter how many times the protaganist beats the Elite Four (or should I say, Five), they will always greet him with the same comments before and after the battles, as if they're battling him for the first time. Even the top professor can't seem to remember that this is your 50th time defeating the Elite Four, and that he's given you the same congratulations speech countless times before.

Word of Mouth Rule
No matter how quick you are to beat someone (i.e. the Champ), everybody knows about it the second it happens and is there to congratulate you.

Handy Pokédex Rule
No matter how fast the pokemon is or how much of a hurry you're in, you always have time to whip out your Pokédex, give the pokemon time to pose for a picture, record a sample of its voice, and trace its migration patterns in the wild.

Regional Pokedex? 
In every region, the Pokedex is by default ordered differently than the previous version. 

This list is a collaborative effort and has been made possible by the contributions of the following people:

Dogasu (me)
Mary Niemi
kim rh
Sando Shojo
Michael Napier
Skye Genki
Zhen Lin
Burt Kroner
Anthony Jake La
mitchell kaufman
Chris 0
Aaron Hall
Deayon Bargor



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