Pokemon Natures, Genders, Breeding, and How the Series Lost Me

Pokemon Natures: Emerald

Pokemon natures are just one of the reasons why I appear to be obsessed with Pokemon. If there’s a piece of related Poke-art out there, I will find it and post it, preferably if it’s a crossover with something else. The truth is, I haven’t played a Pokemon game in more than a decade. I used to be hooked on them, so my attachment didn’t stem out of nowhere. In the original Red and Blue, I beat the game at least five times, to the point where I had so many Mewtwo’s in my arsenal, I started naming them Mewthree, Mewfour and Mewfive.

I had two Game Boys so I didn’t have to wait to trade with my friends in order to get all my Pokemon on one game. I leveled up every final evolution using the rare candy trick, and finding Missingno was the coolest glitch/secret I found in any game to this day. I competed in a Pokemon tournament at a mall where I beat a bunch of other kids with my starting trio, Charizard, Venusaur and Blastoise, and got to play the “pro” from Nintendo who wiped the floor with me, but congratulated me on not using Mewtwo like everyone else.

I played Gold and Silver as well, tracking down those rare Legendary beasts as they roamed through the wilds, but past that? I was done. My time with the series ended right around the time it wasn’t “evolving” enough for my tastes, or at least not in the right way.

Generation three introduced Pokemon Natures, which you can see below are a new complicated way of assigning types to Pokemon, increasingly new stats based on their demeanor and it also has something to do with the types of foods they like to eat. That led into Pokemon and having genders and being able to be bred to make new, more powerful Pokemon.

natures

Wat.

Pokemon Natures were the kind of sideways evolution I didn’t really want to see from the series. I didn’t need the game to get more complicated. Instead, what I was holding out for never came.

I never in my wildest dreams imagined that it would be 2014, and Pokemon would still be locked into being a mobile series. I remember once NIntendo 64 came out, I was dying, DYING to play Pokemon on the system with its “crisp, 3D graphics.”

Instead? We got Pokemon Stadium, a horrible simulator and 1/10th of the full game. And we got Pokemon Snap, where you TOOK PICTURES OF POKEMON. In retrospect, that was a pretty fun game in its own right, but as a kid who was expecting a full console adaptation of Pokemon any day now, it was a cruel joke.

Over the years, Nintendo has repeatedly said that they essentially never want to bring Pokemon to consoles, as they don’t want to cannibalize the mobile game and it’s “meant to be a mobile series.” The result is an endless amount of paired handheld games with increasingly absurd names and complicated additions like Natures and Breeding.

pokemon gundam

So Pokemon are Gundams now?

The games sell well, and from what I can tell, they’re quality, but I just haven’t been able to bring myself to get into them as I still hold out hope for a console Pokemon experience. You would think I’d learn my lesson after 15 years, but I haven’t.

To the Poke-fans out there, am I being too dismissive of Pokemon as a series today? Right now, the amount of apparently complexity added to the game seems like a wall I don’t want to climb. The simplicity of the original games was part of the series’ charm, and I look at charts like the Natures one and I’m just like “no thanks,” though I will admit perhaps that’s not entirely fair.

Someday, I believe Nintendo will indeed drop the atomic bomb of a console Pokemon RPG, knowing them probably a remake of Red and Blue which will be perfect. At that point, it’s hard to say that would cannibalize anything, and all it would do is sell Wii Us (or whatever Nintendo’s system is at that point). But until then, I’m just debating if I should try to jump back into the series and starting breeding some Pokemon, as gross as that sounds. I hope they end up with good Natures!

[Photos via Nintendo and Bulbapedia]


  • Mark Serio

    I recently tried to jump back into the series, played red all the time when i was younger, so i got emerald for GBA(as i dont have any newer portable systems) and it was a fun game, but i agree it was too complicated, to many mixed types and the grind became no longer fun as i would wipe the floor with every trainer/pokemon in the area and the gym leader would be like 3 levels higher then my highest pokemon, and everything outside of battling was just noise. if it werent for other games im playing i would have prob popped in the old standard and played something much more simple and just all around fun

  • DarkDuskBlade

    Playing a game from each generation, it’s been… interesting to see it evolve. However, here’s the major thing: in a casual setting, even in the PvP, natures and breeding don’t mean anything. If you want to go into championships and such? Yeah, it’ll probably make a difference, but just for the enjoyment of the game they’re not necessary. If anything, I’ve always seen it as something fun to think of a giant red gyrados getting sassy with it’s trainer. The core of the game is still there, and if you want those crisp graphics, the 3DS pokemon games are a good place to go, even if it’s not on a tv screen.

    • TotesMcGotes

      I made a giant comment yesterday that for some reason didn’t appear in here, but I basically said that. It’s not necessary for casual play. You probably won’ t have much of a chance if you’re playing against someone more hardcore about it, but you probably can find like-minded players to play more casually.

      But still, I’m actually a fan of the complexities Pokémon has now. It can be a bit of a pain to get a perfect competitive Pokémon, but there are so many strategies and options that I think it’s worth it. I like that there is something for both casual and hardcore players to sink their teeth into.

  • Risket

    I completely agree here. I was obsessed with Blue and Red but these weird additions from Silver/Gold on just made it unnecessarily complicated. You could feed them different things or even have them “hold” things. It was just weird. Like you I was DYING for a full N64 game. I got some entertainment out of Pokemon Stadium but the battles so really boring. I wanted to try out Pokemon Colosseum for the Game Cube but never got around to it. I’d imagine it’s disappointing as well.

  • If they released Pokemon Blue for Nintendo U right now, I would be at Gamestop ready to sink cash into a console I’ve never wanted. No new features beyond it being 3-D, and I’d still be ready to go. How’s that for cannibalization, Nintendo?

  • Bucket ‘o Blood

    It’s a pity you stopped playing before getting to RSE. Gen 3 was just an absolute gem.
    Also, the technical changes under the hood may seem daunting, but they really don’t effect casual play at all. Sure, you can’t win tournaments or against hard core players, but most people are more casual about it anyways.

  • Hikaru Starr

    I am a die-hard fan. I have everything from stickers to shirts to kitchenware to premium japanese plushes. Pokemon has always been getting increasingly better every year from my view. From a simple idea as a game that you just caught monsters to a whole in-depth 3D world of regions, characters, creatures, and concepts! It has been an amazing ride! I play competitively in the trading cards and game in national competitions. What you said seems to sadly ring true for a lot of people that never could hold on after gen2 and it’s in a way heartbreaking…

  • For a mobile game, i would love to play it on a mobile phone.

  • Nanaimo

    Pokemon Colosseum and Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness were Gamecube RPGs where the Stadium-like aspect played second fiddle to the regular 3D RPG experience. So Game Freak has made such console games in the past, though not as much is put into it as the regular games. Still fun though.

    Anyway, I found this page because I’m thinking of if I should just start ignoring natures for regular gameplay. If I really need a specialized team for something, with every point counting, then maybe I could make an exception.

    One of the beauties of the Pokemon games though is that you can play them any way you want to. Want to dump your six Pokemon for a team of Eevee evolutions and keep it that way? Do it. Aside of the main storyline, you can pretty much ignore anything else. Don’t like it? Ignore it and do something else.

    So that’s what I’m thinking about doing this time myself for ORAS. Hmm, what will I do….

  • bombtastic_ninjaparts

    I’m trying to play threw pokemon y right now…and I keep going this is crap…level 40 pokemon by the second gym badge. I miss red and blue. The new ones just feel like those candy bars they release every once in a while that look and sound good but taste like crap. Probably a generational gap.

  • Chris Parham

    I have to agree. I had Red and Blue, and though i enjoyed them, I always felt a little slighted because you could never catch all 150 without trading between the two. It only got worse with every generation. Now, not only can you not catch every pokemon, but you have to trade pokemon from past generations to a generation that can load them to an online bank so you can then download them to your new game so you can breed them 10 times, maybe 1000 times depending on the statistics before you get the nature, gender, moves list, etc… that you want plus the possibility of getting a shiny and so on. All so you can get a lvl 1 pokemon that is not even the equivalent to a lvl 10 pokemon in Red and Blue. So, all of the complicated additions to the game have only made it complicated, not more fun, not more exciting, just more grinding in more tedious and boring ways. That’s it. All so at the end of it, if you are bored enough to do it, to have all 719 (I think that’s the number now) pokemon, without the storyline from gens 1 through 5 because they are on gen 6 now. That’s not fun, that’s just a different form of collecting that is more frustrating than spending money on the trading card game which at least has different versions of the same pokemon.

  • Yūichirō Hyakuya

    Too complicated? Natures?
    Not having a console version? Graphics not good enough?
    Those are the worst reasons I’ve heard in awhile. Seriously, you don’t want to play a game because you have the option of going further into it? It’s not natures, IVs, EVs, and the like affect your gameplay storywise at all. That’s such a terrible excuse. If you wanna play casual then go right ahead – there’s nothing stopping you. If you’re upset that you can’t play competitively and might have to, god forbid, put any amount of work into it to be good, then don’t. You’re a grown-ass man, and if something as simple as pokemon’s EV/IV/Nature system is too complicated for you then you’re going to have more problems than that in life.

    tl;dr DON’T PLAY COMPETITIVE IF YOU THINK THE SYSTEM IS TOO COMPLEX. NOTHING STOPPING YOU FROM PLAYING THE GAME THROUGH. THE STORY ISN’T EXACTLY DIFFICULT SO NATURES WON’T MATTER. Also, don’t use graphics as a point that a game is bad. That’s just nitpicking at something trivial instead of wanting better game mechanics. People like that are what makes games like sonic boom. /me drops mic

  • Sovereign

    I started with Pokemon Blue, which is still my favorite to this day, and I ignore most of the extra crap.

  • NJ Witt

    Couldnt agree more. At least they’re branching out with Pokken Tournament

  • NickP91

    Maybe I just haven’t been to the site in a while, but… Paul, where have you been? I used to read your articles all the time, then I noticed you left.

    • Javier

      I believe this is a repost of an old article, I think I remember reading. And judging from the dates of some of the other comments, it proves my point.

      I think Paul left for good, which is a shame..

  • Vonter

    Sounds like frivolous reasoning. Since if anything his franchise is not only the main series. Pokken Fighter could be fun and accessible. There’s that Pikachu detective game that could be intriguing. Mystery dungeon seems to try bigger things. If at any time Pokemon comes to a console in a big way it’ll need to be it’s own thing, the concept as it is has a harder time to come to consoles mainly since it’ll need to be open world like most console games are coming out. And I frankly feel they’re just too many.

    But oh well, who am I to judge. I never liked the main series. Snap, Puzzle League, Stadium and hopefully Pokken Tournament I hold them more dearly.

  • Jsn Force

    Much of the crap they’ve added can be completely ignored if you just want to play the game. It’s when you start getting competitive that you have to care. As a casual player it never bothered me. It’s the stupid Pokemon contests and movies that drive me up the wall. Stupid, irritating nonsense.