Monday, October 4, 2010

25. Pikachu

hmm well

It may not seem like there’s much to say about this pokemon, what with its utter lack of notoriety, poor stats, and plain design. Why, if it weren’t for the Electric type being borderline overpowered with only one weakness, I’m sure few players would ever bother with it at all. But I’ll suck it up and get this written, because some truly iconic pokemon lie ahead. Like Sandshrew.

I’m just thankful Nintendo loves all its pokemon children equally, and would never make a game that forces you to play as one in particular for any reason, say based off an arbitrarily chosen role in an anime spinoff or something. Ha ha.

Apparently this pokemon fails so spectacularly at making a lasting impression, they thought giving it a new sprite every game might help (every game besides FR/LG, but including Crystal and Platinum). Its female sprites in later games resort to a gimmicky addition of heart-shaped tail endings, like so:

and finally, its front-facing sprites seem to go from relatively serene to so doped up on marketing welfare that they can’t even close their mouths. Unfortunately its appearance is doomed right from the conceptual phase; rather than gathering electricity in its fur as one might logically expect, like an extreme interpretation of static electricity, Pikachu is instead supposed to “store” electricity exclusively in its cheeks, which are marked with unfortunate, bulbous facial goiters. I’ll admit though, its tail is pretty cool.

Its first Gameboy sprites were the only ones, I think, to feature stylized lightning sparks right in ‘em. It’s hard to see against a white background, but they’re there. They serve an informational purpose to the player: “Yeah, this thing shoots lightning. We’re sorry, you’d have no reason to think that otherwise.” Yellow does away with these and gives Pikachu one of the creepiest fixed gazes in all the games. And it’s almost completely colorless, like a Pikachu ghost.

The Winner:

Sigh. The presumptuous wink and wave. Blink twice, twitch right ear three times, blink twice again. A code? What could it mean? “BUY ME,” Pikachu is telling us. “CONSUME.”

Still, when it finally settles in, this sprite is a good middle ground. I liked Pikachu slightly better when it had simpler proportions; these days it’s all stretched out like a ferret. Kinda representative, don’t you think, of the company’s philosophy towards it? The more Pikachu the better! In another couple games Pikachu will be thirty feet long.


  1. Whoa, you're right. Pikachu definitely grows a bit taller as time goes on. That's kinda creepy.

    1. he's just lossing weight i see no problem there?

  2. He also gets slimmer.
    Personally I think the old pikachu, with the darkened belly and colored, fingerless hands and feet were better, they make it a little mote interesting, and a better transition into Raichu.

  3. Pokemon - Emerald - Hack (all pokemons) GBA ROM+SAVE+CHEAT