Opinion: Dexit Accidentally Restored My Love of Pokémon
Bring back the National Dex. Dexit. GameFreak Lied. GameFreak is lazy and hates us all.
Ever since it was announced at E3 2019 that not every Pokémon would be making its way into Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield, a vocal portion of the Pokémon fan base hasn’t been shy about letting their feelings be known regarding the omission of hundreds of pocket monsters from the latest entry in the hit series.
In a way the disappointment is understandable. As a franchise which has been with most of us since we were children, it’s easy to form a bond with creatures you’ve cared for and nurtured for decades, and to be a little miffed when GameFreak felt they weren’t worth making the cut. Having said that, I’m one such individual that grew up with Pokémon, and I can honestly say this:
Dexit is probably my favourite thing to happen to the Pokémon franchise in well over a decade.
Alright, alright, calm down, just hear me out.
In the early days of Pokémon, I used to pride myself on completing my Pokédex. Obtaining all 151, then 251, and then 386… I used to savour every morsel of these games, striving for 100% and filling in every Pokédex entry. This wasn’t overly difficult in the early years. Trade a few version exclusives with a friend, maybe attend one special event to nab a mythical, that sort of thing.
As time went on, the task of reaching that 100% completion became increasingly complex. Particular hardware and special software became required for moving Pokémon between generations. The number of timed events, either through online events or in-store code distributions increased drastically. The number of Pokémon ballooned into a number approaching four digits. It started to become a daunting task to fill the Pokédex for each new iteration.
As I grew older and my free time began to dwindle, the prospect of reaching a 100% complete Pokédex started to feel like a burden, something with so many hoops to jump through and timed exclusives to keep track of that it became unwieldy. Once I had missed out on a couple of distributed event Pokémon, I basically threw in the towel and decided it just wasn’t worth my time anymore. I haven’t completed a Pokédex since Pokémon Diamond. My Pokémon playthroughs reverted to beating the Elite Four, seeing most of the endgame content and calling it a day.
Initially, I was a little annoyed at the thought of a bunch of my favourite Pokémon not being an option for my quest across Galar, but I certainly wouldn’t place myself in the camp of those angry over the matter. A gripe to be sure, but not one that was going to seriously impact my experience of playing through the newest entry in one of my favourite series.
I’ve watched the discourse evolve since the release of Sword & Shield. I’ve seen the grievances of the dedicated Dexit-ers be drowned out by a flood of fans thoroughly enjoying everything the Galar region has to offer. More importantly, as a couple of weeks have passed and people conquer the main storyline, I’ve noticed a huge increase in people striving to complete their Pokédex both amongst my friend group and online in general. Whilst always a goal for some, it’s been a long time since I’ve so many people with this goal in mind, and I think we have Dexit to thank.
The Galar Pokédex contains 400 Pokémon. Still a sizeable roster, but collecting them all is most certainly achievable. Perhaps more importantly, every Pokémon is available just between the two versions of the game. No online platforms, no jumping hardware generations, no code distributions, just a massive world to explore and collect.
The Wild Area plays an enormous role in making that task so enjoyable. The breadth of Pokédex you’ll come across on your adventure is extensive, and you’ll encounter so many unique and powerful Pokémon even very early on in your journey. The appearance of Pokémon on the overworld makes hunting down and capturing each one all the more satisfying, and perfectly encapsulates the joy and wonder of exploring for them all that Pokémon Go encompasses so well.
For the first time in years, my passion for catching them all has returned. I’m well on my way to completing the Galar Pokédex, and with it, I’ve rediscovered a huge part of the core Pokémon experience that I’d all but given up on. I truly believe it’s been an element missing from recent entries for a lot of people, and whilst Dexit may have ruffled some feathers along the way, I’m incredibly thankful it has happened. I don’t begrudge anyone less willing to overlook the omissions, but for me it has inadvertently restored my love for this series, and if a few Pokémon had to sit this one out for that to happen, that’s a price I’ll happily pay.