Focal Point: Striving For Pokéquality

I’ve had Pokemon on the brain alot in the last couple months.  It’s recent 20th Anniversary, and my subsequent replaying of the original games, along with the launch of Pokken this month has put me firmly in the mood for all things pocket monster related.  As such, you’re getting a new strip centerd around that idea; though my original plan had been to release it on the anniversary date.  Life and such has managed to keep me away from drawing for more than I’d like.  Anyway…

HM Slave Comic

(Click image for full size)

One of my biggest “gripes” about the Pokemon games has been the concept of being friends with your battling creatures, and the concern for their happiness.  Considering you’re taking them out of their natural habitat to live confined within in a tiny ball (or even within a COMPUTER) for their rest of their days, the concept of friendship and happiness seems odd.  

This is especially true for the infamous “HM Slaves”!  I’ve long rallied against this idea as well, but since the cause is directly related to the gameplay…It’s the least likely to change (though I have a really good suggestion for fixing it).  In the world of these games, there are certain areas you can’t access without teaching Pokemon specific moves to bypass them (called HMs).  Things like surfing on water, cutting down trees, smashing rocks, lighting the way, etc. have to be taught to your monsters. 

The trick is that not every Pokemon can learn these moves, but there are a handful of creatures who can learn almost ALL of them.  Thus, you wind up with at least one Pokemon who’s sole purpose on your team is to help you travel through the world…That’s it.  The moves aren’t normally that great in a fight, so they’re relegated to a life of slavery and not much else.  

In some odd part of my brain, I’ve often wondered how these creature felt about the situation (even though I understand they’re pixelated sprites in a fictional game), which brings me to today’s comic.  It’s not that I’m particularly cruel, it’s that this is the life Nintendo and the Pokemon Company have forced upon me.  Poo on their happiness meter!  

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Focal Point Facebook Page and check out some of the new Star Wars themed prints I have up on Red Bubble.  

-Jordan