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Why Pokémon players spend hours and hours chasing shiny monsters

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With a new generation comes a renewed dedication

Nintendo/The Pokémon Company/Game Freak via YouTube

Shiny Pokémon are an obsessive trainer’s Holy Grail, and the recent arrival of Pokémon Sun and Moon means players are again embarking on the quest for the games’ rarest finds. These Pokémon are more than just rare, in fact; they’re nearly impossible to find, but that doesn’t stop serious fans from trying.

For those not in the know: Shiny Pokémon are re-colored monsters, called “shiny” because they sparkle when they’re sent into battle. Finding them is an extreme chore, as the encounter rate is one in 8,192 wild Pokémon run-ins. There are items to help increase the likelihood of finding one, but it’s far from a sure thing. And if a player wants to hatch a shiny Pokémon? Yeah, good luck.

“Impossible” is not a word in a dedicated Pokémon trainer’s vocabulary. Scrolling through the shiny Pokémon subreddit suggests that there are no limits to players’ efforts in collecting these special-colored monsters. They hatch hundreds of Pokémon eggs, resetting the game until the baby that shows up has shiny coloring.

This is the standard practice for a shiny hunter; resetting their Pokémon games repeatedly is just part of the average playthrough. “What drives them to keep going?” a non-player may wonder. It’s akin to a trophy or owning some exclusive memorabilia, since shiny Pokémon don’t come with any added benefits beyond a unique look.

On the left is a normal Alolan Ninetales. On the right is the even more striking shiny version.

Communities like the shiny Pokémon forum on Reddit are welcoming and encouraging, as every member understands this perhaps questionable drive. If one player posts that they hatched “only” 692 Litten eggs in order to collect a shiny, others will gleefully congratulate them. (Consider that the average egg takes 255 steps to hatch, and 692 eggs equates to ... a lot of time.)

Few things are more gratifying than finding that shiny after hours and hours of Pokémon battles or hatching thousands of eggs. That’s relatable, even if you don’t get Pokémon: Dreaming the impossible dream is a universally understood goal, and seeing that dream realized is one of life’s greatest achievements.

That’s enough to keep players resetting their games or running through the tall grass ad nauseam, since they see the destination as absolutely validating the journey. Finding the pretty shiny Alolan Vulpix after hatching 1,700 eggs to do feels great, as one player shared — especially when it has a great set of stats along with it.

It’s why videos of players’ reactions to finding a shiny Pokémon amass millions of views on YouTube. Tales of the long, long journey to find that one special Pokémon are abundant and fascinating reads. In both, the sheer joy players experience at the end is palpable, and it transcends Pokémon fandom.

But the fact of the matter is that not everyone has the patience of time for collecting shiny Pokémon. For Sun and Moon players, there are some tricks to make the whole process easier. These involve the divisive call for help battle mechanic, as one trick lets players abuse this wild Pokémon-chaining maneuver to their advantage.

This video details how to “farm” for shiny Pokémon, which requires the Adrenaline Orb battle item, the move False Swipe and a good couple of hours on your hands. It’s much faster than hatching a bunch of eggs or resetting the game until the Pokémon you find has a sparkling coat of paint, however.

There are also walkthroughs detailing how to breed for shiny Pokémon, if that’s more your speed. Here’s one that focuses on the fan-favorite “Masuda Method”:

If you’re about to venture into Pokémon Sun and Moon’s post-game, looking for shiny Pokémon may be something to spend time on. But remember to take a nap sometime during the process, shiny hunters.