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A history of fainting in Pokémon

Pikachu isn’t dead, honey, he’s just resting

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Throughout its 20-year history, Pokémon has bowdlerized its fail state not as "death" but "fainting." Here, courtesy again of Master of Hyrule, is the evolution of that outcome spanning every edition of the Pokémon games.

Many adults play and enjoy Pokémon, but it stands to reason the game would be discreet about this: it's marketed to children, and stars a child as the trainer, after all. Kids may colloquially describe a defeat as "death" but you can't call the fail state that for the same reason a parent tells a kid that deer up against the guardrail is sleeping.

But man, that whole "fainting" thing, as if Mudkip or Koffing have low blood pressure and got up off the john too fast and hit their head on the tub. (Listen here, this is a very real concern at my age.) Trainers who run out of Pokémon similarly black out or "white out," then drop money and run off, with the game making very sure you know your creatures are not dead.

Let's face facts: Pokémon is dog fighting and millions of adolescents are running its Bad Newz Kennels. Pokémon Go is even worse; you're not turning an unwanted pet into "candy"! Professor Willow is euthanizing it and harvesting its organs and tissue! Soylent green is people! Finkle is Einhorn! Why is no one listening to me?!

OK, OK fine, they fainted. It's all made-up fun anyway.

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