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Pokémon fans combat Pokedex negativity with sweet, personal stories

#ThankYouGameFreak is a nice change of pace from recent events

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield - Sobble sobbing Game Freak/The Pokémon Company, Nintendo

It’s been a tough few months to be a Pokémon fan. Everywhere you look, there are arguments about the upcoming game and its limited Pokedex, and whether or not Game Freak is justified in its design decisions. Without a game to actually play, fans keep going at each other’s throats, either hurt by their inability to use their favorite monsters in the follow-up, or staunchly supportive of Game Freak’s limited resources. The situation even sparked a rumor that morale at Game Freak has been low.

Over the weekend, however, there was a brief sense of respite. A hashtag popped up, appropriately named #ThankYouGameFreak, where fans on Twitter got together to remind each other why they fell in love with the series in the first place in an effort to lift up Game Freak’s spirit. (Polygon cannot confirm whether the morale rumor is true, but it did play a role in why people chose to participate in the hashtag.)

The franchise, which spans TV shows, movies, games, and more, has changed lives everywhere. Sometimes, it’s brought people together. Other times, Pokémon has managed to help people through the toughest times in their lives.

Here are some of the best stories and fan art players have shared.

The hashtag proved so popular that it briefly started trending, allowing the word to reach Game Freak’s offices. The Pokemon makers responded to the outpouring of love with more kindness.

Unfortunately some people have taken this occasion to inject some toxicity into the hashtag, with some Tweets “reminding” people of the apparent shortcomings of a game that the public hasn’t played yet. But, for the most part, it’s a love-fest — and a much needed one after all the constant slap fights.