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I sent my worthless Magikarp to do jobs in Pokémon Sword and Shield

They put in the work

Three Magikarp coming back from their part-time jobs. The Pokemon Company

The Pokédex will tell you that Magikarp are “worthless,” “weak,” and “pathetic.” But what does the Pokédex know, really? That thing was probably written by 12-year-olds. I refuse to believe my orange flopper is a waste of space with no inherent value. I can prove it, too — but not with some flashy display of Magikarp’s battle prowess. What are we, barbarians?

No. Instead, I am here to plead Magikarp’s case by showing you how well our fish boy performs within the confines of capitalism.

Last week, I started fooling around with Pokémon Sword and Shield’s Poké Jobs feature, where companies will post listings of tasks they need to get done. For example, a clothes store might ask for fighting-type Pokémon to help them prove their wares are durable, or a delivery service might ask for flying-type Pokémon to complete shipments. Some of the asks are bizarre: Once, I had a taxi service request Dark-type Pokémon because they wanted passengers to “reveal their true nature.” Uh, sure.

A strange job request in Pokémon Sword and Shield. Game Freak

While the feature is completely optional and comparatively small next to things like the Wild Area, the flavor text does a great job of illustrating how a society full of special creatures might actually work. Even so, I was curious to see how far I could push Poké Jobs. There were a few times when I sent a Pokémon that I thought was well-suited for the assignment, only to get a report back telling me that I should make a better choice next time. Once, for instance, I sent a Growlithe to do a job involving fire, and while my pup technically completed the task, I was told that Growlithe struggled.

I have no idea how Poké Jobs calculates efficiency here — is it related to the level, for instance? Can a monster’s temperament influence the outcome? But after some misfires, I was curious to see how far I could push things. What if I intentionally sent a clumsy creature to do work? And so I set off with a fishing rod to the nearby river, where I captured some fresh Magikarp for my experiment.

The first job I sent them out on was for Surf Shipping, which wanted water-type Pokémon to carry cargo over bodies of water. The icon showed a Lapras, dutifully carrying a huge load. So of course I sent three Magikarp to do it. I gave them the whole day — they’d probably need it, given that there’s no easy way for a Magikarp to, uh, hold anything.

To my surprise, my three chums came back with top marks.

Three Magikarp who are very good boys. The Pokemon Company

Actually, I was told that my client was “happier than they’ve ever been” with the help of my Pokémon. As a prize, not only did my golden boys receive extra experience points, one of them even gifted me a loaf of bread. (???)

Was this just a fluke? Was it possible that Magikarp could, in fact, contribute something meaningful to society? Unsure of what to believe, I sought out another test for my aquatic friends. This time, I sent the lot with Yoshida’s Coffee, an outfit that was looking for water-type assistance with their brews. “I’d like Pokémon that are knowledgeable about such things,” the listing said.

And so, off they went for a whole day, apparently on a mission to help a shop pick the best possible liquid for their drinks. Surely, I thought to myself, Magikarp can’t possibly have the skills of a barista? How would that even work?

To my surprise, my trio defied my skepticism and once again did a great job. Don’t ask me how, or why. But my Magikarp did it. I gained a second loaf of bread for my troubles. It was almost as if my Magikarp were telling me to eat it, literally.

Now I come to you, dear reader, with a plea: Do not underestimate the prowess of the mighty Magikarp. They can defeat champions, sure. But more importantly, they can clock in on time and put in an honest day’s work.

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