Pokemon Legends: Arceus Made Me Confront My Collector Tendencies

Release the Pokemon.

I am a collector by nature. My room is filled with enamel pins, sneakers, vinyl records, and of course, Amiibo. Part of collecting is finding something rare, whether it be rare in sentimental value or high in price. I’ve always carried the collector in me into Pokemon games where the motto has always been “Gotta Catch Em All”.

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Pokemon Legends: Arceus Made Me Confront My Collector Tendencies

 

Except, that phrase is never actually mentioned in the games, it’s something we’ve always pulled from the anime. However, the part of my brain that likes having one of everything nicely sorted in Bill’s PC has changed with Legends. 

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is a very different Pokemon game. Sure the catching, battling, and exploration are all expanded and redesigned, but the most impactful thing to me has been how the nature of catching Pokemon has been contextualized. 

We’re not catching pokemon for the strongest team or to beat the Elite Four, we’re catching pokemon for research purposes. In fact, more than ever we’re going into the Pokemon’s natural habitat and capturing them, all in the pursuit of learning how these creatures interact with humans and each other (and a little bit of colonialism).

In legends, Pokemon aren’t shoved in a digital PC, only existing as ones and zeros, but are represented in the Pasture, a farm found in Jubilife Village. 

Every time I strolled back into town I saw my captured Pokemon roaming around the small fenced in area in town and wondered, what kind of life are they having. Being removed from their habitat and ultimately be subjected to living in a town where everyone is afraid of their sheer existence.

Team Galaxy and the Survey Corps ensured me this was in pursuit of higher learning, but as time went on it bothered me more and more. Especially in the post-game section where you are capturing literal gods. 

The game also confronts you with the idea of your own mortality. You can’t keep these Pokemon forever. One day you will move on from this world, and what happens to your collection of Pokemon? Better to release them now, than to have someone else take over. 

Are these Pokemon really fulfilled by life behind a rickety wooden fence? I am never going to put them in my party, I have my team, I’ve provided the research tasks for the Pokedex, and then I release them back into the wild. 

The collector part of me has been changed because the contextualized nature of capturing Pokemon in Legends warrants a deeper introspection into the purpose of keeping Pokemon you don’t need.

Like I stated earlier, the same is true for Bill’s PC in previous entries, but having the Pokemon represented in the Pasture is far more impactful on being confronted with the harsh reality. 

I am a person who nicknames the Pokemon in my party, so why would I want to keep these Pokemon who I didn’t like enough to nickname in the first place? 

Living alongside Pokemon and living above Pokemon are two different things. Jubilife Village isn’t quite ready for the former so until then, I will continue to release these Pokemon into the wild, and be at peace with ignoring my collector instinct. 

 


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Author
Jesse Vitelli
Jesse loves most games, but he really loves games that he can play together with friends and family. This usually means late nights in Destiny 2 or FFXIV. You can also find him thinking about his ever-expanding backlog of games he won't play and being constantly dehydrated. Do not contact him.