Sure, we suppose you could make money by treating your Pocket Monsters like this, but it’d make you the real monster.

The recent release of Pokémon Sword and Shield on the Switch is a significant opportunity to bring new fans into the fold, since it’s the first mainline Pokémon for flagship Nintendo hardware, and thus the first time for people who aren’t interested in handheld-only systems to fully experience the joys of trying to catch ‘em all. But that also means that right now there are a lot of Pokémon players who aren’t familiar with gameplay systems that are already common knowledge for veterans of the franchise.

For example, early on in the game the main character sets off on his journey to become a Pokémon Master, and as he leaves home, his mom gives him a stack of cash with which to buy critical supplies, like Poké Balls and curry ingredients. However, it’s clear this is a one-time gift, and the game doesn’t explicitly say how you’re supposed to earn any more money, despite the amount you start with being clearly not enough to finish the game.

So one of Japanese Twitter user @onoDyna’s friends, who’s playing a Pokémon game for the first time with Sword and Shield, asked if his heartlessly calculating theory about how you make money in the game was correct, and that theory was:

“So you’re supposed to sell the Pokémon you catch in order to get more money, right?”

“He’d be a natural member of Team Rocket,” tweeted @onoDyna with a laugh, referring to Pokémon’s in-universe faction of shady characters who’re always launching some dastardly scheme in an attempt to get rich.

To long-time Pokémon players, especially those who’re also fans of the Pokémon anime, where the deep friendship between human Trainer Ash and star Pokémon Pikachu is a constant theme, it’s obvious that the games would never encourage you to treat your Pocket Monsters like slaves being sold off to the highest bidder. Instead, you earn money by battling the Pokémon teams of other Trainers you occasionally encounter, and, in Sword and Shield, by sending your spare creatures out to do Poké Jobs.

▼ There’s not enough money in the world to make a real Pokémon Trainer part with his Gyarados!

@onoDyna’s confusion is understandable, though. Despite its unique setting and atmosphere, Pokémon games, in terms of their play mechanics, work like traditional turn-based role-playing games, in which the standard way to earn money is by defeating enemies you encounter in the field, which rewards you either with money directly or with vendor-oriented items which you sell off in the next town.

But Pokémon doesn’t do either when you defeat a wild Pokémon. Instead, the most you get is one more Pocket Monster added to your collection. You quickly end up with far more than you can have in your active party at any one time, and duplicates are extremely easy to find, so it’s not too hard to imagine @onoDyna’s friend figured the game was tossing him so many Pocket Monsters precisely because they were supposed to be treated like commodities, and transferred into cold, hard cash at an opportune time.

Understandable or not, though, Pokémon veterans couldn’t resist laughing at this dark interpretation of the player’s role in the games.

“Who would he be selling them to? A pet shop?”
“He’s like the yakuza of the Pokémon world.”
“And just like that, he’s passed the Team Rocket entrance exam.”
“You know, if the game actually would let you sell your extra Pokémon to get more money, it would make them a lot easier.”

Multiple commenters also pointed out that selling or otherwise jettisoning extra or duplicate characters to earn rewards is a common mechanic in mobile games, and in fact, even Pokémon GO has a similar system. Of course, in Pokémon GO you’re sending your extra Pocket Monsters to a research facility where they’ll be lovingly cared for while also advancing the cause of Poké-science, not just selling them for a quick buck.

Source: Twitter/@onoDyna via Jin
Photos ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where getting his Magikarp to pick up and play with a ball has been the highlight for him so far in Pokémon Sword and Shield.