5 Pokémon Game Fan Theories

In November, Nintendo and Game Freak launch two brand-new 3DS games to mark their 20 year anniversary of Pokémon: Pokémon Sun Pokémon Moonand, to celebrate this, we’ve delved into some brilliant Pokémon game fan theories that date back to the first English-language games, Pokémon Blue & Red.

1. Ditto is a (Failed) Mew Clone

Image Source: Photo: Kamex Pro, '¿Es Ditto un clon de Mew? Teoría Pokémon'

Image Source: Kamex Pro

If you’d caught Mew, you might have noticed that both the cat and the blob were: a similar colour, the same weight (8.8lbs), and were the only two creatures in the game naturally to know the move ‘transform’. Further, both were the only two creatures able to use any move in the game. Co-inky-dink? The internet thinks not. For the failed clone theory even further fleshed out, click here; for an opposing standpoint, that Ditto is the only successful Mew clone and Mewtwo a failure, click here.

2. Gengar is Clefable’s Shadow Come to Life

Image Source: Epic Rap Battles of Pokémon, 'Gengar vs Clefable'

Image Source: Epic Rap Battles of Pokémon

There’s a lot to like about this theory: Clefable appear with the full moon, and Gengar are shadow Pokémon – the fairy and the monster, elements of light and dark and yin and yang – and their outlines are very similar, but the numbers don’t quite add up. Although Gengar at 1.5m is only slightly taller than Clefable at 1.3m, it doesn’t make intuitive sense for Gengar (as a shadow) to be heavier than its physical presence. What’s the solution then? With reference to Gengar’s Pokédex entry:

Under a full moon, this Pokémon likes to mimic the shadows of people and laugh at their fright.

Gengar is a mime, Clefables appear at night: Gengar imitate Clefable shadows, and, because they are separate, appear to be Clefable shadows come to life.

3. Voltorbs are Pokéballs Possessed by Haunters

Voltorbs and Pokéballs looked so darned similar in the original games that the character never could tell them apart, until, of course, the info tab popped up with an onomatopoeic word in it and the battle screen and music started with the then redundant message ‘Wild VOLTORB appeared!’.

Video source: YouTube

Unlike the first two theories, this one isn’t based on weight, or colour, or even opposing characteristics, instead, this one is all in the eyes. The gist of it is Voltorb have Haunter eyes because Haunter possess Pokéballs and then can’t escape them. The resultant entity is a bionic blend of spirit and contraption: the ghost in the machine, if you will. Ahem. That Voltorb spontaneously self-destructed was, then, symptomatic of their frustration with their predicaments. Quite sad really.

An alternative albeit similar theory paints a darker picture, and suggests that Voltorb are generically a fusion of malfunctioning Pokéballs and the Pokémon that were held inside them. Intrigued? Check out this marvellous albeit macabre illustration – one of a zoological series by Christopher-Stoll.

4. Pokémon Left in Pokéballs Too Long Become MissingNo.


That alternative theory feeds nicely into our fourth. This one stems from the lack of canon information at the time on the mechanisms of our oft-used capturing devices. We knew that Pokémon could be digitised: we stored them on a computer network – remember Someone’s/Bill’s PC? – and, subsequently, some sensibly suggested, these files could then be subject to corruption.

When later released from their digital traps, these damaged representations of Pokémon, degraded trans-computations, are what appeared. MissingNo. could, after all, go onto corrupt your whole game file: a damaged version of something once so beautiful.

5. The Guy Who Meets You at Every Gym is Your Father, or…

Video source: YouTube

The canon is slightly mixed here: Red was the default name for the protagonist of Pokémon Red and Blue, while Blue was his rival’s default name. In the anime, Ash, naturally, was the name of the cartoon’s protagonist while Gary was the name of his rival, which was then reflected in the character names of Pokémon Yellow. In any case, who is Ash’s father?

It seems, according to the Pokémon game fan theories we’ve sifted through, our two options are: either, the guy who meets you in every gym and gives you a pep talk before you go onto tackle the gym leader – making amends for the time he’s hitherto spent absent in our hero’s life; or, Giovanni, the big baddie boss leader of Team Rocket, the villainous exploiters of pocket monsters in the Kanto region. The twist here is that Team Rocket were just a front for Giovanni to check on his son’s progress before they faced off in the final gym…

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Michael Adamson

Michael Adamson


Michael is a life-long fan of all things related to DC Comics, Marvel, and Star Wars. When he's not reading, you can find him playing football or running.