This year Pokémon has once again risen to levels of popularity it hasn’t seen since the early days of the craze and as we’ve been receiving all sorts of releases this year, it’s been easy to keep our Poké-appetites fulfilled. Yet the heart of the action lies within the series’ competitive battle scene, and indeed like any gaming community there are plenty of ways to get involved. Thus why not try Pokémon Showdown, the online Pokémon battle simulator.
This isn’t such a new application mind; Pokémon Showdown was opened in 2011 and less than a year later was adopted by the competitive Pokémon battling website Smogon. Combined, players can use them to make their own dream Pokémon teams while providing all the resources necessary to help players become, well, ‘the very best’. Within this competitive battling scene there are many categories players can learn and play within depending on several factors such as battle styles (Single, Double etc.), Pokémon usability (which essentially divides the better creatures from the worse ones) and even game generations (from Red/Blue style battles up to modern day sixth generation Pokémon). Furthermore there are ladder rankings, community tournaments and even hacked and originally designed Pokémon championships. Essentially anything a player might want or need from playing Pokémon competitively can be found between the two sites.
This is something that I have only just started using in the past couple of weeks and it’s not exactly the easiest experience to jump right into. The need to have kept up with the main series of Pokémon titles is essential but what the games can’t teach us is how to battle with real people when the levels of each creature no longer factor in determining a trainer’s skill. Everyone here is on a level playing field; the real and truly mind boggling depth of Pokémon shines through.
Pokémon Showdown provides players with the opportunity to try out this deep battling system, and it’s very much recommended gaming, especially for anybody with experience playing Pokémon. Indeed the main series of games have evolved dramatically in time, with features such as abilities, natures, mega evolution and new Pokémon added to the mix and many of them may seem strange or alien to the more casual player, but once we delve into this competitive bonanza many of these aspects feel so integral to the experience it’s hard to imagine the series without them.
This is because Nintendo and Game Freak have been catering the series further towards this competitive battling scene as the games have evolved. Since the release of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, which introduced Wi-Fi battling across the globe, the competitive scene has steadily grown into what seems to encapsulate the Pokémon series in its current form. We’ve received Hidden Abilities and Mega Evolutions that have made previously lacklustre Pokémon viable once again in the larger battling environment. Newer Pokémon receive type combinations and unique abilities acting to fill in the flaws and counter the strongest of the previous generation. Furthermore in Pokémon X & Y players were finally able to see their EV points (hidden points that dramatically affect a Pokémon’s stats) and directly increase them at will. Now with Pokémon Sun & Moon coming out later this year we have new Alolan Forms which again bring older creatures back into usability and a chance to change our IV points (more hidden points, this time that are inherent to each creature), making it even easier to train strong competitive Pokémon.
At the end of the day, Pokémon Showdown goes hand in hand with the main series today as it helps prepare trainers to take part in official tournaments that Nintendo hold over Wi-Fi and in various locations across the globe. It is sites such as these that have helped evolve Pokémon as a series and which will help encourage even more players to join in the real-world community. My time with Pokémon Showdown has indeed only just begun, but I relish the opportunity to train so on the release of Pokémon Sun & Moon, I can take part with everyone else. It may be a little daunting at first, but to anyone who has ever player Pokémon or even are currently playing any of the games, give Pokémon Showdown some attention. Pokémon Go may have reignited many players enthusiasm for this series, but Showdown may just turn that enthusiasm into a passion for a series that could have the planet hooked all over again.
I’ve copied a link to the site below for anyone interested in it. Let me know what you think, and even better, any current players send us a challenge. Excited to hear more on this one!
(Also there is an Android version available but it is a more rudimentary build. Try it with this link)