Words On Wednesday

The Shiny Geodude

I’ve only ever seen a shiny wild Pokemon once, besides the Red Gyarados in generation 2. This is the story of that encounter.

Picture this: I’m playing Pokemon HeartGold and just defeated Clair in Blackthorn City to get the Rising Badge. With all 8 badges in the Johto region, the only thing I have left to do is challenge the elite four. I’m excited, I’m proud of myself, things are going great. I head south down Route 45.

I have Quagsire at the front of my party to level him up a bit before I take on the elite four. Ground and water have always been useful types in my mind, and I had been neglecting him a bit over the past few gyms. My party is never at the exact same level, but I like to have them all in the same ballpark. Plus, the heavy presence of Geodude and Graveler along this route make water or ground my best chance to kill them in 1 hit and continue on my way.

A wild Geodude appears, probably the 50th I’ve encountered on this one path, and I hardly pay attention to it. Suddenly, I see the circular flash of sparkles and the silhouette of Geodude gains an unfamiliar gold color. No, there’s no way. A shiny Geodude? I don’t believe it.

For a moment, I’m in awe. I’ve never seen a shiny Pokemon besides the Red Gyarados, and everyone knows that doesn’t count. It’s a staged encounter. Sure, if I just got lucky and happened to catch a Magikarp that was shiny, I guess that counts. Good luck proving that it wasn’t the Red Gyarados in the Lake of Rage, though. But this? This was an honest to goodness shiny, the first one I’d ever seen.

Numbers are running through my head, the rarity of shiny spawns and how absurdly rare this is. The standard shiny encounter rate is 1/8192. Sure, it isn’t as rare as say winning the lottery or being struck by lightning, but it’s rare enough to be worth noting. Plus, Golem has always been one of my favorite Pokemon. This isn’t quite as great as a shiny Scyther (which I am determined to eventually get), but it’s still pretty awesome.

Once I come to my senses, I realize that I actually have to catch the Geodude. If I were smart, if I could go back to this day in history and change anything, I would’ve thrown my Master ball right then and there. I never use the Master ball for anything in Pokemon games. It’s too rare to use on any regular Pokemon, and I prefer the challenge of catching legendary Pokemon in Premier balls anyway. In any case, that isn’t what happened.

I think through my options and weigh the risks of everything I could choose to do. Quagsire is at a much higher level than the Geodude (all of my Pokemon are), AND he has a type advantage over Geodude. Pretty much any of his attacks are going to destroy Geodude. However, I have a Scyther in my party, specifically one with False Swipe. False Swipe isn’t a very powerful move to begin with, at only 40 power. Plus, it’s a normal type, which means it only hits for 50% damage against Geodude’s Rock/Ground typing, and it doesn’t get Same Type Attack Bonus from Scyther. In short, it isn’t going to hit for much damage at all, but that’s a good thing. I don’t want to kill Geodude, I just want to hurt it enough to catch it. Besides, even if I were to get a rogue critical hit, False Swipe is incapable of killing a Pokemon even at 1 HP. Making the seemingly obvious decision, I switch out Quagsire for Scyther.

My mistake would become painfully evident in the very same turn that I switched Pokemon. You see, my Quagsire had the Damp ability which prevents any Pokemon on the field from using Self-Destruct or Explosion. Geodude, I should’ve remembered, knows Self-Destruct. Of all the moves that Geodude could have used, all the moves that would’ve given me an opportunity to catch it, the move that it used immediately after I switched Scyther into battle was Self-Destruct. As is probably obvious from the name, Self-Destruct causes the user to sacrifice itself in order to do damage.

I painfully watched as the battle text read, “Geodude used Self-Destruct.” I immediately knew what I had done. I knew that with Quagsire out, Geodude couldn’t have possibly used Self-Destruct. I knew that no matter how many turns went by, the only way that Geodude could’ve fainted would have been to exhaust all of its PP for every one of its moves and use Struggle enough to drain all of its HP. I could’ve thrown Poke Balls, Great Balls, and Ultra Balls all day long, and probably would have caught Geodude even without the Master ball. I knew, instantaneously, the full gravity of my decision, and that I had effectively caused myself to lose a sure-fire chance to catch my first shiny Pokemon.

When the battle ended, I was devastated. Literally the only shiny Pokemon that I have ever seen besides the Red Gyarados, I had the perfect opportunity and setup to catch, and I blew it. I couldn’t blame this on random number generation, I couldn’t blame it on luck, and I couldn’t blame it on the architecture of the game. This was all my fault, and I knew it.

In all my years of playing Pokemon, I haven’t seen a shiny Pokemon in the wild since that day. I’ve obtained a few shiny Pokemon through giveaways and events, but never on my own. Eventually, I’m sure I will. When that day comes, you can rest assured that I will be throwing my Master ball immediately, even if the Pokemon in question has no way to retreat or kill itself. If I don’t have the Master ball yet, I’ll be throwing whatever highest tier ball that I have. The next time I see a shiny Pokemon, it will be mine.

Meta:

Words: 1024 | Characters: 6046 | Sentences: 62

Paragraphs: 12 | Reading Level: 11-12th Grade

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