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Memory Pak: My Very First Shiny Pokémon

© Nintendo/The Pokémon Company

Earlier this month, there was a news story about a Pokéfan who had managed to catch not only every single Pokémon, but also every single shiny. Considering that the likelihood of finding a shiny Pokémon is around 1/4096 — although you can increase the rate slightly with various methods — this is a pretty impressive feat that would have taken a lot of resets, fishing, and walking back and forth in long grass. A tedious challenge, to be sure.

I have played almost every Pokémon game. I skipped Black and White 2, and I never finished Sun and Moon, but other than that, I’m fairly well-versed in the Pokéverse, even if my battle strategy is akin to entering a fencing competition with nothing but a large wooden club and a fistful of steroids.

I have only ever encountered two shiny Pokémon in all that time. The second was a shiny Trapinch in Sun and Moon, and because I never finished the game, I never even bothered to evolve him into a fabulous shiny Flygon (I know, I’m sorry) — but this story isn’t about dear Pinchy. This is about the tragic story of my first ever shiny.

Artist's rendering of Pinchy
Artist’s rendering of Pinchy (Image: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company)

I don’t even remember which game it was — I’m sure someone in the comments will be able to figure it out from the context — but it was early on. I had picked my starter, and I was about to set off into the magical world of Pokémon, a ten year old with nothing but a snazzy hat and a dream of beating a bunch of adults in one-to-one animal combat.

I would train and raise a group of Pokémon specifically selected for their cuteness, because that’s the secret winning strategy. I would level them up to at least 70, with zero regard for IVs or EVs, and beat down the Elite Four with nothing but determination and a bag stuffed full of Revives and Hyper Potions.

But before all of that, I had to learn how to fight. The Professor — I don’t remember which one, sorry — took me out into the grass, and instructed me to walk around for a bit. A Pidgey came sliding into view, and, being an old hand, I was ready to Tackle-Tackle-Tackle-Tackle it to death. But then it sparkled. I’d never seen a shiny before, but I’d seen enough Pokémon cards to know that something sparkly had to be good. I wanted this Pidgey. I wanted to capture him in a tiny ball and call him something like “Birdy” or “Beaktopher”.

"It's a learning exercise. I'm teaching you about disappointment."
“It’s a learning exercise. I’m teaching you about disappointment.” (Image: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company)

Just one problem: I didn’t have any Pokéballs. I was learning to fight Pokémon; I hadn’t reached the stage of the tutorial that let me catch them. I had no choice but to batter this gorgeous bird to death. It felt like Professor Treename was forcing me to put my own dog down by siccing a new puppy on it. Like I’d been naughty at my own birthday party, and had to give all my birthday presents away to my friends as a result. It was child cruelty, I tell you.

Other than that single Trapinch (which I did catch, at least), I have yet to find another shiny Pokémon. I sincerely hope that the Pokéteam has changed the way the game works in more recent instalments of the series to ensure that no poor child has to go through this pain again. I’ll always remember you, shiny Pidgey. Mostly because I tell my therapist about you every single week through a veil of tears.

Do you have a tragic shiny story to tell? Let us know in the comments. We’re here for you.


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