Pokémon Jobs Are Kind Of Messed Up

Screenshot: Nintendo

There is so much dumb bullshit in the Pokémon universe that is not explained and will never be explaned. What’s it like inside a Poké Ball? Do people eat Pokémon? These are questions that, when we have asked the developers, they have been unable to answer. Not helping are a new addition to Sword and Shield, Poké Jobs.

Mechanically, Poké Jobs are just a good way to level up Pokémon if you don’t want to spend time grinding. On the Rotomi in the Poké Centers, you can check job listings and send Pokémon in your possession to work on them for up to a day. Sometimes a restaurant will need Ice-type Pokémon to keep their drinks cool. Other times a hotel will need Fire types to keep their guests warm. It’s charming, until you think about it for literally longer than a second.

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Screenshot: Nintendo

Pokémon are your pets. You’re making those pets work sometimes complicated jobs. Some of these tasks seem to require a basic level of handling tools and communication—you can send off some ghost Pokémon to work a customer service job, for example. But the Pokémon don’t keep the money. They aren’t even paid in money. They aren’t paid at all! They earn experience, and then hand over whatever meager prize to you, their fucking boss. We send out our definitely sentient pets with like a pack lunch to go complete a complex task for no reward other than the satisfaction of a job well done, and then steal their tips. And we already make Pokémon fight for money!

The Pokémon universe is dystopic to the point of parody. If I was confident that series producer Junichi Masuda and the rest of the team were doing this on purpose, I would think they were geniuses. Beneath the adorable veneer of Pokémon lies a horrible secret: Capitalism will grind your bones to dust and then get you really invested in dog fighting.

The fact that Game Freak can get away with Poké Jobs, a blatantly terrifying proposition, and still have it seem cute is genius of another sort. I still send my Pokémon on Poké Jobs, and when the confetti animation plays, and my avatar cheers, I feel a little proud of them. They did a great job! Now gimme all your money, kid.

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