With every improvement and addition that every new main line Pokemon entry brings, there are a handful of features that remain unchanged since the franchise launched over 25 years ago: the ability to heal at a Pokémon Center, the appearance of the “tech is amazing” guy and – of course – the ability to give your beloved Pocket Monsters nicknames.
In the early generations of Pokemon, the idea of giving each of your partners their own unique nickname might have seemed reasonably doable. Now that we are heading into the ninth generation of the franchise with Pokémon Scarlet and Violethowever, there are nearly 1000 beggars to follow, so this got us thinking: Do players still make the effort to nickname them all?
A group of Nintendo Life writers have their own thoughts on the subject below, and we’d love to hear from you too. Do you still do it? You’ve never done it? Go ahead, vote in the poll at the bottom of this page, and let us know your nickname habits — and, maybe, some prime examples in the comments. We’ve all had a Pikachu named “Steve”, right? Right!?…
Kate Gray, Editor
I name all of my Pokemon, except the ones I know I’m going to throw – I mean, release – when I do things like Shiny Hunt or IV Breed. And I don’t do them very often, so pretty much everything my Pokémon have names.
When I was a kid, it was a diminutive version of their real names (Chicky for Chikorita) or a description of their shape (Birdy for Pidgey). Now that I’m older and much more mature, I tend to name them after similar colored foods or objects. It’s surprisingly easy to find foods that match a Pokémon’s personality or appearance! Especially if, like me, you favor the cutest ones.
I think it makes things more interesting and personal, because anyone can have a Pikachu, but only I have a Pikachu called Pudding. I can’t imagine not giving them names, and I never understood why Ash didn’t bother to name his own. closest friend something other than “Pikachu”. I do not know. It’s like having a dog called “Bichon Frize”.
Ollie Reynolds, personal editor
I’ve never named one of my Pokemon… already. It wasn’t so much a conscious decision either; it’s not like i’m thinking to myself “oh no, I don’t this, Thanks a lot”. It was more just about feeling pretty happy with the names that had already been given to Game Freak’s Pokémon.
My first pokemon game was Pokemon Blue, since 1999, when the first titles were launched in the UK. I remember watching the animated series around the same time and I think I was maybe a little aware that Ash never nicknamed his Pokemon; it was always “Pikachu”, “Charmander”, “Butterfree”, etc. Maybe that contributed to my decision…? I am not sure.
In any case, I do not name them! And I don’t plan to start anytime soon.
Jim Norman, personal editor
While every stable in my part of breath of the wild was full of gorgeous studs, each with handmade names like TenseEric, ham thing and ShaquilleI’ve always made a point of never naming my Pokémon.
Well, I’m a man of order. When I first played Pokemon Ruby in the early 2000s, I didn’t want any sense of creativity. I wanted all of my little creatures to be exactly as they should be, and that included their names. This extended to being able to put hats and such on your ‘mon in future games. A hat? On a Pokemon? You must think me crazy.
I vividly remember the stress of trading Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. There were some Pokemon that I really, really wanted for my team, but if the one I was introduced to had a nickname – no way. They were somehow stained in my mind. Maybe this time will be different.
Maybe my time with Tense Eric and the gang got me into the art of naming. We’ll have to see if inspiration strikes at Paldea.
Gavin Lane, editor
Little more than a part-time Poké trainer (I played Blue and Yellow at the time, then took a two-decade sabbatical until Sword and Shield), I can’t afford to rename my Pokemon for fear of forgetting their real names.
Every time I dive in Pokemon GO for some reason I am presented with row after row of creatures that I don’t recognize, so naming them ‘Tony’ or ‘grrrtrude’ or ‘Crockly McGreen’ would only confuse them. I used to be fine with renaming Metapod to ‘Metapoo’, or Pikachu to ‘Lecky Mouse’, but no – overall I don’t want to (re)name my ‘mons’.
Also, I would hate to be in a position where the only legendary I have to offer a bad trainer hoping to complete their ‘dex’ is a Zapdos named ‘iiiklee3’. We have all been the beneficiaries of a trade like this. Don’t be that guy. *Eastwood grins*
Alana Hagues, Writer
I’ve been a serial Pokémon nickname for over 20 years, but it didn’t all start from the beginning. Pokémon Yellow was not tainted by my youthful creativity, but Gold Silver weren’t so lucky.
Enter ‘Croc’, the Totodile, later Feraligatr. One of my favorite Pokemon with a nickname that took me maybe less than 30 seconds to find. But I loved him, and I loved that name. It captured the simplicity of the hyperactive crocodile so well and perfectly embodied the ferocity (and friendliness) of its final form. This is where it all started. While the first games were pretty simple – I would name Pokemon after friends, pets, cartoon characters, etc. – when Diamond & Pearl and Black White came, Google and I were pros at it. I was looking for inventive adjectives, using translation tools and synonyms for words like ‘fire’ or ‘clouds’. So you can thank this phase for Inverno the Frosslass.
With Gen 8, I stuck to one theme for each Pokémon nickname: food. It could be brand names, types of food, herbs, drinks or types of sugar – as long as it was edible, it was game. Grookey, Scorbunny and Sobble (my current starter) are all named after types of tea (Matcha, Chamomile and Peppermint), while my Dragapult has one of my favorite nicknames – Noodle. It’s a silly and fun name that captures the sneaky side of the Pokemon, but also underlines how much I adore it.
I know, I think too much on nicknames, so much so that I can spend 15 minutes finding something I’m happy with – especially if I’m going to use it on my team. But that’s part of the fun for me. Who knows what I’ll name my ‘mons in Scarlet & Violet!