Trainer Rivalry : Red vs Blue, Ash vs Paul, YOU vs ???


Despite their child-like style and cross generational appeal, rivalry is deeply embedded into Pokémon games.

Since the first generation of Pokémon games came out, it’s a well established tradition we begin our Pokémon journey with a battle, usually with someone who would later become our rival. Our rival would regularly show up and pose a challenge (along with a large amount of coin and XP). In Generation 1, Red fights Blue on numerous occasions before you ultimately defeat him in the post Elite Four scenario.

In the anime, Ash has had numerous rivals, probably the most notable being Paul (hands up if you thought I was going to say Gary Oak). For those unfamiliar, Paul is a trainer introduced when the anime reached Sinnoh region. The boy not only seems to despise Ash from the first meeting, but also treats his own Pokemon in a very negative fashion.

Arguably, its very similar to how we, as Pokémon GO trainers, have treated our in-game partners for a while. If we are honest with ourselves we typically do the following: catch, check and then either release or work them to death — this is something that Ash is not happy about.

Paul, Ash’s Pokémon GO-esque rival

This trainer-Pokémon relationship was shown clearly in the anime episode When Pokemon Worlds Collide!, which shows Paul and his three Starly. But Paul doesn’t care about them, Paul only cares about their move set. Unfortunately for them, the first two were released because they did not know Aerial Ace.

Although the third could use the move and easily beat Ash’s Pokemon, Paul still deemed it weak and released it as well. Low IVs, I guess?

“Take a hike, I don’t need you!”

Even if your not a fan of the cartoon, I remember watching this and thinking “this is how we play”:

This conflict later becomes the core of Pauls and Ashes rivalry, but let’s turn our eyes to the present, and to the currently relevant Pokémon games. Is the prevalent rivalry from the first game released in Feb 1996 a staple part of Pokemon Go, released July 2016, over 20 years later?

Do we have rivals in our local Pokémon Go communities?

The obvious choices are going to be the player who uses those methods that are generally frowned upon, and while those are likely candidates, they are not really comparable unless that play style matches your own.

I mention them only because we have recently seen that remote players (i.e. spoofers) are seen as the primary rival for most regular players. Recent posts have also shown just how damaging this can be to a community. While I have to acknowledge the existence, and the genuine feeling of rivalry/frustration they can cause, that’s not who I am aiming this article towards.

Assuming your a player that plays with only the core app, do you have a Rival? Is there a player in your community that you target in gyms? Or is there someone who you aim to impress with a better Metagross? Did they have the first Milotic in your area while you had the first shiny Bannette? You get the idea!

At the Hub we would love to hear you experiences of local rivalry within the game. Share your stories with us. Do you have a special someone?

Author & tags

Writer, Conceptualist, Theorycrafter and Analyst. U.K. based level 40 trainer. Blizzard Entertainment fanboy and Game Freak enthusiast.

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