We used to catch Pokémon wrong

Here's A Thing.

Did you know that in Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow, it's simply not worth damaging a Pokémon below 1/3 of its HP if you intend to catch it? That'll never improve your chances of a successful catch. Or, did you know that sometimes a Great Ball can offer a marginally better chance at catching a Pokémon than an Ultra Ball? Madness. Utter madness. If you find either of those facts as interesting/upsetting as I do, then boy, do I have the video for you.

In this week's episode of Here's A Thing, we explore what actually happens when you throw a pokéball. In that first generation of games, at least, it wasn't anywhere near as straightforward as you might have expected. It involves completing a series of algorithmic steps, in order, as the game tries to figure out what should happen and there are some really weird side effects that play out, as a result.

I need to give a big thank you to Hlín (known online as Dragonfree), who helped talk me through all of this stuff last week. She runs a site that breaks down many of the inner workings of these games and if you really want to jump into the mathematics in some proper detail, that's the place to go.

I think some of our Pokémon Go guides have been impressively thorough, but her work is on a whole different level.

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this deep dive into a single mechanic. That's really where this series began, with our look at stealth in World of Warcraft and I'm keen to return to that format, when I find the right topic. I'll be in the comments if you have any questions!

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About the author

Chris Bratt

Chris Bratt


Chris is the host of People Make Games, a crowdfunded YouTube channel that tells cool stories about video games and how they're made.


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